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.
J.K. Dobbins not joking around, ready for senior season
While there are questions being bandied about regarding the strength of J.K. Dobbins’ Ohio State commitment, there’s been no change in communication with the Buckeyes or his focus.
“We talk every day,” Dobbins said of Urban Meyer and Tony Alford. “I’m ready for the season to start.”
The country’s top-ranked all-purpose running back has big plans for his senior year at La Grange (Texas) High School. The plan, though, is the same as always. Get Dobbins – who has run for over 5000 yards and 72 touchdowns in the last two seasons – the darn football.
“We won’t do much different,” Dobbins told Landof10. “I hope to get the ball like 25 times a game. I’m going to just go out and beat the dude in front of me.”
The 5-foot-10, 199-pound Dobbins will enroll at Ohio State in January. He has not scheduled his official visit to Columbus yet, nor has he scheduled any other visits, though, that is entirely possible as he’s talked about before.
“I’ll be making an official visit,” he said. “I just don’t know when, I haven’t been looking. I will though.”
Right now the focus is on classes beginning next week and knocking out his final three months of high school. It won’t be easy to leave home, Dobbins says, but he’s also very excited to get the next part of his life and football career underway.
“Theres a little bit of all of it,” Dobbins added. “There’s some bittersweet feelings leaving my hometown and my state. But man, I’m ready to compete and chase this dream I have.”
Is Grimes the best ever at St. Thomas Aquinas?
St. Thomas Aquinas High School has a pretty storied football tradition. The Raiders have more alumni on current NFL rosters than any high school in the country and have put hundreds of players into Division 1 college football programs since 2000 alone.
So, at Aquinas, when you start to hear things like “the best ever” it’s worth paying attention to. That is how some close to the Raiders program are talking about Trevon Grimes, a 5-star 2017 wide receiver prospect that is now just nine days away making his college decision. An Indiana native, Grimes moved to Fort Lauderdale six years ago to try and take full advantage of his physical talents.
From the Miami Herald’s Manny Navarro:
“He played baseball and AAU basketball and was great at that,” Grimes’ mother, Leah, said. At St. Thomas Aquinas, he ran track as a freshman and as a sophomore and won the state championship in the hurdles both years. But really, since the first time he picked up a football, we knew he was special.”
It doesn’t take much time watching Grimes to see how special he is. He’s got the ideal frame for college football at almost 6-foot-4 and 200-pounds. He’s got the speed to separate from cornerbacks and safeties and linebackers (sub 4.5 in the 40-yard-dash) and he can jump out of the gym. It’s always been, you hate to say it but it’s true, but it’s always been easy for Grimes. Easy or not, his head coach at Aquinas says the country’s 15th-ranked prospect isn’t resting on his laurels.
“The most impressive thing about Trevon is his work ethic, his desire to be great,” Harriott told the Herald. “It’s infectious around the entire team. At the same time, he does a great job of holding himself accountable and supporting his teammates’ ambitions.”
At The Opening in July, Grimes was not his best. His team, Alpha Pro, struggled and he was irritable and frustrated and lost his cool for a moment, nearly getting into a physical confrontation with some opposing defensive backs after being egged on and provoked by fans and players alike. Ironically, it’s learning how to struggle and how to compete when things aren’t easy that may be his biggest challenge. One source close to Grimes’ recruitment said he was actually happy to see the fight in Grimes, even though he’d prefer it be handled a little differently in the future.
“I saw him get aggressive and I liked that,” the source said. “Sometimes for a guy like that it’s almost hard to motivate them because everything is always good. I’m glad he has that passion in him, that frustration when things get rough. I’d like him to let it out on the next play rather than between plays, but that’s just about learning how to handle adversity. Trevon’s not had much of that on the field, so he’s learning.”
Grimes will announce his college decision next Wednesday, August 24. The Buckeyes are expected to be his choice.
