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.
Ohio State or Miami for Tyson Campbell?
In case you missed it back in April, a pair of teammates at Fort Lauderdale’s American Heritage High School visited Columbus for a two-day stint with the Buckeyes. That duo, Patrick Surtain Jr. and Tyson Campbell, are the starting cornerbacks on the Patriots defense and ranked by 247Sports as the nation’s Nos. 1 and 4 cornerbacks in the Class of 2018. And they have been right at the top of the Ohio State big board for a while, alongside Houston Lamar High’s Anthony Cook (rated No. 2).
It may be worth paying a bit more attention to this pair moving forward, especially Campbell. There’s an emerging sense from people close to his recruitment that the 6-foot-2, 180-pound defensive back could be narrowing his focus to two schools: Ohio State and Miami.
Ohio State’s Zach Smith, along with Kerry Coombs, are all over Campbell and to this point, it seems to be paying off. SEC Country’s Zach Abolverdi was in Fort Lauderdale on Tuesday and spent time at American Heritage talking with a handful of prospects there, Campbell included. He said he doesn’t have a top 2, but that Ohio State, LSU, Miami, Florida, Alabama, Georgia and Florida State are all in his top group.
“I have been there, last month, during my spring break,” Campbell told Abolverdi. “That program, what they do to their guys, to get them to the league. Which really what I want to do. I talk to [Buckeyes head coach Urban] Meyer, Zach Smith and Kerry Coombs a lot.”
The sheer enormity of the Ohio State campus was something that caught Campbell’s attention.
“I had to see the campus for myself,” he said. “It was the biggest school I’ve ever seen. I liked the coaches, the players and I plan on going up there again.
“It exceeded my expectations. I didn’t expect to enjoy it that much. It’s a place I could see myself at. I really like that school.”
As mentioned, and unsurprisingly, Ohio State’s NFL draft success is something Campbell has noticed.
“Of course, when you go to college, you’re not looking to be the same player you are in high school,” he said. “You’re looking to develop into a better player. (Ohio State) tells me that when I go there, I could play corner, and that I have a chance to play as a true freshman.”
Campbell expects to make a decision sometime following his senior season and if this is a two-team race, the biggest draw to staying home at Miami is probably just that, staying home at Miami. Right now, the Hurricanes have five defensive backs committed for 2018 and though none of them would prevent Mark Richt from signing Campbell if he could, I think there’s a real chance he leaves the area for college.
The Hurricanes are working hard to rejuvenate their program, but Ohio State’s established brand, its NFL success and Campbell’s relationships with the Buckeyes make them a very attractive option for any defensive back in the country. On top of that, Campbell is as high on the Ohio State board as anyone in the country. That’s why on Wednesday I put in a 247Sports Crystal Ball pick for Campbell, predicting he’ll sign with the Buckeyes.
Patrick Surtain Jr. talks Buckeyes, too
Speaking of Surtain, he also shared some thoughts about the Buckeyes with Abolverdi on Tuesday. The country’s top-ranked cornerback said he’d like to decide during his senior season and that Ohio State is one of the schools competing with LSU, Florida State, Alabama, Clemson, and Florida. He hopes to cut his list to five soon.
“Ohio State is a great program,” Surtain said. “They’re national-championship bound almost every year. They’ve got great coaches, you know, coaches that teach you more about life than football.
“I talk to them nonstop really now. Coach Zach Smith, Coach Coombs and Coach Meyer. They’ve been hitting me up the most lately; it’s great to talk to them.”
His visit to Ohio State helped him see a bit more about the history of the Buckeyes football program and the message from the Ohio State staff is relatively simple.
“The coaches were great,” he said. “I got to meet the players, and tour the facilities. Getting to see the tradition is what stood out.
“They’re message to me is to take my time through to the recruiting process. They say there’s no place like Ohio State and that I’m a big asset to them. They produce great defensive backs.”
DT Stephon Wynn remains one to watch
Ohio State’s pursuit of another defensive tackle to complement 5-star prospect Taron Vincent in its 2018 recruiting class may not be all that exhaustive.
Stephon Wynn, a teammate of Vincent at Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy, told DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell that Ohio State is one school he’s absolutely going to see this summer.
“I am going to take my whole family to Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina and Ohio State this summer,” Wynn told DawgNation. “We are going to take these visits and really sit down with the coaches. Talk to them. Talk to some players. We are just going to really get a whole feel for the campus and everything that comes along with it. That’s when you start seeing some leaders come out.”
Wynn is difficult to read, and as difficult to project in college because he’s still listed by most recruiting sites as a defensive end, but the country’s 99th-ranked prospect is almost certainly an interior lineman. Clemson, where his father played, and Georgia are near the top of his list. But Ohio State remains a threat.
Larry Johnson, Sr. is in contact with Wynn most days and of course he’s got Vincent in his ear, as well. One visit is all it will take for Ohio State to really become a viable option and is going to happen this summer.