Dotting the ‘Eyes: Michigan’s latest decommitment, Michigan State’s commitment, Christopher Oats to visit 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 a glimpse at what’s coming next.
Urban Meyer, Greg Studrawa to check in on 5-star offensive lineman
One of the perks of the nonconference football season – at least in the high school ranks – is that college coaches get a chance to see players they might otherwise not get to. That’s the case Friday night as Fairfield, with 5-star 2018 offensive lineman Jackson Carman, travels north to Dublin (Ohio) Coffman High School.
Coach Stud and Coach Meyer coming to watch tonight Vs Dublin Coffman ? Gotta show out tonight ?
— Jackson Carman (@Jackson_Carman) September 9, 2016
Carman, Ohio’s top-ranked 2018 prospect, will visit Notre Dame for the first time on Saturday so it’s a good chance for Meyer and Studrawa to remind him that he’s a top priority before he heads west to see the Golden Dome.
Christopher Oats visiting on Saturday
One of Ohio’s top 2018 prospects will visit Ohio State on Saturday.
Winton Woods (Cincinnati) 4-star outside linerbacker Christopher Oats is expected in Columbus for the Buckeyes’ home game against Tulsa. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound Oats is the nation’s 13th-ranked outside linebacker and was offered by Ohio State in June.
There are few prospects in the country that are as intriguing as Oats. His size and speed combination and elite-level athleticism make him a potential star at linebacker or defensive end at the next level.
Oats, who was offered by Miami earlier this week – his eighth offer – will see Ohio State two weeks in a row: He’s visiting Oklahoma next weekend to check in on the Sooners.
Gearing up for Bishop Gorman and St. John Bosco
The country’s best high school football game this weekend will feature three Ohio State commitments and a pair of highly ranked 2018 defenders who may very well be teammates in college.
Tate Martell and the Bishop Gorman Gaels – the country’s top-ranked team – will travel to Bellflower, Calif., to take on Wyatt Davis and the No. 3 ranked Braves of St. John Bosco. This will Bishop Gorman’s second trip out of Nevada to play a top-5 team in the last three weeks: They traveled to Cedar Hill (Texas) and dismantled the Longhorns 44-14 to start the season two weeks ago. Friday’s game, a 10:30 p.m. ET start, will be available to watch on Fox Sports West.
— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) September 9, 2016
The game’s premier matchup is likely to pit two Ohio State commitments against one another for most of the night as Davis and Bishop Gorman defensive lineman Haskell Garrett go head-to-head. Wide receiver Tyjon Lindsey is expected to miss at least two more weeks for the Gaels as he recovers from a broken collarbone.
Each team has a top target for the Buckeyes’ 2018 class as well. For Bishop Gorman, it’s linebacker Palaie Gaoteote, the cousin of Haskell Garrett, and for the Braves it’s 5-star safety Jaiden Woodbey. Both players are very high on Ohio State and vice versa.
In 2014, the last meeting between these two national powerhouses, Martell led Bishop Gorman to a 34-31 win against Bosco. That night it was St. John Bosco and UCLA sophomore Josh Rosen who entered the game as the nation’s top-ranked team, while Gorman was ranked No. 2.
St. John Bosco (2-0) has not yet surrendered a point this season, winning each of its first two games by the score of 34-0.
Don’t overreact to Michigan’s latest decommitment
It’s no secret: There is simply nothing that brings more joy to the scarlet-tinged hearts of Buckeyes fans than when something bad happens to Michigan.
Friday, Michigan’s 2018 recruiting class took another hit as Springfield, Ohio, 4-star linebacker Antwuan Johnson reopened his recruitment, decommitting from Michigan. The decommitment is the third from the Wolverines’ 2018 class in just about the last month, with Johnson joining his high school teammate Leonard Taylor and Georgia offensive lineman Jalil Irvin.
Michigan also lost another 2017 commitment Friday, as Wolverines legacy Carter Dunaway – whose father player for Bo Schembechler – also reopened his recruitment.
— Brandon Justice (@LandOfJustice) September 9, 2016
On the surface, that seems bad, right? Yes, but it’s not, at least not really.
If we’re calling a spade a spade, which I always try to do, then it’s really quite simple: With the exception of Aubrey Solomon, a top 100 defensive tackle in the 2017 class, Michigan didn’t want any of the players who decommitted. At least, they didn’t want them enough to try to hold on to them. The truth of the matter is that Jim Harbaugh, from way back during his time at Stanford, has handled things a little differently than some other high-level coaches. It’s all semantics to some degree, but here’s the difference in approach.
Ohio State offers some guys early – we call them “noncommittable” offers, much to the chagrin of people who hate the very concept. What the offer does, the Buckeyes hope, is serve as a reason for players that they’re on the fence about to come up to Columbus and visit. It’s kind of a “we’re interested in knowing more about you” thing. Those players come up, usually for a camp, and they get a chance to “validate” the offer and continue to get to know the Ohio State staff. The offer then becomes committable, a player commits, and voila, usually they stick.
What Harbaugh has traditionally done is slightly different. He doesn’t have noncommittable offers going out early, it seems. If the Wolverines “offer” you can commit, but it means next to nothing about your place in the class or how you’re viewed by the Michigan coaches. That’s why players who seem like they’d never get offered by Michigan commit immediately when they do, because they think they’re saving a spot for themselves. They’re not. What we’ve seen happen is that the Wolverines – to use a teen term – “ghost” a player that they’re not really interested in keeping and just replace him with someone they actually think can play at their level.
Jalil Irvin said he’d not heard from their staff. Antwuan Johnson, earlier Friday, told our Michigan recruiting analyst, Brandon Justice, that he’d not been hearing from his position coach.
Johnson told Landof10’s Brandon Justice that part of his decision was based on not having a great relationship with Michigan linebackers coach Chris Partridge.
“We got along, the connection just wasn’t there,” Johnson said. “And he’s never reached out to me and made me feel like a priority.”
For the recruits out there reading this: if you’re not hearing from the coach that you’ve committed to, then he’s not committed to you. Reassess your situation and find a school that actually wants you. Chris Partridge was hired by Michigan to recruit and to help land Rashan Gary; he didn’t just forget how to recruit, he’s just talking to the kids that are his priority.
Michigan’s 2017 recruiting class – the country’s 10th-ranked class currently – will get much, much better from here, and there’s almost no doubt they’ll lose a few more guys from the current group. It’s all part of the plan.
Don’t overreact to Michigan State’s latest commitment
— Xavier Henderson (@Xhenn5) September 9, 2016
Henderson has been closely watched by the Buckeyes over the summer and is a player that I firmly believe is in line for a scholarship offer from Ohio State eventually, but it appears he and his family decided they no longer wanted to wait. The Spartans have made him a priority for months. He fits their secondary perfectly and he’s got excellent relationships within the Michigan State coaching staff. It’s a surprising decision – at least in my mind – to end his recruitment so early, but it certainly won’t stop Ohio State from making a move on him whenever they decide to offer.
It just means it will be much harder to try to flip him, if they do.
Henderson visited Ohio State multiple times over the summer and has been told repeatedly that the Buckeyes are still evaluating and want to wait and see him play a few games this fall. There’s certainly a chance that as the Buckeyes offer other defensive backs in the 2018 class – out-of-state kids who are recruited completely different than in-state kids – the family felt slighted/overlooked. We’ll see if that continues to be the case with almost 18 months until signing day in 2018.