Late Saturday night, Nebraska wide receivers coach Keith Williams was cited with driving under the influence. If you recall, in April, Williams popped on to the Buckeyes radar when he went out of his way to try and make a Twitter discussion that Ohio State wide receivers coach was having – about the University of Florida – about him, drawing a back-and-forth with Zach Smith.
The arrest – he was still being held as of 2:00 p.m. Monday – was the third such incident for Williams, who came to Nebraska after coaching stops at St. Jose State, Tulane, and Fresno State. However you want to slice it, there’s an issue with Williams and drinking, or at the very least an issue with Williams’ inability to not get behind the wheel while driving despite two previous DUIs.
This particular citation comes during a big weekend for the Huskers. Not only are they firmly entrenched in the daily grind of fall camp in Lincoln, but Williams was hosting one of the country’s top receivers – 5-star Los Angeles prospect Joseph Lewis – as well. Finding this kind of trouble while you’ve got one of your top targets on campus isn’t ideal of course, but the feedback from recruits who have gotten to know Williams seems to indicate that they’re not concerned about the character of the man who recruits them, and in some cases would coach them, for Nebraska.
Keyshawn Johnson, Jr., committed to the Huskers since March took to Twitter.
We're FAMILY. If I dropped one ball would he stop recruiting me? People make mistakes.
— Keyshawn Jr. (@keyshawnnnn) August 15, 2016
So did 2018 defensive back target, Brendan Radley-Hiles, who has a Nebraska offer and started a Twitter hashtag to #FreeDub.
No sir. I personally started the movement myself. My reasoning is because I know the true character of that man. ? https://t.co/FsWnMJuZiL
— KING. (@Bookie_44) August 15, 2016
Another wide receiver, 5-star 2017 prospect Tyjon Lindsey, who will commit to either Nebraska or Ohio State on Aug. 22, also voiced his support for Williams.
#FreeDUB it's more than football…
— Tyjon A. Lindsey ® (@tyjonlindsey) August 14, 2016
That support for Williams is great, truly. The man – who I have never met and for whom I’m trying to measure my words carefully – is well-respected and liked among recruits and certainly needs love and understanding from people in his life more now than ever. However, the support for Williams is misguided as well, because if we’re being brutally honest with ourselves here, Lindsey is correct: it is about more than football.
Because it’s about more than football, college coaches – who shouldn’t be confused with parents, or guidance counselors, or even role-models – do have an obligation to teach the young men they coach lessons about life that go beyond the turf. There are consequences for actions in life, there are consequences for irresponsible behavior and just because someone may be a “good dude” doesn’t mean they’re incapable of being unfit to lead. I don’t care if through some administrative miracle his charges were dropped from a felony level to a misdemeanor level. Right now, Williams is unfit to lead.
Nebraska is in a very interesting position because their administration has to recognize, and admit, that. One incident is a mistake, two incidents? Maybe. Three times for the same inexcusable offense, especially for a grown man making almost half a million dollars a year? That’s something else all together.
I hope that Keith Williams gets the help he needs so that he’s capable of providing a better example for young men in the future. Williams can be an example of redemption, of picking yourself up when you’re down, but of equal importance is making sure that those young men learn a different lesson: you are accountable for your actions and being involved in a big-time football program isn’t a free pass for being reckless and irresponsible.
Sorry about the soapbox moment, but there comes a point when the obligation to help mold young people – and not just create football players – becomes the most important issue.
Will Ohio State’s ‘baller class’ knock off Bama’s ‘savages?’
Ohio State’s top-ranked 2017 recruiting class has earned rave reviews from coast-to-coast (except from players committed to Alabama, it seems) and has put Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes into a position to knock Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide off their perch as the national recruiting champion.
A few weeks ago, Bleacher Report posited that very question: can the Buckeyes win this year’s recruiting race?
Ohio State's baller 2017 class could end Alabama's recruiting reign ⭕?https://t.co/dotZFjL1Z3
— B/R The Future (@BR_TheFuture) July 29, 2016
We’ll see how things shake out, but this battle will go all the way to signing day.