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.
Breaking down the newest commitment
Thanks to all the schools that have recruited me but my family and I have decided to further my career at The Ohio State University.?️? pic.twitter.com/ZHhSS9asOd
— Eli (@elijahgardiner) January 30, 2017
Why, after delaying for the last two weeks, did Ohio State decide to offer on Monday? The Buckeyes first began kicking the tires on Gardiner just about two weeks ago – when Tyjon Linsdey de-committed from Ohio State – and they spent two weeks trying to get to know him. After Urban Meyer and Kevin Wilson visited Gardiner last Wednesday, things ramped up. Ohio State wanted him and his family to make the trip to Columbus, and they did, and that allowed both sides the chance to explore the “fit” between them. After all, Gardiner is from very small-town Texas – his hometown, Kemp, has less than 1,500 residents – and Ohio State is a very big place.
Obviously the “fit” was good.
What does Gardiner bring to the table for the Buckeyes? Raw potential.
“There’s a lot of upside,” one source close to the recruitment shared with Land of 10. “It’s late in the process and if Ohio State is going to take a chance on a player, it may as well be a player with size and/or speed, and in this case, both. He is a big kid that runs well. He is just so raw but he can be really good.”
Gardiner will join Trevon Grimes and Jaylen Harris at wide receiver for the Buckeyes, giving them three commitments at the position, each of them standing taller than 6-foot-4.
Getting to know more about 2019 Ohio offer
The Buckeyes offered 2019 defensive end Zach Harrison on Saturday, a 6-foot-5, 225-pound sophomore at Olentangy Orange High School in Lewis Center, Ohio. Harrison has emerged over the last few months as one of the state’s best overall prospects regardless of class.
“He was always a hard worker,” Orange head coach Zebb Schroeder told Land of 10. “(He) loved football and was really coachable. The last 18 months he’s just kept getting taller and quickly gaining muscle, but also getting faster. Then matched his physical growth with an all-state year on the field and boom — he’s a national recruit.”
Schroeder said the development was something he saw coming.
“We saw it coming last spring,” Schroeder said. “He grew to 215 pounds so quick and was running a 22-second 200-meter run. We were like ‘Holy cow, if he plays well on the field he’s going to be heavily recruited.'”
Now that he is being heavily recruited – the Buckeyes offer was his eighth – it’s all about handling the pressure that comes with it.
Which 2017 commitment has the highest ceiling?
In a class full of potential superstars like Ohio State’s 2017 group, it’s hard to pinpoint just one player who may have the highest ceiling in the group.
But it’s also hard to look at a prospect like Chase Young without being very impressed by what he’s capable of being. Not just because of his 6-foot-5, 251-pound frame, but because of a work ethic that is matched only by his natural athletic ability.
That’s why he’s a prospect that could be talked about years from now.
From Land of 10’s Ben Axelrod:
On Friday’s “Inside the Shoe” podcast, 247Sports’ director of recruiting Steve Wiltfong explained why the Buckeyes’ head coach’s celebration was so enthusiastic.
“He’s a guy that has the upside to be the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft,” Wiltfong said. “He’s a very disruptive defensive end.”
Young is the country’s second-ranked defensive end and No. 8 overall prospect after dominating the best offensive linemen in the nation during the week of the U.S. Army All-American Game.
In his senior season at DeMatha Catholic, the top-ranked prospect in the talent-rich state of Maryland tallied 37 tackles-for-loss and 19 sacks. He also stood out in practice throughout his week at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, recording one tackle-for-loss, a fumble recovery and a QB hurry in the game.
“He was one of the bell cows there,” Wiltfong said. “One of the best guys there, and he certainly flashed a ton in the game.”
Don’t expect Young to be content. When asked about his new rankings and his current national standing, he suggested that his game isn’t close to complete.
“Just watch me in college,” Young said.
Spartans going hard in Columbus
As the Buckeyes were hosting their top 2018 tight end target – New York’s Jeremy Ruckert – this past weekend, Ohio’s best tight end was hitting baseballs instead of getting better acquainted with Kevin Wilson and Urban Meyer.
On Sunday, that tight end – Pickerington Central’s Trenton Gillison – committed to Michigan State.
With Gillison’s announcement, the Spartans now have three of Ohio’s top 10 prospects in the 2018 class committed with more than a year to signing day. The players? Wide receiver Joseph “JoJo” Scates, defensive back Xavier Henderson and now Gillison.
None of the players that have committed to Michigan State have an offer from Ohio State – yet – and so certainly a lot of things could change if the Buckeyes were to offer soon. There is always a risk when you recruit too much nationally that you can alienate your homegrown talent and open the door for rival programs to infiltrate your state.
“At first, it was kind of tough that Ohio State wasn’t giving an offer,” Gillison said. “But I just decided that I’m not going to wait for someone who doesn’t want me, and I’m just gonna go to the school that really wants me to go play.”
At what point in the recruiting process does the offer a kid really wants become less important? We may find out.