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 on Moretti
At times in recruiting, there are things you (read: I) can’t really talk about in full detail, and this is one of those times. Why? Because it’s not my story to tell, and the families involved in these decisions should be in charge of the information they want to make public.
I don’t want to harp on it too much, but I did want to reiterate the key points about what has happened.
First, Ohio State wanted Moretti in its recruiting class. They did not pull his offer. The Buckeyes wanted Moretti – rehabbing from knee surgery – to forgo his plans to enroll early because he is not likely to be able to participate in football activities until at least summer. There are not an infinite number of early-enrollee spots available and with a number of players considering the NFL, Ohio State is not certain who it can take early. The early-enrollee issue was one reason the relationship of recent Michigan commitment Jaylen Kelly-Powell and the Buckeyes faded, as well.
I’ve gotten to know the Morettis throughout the recruiting process, and I will plainly state that they are terrific people. The decision to make this change could not have been easy for them, and I know that both sides are disappointed in how things transpired.
Cam Akers, Jaylen Harris change weekend plans
Two remaining targets on Ohio State’s 2017 recruiting board changed their plans for this week.
Five-star running back Cam Akers (Clinton, Miss.) was reportedly going to visit Michigan this weekend for its home game against Indiana. He will not make that trip. Next weekend, he is expected to visit Ohio State for an official visit with the Buckeyes. If that visit doesn’t happen, I wouldn’t be surprised either. He’s in the playoffs in Mississippi and plays Friday night. With a noon game against Michigan, traveling to Ohio in such a short window could go any number of ways.
I do not believe the Buckeyes are a top contender for Akers right now. Despite his long-term affection for Ohio State, it seems that LSU, Florida State, Georgia, Alabama and Ole Miss are in a better position. If you do the simple math, you’ll notice those schools all have one thing in common: they’re in the South. I think that’s where Akers stays regardless of what happens next weekend.
Another Buckeyes target, 4-star wide receiver Jaylen Harris, will not visit Michigan State this weekend. He had been planning to take an official visit with the Spartans, but that has been tentatively pushed back to Dec. 10.
The questions about whether room exists in the Buckeyes’ class for Harris persist. I remain confident that if he wants to play in Columbus, Ohio State will take him.
Will Lawrence wants to hear more from Buckeyes
It’s been almost two years since Ohio State offered 2018 Memphis (Tenn.) offensive lineman Will Lawrence. However, it’s been a while since the 3-star tackle with 33 offers has heard from the Buckeyes.
“I haven’t heard from anyone at Ohio State,” Lawrence told Land of 10. “It’s been a year or so I think.”
The Buckeyes offered the 6-foot-4, 285-pound lineman from the Harding Academy of Memphis as a freshman. They were his seventh offer, and Alabama became number eight the next day. With almost three dozen offers, the nation’s 27th-ranked offensive tackle has not yet started to narrow his choices.
“I’m really wide open with recruiting,” he said. “I’ve visited Clemson, Texas, Arizona State, and Auburn. I’m planning on visiting Notre Dame and North Carolina in the spring. The main schools I’m interested in are staying in touch, except from Ohio State. I’m a little surprised they haven’t reached out since Sept. 1, though I do get a lot of mail from them. I’d really like to talk to them, if they think I can help them.”
Ohio State recruiting class at a glance
It’s been a busy few weeks for the Buckeyes on the recruiting trail but not a whole lot has changed with the 2017 class.
Here are where things currently stand.
- National Rank: As of Nov. 18, the Buckeyes have the nation’s No. 2-ranked recruiting class for 2017 . Alabama, with the commitment of 5-star offensive lineman Jedrick Wills, surpassed Ohio State this week. The Buckeyes have the highest average ranking per player, edging Georgia in that metric.
- Big Ten Rank: Ohio State has the Big Ten’s best class. Michigan is at No. 2 in the conference and will likely haul eight to nine more players, so sheer numbers may move them past the Buckeyes.
- Total Commitments: 16
- Last Commitment: Ohio State’s last commitment was actually a two-for-one, as 5-star wide receivers Trevon Grimes and Tyjon Lindsey verbally agreed to the Buckeyes on Aug. 22.
