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Jaylen Harris, Tyreke Smith will visit Ohio State this weekend
Two of Northeast Ohio’s top prospects – one from the 2017 class and one from the 2018 group – will visit the Buckeyes for their home game against Indiana on Saturday.
I'll be at Ohio state his weekend??
— Ty. (@T_23_baller) October 5, 2016
In the 2018 class, it’s Cleveland Heights tight end/defensive end Tyreke Smith, the sixth-ranked defensive end in his class. As soon as Smith announced his intention, his teammate, 2017 4-star wide receiver Jaylen Harris, said he too would be making his way to Columbus this weekend.
I will also be in attendance!! https://t.co/8JTMsdgMoT
— Jaylen Harris (@JHarris5_) October 5, 2016
Smith visited Clemson last weekend, and while the Buckeyes have not yet offered, he’s one of Ohio’s most intriguing prospects and certainly a player they’re watching closely. He missed a pair of games for Heights this past September with a leg injury and has not played organized football since the seventh grade.
This weekend could be a key visit for Harris, the 27th-ranked wideout in the country. He’s not been to campus at Ohio State since Friday Night Lights, where he put on an excellent performance but suffered a concussion early in the night that hampered his ability to showcase exactly what he can do. Less than a month later, two 5-star wide receivers – Trevon Grimes and Tyjon Lindsey – committed to the Buckeyes, and Harris’ place, or if there’s room for him in Ohio State’s class, has gotten a little unclear.
More on Harris from Cleveland.com
So where does Harris stand with the Buckeyes? If he’s got any concern about his role in Columbus or his spot in the Ohio State recruiting class, he’s not showing any signs of concern.
“The coaches told me they’d make it work,” Harris said. “They are showing me mad love right now.”
Interesting certainly, but the Buckeyes have never failed to show Harris the love. He’s said for almost a year that he’s spoken daily to Tony Alford, who recruits the Cleveland area for Ohio State. That hasn’t changed even since the pair of 5-star receivers verballed to the Buckeyes.
“I don’t really care that they committed. I am going to compete wherever I go. So them committing, that doesn’t change anything. I know the coaches want me. Coach Meyer, I talk to him every other day. I talk to someone from Ohio State every single day.”
Harris wore a microphone during a recent game and gave the folks at Cleveland.com a unique look at the mindset that has made him one of the country’s most sought-after recruits.
The 6-foot-5, 210-pound Harris is down to five schools – Ohio State, Michigan State, Penn State, Tennessee and Alabama – and a college decision is expected after his senior season. Could a surprise decision come this weekend during his visit to Columbus? Let’s not rule it out.
The next big-time prospect from Detroit Cass Tech?
Ohio State has been a regular at Detroit’s Cass Tech High School ever since it signed defensive back Damon Webb in its 2014 recruiting class, and the Buckeyes are one of the teams that 2019 prospect Jaren Mangham camped with over the summer. Now with offers from Missouri, Cincinnati, Kentucky and Central Michigan, the running back/linebacker is starting to see interest from all over the country.
“My recruiting is starting to take off. I’m starting to make a name for myself,” Mangham told Landof10.com. “It really started to take off after I got my Cincinnati offer, then I hit a lot of camps and I got my Central Michigan offer, then I went to more camps and they loved how I looked and moved, then I got my two SEC offers.”
The Buckeyes have not offered, but like every Detroit prospect, Mangham is becoming familiar with assistant coach Kerry Coombs.
“I camped at Ohio State, they said I did great and wanted me to come back soon. I went to their game against Bowling Green,” Mangham said. “I’m also going to their game versus Michigan. They’re waiting to see film from this year (before they talk about an offer).”
A 6-foot-1, 212-pound two-position star, Mangham is the country’s ninth-ranked athlete in 2019. He transferred to Cass Tech from Sylvania (Ohio) Southview after his freshman season, but he’s originally from Texas. His family is in Michigan, though, and like most Detroit-area prospects, he grew up rooting for the Wolverines. But at this point he is focused on how colleges may set him up for the future rather than which team he liked to watch when he was younger.
“All of my family is in Michigan, and I was born in Michigan, so yeah, I am a fan,” he said. “I’ve liked all those teams since I was little. When I was little, you know, you just had one team you followed, but now with the recruiting process, you open your eyes up to all the teams to find the one that you think can make a difference.”
Browning, Hines set their next official visits
Ohio State’s search for a second linebacker in its 2017 recruiting class has, for some time, focused on the Texas duo of Baron Browning and Anthony Hines III, from Kennedale and Plano, respectively. That pair, each of whom visited over the summer, have tentatively scheduled their official visits to Ohio State – Browning on Nov. 26 and Hines on Oct. 29 – and have a shared decision date on Nov. 29.
Before then, though, each will head elsewhere and make official visits to the schools that pose a major threat to the Buckeyes and their hopes at linebacker.
Earlier this week, Browning, a 5-star prospect, announced his next visit would be to Alabama on Oct. 21. The Crimson Tide have four linebackers committed and have never been considered a real player in this recruitment. But as the recent pledge of Dylan Moses shows, anytime a player visits Tuscaloosa, he is fair game for Nick Saban’s program. Browning visited Michigan last weekend for its game against Wisconsin.
Hines will reportedly head to Ohio State at the end of the month – though there are some (including myself) who won’t be surprised if that visit doesn’t happen – but this coming weekend he’ll head to Florida and check out the Gators. The trip to Gainesville will be Hines’ third official visit; he’s already been to Texas A&M and Penn State.