Recruiting never stops, and if you take a day off, you fall behind. Join us every night for a daily recap of Ohio State recruiting news, insight on what’s happening behind-the-scenes, and for a glimpse at what’s coming next.
If you’re a new reader of mine, welcome.
Around this time of night here at Landof10.com, Sunday through Friday, we’ll be doing our best to keep you updated on Ohio State recruiting. There will be some discussion about new offers, behind-the-scenes stuff and more.
The goal is simple: to keep you in the know about all the things you need to know.
If you’re familiar with me and my work at elevenwarriors.com, welcome to the new normal. I hope that I’m able to live up to the standard that we established nightly over in that neck of the internet woods. Enough with the chit-chat, right? Let’s dive in.
Buckeyes close to huge 2017 offensive line commitment?
Last night, Ohio State 2017 quarterback commitment Tate Martell took to Twitter and teased Buckeye fans with some potentially huge news.
We are getting a good one at OSU!
— Tate Martell (@TheTateMartell) June 22, 2016
While innocuous enough on its own, that tweet – when coupled with one of Martell’s from earlier in the day – begins to tell an interesting story.
Lineman don't get enough credit!
— Tate Martell (@TheTateMartell) June 21, 2016
Martell talking about offensive linemen and their role at Ohio State on the heels of a huge visit to Columbus by his good friend Wyatt Davis? That makes things much more interesting. Davis, a 5-star guard from California powerhouse St. John Bosco, made a major Midwest swing last week that included stops at Notre Dame, Michigan and Ohio State. Martell’s cryptic messages may reveal a surge in confidence from the Buckeyes.
After a visit-filled weekend, emotions are high and it doesn’t hurt the Ohio State staff at all to have received the final visit. There are no plans for an announcement, but if Davis makes a decision soon, many close to the Buckeyes believe they could be the favorite to receive his commitment. Urban Meyer and Greg Studrawa made a major impression on Davis and his friendship with Martell is another key component in the recent swing of Buckeyes momentum.
The country’s top-ranked offensive guard and a US Army All-American, Davis has some family ties to Ohio (his father, Duane, was born in Cleveland and his grandfather, NFL Hall of Fame defensive end Willie Davis, played for the Browns in the 1950s) but the sudden emergence of Ohio State as a top contender for his services is a surprise. Alabama and UCLA have the only 247Sports.com crystal ball predictions at this point, but according to multiple sources close to the situation, the Buckeyes may have moved into the mix as the team to beat.
Emory Jones back to two?
One player that people have expected to be leaning towards Ohio State, Georgia 2018 quarterback Emory Jones, may be backing off a plan to make his college decision this week. The country’s second-ranked dual-threat quarterback spent two days in Knoxville this past weekend and it seems the Volunteers did exactly what they needed to.
“Tennessee really gave me their all,” Jones shared with Landof10.com. “It was amazing. They’re probably back even (with Ohio State).”
While that sounds like bad news for Tim Beck and the Buckeyes, it definitely could be worse. Butch Jones and the Vols landed eight commitments thanks to their big “Orange Carpet” weekend and Jones wasn’t one of them. To say no in the face of significant pressure to say yes means Ohio State had a pretty comfortable cushion. If you remember, before receiving his Ohio State offer, Jones was close – really close – to committing to Tennessee. The reason he didn’t? Ohio State was his “dream school.” Hearing from the Buckeyes changed his entire recruitment and that’s telling. Ohio State has a lot of influence in his recruitment. Only the Buckeyes’ interest and surge prevented him from committing to Tennessee. The Buckeyes may not lead right now (though I think they probably still do), but they’re not trailing.
While the Volunteers didn’t get the huge commitment they no doubt were pushing for, they did manage to get him to delay a commitment to Ohio State. At least for now.
What’s the potential hold up?
What methods are Tennessee, Clemson and others using in hopes of fighting off the Buckeyes? A recruiting staple: the depth chart.
Every good program has good players, right? Yes, but other coaches are saying that at Ohio State, Joe Burrow, Dwayne Haskins, Tate Martell and Danny Clark would be on the roster ahead of Jones.
“When will you get playing time, Emory?”
