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.
Final thoughts on Amari Burney
At 10 a.m. ET Thursday morning, Ohio State will know if has added another defensive back to its 2018 recruiting class. Clearwater (Fla.) Calvary Christian 4-star safety Amari Burney will make his college choice from Ohio State, Florida and Virginia Tech.
The nation’s No. 10-ranked safety per 247Sports, Burney visited Ohio State on April 15 for the Buckeyes spring game and — despite two safeties already committed to Greg Schiano and Urban Meyer — interest has remained strong on both sides. On Tuesday, SEC Country’s Zach Abolverdi was in Clearwater and talked with Burney. It’s clear he has a genuine respect for and interest in the Buckeyes.
“Coach Schiano calls me every week,” Burney said. “[He] texts me every day just letting me know what he can do for me and what I can do for them. We’ve been talking since last summer and we just have a great relationship.”
Great relationship or not, there is no doubt that every player needs to consider factors such as the depth chart at a school before making a decision. Ohio State signed six defensive backs in 2017 and has two safeties (Jaiden Woodbey and Josh Proctor) already verballed in 2018. But Burney says he’s not worrying too much about that. He told Land of 10 earlier this week that he is “very comfortable” with his talent and isn’t backing off any potential interest because of who’s committed or on a roster. He believes the best players will play at Ohio State, something he finds appealing about the program.
“Just them playing freshman,” he said when asked what draws him to the Buckeyes. “They say everybody has a shot to be a starter. They’re not promising players anything. If Malik Hooker had stayed, he would have to work for his spot this year. That’s what I like to hear.”
Burney continues to say all the right things when it comes to the Buckeyes, yet the overwhelming feeling is that he stays home and picks the Florida Gators. All 21 predictions on his 247Sports crystal ball are for Florida, and there’s no buzz about an upset coming from the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, either.
Final call? Florida.
Jake Kradel opts to stay home, doesn’t pick Ohio State
When Jake Kradel landed an offer from the Buckeyes two months ago, most people assumed the 3-star offensive guard would end up committing to Ohio State.
“Coach Meyer offered me,” Kradel told Land of 10 at the time. “It’s one I’ve been waiting for. It’s amazing. Just an extremely exciting moment.”
Meyer offered him, but it was offensive line coach Greg Studrawa who was most present in Kradel’s recruitment. The belief was Kradel planned to camp at Ohio State this summer and seemed content to hold off on a college decision until that occurred. Apparently, that was not the case. On Tuesday night, Kradel committed to Pittsburgh, going public with his decision just hours after a weekday visit to the Panthers campus.
‼️STAYING HOME‼️#L1TS8URGH pic.twitter.com/JFINupzQ0C
— Jake Kradel (@JakeKradel) May 30, 2017
Ohio State is likely to take four or five offensive linemen in its 2018 recruiting class and though Kradel’s potential caught the Buckeyes’ eye early, they had hoped to get a chance to see him compete and dominate at the point of attack in person this spring and summer. As a future center, Kradel was being evaluated against players such as Fredrick Scruggs and Verdis Brown, each of whom remain high on Ohio State’s recruiting board for interior offensive linemen.
One (Rondale) Moore WR to keep an eye on
On Tuesday, I wrote about the offensive players I felt would end up at Ohio State in the 2018 class. I included two wide receivers who are not currently committed to the Buckeyes, Kamryn Babb and L’Christian Smith.
One player not on the list but who continues to be worth watching closely is Louisville (Ky.) 3-star prospect Rondale Moore. Moore was offered by Ohio State on April 8 and has since remained relatively mum about his college plans. But the Buckeyes were in Louisville to watch him this spring and he’s expected to be in Columbus in the near future for a one-day camp.
Ranked the 15th-best wide receiver in 2018 in the 247Sports solo rankings, Moore is not the typical wideout we’ve seen Ohio State chase in the last few recruiting classes. He’s short in stature — just 5 feet, 8 inches tall — but is as explosive as any athlete in the nation. On Tuesday, video surfaced online of the 170-pound Moore squatting 530 pounds. If you’ve ever met me, you know that I’m not that familiar with lifting weights … but I’ve been told that squatting three times your body weight is impressive.
170-pounder Rondale Moore squatting 530 lbs at Louisville Trinity. that's where that 4.3 speed comes from. Beast. pic.twitter.com/kfHPso5S6R
— Barton Simmons (@bartonsimmons) May 30, 2017
Ohio State is interested in Moore and is one of just two schools (hometown Louisville the other) to have a crystal ball prediction for him. The Buckeyes didn’t sign a true “slot” receiver in the 2016 class (they opted to pass on Miami signee Sam Bruce) and lost a long-time commitment (Tyjon Lindsey) at the position in 2017, so a player like Moore would be smart addition for Meyer’s offense in 2018.
Keep watching this one closely.
Five early top 2019 targets picked for Nike’s The Opening final
Every summer 150 or so of America’s best young football players gather in Beaverton, Ore., and take part in the final of Nike’s fabled recruiting camp/combine, The Opening. The gaggle of players is comprised almost entirely of players preparing for their senior season of prep football, but each year a handful of underclassmen receive the coveted invitation, as well.
A year ago, Ohio State commitment Jaelen Gill was one of six juniors-to-be invited to Oregon, and on Wednesday Nike announced the juniors it is inviting to the camp this summer. Two Ohio prospects — as well as top Buckeyes targets from Michigan and Georgia — got the call.
— The Opening (@TheOpening) May 31, 2017
Lewis Center DE Zach Harrison and Cincinnati DT Jowon Briggs are two of the six players invited to The Opening. The pair are ranked in the top 100 nationally in the very early 2019 rankings, with Harrison as the country’s third-ranked overall player.
“I feel like I’m getting recognition for the work I put in,” Briggs told Land of 10 about the invite. “It’s always a joy to compete.”
Joining the Ohioans will be Devontae Dobbs from Michigan, Georgia’s Owen Pappoe (who will attempt to become the first ever player make The Opening final three times in the summer of 2018), IMG Academy (Florida) DE and Georgia commitment Nolan Smith II and Louisiana RB John Emery Jr. The Buckeyes have offered Dobbs, Pappoe and Smith and are considered the favorites at present to land Dobbs, rated the nation’s No. 1 offensive tackle in 2019.