Dotting the ‘Eyes: Two California stars visit Ohio State, Jerron Cage talk 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 for a glimpse at what’s coming next.
Martell leaving Twitter?
It seems that, for whatever reason, Tate Martell can’t avoid scrutiny and dramatics, even when that’s his stated goal.
Earlier today, the 4-star Buckeyes commitment took to Twitter, leaving an iPhone note labeled “had to grow up.” The note – now deleted, along with all of Martell’s tweets – essentially spoke on how the country’s top-ranked dual-threat quarterback had spent too much of his time in the last few years worrying about rankings and not enough time developing as a leader, a person, etc.
After hitting send on that tweet, Martell received a number of positive responses, including from BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum, Super Bowl winner and Elite 11 leader Trent Dilfer and others. Unfortunately, as is often the case on Twitter, he was also met by a handful of trolls and shot-takers, including Germain Ifedi, who was the Seattle Seahawks first round pick in April’s NFL draft.
Why would an NFL draft pick be harassing a teenager on Twitter? Because Ifedi went to Texas A&M, where Martell was once committed, and for some reason, that’s a good reason to talk trash to a high school player.
Shortly after a little exchange with Ifedi, Martell began clearing out his Twitter account, unfollowing everyone except for those on his high school team at Bishop Gorman or those directly in the Buckeyes program. As for Twitter, at least for now, Martell says he’s done with it and wants to focus on preparing for a third-straight national title run.
“It’s all good,” Martell said of the decision to eliminate the social media distraction. “I’m really going to be off of it, 100 percent.”
I know some will view Martell’s decision as a sign of immaturity or an inability to handle adversity, pressure, etc., but that’s simply just not the case. He’s a teenager who has been in the public spotlight for years and at nearly every step of the way he’s had very vocal detractors and “haters.”
If he wants to remove those distractions, to cut off the dramatics before his senior year of high school and before enrolling at Ohio State in January? I say kudos.
California 2018 DB Brendan Radley-Hiles visits today
Ohio State had one of the country’s top-ranked 2018 defensive backs on campus today. Calabasas (California) 4-star defensive back Brendan Radley-Hiles, the nation’s seventh-ranked cornerback in his class, was expected to visit next week for Friday Night Lights but came out to Ohio this week instead.
The visit to see the Buckeyes went very well.
“It was great, actually,” Radley-Hiles said. “It’s Ohio State. The facilities speak for themselves, and the academic support is amazing.”
In recent months, Radley-Hiles, who last visited Columbus when he was in the eighth-grade, has been trending toward Nebraska, which has made a major impression in the Calabasas area thanks to Cornhuskers commitments Keyshawn Johnson Jr., Tristan Gebbia and their top target, Darnay Holmes.
He has 21 offers, including one from Ohio State.
TJ Pledger makes first trip to Ohio State
Radley-Hiles didn’t make the trip to Columbus alone today. He was with Chaminade (West Hills, California) 2018 running back T.J. Pledger, the country’s 100th-ranked player. A 5-foot-9, 188-pound back with offers from 14 different schools, including Ohio State, Pledger said the visit to see the Buckeyes left a big impression on him and his family.
“It was a great visit,” Pledger told Landof10.com. “My parents were blown away. We loved the facilities and everything that Ohio State has to offer.”
Facilities are great, but you play for coaches, and Pledger said that it was the Ohio State coaching staff that really stood out to him.
“What stood out was how down-to-earth the coaching staff is, plus the support systems that they have in place,” Pledger said.
The Buckeyes offered Pledger, the seventh-ranked tailback in the 2018 class, in January.
Webb not going to happen?
Monday night, we talked about Pennsylvania 2017 wide receiver Mark Webb and how after a big performance at The Opening, he might be someone the Buckeyes would begin taking a closer look at.
There was a little discussion about a potential visit for Friday Night Lights and some interest on both sides, but after talking to sources close to Ohio State, it seems that barring a significant change in plans, there won’t be much of a pursuit.
Why? It’s not because Webb doesn’t interest the Buckeyes, because he does. The issue it seems is that Webb and Philadelphia running back D’Andre Swift will go – or at least continue to leave that impression – to the same college, and the Buckeyes aren’t in the mix for Swift.
If Webb decides he’s not beholden to a package deal, then there’s a chance things could pick back up here, but right now, it seems Georgia and Penn State are the two schools worth paying the most attention to.
Jerron Cage to visit Ohio State next week
One of the lesser-talked-about Buckeyes commitments, Cincinnati (Winton Woods) defensive tackle Jerron Cage, will be back at Ohio State next week, his second visit to Columbus since June and third time since April.
“Yes, sir. I’ll be up there,” Cage told Landof10.com. “I’m going to work out to get the time with Larry Johnson, Sr.”
The country’s 12th-ranked defensive tackle, Cage was one of just three Ohio State commitments that didn’t earn an invitation to The Opening, but he said he was eagerly watching his future teammates perform in Oregon.
“They balled out,” Cage said of the Ohio State commitments and targets in attendance. “I’m excited to line up with them.”
Although it appears that things are all set on the Cage front, there’s still some speculation that eventually Notre Dame might be a player in his recruitment. There’s a good chance he’ll visit South Bend this summer – his brother is a redshirt sophomore for the Irish – and he’s also likely to take an official visit to Notre Dame this fall.