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.
With Werner committed, Ohio State wraps up linebackers
As expected, Ohio State landed its 17th commitment of the 2017 cycle on Sunday as Indianapolis 4-star LB Pete Werner ended his recruitment (again) and chose the Buckeyes.
With Werner now officially in the mix as the Buckeyes third linebacker commit, you can expect Ohio State to be finished recruiting that position in 2017. Werner is a good choice to get the first crack at the inside linebacker — or Mike — position with fellow commits Baron Browning and Brendon White on the outside at the Will and Sam positions.
The addition of Werner was not a surprise, of course. We’ve mentioned here a few times in the last two weeks (since his unofficial visit for the Buckeyes’ home game against Michigan) that he was likely to end his recruitment in short order.
Werner was committed to Notre Dame for nearly six months but the unrest in South Bend, combined with a renewed interest by Luke Fickell and Ohio State, reinvigorated his interest in the Buckeyes. Though Fickell has moved on and taken the head coaching position at Cincinnati, the 4-star linebacker committed Sunday, anyway.
Land of 10 will have more on Werner’s commitment on Monday.
Shaun Wade to make final call on Monday?
After almost two years of being committed to Ohio State, 5-star CB Shaun Wade may give a final answer to his college plans on Monday.
“I hope (it’s Monday),” Wade’s father, Randy, told Land of 10. “Mom wants him to do it at school. We’re waiting to hear back from the coaches.”
Wade was scheduled to have his final in-person meeting with Ohio State on Sunday. Kerry Coombs, who would be Wade’s position coach if he sticks with the Buckeyes, visited the 6-foot-2, 175-pound cornerback in Orlando. The Jacksonville prep star, who helped Trinity Christian Academy win its fourth straight state title on Saturday, was still in Orlando following that game. Following the championship win, Wade spoke about his recruitment a little bit — and proceeded to announce a plan to win national championships at Ohio State — but his mother Gwen was seen wearing all Alabama gear.
So, as we enter the final day of the Shaun Wade commitment saga, where do we stand?
Ohio State feels they will keep Wade. The relationships that Coombs, Urban Meyer, Tim Beck and others have with the prospect and his family are genuine. I’ve gone back and forth on Wade’s recruitment through the years and the one thing that I keep coming back to is this: he never had to commit to Ohio State two years ago, but he did. He never had to stay committed while he visited other schools repeatedly during the last year, but he did. Ohio State didn’t have to allow it, but they did.
As for ‘Bama? Sources close to the Crimson Tide have — for months — been clear: they felt they were going to flip Wade. Suddenly, that has changed. What changed? That’s not really as cut-and-dried.
“They lost some steam over the past month,” one source shared. “I don’t know why, though. (Alabama coaches) were supposed to see him in the state championship game and didn’t. They were supposed to go in home the day Ohio State did — they postponed. Sunday? They’re not seeing him, either. (They) believe he’s sticking with Ohio State.”
So, final answer, after much back-and-forth: Wade sticks with Ohio State and I’ll go down with that ship.
A crystal ball choice on Darnay Holmes
Since we’re talking crazy talk tonight, let’s dive right into it: I made a 247Sports crystal ball prediction for 5-star CB Darnay Holmes on Sunday. As of now, all signs, from multiple angles, support the idea that he’s now seriously leaning toward the Buckeyes.
“I feel good,” one source shared about Ohio State’s chances with Holmes. “It’s not over yet. I would put my money on the Buckeyes, but it’s far from over.”
Far from over isn’t entirely encouraging, especially as UCLA still looms large in this recruitment. However, with the recruiting dead period starting Monday, there will no more campus visits anywhere for Holmes before he enrolls in January. That is encouraging. His official visit to Ohio State in late November, coupled with him not visiting Michigan, was a really good sign for the Buckeyes. He’s close with Greg Schiano, and the return of Schiano and Coombs to the Ohio State staff is a huge help, as well.
Also on Sunday, 4-star quarterback commitment Tate Martell tweeted that Ohio State was on the verge of landing three to four more 5-stars in its 2017 class and Holmes is certainly likely to be one of the players on that list.
— Tate Martell (@TheTateMartell) December 11, 2016
Craziest recruiting rumor of the season?
Again, since we’re talking crazy tonight, I’m going to just throw this one little conversation out there for all to see and digest. It’s about a 5-star wide receiver.
“It’s a 50/50 race right now,” a source, speaking of this 5-star wide receiver, said, “between Ohio State and Florida State.”
So, who is the player in question?
So, no Michigan? The school that he’s been linked to for years and the school that he was visiting officially this weekend? That is the rumor, according to this one, usually pretty reliable, source. Curious (naturally), I checked in with another.
“I’ve heard that, too,” the second source said. “But it’s hard to fathom.”
It is hard to fathom. To be clear: I am not personally subscribing to this rumor as fact. Still, it’s interesting nonetheless when confirmed/corroborated by two different, reliable sources. With the recruiting dead period beginning Sunday night at midnight, Ohio State would have only one last chance to meet with Peoples-Jones in person. Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, there’s a pretty good-sized winter storm in the Midwest going on. Because of that, assistant coaches Zach Smith and Coombs — who are supposed to meet with the receiver Sunday night — can’t fly into Detroit.
If they do see him before the dead period, it’s only at their own significant peril and after driving in Level 3 Snow Emergency conditions from a nearby city, such as Toledo. Risking life and limb to visit him on a Sunday night following an official visit to their biggest rival? Maybe they feel like they’ve got a real shot.
Forced to make a wager, I’d still take Michigan in the race for DPJ. But Ohio State isn’t giving up. He’s an early enrollee so seeing him one last time could be very important.