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 a glimpse at what’s coming next.
Jeffrey Okudah, Marvin Wilson updates from Oklahoma
As we mentioned on Friday, two top-10 recruits in the 2017 class were on the sideline for Ohio State’s big game at Oklahoma on Saturday.
Jeffrey Okudah, the country’s top-ranked cornerback, and Marvin Wilson, the country’s top-ranked defensive tackle, each watched as a guest of the Sooners, but they were also impressed by the Buckeyes’ performance in the 45-24 win.
Marvin Wilson when asked if Ohio State's performance made him think different of the Buckeyes….."Hell yeah." https://t.co/PE8VXbYHzP
— Tom VanHaaren (@TomVH) September 18, 2016
Just seen one of the craziest catches… of all-time?
— Jeffrey Okudah III (@TheJeffOkudah) September 18, 2016
As you know, Okudah has had the Buckeyes at the top of his list for much of his recruitment, and Oklahoma has been working overtime to try to overtake the Buckeyes. He said the visit to Norman went very well.
“The visit was great,” Okudah, who is originally from New Jersey, told Landof10. “It was something crazy to see Ohio State live in action. I never knew Noah Brown was from the same area code as me.”
With Wilson, however, Ohio State has yet to be able to make any headway with his recruitment, but they may have opened his eyes on Saturday. The Buckeyes want to add another defensive tackle in the class of 2017, and he would be a no-doubt addition.
While it remains to be seen what happens with this Texas duo, the Buckeyes will begin their off week by spending some time in the Lone Star State: OSU defensive coordinator Luke Fickell will visit Dallas on Monday.
Are the Buckeyes falling behind for Cam Akers?
It’s been a while since we’ve discussed 5-star running back Cam Akers, the No. 2 running back in the class of 2017.
The Clinton, Miss., native was supposed to visit Ohio State over the summer but didn’t, and according to sources in the South, other schools have been gaining ground in his recruitment in recent months. While recent discussion has suggested that Florida State is the team to watch, it’s a trio of SEC schools that are actually the biggest threats according to the source.
What schools? LSU, Tennessee and Georgia are all improving their standing with Akers. LSU is selling him on the opportunity to replace Leonard Fournette, and Tennessee has been linked with Ohio State as one of his top schools for much of the past year. He’s also close with the Bulldogs’ staff because Georgia head coach Kirby Smart came from Alabama, where Akers was previously committed. Georgia currently holds two running back commitments, including 4-star D’Andre Swift, but sources have indicated that Georgia would prefer to add Akers and would be willing to be flexible with one of their current commitments.
While it’s uncertain exactly what Akers’ thoughts are regarding Ohio State, he’s still expected to make an official visit this fall. The Buckeyes have a commitment from the nation’s top all-purpose back in JK Dobbins. However, it’s long been thought that the Buckeyes would chase two running backs in this class. That might still be the case, but there’s also a chance Ohio State would be OK with only taking one, especially if taking another would risk losing the commitment from Dobbins.
The value of Jaelen Gill to Westerville South
Along with offensive tackle Jackson Carman, Ohio State’s biggest in-state priority in the class of 2018 is Westerville South running back Jaelen Gill.
Gill broke his ankle in Westerville South’s loss to Gahanna (Ohio) Lincoln in the second week of the season, and all you need to know about his value to the team can be seen in the Wildcats’ offensive struggles in his absence. In the 11 quarters they’ve played without Gill, they’ve scored no touchdowns and just 3 total points.
The 5-star running back was a tremendous asset for Westerville South last season and was expected to be an even bigger piece this season, so his season-ending injury was a big blow for the Wildcats.
Speaking of Carman, if you want to know why he’s so coveted by the Buckeyes, look no further than this clip that he tweeted Friday afternoon.
The Soul Collector ☠✊? pic.twitter.com/1XJHDUfyPe
— Jackson Carman (@Jackson_Carman) September 16, 2016
How Ohio State commits fared this weekend
It was a big weekend for Ohio State’s class of 2017 commitments, many of whom continued outstanding showings in their senior seasons.
Las Vegas Bishop Gorman quarterback Tate Martell accounted for five touchdowns as he led his team to a 35-7 win over No. 17 Kahuku (Hawaii), giving the Gaels their 43rd straight win. Martell completed 12 of 20 passes for 146 yards and four touchdowns and also scored on a 3-yard run.
The Buckeyes’ other quarterback commit, Akron Hoban 4-star Danny Clark, also threw four touchdowns in a 63-14 victory over Royal Imperial Collegiate of Canada. He had a familiar target on one of those.
TOUCHDOWN! Danny Clark connects over the top with his younger brother Caden Clark for a 22 yard TD. Kersh PAT is good. Hoban now leads 28-0.
— Hoban Football (@HobanFootball) September 16, 2016
On the other side of the ball, Ohio State linebacker commit Antjuan Simmons of Ann Arbor (Mich.) Pioneer returned an interception for a touchdown in a 44-0 win against Ann Arbor (Mich.) Huron.
“It was good,” Simmons told Land of 10. “I couldn’t believe he threw it in arms reach but when I saw it I didn’t hesitate. After I got past that lineman, I put it on cruise control because I knew no one was going to catch me.”
You can watch video of Simmons’ pick-six below: