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.
Cam Akers unsure about Friday Night Lights
The top remaining uncommitted running back on Ohio State’s 2017 recruiting board, Clinton (Miss.) 5-star Cam Akers has been planning a visit to Columbus for Friday Night Lights for some time, but he told Landof10 that right now he’s not sure if he’ll make it up to Ohio.
“I’m not sure yet,” Akers said at The Opening. “It’s not for sure.”
For the Buckeyes, getting the country’s second-ranked running back on campus for the third time in a year – all on his own dime – would be a major boost to their chances of landing the southern star. He visited for Friday Night Lights last summer and was also on campus in March.
The recruitment of Akers, a former Alabama commitment, has been difficult to read for months and it’s becoming even murkier after The Opening. Committed players from Georgia feel confident he’ll end up playing his ball in Athens, Ohio State commitments and coaches feel they’re in a great position to land him, Ole Miss feels good about their chances as do Tennessee, Florida State and LSU; everyone is hearing what they need to hear in order to feel good.
Akers, who has stated previously that the only official visit he knows he’ll be taking is to Ohio State, does not have a commitment date planned and could commit at whenever he feels 100-percent sure about his decision. You get the feeling that from here until a decision is made, it’s going to be a classic case of “watch what they do, not what they say.”
If Akers does make it to Friday Night Lights – and I expect he will – it’d make it even harder for people outside of Buckeye Country to discount his legitimate interest in Ohio State and the odds of leaving Mississippi.
Baron Browning will not make July visit to Ohio State
Another 5-star prospect that had been expected to visit Ohio State for Friday Night Lights will not make the trip, according to one source close to the situation.
“Browning won’t make it,” the source said. “He had a family issue come up and there’s no money for him to make the trip.”
Even though the country’s second-ranked outside linebacker prospect won’t make the visit, things are still progressing very well between Browning and the Buckeyes.
“Ohio State is in good shape,” the source added. “I think he’s mostly considering them, UCLA and a few of the schools in Texas, but there’s always concern with Notre Dame and Michigan, too.”
The 6-foot-3, 232-pound Browning posted some ridiculous training numbers at The Opening and the Nike+ Football Ratings Championship. He ran a 4.56 in the 40-yard-dash, a blistering 4.18 in the pro-shuttle and also posted a 37.4-inch vertical leap.
Buckeyes and Jay Tufele
There’s something that just feels “weird” about Utah defensive lineman Jay Tufele and his consistent listing of Ohio State as one of his top schools. The Buckeyes certainly have the cachet to be seriously considered by any of the nation’s top players, but for a Top 50 player from thousands of miles away to keep saying “they’re at the top of the list” without ever taking a visit is unique.
That said, right now, it’s Ohio State, Michigan and Utah at the top for Tufele, who was a standout at The Opening in the Lineman Challenge before he injured an ankle that kept him out of the event’s final competition on Sunday. The 6-foot-3, 293-pound defensive tackle was a major target for a couple future Buckeyes in Oregon, including Wyatt Davis and Haskell Garrett, each of whom told Landof10 that they were working to gauge his interest in Ohio State.
For their part, the Buckeyes are taking things in stride, not worrying too much about Tufele’s schedule. They know he’s going to make an official visit to Columbus this fall and realize that relationship building happens away from campus as well as on it. With commitments from two defensive tackles already – Garrett and Cincinnati’s Jerron Cage – there’s not much reason to hurry or panic or force things anyway.
Emory Jones making another visit to see Buckeyes?
The Buckeyes are still waiting for their first 2018 commitment and after a little hiccup in the plans to have Franklin (Ga.) quarterback Emory Jones already in the commit column, it seems things are moving back towards an approaching decision. First, though, you may see Jones make a return trip to Columbus, where he’s been just one time.
“I think he’s going to come to Friday Night Lights with his mom and maybe his uncle,” one source close to Jones’ recruitment said. “I think he’s coming back around to Ohio State after the Tennessee visit that kind of threw things up in the air.”
If you’ve followed Jones over the last few months, you’d know that he was expected to commit to Tennessee in the spring, but decided against that after the Buckeyes offered, so the two sides continue to battle for the nation’s second-ranked dual-threat quarterback. Jones has previously told me that he’s very interested in committing early so that he can help build his recruiting class, stating that was very important to him.
Jones, along with New Jersey 4-star quarterback Artur Sitkowski and Oklahoma 4-star dual-threat quarterback Casey Thompson, make up the current top tier of Ohio State’s 2018 quarterback targets.