Dotting the ‘Eyes: 5-star Richard Gouriage and Xavier Williams talk Ohio State, Houston Griffith adapting to IMG and more
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.
Gouriage talks Buckeyes offer, relationships with Ohio State
I’m in Tampa and got a chance to talk with one of the most recent Ohio State offers, one that went out recently to 5-star offensive lineman Richard Gouriage, a 2018 standout at Tampa’s Cambridge Christian School. The 6-foot-5, 270-pound Gouriage was offered by the Buckeyes running back coach, Tony Alford, on July 20. Alford is Ohio State’s primary recruiter in the Tampa area. While the offer is recent, the relationship between 2018’s 25th-ranked prospect and Alford is not.
“(Tony) Alford and I have had a good relationship since I was in the ninth grade,” Gouriage told Landof10. “I call him and we talk every week or two. He just tells me that I would fit perfectly in their system.”
“The Buckeyes are recruiting me as an offensive lineman, but I can play anywhere a school needs me. Ohio State though, they have great offensive tackles coming to their school and going to the NFL.”
Since his offer, Gouriage has also had a few chances to talk with Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer.
“When they offered I had a quick conversation with (Urban) Meyer,” he said. “It was great, he seemed real cool. He told me to just stay humble and keep grinding. I’m still trying to figure things out but hopefully – possibly – I can go to the game against Michigan in November.
A MaxPreps.com sophomore All-American, Gouriage plays both ways at CCS, but he think his future is on the offensive line. He sees the success Ed Warinner – and now Greg Studrawa – are breeding at the position in Columbus and the Buckeyes recent draft success is appealing to any recruit. However, the Tampa product, who plans to wait until his senior year to make a college decision, is trying to take a pragmatic approach to his recruitment.
“I know coaching and support matter,” he said. “But it really doesn’t what school you go to. I just wanna go to a school that has great academics and where I feel at home. Anybody can get seen, you’ve just got to put in the work and it will pay off. Ohio State has my attention, but I want to wait to see the campus and meet all the coaches. I want to hear what all the schools recruiting me have to say.”
Jaylen Harris talks Buckeyes and his Top 5 schools
One of Ohio’s best 2017 prospects, Cleveland Heights 4-star wide receiver Jaylen Harris has a new and, likely, final five schools. To no one’s surprise, Ohio State has made the cut for the 6-foot-5, 210-pound Harris.
Truly Blessed, final 5? pic.twitter.com/DF4WjumByt
— Jaylen Harris (@JHarris5_) August 4, 2016
The list, as you can see, also includes Penn State, Tennessee, Michigan State and Alabama, and those four – along with the Buckeyes – are in line for official visits this fall.
His most recent visit to Columbus – for Friday Night Lights – was his first in a few months and unfortunately, due to a concussion suffered during the camp, ended prematurely. He was tearing up the event prior to the injury.
“Jaylen Harris really looked great,” one source said of Cleveland star after the camp. “He was better than he’s looked before. Really ran well, looked a bit more fluid and athletic. It’s unfortunate he got dinged up.”
As for Harris, he himself says he’s feeling fine and ready to get back to work. The night with Ohio State was a good one and the Buckeyes reiterated to him what they think of him.
“Everything has been going smooth with the Buckeyes,” Harris said. “We’ve been in touch like always, and they’re just telling me to keep grinding. I know how they feel about me.”
While Harris may know how the Buckeyes feel about his talents, the big question around him continues to be whether or not they will have a spot for him in their top-ranked recruiting class, especially if 5-star wide receivers Trevon Grimes and Tyjon Lindsey commit to Ohio State in mid-August as they’re expected to.
Could Ohio’s fifth-ranked player find himself on the outside looking in?
New offer to 2018 5-star out of Florida
On Wednesday night, the Buckeyes stayed active in Florida and offered another 2018 5-star prospect, Chaminade-Madonna Prep (Hollywood) athlete/wide receiver Xavier Williams.
— Xavier Williams (@zayborghini_6) August 3, 2016
Williams, the country’s 28th-ranked player, was offered by the Buckeyes wide receiver coach Zach Smith. The two had their first conversation on Wednesday and it went well according to the 6-foot-tall, 180-pound Williams.
