The job fair that Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and his staff instituted five years ago has come full circle.
Meyer said as much Friday night as this year's fair took place at the Huntington Club in Ohio Stadium. He watched as former players who attended the fair years ago returned to represent their employers.
"To see Tommy Schutt come back, Joel Hale (and Adam Griffin), they got jobs because of this job fair," Meyer said. "We operate under the saying, 'There's testimony; there's theory.' Theory is the way it's supposed to be; testimony is real."
When the fair started, as an offshoot of Meyer's Real Life Wednesdays program, it was theory, but "now it's real," he said. "We're seeing jobs coming as a result of this."
The job fair featured 54 companies that ranged from financial institutions to media to auto dealerships to hotels to law enforcement. At the Fidelity Investments table was Griffin, whose last year as a player was 2013.
"I went to the first job fair," Griffin said. "The biggest thing I look for in a person is whether they can talk to people and communicate effectively. The knowledge, the technical skill, we can teach that."
Griffin spoke with several current Buckeyes, including athletes from sports other than football, as they made the rounds through three rooms. Also dropping in were several prospects for the upcoming football recruiting classes, including quarterback Emory Jones, a commitment to the class of 2018 who is expected to take part in the summer-camp finale Saturday.
Current quarterback J.T. Barrett said that all the players in the room -- past, present and future -- must keep in mind a truth about the game, that eventually "football is ending for everybody. So to understand that you can go to a place that gets you prepared for life after football, I mean, it should be a recruiting tool."
Defensive end Sam Hubbard is on track to graduate in December with a degree in finance. He's projected to be a high pick in the NFL draft, but he has long looked past that to his post-playing career. He had an internship with an investment firm last year.
"I'm real interested in investment banking, and also sales and trades in the stock market. I've got my own E-Trade account, trying to make calculated bets, you know," Hubbard said.
At the fair, though, he worked the room and remembered how far he has come from his first one three years ago.
"Freshman year, I was standing there in the corner, not sure who to talk to," Hubbard said. "As you go through it, though, you get more comfortable and more able to present yourself."
That was the theory, Meyer said, and what helped bring the fair to reality was Ohio State being in a large city and having connections nationwide.
"I had a vision of this thing," Meyer said. "And this is exceeding it."
TIGHT END OUT
Backup tight end A.J. Alexander suffered a knee injury a few weeks ago that's expected to keep him from playing this season, an Ohio State spokesman said Friday, and Meyer spoke about it at the job fair.
"It was a freak injury," Meyer said of the third-year sophomore's plight. "He was playing basketball, non-football-related. It's a tough knee injury."
Alexander had a strong spring in place of returning starter Marcus Baugh, who was on the mend from shoulder surgery. Now it appears that Jake Hausmann, Luke Farrell and Kierre Hawkins -- three players from the 2016 recruiting class who were redshirted last season -- will be in the running to back up Baugh, possibly joined by defensive end Rashod Berry, Meyer said.