That’s something that is in play here. Will that sway Jones? I don’t know, but I’m not inclined to think so.
There’s another, less important factor as well: distance from home. In 2015, Ohio State missed on Sh’Mar Kilby-Lane, a 4-star linebacker who grew up dreaming of playing for the Buckeyes. Why? Florida State was able to convince him that everything he could get from a college career with the Buckeyes, he could get with the Seminoles. While it’s debatable Tennessee can match Ohio State on that front, the lure of staying closer to home is always something to watch.
My pick for Jones is still the Buckeyes, and I think that the sooner a decision happens, the more likely it’s Ohio State. It’s important to Jones to commit early. He wants to be a leader in his recruiting class, helping bring talent along with him. The more time that separates him from his recent visit to Tennessee, the more he’ll lean back towards Ohio State.
Darnell Ewell visiting Ohio State on Thursday
One of the country’s premier 2017 two-way linemen, Norfolk, Virginia’s Darnell Ewell, will visit Ohio State on Thursday.
“I’m going to be up there tomorrow,” Ewell said. “I’ll be up there for the day.”
Ewell will be at Ohio State on Thursday and then visit Notre Dame and Michigan on Friday and Saturday. Those three schools, along with Clemson and Alabama, comprise his top group as he begins to narrow his list.
Larry Johnson, Sr. is the lead recruiter for the 6-foot-4, 295-pound prospect. Because of that, defensive tackle is the position he’s been linked to with the Buckeyes, but they’re looking at him on both sides of the ball. Ohio State has been the presumed leader for Ewell for months, but tight numbers in their 2017 class have put the two sides in an interesting spot.
Yes, the Buckeyes are looking for a third defensive tackle in 2017 but there are some big names ahead of Ewell on the board. On offense, if they’re moving into the lead for Wyatt Davis as a third offensive line pledge, can they find room for Ewell as well?
The 145th-ranked player in the 2017 class, Ewell was a teammate of Buckeye freshman Wayne Davis at Norfolk’s Lake Taylor High School. The school also produced Ohio State junior defensive end Jalyn Holmes.
Dallas Gant adds two huge offers, three-team race for now?
Ohio State had its final one-day camp of the summer last Friday afternoon and one of the standouts walked away with a Buckeye offer.
“I did not know they’d offer,” Toledo St. John’s 2018 linebacker Dallas Gant said. “I thought, if anything, it would come on Monday, maybe. I was extremely excited and appreciative when it came.”
After leaving Columbus on Friday, Gant headed to Notre Dame and took part in the “Irish Invasion” camp hosted by Brian Kelly and his staff. The 6-foot-3, 200-pound prospect impressed the Irish and earned an offer there as well. Adding Ohio State and Notre Dame to an offer list that already included Michigan State, Boston College, and Rutgers? Yes, things are heating up for the country’s top-ranked 2018 outside linebacker.
“The whole weekend was fantastic,” Gant said. “It’s a very, very exciting time for my family and I. I’m just blessed and excited and trying to take it all in.”
Part of taking it all in for Gant now means examining schools he grew up watching on TV, trying to separate being a “fan” and being a recruit. To that end, Gant returned to Ohio State on Monday after his visit to South Bend. The visit, scheduled before adding the Ohio State offer, meant he had to view things a little differently than previous visits.
“Going back on Monday was always the plan,” Gant said. “It was a tour of the school. We also went on a campus tour and through the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, and also talked to coaches. I had to look at the place more as like ‘these are the things I would be doing’ and the places I would be in two years if I decided to go there.”
With 10 offers, there are many schools who have not yet offered Gant that will be doing so soon. Still, there’s a pretty good chance this one boils down to a traditional Midwest battle. Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan State and (eventually) Michigan are the teams to pay close attention to. The Spartans have been recruiting him hard for almost two years, and Mark Dantonio’s program isn’t going to fade away in this one. They’ll be there until the end.
While it may wind up being one of those four teams, there are still plenty of other schools to see. This weekend, Gant will visit Penn State, Pittsburgh and West Virginia as he begins to focus a bit more on the process.
“I’m living the dream right now,” Gant said. “I’m enjoying it. I’ve got the rest of the summer to enjoy everything.”