“That was my first time talking to him,” Williams said. “Zach Smith seems real cool. I can’t wait to build a relationship with him.”
It’s the relationships that are already existing at Ohio State – between the coaches and players in Columbus – that have really caught Williams’ attention. One of his good friends, Buckeyes freshman wide receiver Binjimen Victor, has been telling him good things about what happens at Ohio State.
“It does help,” Williams said when asked if the collection of South Florida wide receivers on the Buckeyes roster has caught his eye. “One of my boys, big Ben Victor, is up there. He tells me nothing but good things about Ohio State. He tells me that the coaches treat the players great up there. He loves the offense and says I just need to watch this year.”
The Buckeyes have been watching the electric Williams, and that is why extended the offer in his direction. Now he says it’s up to him to learn as much about Ohio State as they have learned about him.
“Zach Smith said they’ve been watching me for a while,” he said. “My game speaks for itself. I’m an all-around wide receiver. I can play anywhere at the position and still be a nightmare for defenses. That’s why they offered I think. I don’t know much about Ohio State yet. I just know they’re always a top team at the end of every year.”
Houston Griffith adjusting to IMG and Buckeyes roomates
The country’s seventh-ranked 2018 cornerback – Chicago’s Houston Griffith – is a recent transfer to the IMG Academy and he’s getting himself warmed up to his new surroundings.
“I miss a bit,” Griffith told Landof10. “But, I’m adjusting well because the coaches and the team are all welcoming down here. So far it’s been good. I’m really enjoying myself down here.”
The move to IMG stopped Griffith from making it to Ohio State for Friday Night Lights, but he says that things have not slowed down on the recruiting trail.
“Recruiting is the same like it was before,” the 6-foot-tall, 180-pound Griffith said. “There haven’t been any new schools popping up yet. I talk to (Kerry) Coombs every week like I have since before.”
What is not like it was before though is the Griffith’s living arrangement. When he was offered by Ohio State in early June, he lived at home in Chicago. Now though? He lives with two future Buckeyes.
“Marcus Williamson and Isaiah Pryor are actually my roommates,” he said laughing. “They’re always talking to me about Ohio State.”
Is Anthony McFarland a key to Chase Young?
When he committed to Ohio State after Friday Night Lights, 5-star defensive end Chase Young was asked what player he was going to make his recruiting priority now that he’s a Buckeye.
“Anthony McFarland,” Young replied without hesitation. “That’s who I want.”
You may not know much about McFarland, but maybe you should. He’s the country’s 59th-ranked 2017 prospect and third-ranked “all-purpose” tailback and he hails from Hyattsville, Maryland’s DeMatha Catholic High School where he’s a teammate of Young’s.
This past weekend, McFarland – who included the Buckeyes in a recent Top 10 list – visited Maryland for the Terrapins biggest recruiting event of the summer and made an interesting comment to Maryland’s 247Sports.com analyst Ahmed Ghafir, stating – essentially – that had he (McFarland) been committed to Maryland, that Young would have potentially held off from his Buckeyes pledge. It’s not a surprise that Maryland would use McFarland as a recruiting tool to try and keep Young interested, or that they’d continue to aggressively recruit their home state’s best player, but – at least publicly – Young isn’t showing any signs of second thoughts.
I'm going to Ohio State because academically what I want to do there one of the best at and I WANT TO GO TO THE NFL.
— Chase Young (@youngchase907) July 29, 2016
McFarland’s plan has long been to commit after his senior season but there’s now a chance that he may issue a commitment before his season and then take five official visits to schools he’s interested in. Why would he do that? The better question may be why not?
If he were to commit to Maryland at the start of the season he loses nothing, of course. The Terrapins will take him now or later, but by committing to DJ Durkin’s program he can do what Joshua Kaindoh – the 5-star defensive end at IMG – did in the spring: boost the Terps recruiting profile and then sit back and watch what happens. If the program is bigger and better on the field, they ride “The Movement” to some big recruiting wins and hope to sway players like Young. If they don’t, guys like McFarland can still check out Alabama, Miami and other schools that he’s been interested in all along.