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.
Xavier McKinney and Ohio State
We briefly discussed it on Monday, but there’s a little smoke coming out of the South right now that perhaps Xavier McKinney, a 4-star safety out of Georgia according to 247Sports, is favoring Ohio State over Clemson, Alabama, and Georgia. After speaking to sources close to Ohio State’s side of things on Monday night, I will say that I believe that is actually the case. We won’t know for certain the choice until the Roswell High star announces his decision on New Year’s Day, but it’s an interesting wrinkle in a recruiting cycle that has seemed rather intrigue-less in the last few weeks.
Here’s the issue that I think is causing this to even be an issue: Ohio State has not really made much of an effort to recruit McKinney since his official visit (Nov. 26), but the Buckeyes do really like his game. As the country’s No. 70 overall prospect, McKinney is a bad dude in the secondary. But … the Buckeyes have commitments from four top-level defensive backs and are hoping to add two more (Jeffrey Okudah and Darnay Holmes) at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 7.
Could Ohio State actually take McKinney, too, or would the Buckeyes — with limited spots available in the 2017 class — be better off taking that potential scholarship and using it on an offensive lineman or another position of need?
Simple answer: If the Ohio State coaching staff believes that McKinney is one of the best players it can take (from a numbers standpoint, say the next four or five commitments), then it would prefer to land him over a player the staff values less. This is all about one key ideal: take the best players who want to come to Ohio State, regardless of position.
If the Buckeyes are able to impress upon McKinney that he’s a priority still for them, even if they did add Okudah and Holmes, I believe he could choose them this coming Sunday. I do think that there is some reluctance on the part of Ohio State to upset the momentum the school has picked up with Holmes by adding another name to the mix.
Watch this one closely over the next few days and see what happens; it could provide some insight into what happens next.
Marvin Wilson has interesting Top 5
The country’s top-ranked defensive tackle released his top 5 schools Tuesday, check-in day for the Under Armour All-American game.
— Mike Roach (@Mike_Hornsports) December 27, 2016
That is Marvin Wilson, 5-star prospect and a player of serious need for the Ohio State recruiting class. Wilson is on hand in Orlando and was set to make that “top 5” announcement during the game this Sunday. But it appears he couldn’t wait. The primary four schools on his list were pretty much expected: he’s made official visits to Oklahoma, Florida State and Ohio State, and LSU has been rumored to be a favorite for months. The interesting addition of South Florida — where former Texas coach Charlie Strong is now the man in charge — is worth noting.
During Tuesday’s check-in, the rumblings were that it was actually Florida State and Ohio State in the lead for Wilson, but it’s hard to get too amped up about anything with a month to go before a decision is made.
What about Markquese Bell?
OK, so let’s look at the other player expected to announce his decision this weekend who, according to most folks, wants to be a Buckeye. That is New Jersey 4-star athlete Markquese Bell, 247Sports’ seventh-ranked athlete in the nation. He will announce his college choice on Sunday and Ohio State is in his top, or final, two schools.
— Adam Friedman (@RivalsFriedman) December 27, 2016
Ohio State welcomed Bell for an official visit on Nov. 26 and he’s a prospect that has been a favorite of Greg Schiano’s for the last few months because of his versatility and athleticism. However, he’s sort of a man without a position right now and he’s not as good a prospect at defensive back as anyone the Buckeyes are recruiting or have committed. The recent additions of Baron Browning and Pete Werner at linebacker also seems to have limited the likelihood of Bell landing with the Buckeyes at that position.
So what happens now? If Bell wants to play for Ohio State, he’d be best served by waiting a bit longer to make a college decision. That being the case, if he’s hellbent on making a choice this weekend and using ESPN’s platform to do it, that’s all good for him and — likely — Maryland. If he picks the Terps and the Buckeyes appear to be a runner-up, just remember that in recruiting things are not always cut and dried.
Cam Akers to make college decision Tuesday night
A longtime target of the Buckeyes, 5-star RB Cam Akers is about one hour from announcing a college decision. The country’s top-ranked running back, the Clinton (Miss.) High star will make his final decision from a list consisting of Florida State, Ole Miss, LSU, and Tennessee.
Akers visited Ohio State in November but, despite the two sides being very close early in the recruiting process, he has fallen away from the Buckeyes over the last few months. Sources on both sides of his recruitment indicated that distance from home became a motivating factor in recent times and that schools such as Florida State and LSU, with big holes at running back, had emerged as the front-runners. Florida State is the favorite to land Akers, who would be the second 5-star commitment for the Seminoles in the last week: They received a commitment from 5-star DE Joshua Kaindoh, a former Maryland pledge, last week.