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.
Greg Emerson still hearing from Buckeyes
Ohio State has two commitments from defensive linemen to this point in its 2018 recruiting class and continues to be on the prowl for others.
At the V7 Elite Camp in Nashville on Sunday, 4-star prospect Greg Emerson talked to SEC Country’s Hale McGranahan about his relationship with the Buckeyes. Emerson is the country’s sixth-ranked defensive tackle per 247Sports and a player who visited Ohio State last July for Friday Night Lights.
“I talked to (defensive line coach Larry) Johnson and (running backs coach Tony) Alford the other day,” Emerson said. “We just had a nice little laugh on the phone. It’s pretty good.”
That lone visit to Ohio State was precipitated by former Buckeyes S Donnie Nickey, who is the head coach at Jackson (Tenn.) North Side. The 6-foot-3, 296-pound Emerson isn’t likely to end up playing his college football at Ohio State, but he has remembered his trip fondly and is friends with another Tennessee prep product that just recently did commit to the Buckeyes.
“I know Max (Wray) just committed to them the other day, and I hope he enjoys himself up there,” Emerson said. “It’s a good place for me, from the one time I went up there. The community stood out a lot and I guess you could say the relationship, the bonds that the coaches have with the players. There’s nothing like having a good bond with your players. They’ve got a lot of hospitality up there.”
Ohio State has been working overtime to pitch the concept of “testimony over theory” to recruits in recent months, hoping that the run of unprecedented NFL success, as well as on-field results, leads to opening the eyes of players from areas that aren’t traditional breeding grounds for the Buckeyes. Emerson sees what they’re doing, but is focused on his fit in a program as opposed to what the program has working for it.
“Not really, not to me,” Emerson said when asked if Urban Meyer’s pedigree of churning out NFL players makes the Buckeyes more attractive. “It’s good to have that on your résumé, and stuff like that, but I’d say that winning national championships, winning Big Ten championships, SEC championships, it doesn’t stick out to me. I mean, that’s good, but there are other things that matter more to me. Where I fit in the defense, how I fit on the team as a player, where I fit in the community as a person, how I fit in the classroom with my major.
“It’s them four things, and being somewhere I love. I don’t want to be somewhere I can’t enjoy myself.”
Ohio State giving some Cali love
The Buckeyes signed one of California’s best prospects in 2017 (Wyatt Davis) and have a commitment from the state’s fourth-ranked 2018 prospect, Jaiden Woodbey (Davis’ high school teammate). On Tuesday, it appears Ohio State wide receivers coach Zach Smith was in the wild, wild, West, hoping to put in some work in The Golden State.
And he got a very California-style welcome.
— Zach Smith #Zone6 (@CoachZachSmith) May 2, 2017
Smith is likely giving some California love to three players that Ohio State would love to land in 2018: 5-star wide WRs Jalen Hall and Amon-Ra St. Brown and 4-star linebacker Solomon Tuliaupupu.
Tuliaupupu visited the Buckeyes for their spring game in mid-April, but followed that up with stops in Alabama and Oregon. So it’s a good time for a “temperature check” by Ohio State. Hall is the country’s second-ranked wide receiver — St. Brown is the third — and each holds a Buckeye offer. But neither has been to campus yet.
For my money, St. Brown is the perfect slot receiver for Ohio State’s offense and his value is magnified by the fact that in the last two recruiting cycles, the Buckeyes haven’t signed a receiver with the skill set that the 6-foot, 190-pound star possesses. Austin Mack, Binjimen Victor, Trevon Grimes, Jaylen Harris and Ellijah Gardiner are all big and talented wideouts that possess field-stretching capability, but are built a bit different than the shifty St. Brown.
A handful of players we’ve talked about in this space as potential Buckeyes have taken their names off the list for the foreseeable future by making college commitments elsewhere this week.
To these Buckeyes prospects (to varying degrees), we bid farewell, at least temporarily.
- C.J. Moore, WR, Tulsa (Okla.) Union — Oklahoma State
- Moore had the Buckeyes in his top 6 and made multiple visits to Columbus but wasn’t yet a top priority for Ohio State as numbers at wide receiver remain a bit uncertain. He’s a big-bodied standout in the mold of Harris and Gardiner and that made him a little less valuable in this 2018 cycle for the Buckeyes.
- Darian Kinnard, OL, Cleveland St. Ignatius — Kentucky
- This one was a bit of a surprise but only in timing, not ultimate decision. Kentucky’s Vince Marrow has done a remarkable job selling the Wildcats program inside of Ohio and with Kinnard not being a true Ohio native, it was an even easier sell. Ohio State had been in contact and was hoping to see the 6-7, 330-pound 3-star prospect at a camp this summer but that is likely off the table. Don’t be surprised if we hear this name down the line in the recruiting cycle.
- Brant Lawless, DT, Nashville (Tenn.) Christian — Tennessee
- Though there wasn’t much headway ever gained into this recruitment, Lawless is a defensive tackle prospect that the Buckeyes like quite a bit and he’s now off the board as a Volunteer. He visited Ohio State once this spring and was impressed by the program in Columbus, but luring him away from his home state was always a long shot.
- Chris Smith, CB, Atlanta Hapeville Charter — Georgia
- There was some thought among the folks in The Peach State that Smith, the country’s 41st-ranked cornerback, would consider leaving Georgia but that is not the case. Smith made spring visits to Ohio State and Michigan but ultimately opted for a college career between the hedges and close to home. Ohio State has one cornerback committed (Sevyn Banks) for 2018 and will aim very high from here at the position, with 5-star prospects Patrick Surtain, Jr. and Anthony Cook, as well as 4-star prospect Tyson Campbell, at the top of their list.