Dotting the ‘Eyes: A new era of recruiting begins, Shaun Wade’s Michigan trip appears to be off 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.
New social media policies for recruiting begin today
With Aug. 1, 2016 comes new policies that will shape how college coaches and recruits can now communicate.
As of Monday, college coaches can now tweet at, retweet, “like” and – in general – be all up in the business of recruits on social media.
The rational for the move according to the NCAA?
Under the current legislation, it is difficult to monitor all coaches and their social media activities (e.g., “likes,” “favorites,” republishing, “tags,” etc.). This proposal would create exceptions to the restrictions related to endorsement activities and publicity related to recruiting on social media platforms and attempt to maintain pace with the frequent creation and/or enhancement of social media applications.
In other words, the NCAA didn’t have a reasonable plan in place to monitor these actions previously, and so they’ve decided it’s not worth continuing to try and monitor them, and that’s fair, I think.
Urban Meyer, as of 1:15 p.m. today, had not yet retweeted or tweeted any prospects, and it’s very unlikely “his” account will be used for that kind of behavior regularly. Of course, there are other coaches and personnel at Ohio State who will be active in this pursuit, and it’s a good way to really see which players are real targets of the Buckeyes. Take, for example, Mark Pantoni’s retweets from earlier today, this one from Ohio 5-star offensive lineman Jackson Carman, a 2018 prospect from Fairfield, as an example.
— Jackson Carman (@Jackson_Carman) July 23, 2016
Pantoni has retweeted stuff from 2018 5-star defensive end Xavier Thomas, Ohio State commitments JK Dobbins and Chase Young, 2018 Ohio star Jaelen Gill, Ohio State’s latest commitment Emory Jones and a handful of others.
Welcome to the new era.
No BBQ at the Big House for Shaun Wade?
One of the most intriguing storylines in Ohio State’s 2017 recruiting class – and one that will likely stay that way until November – is the continued chase for commitment Shaun Wade. The Jacksonville (Fla.) 5-star cornerback has been the subject of a mighty game of tug-of-war between Ohio State and Alabama for months but a number of other schools, notably Michigan, Florida, and Notre Dame, are still working to get themselves into the mix.
This coming weekend, Wade was rumored to be considering a visit to Michigan for the “BBQ at the Big House” but, according to Maizenbrew.com, he will not make it.
Ohio State commit Shaun Wade, a 2017 5⭐️ CB, has told @MaizenBrew that he will not be visiting Michigan for the BBQ at The Big House.
— Evan Petzold (@EvanPetzold) August 1, 2016
Michigan has not really been considered a real threat to the Buckeyes for Wade, but he told Landof10 at The Opening in early July that they’ve been very aggressive in trying to get him to schedule a visit to Ann Arbor. It remains to be seen if that ever happens, but either way, that’s not going to happen this weekend.
Official scholarships on their way
Want another way to really start breaking down the wheat from the chafe, especially as it pertains to those players claiming an Ohio State scholarship offer in the class of 2017? The Buckeyes – and other schools – have begun sending out their written scholarship offers for that class, or, the real scholarships as it turns out.
Want to take a look at what the Buckeyes are sending their top targets and commitments? The guys who have committable offers are getting these today.
If you’re having trouble reading, here’s a little taste of what these players are hearing from Ohio State today.
“Ohio State has the best tradition in the country. Your will have the support you need to develop as a player, as a student, and as a person. Our program goals are for you to graduate with a degree, compete for championships, and be prepared to play at the next level.”
Of course, the Buckeyes are making sure their potential players are zeroing in on finishing their prep careers in a strong academic fashion as well.
“As a reminder, this scholarship offer is subject to your fulfillment of NCAA academic requirements and admittance to The Ohio State University. I encourage you to now focus on the remainder of your high school career.”
Beck, done with quarterbacks, can focus on Texas
With two committed quarterbacks in the mix for 2017 (Danny Clark, Tate Martell) and now 2018 4-star quarterback Emory Jones committed for 2018, you may think that Ohio State assistant Tim Beck will take some time off and start looking way ahead to 2019. But that’s not the case. The Buckeyes quarterbacks coach will now be able to turn the majority of his recruiting focus to Texas, where he’s been instrumental in Ohio State’s efforts thus far. Beck has played a major role in the effort to recruit linebackers Baron Browning and Anthony Hines III, and has helped bridge some relationship gaps in the recruitment of 5-star defensive back Jeffrey Okudah as well.
