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Breaking down the Peoples-Jones visit
OK, let’s cut right to the chase: completing 9 passes during a football game, when you’ve got the nation’s top-ranked wide receiver, who is almost assuredly leaning toward signing with your biggest rival, isn’t ideal.
Still, that’s what happened on Saturday at Ohio Stadium as the Buckeyes struggled mightily to establish any sort of passing game against Indiana while Detroit Cass Tech’s Donovan Peoples-Jones was making an official visit to Ohio State.
Great Visit.. Ohio State did all of the right things. I couldn't have asked for anything more !! #BuckeyeNation ?
— Donovan P. Jones (@dpeoplesjones) October 9, 2016
So, take away the lack of an aerial assault — which happens from time to time — and it seems like things went pretty much “OK” on the visit for Peoples-Jones. Of course, that sounds tepid at best, but the reality is that the 6-foot-2, 192-pound Peoples-Jones isn’t a rookie when it comes to recruiting. And he isn’t giving any indication of what is going through his head, even after a trip that saw him garner attention I’ve personally never before witnessed any player receive during a visit to Columbus.
Gene Smith and OSU president Drake meet with Donovan Peoples-Jones on his official visit to Ohio State. pic.twitter.com/M9OeZt411a
— Jeremy Birmingham (@Birm) October 8, 2016
What we know is this: Peoples-Jones will continue to play things close to the vest.
“He doesn’t tip his hand,” one source close to the Buckeyes’ efforts shared.
OK, so I asked someone close to the player’s side of things instead.
“At one time,” the source said, “the Buckeyes were in the top 3. Right now, I have no idea.”
So what’s important to Peoples-Jones, outside of academics?
“I think his mind is on winning and who can make him into a NFL wide receiver,” the source added. “He’s always been that way.”
Ohio State does those two things, but it remains to be seen how much of an impact they were able to make on Peoples-Jones. Michigan is absolutely the favorite but a good atmosphere and a good visit that showed him the full entirety of the Buckeyes program couldn’t hurt.
Tyreke Smith has good trip to Ohio State
One of Ohio’s top 2018 prospects, DE Tyreke Smith out of Cleveland Heights, visited the Buckeyes on Saturday afternoon, as well. The country’s sixth-ranked defensive end had visited Notre Dame and Clemson in the previous two weeks.
“It was great,” Smith said of the trip to Columbus. “The Buckeyes defense impressed me. That’s what stood out to me, because when the offense wasn’t doing so good, the defense still controlled the game.”
Smith has only played sparingly this season at Heights as he dealt with an injury that sidelined him for most of September. But he said he was encouraged by his conversations with the Ohio State coaching staff.
“I talked to coach Ed Warinner, Larry Johnson, Tim Hinton, Tony Alford, and Urban Meyer,” Smith said of Saturday. “They said they were excited that I came down to see them.”
A 6-4, 240-pound prospect, Smith said the Buckeyes are one of the schools keeping in touch with him almost daily.
“Tennessee, Clemson and Ohio State, I talk to almost every day,” he said. “Others just keep up on like once a week.”
2019 Michigan star visits Ohio State
An unexpected, or at least not-talked-about, visitor for the Buckeyes’ 38-17 win over the Hoosiers on Saturday was Belleville (Mich.) 2019 two-way lineman Devontae Dobbs, who was offered by Ohio State over the summer.
“(The visit) was great,” said Dobbs, the country’s top-ranked 2019 offensive lineman. “I just didn’t get the chance to talk to any coaches.”
That’s not on the Buckeyes, though, as Dobbs said he and his group had to leave pretty quickly following the contest. Not to worry though, Dobbs said he’s working on his relationship with the Buckeyes’ coaching staff, particularly cornerbacks coach / special teams coordinator Kerry Coombs. He added that right now, he’s closer to the Ohio State staff than to the group at Michigan.
“(Coombs and I are) slowly building a relationship and it’s been going good,” Dobbs said of things between him and the Buckeyes. “I just know coach Coombs is my guy. I’ve known him since the eighth grade. I’m really cool with (Michigan State’s director of player personnel) Curtis Blackwell, as well. I don’t really know the coaches at Michigan. I camped with their defensive line coach Greg Mattison but I know Ohio State’s staff and Michigan State’s the most.”
The highlight of Saturday’s visit to Ohio Stadium though, according to Dobbs, was the chance to meet the mother of a former Buckeyes star and a current Buckeyes freshman.
“Sitting by Bosa’s mom (Cheryl),” Dobbs said when asked what stood out about his visit. “She’s a real nice person. She just talked and she did a little recruiting. She said just look at her two kids. One is already in the NFL and the other is on his way. Nick played great and his arms are huge.”
Dobbs, who earned his Ohio State at Friday Night Lights in July, said he’s going to try to return to Columbus in late November when the Buckeyes take on Michigan.
“I’ll try have to make a call soon,” Dobbs said about a potential return visit. “Before ‘The Game’ is sold out.”
Ohio 2019 standout talks Buckeyes offer
Ohio State offered one of Ohio’s most talented sophomores last week.
— Adam Turer (@adamturer) October 4, 2016
Jowon Briggs, who also earned an offer from Michigan last week, told Landof10.com that he was surprised by the Buckeyes’ offer.
“I was surprised,” Briggs said. “Then I was relieved. (Ohio State cornerbacks coach Kerry) Coombs was in my coach’s office and he said that he would offer me.”
Though he’s an Ohio native, the Walnut Hills (Cincinnati) lineman says he just recently started being a football fan.
“Growing up, I didn’t really watch college football,” he said. “I started watching around two years ago. I enjoy track and field, discus and shot put, mainly. I’ve played (football) since the sixth grade and when I got to eighth grade I found out about how much college costs, so I decided to focus on getting a scholarship.”
That focus paid off and Briggs now has six offers, but to have them from the Buckeyes — and yes, Michigan — this early, is huge. He’s trying to take his time and not worry too much about recruiting right now, though.
“Just being a sophomore,” he added. “I’m just trying to keep school and high-school sports balanced.”