- Decommitments: With the loss of Moretti, Ohio State has had four players decommit. The first, Florida athlete Bruce Judson, was one of three players to commit to the Buckeyes on the day of their national title victory against Oregon in January 2015, and the other two are Akron (Ohio) Archbishop Hoban teammates Todd Sibley and Danny Clark. Sibley, Ohio’s 14th-ranked prospect and the nation’s No. 22 running back, is now committed to Pittsburgh; Clark, the nation’s 18th-rated pro-style quarterback, committed to Kentucky last Saturday. He pledged to Ohio State in December 2013 when he was a true freshman at Massillon Washington High School.
Ohio State is tied with Alabama for the most 5-star commitments in 2017. The Buckeyes have five 5-star prospects who have verbally agreed, giving them five of the top 30 players in the nation.
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Who are the Buckeyes’ top remaining targets? Not much has changed since the end of October.
These names are ones you’ll hear a lot about during the next few weeks as we approach the end of football season and enter recruiting season.
7. Xavier McKinney • Defensive Back • Roswell, Ga. • Roswell
As questions around Shaun Wade’s commitment remain, it’s important that the Buckeyes keep their focus on finding a potential replacement. McKinney is definitely on the list. A former Alabama commitment and the country’s 13th-ranked safety, he’s expected to make an official visit to Ohio State the weekend of Nov. 26. Clemson and Georgia may be Ohio State’s biggest competitors in this race.
6. Marvin Wilson • Defensive Tackle • Bellaire, Texas • Episcopal
There are few players in the country more physically imposing than Wilson. And while he’s been quiet in his recruitment, the relationship between he and Ohio State assistant Larry Johnson Sr. continues to improve. Wilson will visit Ohio State in late November with Jeffrey Okudah and Baron Browning, in his first trip to Columbus. Can the Buckeyes make a big enough impact in one visit to keep the country’s top-ranked defensive tackle away from Texas, ‘Bama, Florida State and others? He’s a must-take player, so numbers aren’t an issue here.
5. Jaylen Harris • Wide Receiver • Cleveland Heights, Ohio • Cleveland Heights
Very rarely does an Ohio prospect with a Buckeyes offer stay uncommitted as long as Harris has, but, rest assured, he’s still a player that is likely to end up at Ohio State. When does that happen? I believe Ohio State will find room for Harris, and he believes that, too. He’s Ohio’s best wide receiver and he’s a great kid off the field, as well.
4. Bubba Bolden • Defensive Back • Las Vegas • Bishop Gorman
A 6-foot-3, 190-pound safety, Bolden has become a hot name around Buckeyes recruiting circles since being offered by Ohio State in early September. He made an official visit to Ohio State on Nov. 5, which was a grand slam for both sides. Bolden, the country’s eighth-ranked safety and a former USC commitment, will take more visits before making a decision: including one to USC.
3. Jay Tufele • Defensive Line • South Jordan, Utah • Bingham
Displaced a month ago, Utah 4-star Jay Tufele is back on the big board. He’ll visit Ohio State the weekend of Nov. 26, giving the Buckeyes a shot to move way up the list. Ohio State is still on the prowl for another defensive tackle and Tufele has been a top target for months. Can a visit to Ohio State cement its place in his mind? He listed the Buckeyes as his leader months ago without ever visiting, but he has since backed off listing any leaders.
2. Baron Browning • Linebacker • Kennedale, Texas • Kennedale
Ohio State wants another linebacker, and there may not be one in the entire country that fits what the Buckeyes are looking for more than the 5-star Browning. A 6-3, 230-pound outside linebacker from Texas, Browning is strong enough to play inside in college, has the speed to play outside and the frame to potentially grow into a pass-rushing defensive end. Simply put, he’s one of the most dynamic defensive prospects in the country, which is why he’s been a top priority for Ohio State for months. He’ll visit the Buckeyes on Nov. 26 and he will make his college choice three days later.
1. Jeffrey Okudah • Defensive Back • Grand Prairie, Texas • South Grand Prairie
A long-time target who has had the Buckeyes as his long-time leader, Okudah stays at the top of the list. Okudah’s relationships with Browning, Wilson and others make him a key ringleader for what the Buckeyes believe can be a mega coup in The Lone Star State. The country’s top-ranked cornerback, Okudah fits the Buckeyes defense perfectly. To land Okudah would be the final piece in the country’s best defensive back group for 2017. He’ll visit Nov. 26 with his family. A commitment could come at any time.