The Buckeyes have been the presumptive leader for Browning, are right at the top with Hines and are the public leader for Okudah, though each recruit sits at a distinctly different point in their recruitment. Okudah, now designated as the country’s top-ranked cornerback (rather than safety where he’d been ranked for the majority of the last two years), appears to be down to two schools – Ohio State and Oklahoma – though he says that he’d really like to make a trip to Clemson before he can make an informed decision. It’s clear from recent tweets that the stresses of recruiting are beginning to weigh heavy on his mind.
I PRAY that I make the right choice of where to attend college…
— Jeffrey Okudah III (@TheJeffOkudah) July 29, 2016
This past weekend, Okudah was scheduled to visit Oklahoma but did not make the trip to Norman, which is a good thing for the Buckeyes. There is only one real advantage that the Sooners have over the Buckeyes, and that’s proximity, so any time he is scheduled and expected at Oklahoma and doesn’t make it, it’s a missed chance at relationship building that works in Ohio State’s favor.
As for the linebackers, neither of them are particularly close to a decision although Browning’s list seems to be a more pared down. Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Texas and UCLA are the biggest schools to watch for the 6-foot-3, 230 pound 5-star out of Kennedale. Browning has played his recruitment very close to the vest and will be an impact player anywhere he ends up.
With Hines, Ohio State has a good feeling, but there is a lot of time to go and Texas and Oklahoma are in very hot pursuit, so the increased energy and effort that Beck and the Buckeyes can put in now is necessary as he begins to look at scheduling official visits.
What not to do in recruiting
If you missed it on Sunday, Plaquemine (La.) 4-star safety Todd Harris – with the help of his Green Devils coach Paul Distefano – decided to announce his commitment.
The 6-foot-tall, 180-pound safety took to Twitter and he’d be making a commitment at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. Distefano assisted, retweeting and reaching out to local media-types and recruiting writers to bring their attention to it, inviting them to join. Alabama, LSU and Ole Miss all had their hats on the table for what should have been a young man’s big moment.
— paul b distefano (@paulbdistefano) July 31, 2016
Well, that’s not what happened. The “commitment” was a ruse set up by Distefano where Harris, his star-player and by all accounts a great young person, would declare he was committed to the Green Devils as their fall camp opened this morning.
— paul b distefano (@paulbdistefano) July 31, 2016
Not really. At least not when you consider the entirety of the situation, which immediately garnered a lot of national attention as a recruiting “prank” where Harris, the country’s 75th-ranked player, was the primary party responsible. As media clamored for some accountability, Distefano told Robin Fambrough of TheAdvocate.com that it was his idea and he saw nothing wrong with it.
“It was my idea,” Distefano said. “Todd is very committed to Plaquemine High and always has been. Today was just a way to show that as we get focused on our season.”
For his part Harris agreed, seeing no issue with the prank, but he’s a teenager following his coaches bad advice.
“I didn’t have a problem with it,” Harris said. “I wanted to put the team in the spotlight; that’s how I saw it. My focus is on Plaquemine High and this season.”
So what’s the problem? Am I just being an old fart telling kids to get off my lawn or does this decision by Distefano show a blatant lack of respect for people’s time, jobs and more? He orchestrated, on a Sunday afternoon whim, a plan that made people take time away from their families, etc. Is that something that should be just shrugged off? Distefano’s choice also puts his player in a negative light, as pointed out by Nola.com’s James Smith.
“The fact that Harris wasn’t making a commitment to a college, as many were led to believe by his coach. Rather, he was committing to his high school, which shows a level of disregard for people and their time that is not becoming of a head coach
But this isn’t about the writers, this is about the kid, Todd Harris. The Army All-American is a tremendous football player, but an even better person. Due to the decision made by his head coach, many will not see him in that light.”
In a world full of copycats and attention-seekers, do you think we’ll see more of this in the future? How should it be viewed?