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 a glimpse at what’s coming next.
Markquese Bell sets a decision date
New Jersey’s third-ranked 2017 prospect has set a decision date for his commitment.
— Markquese Bell (@MarkqueseB) December 5, 2016
That is Markquese Bell, who officially visited Ohio State over the Nov. 26 weekend. He will end his recruitment on New Year’s Day and the Buckeyes are definitely in the mix as his choice.
The question is this: Do the Buckeyes have room? Where does he fit? In some respects, the longer Bell waited to commit, the better the odds that he’d end up in Columbus as numbers get sorted out. He’s a favorite of Greg Schiano’s and that has made him an interesting potential addition to the Ohio State 2017 class. But with Baron Browning in, Brendon White in, and likely Pete Werner in, it’s hard to see how Bell ends up at linebacker.
At 6-foot-3 and 195 pounds, Bell’s an intriguing athlete who could play a handful of positions. Is he a player worth watching if Shaun Wade decides to flip to Alabama? I personally see him more as a linebacker a la Darron Lee but I’m not sure if he’s such a “plus-athlete” that he’s a take no matter what. I guess we’ll see.
Buckeyes all over Trey Smith on Monday
On Tuesday, Jackson, Tenn., 5-star prospect Trey Smith, the country’s fifth-ranked offensive tackle and 20th-ranked overall prospect in the class of 2017, will make his college decision. That’s tomorrow.
But today has to happen first, right? Right. Today is Ohio State and Alabama, one more time, going head-to-head for one of the best players in the country. Oh yeah, and Tennessee, the clubhouse favorite, is also squarely in the mix. Smith, a 6-foot-6, 310-pound behemoth, made another visit to Tennessee this past weekend, an official trip. Tennessee is where his sister, Ashley, is employed by the football team. Tennessee is the hometown school.
Yet, Ohio State and Alabama are impossible to discount even if, according to sources close to the Vols, Tennessee has moved back into the lead going into Monday night’s visits from Urban Meyer and Nick Saban. The Buckeyes sent four coaches to Jackson on Monday: Meyer, Tim Beck, Greg Studrawa and Kerry Coombs.
Ohio State was not a real threat for Smith until recently. The decommitment of Jake Moretti, combined with a home run official visit to Columbus the weekend of Nov. 26, opened the door. With a glaring need at his position, and a real national title shot every season, can the Buckeyes swoop in and break Tennessee’s heart a la Vonn Bell?
Ohio State commitments react to College Football Playoff berth
If you’ve not heard, the Buckeyes are in the 2016 College Football Playoff. Do you wonder what their commitments, the players who will enter the program next year, think about that? Well, wonder no more.
“I expected nothing less from coach Meyer and Ohio State. It’s a great program, I expect them to make it every year. It’s a great feeling as a commit because we know that our school is doing big things.”
“It’s awesome. My class has to carry on the tradition. I think we’re ready.”
“That’s big. I’m excited to see them play Clemson. I think they are going to win it all.”
“It’s exciting coming into the best program in football. I think they can win it all because I think the only team that can beat them, is them.”
“I feel blessed to be a commitment to Ohio State. The rankings just show that they’re the real deal.”
Mustapha Muhammad talks Buckeyes visit
As Ohio State was beating Michigan two weekends ago, the Buckeyes were hosting three of their top tight end targets in the 2018 class: New York’s Jeremy Ruckert, Ohio’s Trenton Gillison and Texas 4-star prospect Mustapha Muhammad. The trip to Ohio was a good one for the 6-foot-5, 235-pound tight end.
“It was great,” Muhammed said. “From the beginning to the end, honestly. We enjoyed ourselves.”
The “we” referenced by Muhammad is his mother and himself. He told Land of 10 prior to the visit that how his mom felt on the trip would go a long way toward assessing its ultimate success.
“My mother had a great time. We both really liked how they have my plan for after college already set up through internships,” he said. “It was an environment I’m getting more familiar with as I get deeper into the recruitment process.”
The off-the-field stuff is important in a college choice, but there’s still nothing like the feeling of being at a big-time college football game. The country’s fourth-ranked tight end was very impressed by Ohio State in that respect, too.
“The fans at Ohio State are awesome,” he added. “They all liked me and recruited me to their university. I was surprised by the feelings of being on the field after the game when everybody stormed the field. That was live (laughs).”