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.
Huge recruiting weekend is upon us … what are the challenges?
Two years ago, in September 2014, Ohio State welcomed a large number of recruits – including 5-star defensive end Josh Sweat – to campus for its huge early season game against Virginia Tech. The Buckeyes lost the football game and in doing so may have actually hurt themselves a bit in a number of key recruitments during the 2015 cycle.
When you choose to bring in a bunch of studs at one time, there’s always the outside chance it could blow up in your face. First and foremost, it’s hard to pay attention to everyone as much as you’d like. Second, when you’re worrying so much about recruiting you could potentially take the edge off the football team.
“It’s ridiculous, just as you can imagine,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said of the hectic nature of the weekend during Tuesday’s Big Ten coaches teleconference.
Meyer’s job doesn’t change one way or the other, and if the Buckeyes lose, he still has to put on the salesman face Sunday morning. Is it worth it?
“It’s one of the risks you take,” Meyer said. “If things don’t work out our way, it’s going to be tough.”
For the Buckeyes to have a truly successful weekend, the most important thing to do is put on a great show in Ohio Stadium. The result of the game matters far less to a recruit than the atmosphere and support from fans.
Who are the recruits that are expected to be in attendance? Here’s the list as of Thursday.
2017 Ohio State commitments making the trip, two big fish
One of the bigger story lines this weekend will be the official visitors. While the majority of the official visitors on hand will already be committed to the Buckeyes, two key targets will make big visits this weekend.
Ohio State commitments making their official visits this weekend:
- Quarterback • Tate Martell • Bishop Gorman • Las Vegas • ★★★★
- Running back • J.K. Dobbins • La Grange • Texas • ★★★★
- Wide receiver • Trevon Grimes • St. Thomas Aquinas • Florida • ★★★★★
- Offensive line • Jake Moretti • Pomona • Colorado • ★★★★
- Defensive back • Shaun Wade • Trinity Christian Academy • Florida • ★★★★★
There are also a handful of Ohio State commitments visiting this weekend in an unofficial capacity.
- Wide receiver • Tyjon Lindsey • Bishop Gorman • Las Vegas • ★★★★
- Offensive line • Josh Myers • Miamisburg • Ohio • ★★★★★
- Defensive tackle • Jerron Cage • Winton Woods • Ohio • ★★★★
- Defensive end • Chase Young • DeMatha Catholic • Maryland • ★★★★★
- Defensive back • Amir Riep • Colerain • Ohio • ★★★★
- Athlete • Brendon White • Olentangy Liberty • Ohio • ★★★★
A pair of the Buckeyes’ top remaining 2017 targets will be on hand officially.
- Linebacker • Anthony Hines III • Plano East • Texas • ★★★★
- Defensive back • Bubba Bolden • Bishop Gorman • Las Vegas • ★★★★
Calabasas (Calif.) 5-star CB/WR Darnay Holmes, who was originally listed for this coming weekend, will not make the trip to Ohio, at least not now. Sources close to the Buckeyes have indicated that he’s more likely to visit for the Michigan game the weekend of Nov. 26.
A handful of the country’s top 2018 prospects
While this weekend will serve primarily as an opportunity for an already tight-knit 2017 class to bond even more, it’s also a big weekend for the Buckeyes as they look to kick-start the 2018 group. Right now, Ohio State has two commitments (5-star quarterback Emory Jones and 4-star running back Brian Snead) and this weekend will see many of their top targets on campus.
Let’s start with the biggest names – five 5-star prospects – from the 2018 class.
- Running back • Zamir White • Scotland County • North Carolina • ★★★★★
- Defensive end • Micah Parsons • Harrisburg • Pennsylvania • ★★★★★ • COMMITTED TO PENN STATE
- Defensive back • Tyreke Johnson • Trinity Christian Academy • Florida • ★★★★★
- Offensive line • Jackson Carman • Fairfield • Ohio • ★★★★★
- Defensive back • Derrik Allen • Lassiter • Georgia • ★★★★★
- Running back • Jaelen Gill • Westerville South • Ohio • ★★★★★
Ohio State is in great shape with Carman, Allen and Gill, but this weekend will be a big opportunity to make an impact on the recruitment of Zamir White. He visited the Buckeyes over the summer and he’s making a second unofficial visit in four months, so its clear he views them as a serious contender.
The addition of Tyreke Johnson, who has been to Ohio a number of times as well, is interesting, but only if the Buckeyes are able to hang on to Shaun Wade, who he’s very close with.
Beyond the 5-stars, here are the key names to watch this weekend from the 2018 class.
- Wide receiver • Shaquon Anderson-Butts • Harrisburg • Pennsylvania • ★★★★
- Linebacker • Dallas Gant • Toledo St. John’s • Ohio • ★★★★
- Linebacker • Christopher Oats • Winton Woods • Ohio • ★★★★
- Linebacker • Cam McGrone • Lawrence Central • Indianapolis • ★★★
- Defensive back • Christian Tutt • Thomson • Georgia • ★★★★
Of course, there are always new names that could pop up, but for now, that handful of guys is worth paying close attention to.
Stars from the 2019 class heading to Columbus
It’s too early to care too much about the class of 2019 but there are three players with Ohio State offers heading to town this weekend from that group.
Who are they?
- Wide receiver • Jashawn Sheffield • Frederica Academy • Georgia • ★★★★★
- Defensive end • Stephen Herron • Trinity Catholic • Kentucky • ★★★★★
- Defensive back • Jalyn Simpson • Frederica Academy • Georgia • N/R
There are certainly going to be more players from the 2019 class visiting, but those three are all confirmed for the weekend.
So, with all those big names on campus, what are the odds that Ohio State adds a commitment this weekend?
You never want to come right out and say “This guy is going to commit” because there are so many variables at play, but I know as readers you don’t want hemming and hawing.
If there’s one player who I feel is most likely to commit in the 2017 class this weekend, it’s Bubba Bolden. The Las Vegas contingent has become very important for the Buckeyes and it’s hard to imagine Ohio State saying “no thanks” to Bolden if he wants to end his recruitment. The decision about whether Bolden is a “take” is entirely Urban Meyer’s and I think the two sides could both realize it’s a great fit this weekend.
Unless something significant happens with Anthony Hines, I can’t picture him ending up at Ohio State.
What about the 2018 class?
If there’s one player in that group I could see pulling the trigger, it would be Cincinnati’s Christopher Oats. He’s had an Ohio State offer for a few months, and because I believe that Dallas Gant and Palaie Gaoteote are the more “traditional” linebackers being pursued by the Buckeyes, Oats securing a spot in the class now may be a smart move for him. He’s listed the Buckeyes as his leader publicly since being offered, and this weekend would be a good time to join his teammate Jerron Cage as a future Silver Bullet.