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.
Brian Hightower talks about Ohio State
Ohio State will be looking to take three or four wide receivers in the 2018 recruiting class and they’ve been chasing Brian Hightower of IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) for some time. The California native (Hightower played at Calabasas with UCLA signee and godbrother Darnay Holmes and Nebraska signee Keyshawn Johnson Jr.) transferred to IMG more than a year ago and played his junior season for the Ascenders. Being that much closer to Ohio hasn’t made much of a difference, however, because the country’s fifth-ranked wide receiver hasn’t been to Ohio State for a visit. He told Land of 10 last summer that he was in regular contact with the school, though, and that a pair of Buckeyes commits (and now early enrolled freshmen) were talking to him about the program daily.
“I’ve always been a fan of Ohio State, their history and all that,” he said. “Marcus (Williamson) and Isaiah (Pryor) talk to me every day about going to Ohio State.”
Though he’s not been to campus, the Buckeyes are still very much on the mind of the 6-foot-3, 202-pound wideout.
“IMG has a lot of recent players who went to Ohio State,” he told Dawgnation.com’s Jeff Sentell in Orlando last weekend. “Seeing what they did this year with their rookies in the NFL and how they panned out really impresses me about that program. They train you there for the highest level.
“It’s a great place if you want to be successful and play college ball if the NFL is your real dream.”
For most kids playing at IMG, that’s exactly what the real dream is. For Hightower, the race for his services is still pretty wide open but the Buckeyes are near the top of a list that also includes Oregon, Ole Miss, Notre Dame and Miami.
Buckeyes on the mind of California wideout
Hightower isn’t the only California wide receiver thinking about the Buckeyes these days.
Ohio State recently offered the Golden State’s second-ranked wide receiver, Amon-Ra St. Brown from Anaheim powerhouse Mater Dei High School. In two of the last three recruiting cycles, his two older brothers (Equanimeous, 2015, and Osiris, 2017) have landed at Division I schools (Notre Dame and Stanford, respectively). Now the 2018 version is turning into a major name to watch nationally. Amon-Ra is a 5-star prospect, according to the 247Sports.com composite rankings. He’s interested in Ohio State.
“Ohio State was a big offer for me,” St. Brown told Land of 10.com’s Brandon Justice. “They’ve proved to be one of the top programs in the country over the past few years.”
The Buckeyes have landed one commitment from California already in their 2018 class and are hoping to expand their influence on the West Coast by hitting the area hard with assistant coaches who are familiar with the region. One of those coaches is new quarterbacks coach Ryan Day.
“Coach Day is the coach I talk to most,” he said. “My dad wants to take a visit with me and see Ohio State, so we’ll probably take (a visit) in the spring.”
Though he has no current leader in his recruitment, the 6-foot-1, 187-pound St. Brown does list some schools sticking out to him at the moment.
“There are definitely some schools standing out,” he added. “Stanford, USC, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Alabama. Those are the big schools that stand out.”
Kaleb Wesson earns big-league honor
One of just two 2017 basketball signees in Thad Matta’s latest recruiting class has picked up a big honor.
Kaleb Wesson, the country’s 75th-ranked 2017 hoops prospect, has been named Player of the Year in the Ohio Capital Conference.
Kaleb Wesson – OCC PLAYER OF THE YEAR!
— Westerville South (@SouthBasketball) February 20, 2017
The 6-foot-8, 270-pound Wesson (or 6-9, 290, depending on the source) has worked very hard on his game and his body over the last year. He’s lost nearly 40 pounds.
From Cleveland.com’s Matt Goul, in December:
Wesson said he entered his junior season weighing about 325 pounds and is currently 286. He told cleveland.com in April he ideally wants to get down to 260 or 270 pounds.
“I just noticed I can’t play at 325 in the college game,” Wesson said. “I wouldn’t get the minutes. I had to drop weight.”
He was nominated, but not selected, for the McDonald’s All-American Game. As noted above, he’s averaged 22 points and 12 rebounds a game for the Wildcats this season. The honor means a lot, of course, but it’s also unique because for the second straight year the award stays in his family: Kaleb’s older brother Andre, a freshman at Ohio State, won it a year ago.
“It means a lot to win it,” Wesson told Land of 10. “I’ve put in a lot of work and it’s always nice to be recognized for your play. It’s always on my teammates and my coaches, because they put me in position to be successful.”