Dotting the ‘Eyes: Emory Jones gets a big ratings bump, Jaelen Gill wants to play baseball 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.
More accolades for Emory Jones, now a Rivals.com 5-star
It’s been a pretty good summer for Emory Jones, the Buckeyes 2018 quarterback commitment from Franklin, Georgia. Jones verballed to Ohio State following a three-day visit to Columbus at the end of July.
On Friday night, Jones unofficially opened his junior season with a big night in his first scrimmage of 2016. You can watch those highlights below.
On Monday afternoon, the oldest scouting network/rankings service, Rivals.com, updated their 2018 Top 100 list and Jones – 6-foot-2 and 195-pounds – received a big ratings bump.
— Jeremy Birmingham (@Birm) August 8, 2016
With the change, Jones is now ranked as the country’s third-best overall quarterback for 2018, behind pocket-passers Trevor Lawrence (Clemson/Georgia finalists), who is the top-ranked player on Rivals’ list, and USC commitment Matt Corral, who checks in at No. 4 overall. Why the bump? According to Rivals.com analyst Woody Womack, it was a pretty easy decision.
“Jones has one of the best sophomore highlight films in his class and he backed it up with one impressive showing after another during the camp season. He’s an electric athlete who can make plays, but he’s even more impressive as a passer, where his accuracy and deep ball ability are already very developed. Jones also still has room to grow, making him a clear candidate for five-star status.”
For Jones, it’s an honor but also just a reminder of what’s expected as he steps on the field this year.
“It obviously feels good to have people thinking that highly of me,” Jones said of the new Rivals ranking. “I know I have to keep working hard everyday like I’m doing to earn it.”
Jaelen Gill’s career and wanting to play two sports
Last week it was Westerville (Ohio) South 2018 running back Jaelen Gill who got a bump in the national rankings when he was moved up to 5-star status on the 247Sports.com composite list. The 6-foot-1, 182-pound Gill talked to Landof10.com about that, his most recent visit to Ohio State for Friday Night Lights, and about his future on the baseball diamond.
“There’s no more pressure on me,” Gill said of the 5-star status. “My goal is the same: to take my team to the playoffs and to show that I’m capable of leading my team. It doesn’t matter how we do it, but the goal is to blow every team out of the water. It doesn’t matter what I do individually.”
Gill – individually – does matter to the Ohio State coaching staff. He said Urban Meyer, Tony Alford and others have continued to drive that point home to him rather than taking for granted that the Ohio native will end up playing college football in Columbus.
“The last time I visited they sat me down and made sure I knew how important I was,” Gill said. “They said that I am easily the number one recruit in my class. Coach Alford and others were saying they think I’m one of the best athletes – naturally – that they’d have had in over 20 years.”
For a player to hear that and then to remain as humble as Gill is? That’s a testament to his parents, Rod and Shelly.
“I grew up with my parents drilling it in my head to always stay humble,” he said. “I’ve never been one to talk about myself, unless of course a question is asked or something. Plus, I don’t like seeing the good players always boast about themselves (laughs). It’s annoying.”
One thing that Gill likes to talk about? Baseball. He loves the game and hopes to play it in college if he’s not playing it professionally somewhere in place of going to college.
“I want to play baseball in college,” Gill said. “But no schools have offered yet. They tell me if I play football there that I have a spot on their baseball team as well.”
Ohio State remains the favorite to land Gill but Tennessee and UCLA are two schools that are heavily on his mind at this point as well. He has no plans for a decision anytime soon.
The rest of the new 2018 Rivals 100 and Buckeyes targets
As mentioned above, Rivals Top 100 for the 2018 recruiting class was released today and a lot of Ohio State targets find themselves on the list.
Who are the biggest names to watch for?
We’ll start with another one of Rivals’ newest 5-stars and the country’s top-ranked defensive player.
- No. 3 • Defensive end • Xavier Thomas • Wilson (Florence, S.C.)
