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.
The Wade-ing game
Ohio State has made what is likely its final in-person pitch to 5-star defensive back Shaun Wade. The Jacksonville Trinity Christian Academy standout will now turn his focus to two final visits before a final decision is made, likely in early December. First, according to his father Randy, Wade will visit Virginia Tech this Saturday, then he’ll visit Alabama the weekend of Nov. 26.
Committed to the Buckeyes since January 2015, Wade has been to many schools over the last two years but the battle for his services has been basically down to Ohio State and Alabama for much of the last year. That late November weekend trip to Alabama will be the final shot for the Crimson Tide to convince the country’s fourth-ranked cornerback that everything he can get in Columbus he can get in Tuscaloosa and much closer to home. His mother will make that trip with him.
This past weekend, according to the Wades, was a major success for the Buckeyes. Ohio State has continued to hold its lead in this recruitment by focusing less on football – which is clearly good at both schools – and more on the relationships within the family and the coaching staff. There’s not been a single iota of anything being taken for granted in this chase and there certainly won’t be over the next month.
So, here’s where we stand: I believe Shaun Wade wants to go to Ohio State. I believe he’s doing the right thing and checking other options if he – or his family – have any lingering doubt. In the end, a month from now, it will be the Buckeyes or the Crimson Tide. Wade is truly in a win/win situation.
Gant sees himself in Buckeyes defense
The Buckeyes have a few very good – and very real – options emerging at outside linebacker in their 2018 class, and Toledo (Ohio) St. John’s Jesuit 4-star prospect Dallas Gant may be at the top of that list. This past weekend, Gant visited Ohio State for the first time this season. As you’d expect, the trip went very well for the country’s sixth-ranked player at his position.
“(The visit was) good,” Gant told Land of 10. “I had a lot of fun and the atmosphere was great. I haven’t been there since last year so it was good to be in such an incredible atmosphere again.”
Unlike a lot of the recruits in attendance, Gant spent a lot of his visit on his own, observing the Buckeyes program and seeing how he could fit in.
“I talked to a few of the other recruits,” he said. “I didn’t get to spend that much time with the staff, just got to say hello to most of them. Other than that, I just hung with my family and my teammate that I brought with me.”
For Gant, whose decision could be coming down to Ohio State and Notre Dame, he’s paying attention to the particulars of the defense more than the overall feel of the college. He’s familiar enough with both places to know what he’s getting.
“I watch the defense a lot,” he said. “Ohio State plays hard and fast, and they are also obviously great players. I think I would be able to play in that kind of scheme.”
Ohio State is the place for J.K. Dobbins
It’s time to put the rumors to bed around a potential “flip” for Buckeyes commitment J.K. Dobbins. If you believe the nation’s top-ranked running back, he’s not going anywhere but Ohio State for college.
“My trip was great,” Dobbins told Land of 10 about his official visit over the weekend. “I didn’t see or do anything I didn’t already know. I’m 100 percent to Ohio State.”
The discussion about Dobbins and other schools was primarily a result of rumors that 5-star running back Cam Akers was leaning toward Ohio State. The Buckeyes seem set at running back with Dobbins alone, so it’s likely moot. For Dobbins, he’s working to rehab a broken ankle and to be ready for his time in Columbus.
So the big question now is this: Curtis Samuel or Mike Weber? Which role will Dobbins fill for the Buckeyes?
“I don’t know, maybe both,” he said. “I’m going to do whatever my coach asks me to do. I’m just worried about getting in there and getting to work.”
Peoples-Jones to visit Florida this weekend
After a hurricane delayed his first planned trip to Gainesville, the country’s top-ranked wide receiver – Detroit’s Donovan Peoples-Jones – will officially visit the Florida Gators this weekend.
— Donovan P. Jones (@dpeoplesjones) October 4, 2016
Over the last month or so, there has been a small – very small – increase in confidence from some close to Ohio State. The feeling is that the Buckeyes could pull an upset here. But why? How?
That feeling is as likely to stem from an overall sense of confusion about his plans as it is anything that the Buckeyes have done. His coach at Detroit’s Cass Tech, Thomas Wilcher, told Cleveland.com’s Ari Wasserman that everyone is confused as of now.
“He’s filled out applications for Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State,” Wilcher said. “I don’t know where he’s going to go based on the fact he did applications for five schools. You’re not going to go spend all that money for five schools. Applications ain’t cheap. He had to pay for all those, had to have transcripts sent to every schools, applications fees.”
It’s not cheap to pay up to $100 per application. That’s not just misdirection. According to Wilcher, even the recruit’s mother is asking for him to clarify what her son is thinking.
“His mom doesn’t know, but she’s paying for all those applications. She’s calling me, ‘Coach, can you help me?’ I say, ‘No, I can’t help you.’ Nobody knows where he’s going.”
So, there’s hope in Columbus, but it’s still nothing more than tepid at best. Michigan has a number of things working in its favor. Florida and Florida State have a unique pull that could take Peoples-Jones away from home. Ohio State has relationships built by Kerry Coombs and with Damon Webb, Mike Weber, Josh Alabi and others. Michigan State has playing time, tight bonds with director of player personnel Curtis Blackwell and a host of friends and former teammates on its roster.
Eventually, I still expect Peoples-Jones to end up in Ann Arbor. But, at least for now, there’s some hope in confusion.