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.
Let’s talk Amir Riep
We’re less than one week away from the end of the Amir Riep recruiting saga and the country’s 13th-ranked cornerback – and third-ranked 2017 prospect from Ohio – still isn’t giving any clues as to which ways he’s leaning. He was at Louisville and Alabama over the weekend and is expected to be at Michigan State once more this week before attending Friday Night Lights with the Buckeyes on July 22; with a decision coming a day later.
So what’s up with Riep? As we’ve discussed before, there is not a whole lot of information that is concrete, but the smoke is getting thicker and thicker as we head towards Saturday.
Ohio State commitments feel they’re closer to the Cincinnati Colerain star than any other group of pledges, and if you watched The Opening, that appeared obvious. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound 4-star prospect spent almost all of his time talking to Ohio State commits, which is a good sign. Of course, six future Buckeyes were on the same 7-on-7 team as Riep, so they had a little bit of a built-in advantage. Riep has been to Ohio State twice in the last month and will return to Columbus this week (as mentioned) and that’s a good sign, right?
Michigan State sources are very confident as well. Why? Harlon Bennett, Michigan State’s assistant head coach and defensive backs coach, is a Cincinnati-native who has been instrumental in bringing Queen City prospects to East Lansing over the last few years. Michigan State has done an excellent job of keeping Riep believing that the defensive backfield haul for Ohio State in 2017 is something he’d be better off avoiding, though that’s debatable.
This recruitment has not been – and won’t be – for the faint of heart as we head into the weekend. Would Riep come to Ohio State for Friday Night Lights just to inform the Buckeyes that he’s chosen the Spartans?
Jackson Carman will be at Friday Night Lights
Ohio’s top-ranked 2018 prospect will be at Friday Night Lights after spending the last month in South Carolina visiting family.
Jackson Carman, a 6-foot-6, 290-pound offensive tackle from Fairfield, says he’s looking forward to getting back to Columbus, but he won’t compete at the event. What’s he looking forward to the most about this weekend’s event?
“I’m really looking forward to the BBQ,” Carman joked. “I may do a little bit of working out, but it’s up in the air as of right now. I’m not a fan of 1-on-1s without pads and the season is upon us. I don’t want to risk anything, especially since I have nothing to prove as far as an offer goes.”
The 2018 5-star, whose 247Sports.com Crystal Ball reads 100-percent in the Buckeyes’ favor, joked that he may decide to work out at another position. He wants to make sure people know he’s not just a “slob,” but a complete and all-around athlete.
“The thing about being an offensive lineman,” Carman said. “Is everyone thinks you’re not athletic. I’ve been dunking since the eighth grade. I can throw an alley-oop off the glass and cram it at 300-pounds. I have the best hands on our football team. Maybe I’ll drop 60-pounds and play tight end. I could play quarterback, but I can’t throw. Is that important?”
The country’s third-ranked offensive tackle in 2018, Carman has no plans for a college decision anytime soon, but it’d a pretty big upset if he ended up wearing a uniform other than Ohio State’s.
Simmons heading to Columbus on Friday, just looking to recruit
Earlier today, Ohio State 2017 linebacker commitment Antjuan Simmons retweeted an old tweet of his (you can do that now, in case you’re a Twitter user and weren’t sure of that), doing so to remind others just where his loyalties are.
— Antjuan Simmons (@_antjuan_) March 1, 2016
“It’s a favorite tweet of mine,” Simmons told Landof10. “I realized I hadn’t retweeted it yet, so I just had to.”
This week, Simmons, who was one of 10 commitments that represented the Buckeyes at The Opening in Oregon, said he’s not done wearing his recruiting hat yet.
“I’m coming to Friday Night Lights,” he said. “I’m just going to do some recruiting.”
Simmons will no doubt continue to work hard on a handful of players he got closer with at The Opening. He was very close to defensive back Amir Riep and defensive end Chase Young, while also working hard to capture the attention of linebacker Anthony Hines and others.
2018 offer transferring to IMG
Ohio State hasn’t offered many defensive backs yet in the 2018 recruiting class but one of the most recent to pick up a scholarship from the Buckeyes will be switching schools.
Houston Griffith, a 4-star prospect who has spent the last two seasons at Chicago’s Mount Carmel High School, plans to complete his prep eligibility at the IMG Academy in Bradenton (Fla.).
New beginnings pic.twitter.com/iE97teU8KP
— Houston Griffith (@___HG3) July 18, 2016
Griffith, the country’s 71st-ranked player, is the son of former Illinois star and current BTN analyst Howard Griffith. He visited Ohio State in March and was offered by the Buckeyes following a big showing in Detroit at the Sound Mind/Sound Body camp. When he arrives at IMG, Griffith will line up in the Ascenders secondary with two 2017 Ohio State verbals – cornerback Marcus Williamson and safety Isaiah Pryor – so he’s sure to get his fair share of Buckeye talk from his teammates.
Defensive tackle target commits to Alabama
You can cross one of the defensive tackles Ohio State has been monitoring off the 2017 big board.
Fayetteville (Ark.) defensive tackle Akial Byers, who was offered by the Buckeyes in mid-May, committed to Alabama on Sunday while camping with the Crimson Tide.
— The name is AKIAL (@akial_byers) July 18, 2016
There has been some discussion around Byers – who didn’t have an offer from his hometown Razorbacks – needing to do “some work” academically before he’d be a serious candidate for the Buckeyes, but that appears to be a moot point now.
With two defensive tackles committed, expect Ohio State to continue chasing Utah’s Jay Tufele as the top remaining priority at the position.