- No. 5 • Running back • Zamir White • Scotland County (Laurinburg, N.C.)
- No. 10 • Cornerback • Patrick Surtain, Jr. • American Heritage (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
- No. 16 • Defensive back • B.J. Foster • Angleton (TX)
- No. 22 • Defensive tackle • Trevor Trout • Chaminade (St. Louis, MO)
- No. 23 • Offensive line • Jamaree Salyer • Pace Academy (Atlanta, GA)
- No. 26 • Defensive line • Tyler Friday • Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, NJ)
- No. 28 • Running back • Jaelen Gill • South (Westerville, OH)
- No. 29 • Cornerback • Derrik Allen • Lassiter (Marietta, GA)
- No. 33 • Wide receiver • L’Christian “Blue” Smith • Wayne (Huber Heights, OH)
- No. 34 • Defensive back • Houston Griffith • IMG Academy (Chicago, IL)
- No. 36 • Wide receiver • Brian Hightower • IMG Academy (Los Angeles, CA)
- No. 38 • Defensive back • Jaiden Woodbey • St. John’s Bosco (Bellflower, CA)
- No. 43 • Defensive tackle • Rick Sandidge • Concord (N.C.)
- No. 49 • Linebacker • Palaie Gaoteote • Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV)
- No. 59 • Defensive tackle • Taron Vincent • IMG Academy (Baltimore, MD)
- No. 62 • Offensive lineman • Richard Gouraige • Cambridge Christian (Tampa, FL)
- No. 64 • Offensive lineman • Jackson Carman • Fairfield (OH)
- No. 74 • Defensive end • Max Wright • James. E. Taylor (Katy, TX)
- No. 77 • Wide receiver • Jahan Dotson • The Peddie School (Hightstown, N.J.)
- No. 83 • Cornerback • Kalon Gervin • Cass Tech (Detroit, MI)
- No. 87 • Wide receiver • Xavier Williams • Chaminade Madonna (Hollywood, FL)
- No. 89 • Defensive back • Brendan Radley-Hiles • Calabasas (CA)
- No. 96 • Tight end • Trenton Gillison • Central (Pickerington, OH)
Ohio State the top-ranked 2017 recruiting class in the country and has two commitments for 2018 – Emory Jones and Seffner (FL) running back Brian Snead – and if the list above is any indicator they’re well on their way to another big effort next season.
Bleacher Report and a conflict of interest?
In the last two years-plus, the folks at Bleacher Report have gone to great lengths to transform their brand – and reputations – away from the “slideshow kings” that they were when they first started making some headway in media circles. For the most part, the company has done that, establishing themselves as a major brand across multiple sports and markets. They’ve become a partner with the NCAA basketball tournament, they’ve become the go-to place for recruits to have commitment videos produced (which, if we’re being honest, feels dirty and in my opinion should be a practice that goes away) and now they’ve made big waves by becoming an official video partner with the University of Notre Dame.
Being that B/R works with recruits, it seems some people have brought up some questions about the ethics of being involved with just one school, especially as the relationships that Bleacher Report has with recruits usually involves paying for a player’s commitment video to be created in exchange for exclusive rights to the story (which, again, is not cool anyway).
Anytime you have an organization dealing directly with recruits and striking up exclusive partnerships with them for the rights to their announcements, there is a very clear conflict of interest with that same organization entering into a business venture that pushes media content exclusively for that school. But let’s place this into another real world example.If the University of Southern California were to enter into an exclusive media partnership with Roarke Publications — home of USCFootball.com and The Peristyle Podcast — many in the business would appropriately scream foul play. Given the level of relationship Ryan Abraham has with the recruits, pushing the school’s media content could and likely would be seen as a potential violation. The idea is to keep the influence out of recruiting, not build exclusive partnerships with it.
Do you think that this kind of agreement is something that should be happening in college sports? Notre Dame, which also have an exclusive contract with NBC, seems to be looking for any edge in helping promote their program, but is there a point at which the ethical lines are getting too blurry?