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 roots have Georgia linebacker interested in the Buckeyes
In a year that could feature three linebackers in Ohio State’s recruiting class, it’s sometimes hard to find the right combination in a player. You need to locate a player who a) is good enough to play for your school; b) has a natural affection for your school; and c) is willing to come to your school if it happens to be located outside of his natural habitat. It’s not always easy to nab one player who fits all those characteristics, though it’s certainly easier when your program is as national as Ohio State is.
So, when a player like Michael Harris (Tucker, Ga.) is eager to hear from you, it’s worth doing a little investigation. That’s what is happening now between the country’s 13th-ranked inside linebacker and Ohio State.
“I was raised in Ohio,” Harris told Land of 10. “I lived there my first couple years. I’ve been back a few summers and still have family up there. I was up there last summer.”
Harris has offers from Alabama, Auburn and Georgia among his top 15, but it’s rare to find a prospect from the South who views Ohio State the way he does. He has been talking to the Buckeyes and didn’t hold back when discussing what a potential offer would mean to him.
“I’m hearing from the boss man, coach Urban Meyer,” Harris said. “(Quarterbacks coach Ryan) Day, Mark Pantoni and (new linebackers coach Billy) Davis. We’ve talked about (a potential offer), but they want to know me better. One thing I don’t have is someone to drive me eight hours up there.
“I’ve always loved that school and always said I was going to go there. If my dreams come true, it just shows me that anything can happen if I put my mind to it. All the work that I’ve put in is for that offer to come. It would mean a lot to me.”
Shane Lee talks recent Ohio State trip
Another out-of-state linebacker with Buckeyes interest was on campus at Ohio State recently. This time, though, he’s a 2019 prospect.
Shane Lee is the nation’s top-ranked 2019 linebacker.
“The weekend before last I was at Ohio State and Pittsburgh,” Lee told Land of 10. “It was my second time there. I went up for a camp in the summer.”
The camp setting is certainly different from the offseason, when a prospect gets to know the coaches and the school vibe of a February visit.
“The staff cares about development as a person,” Lee said when asked what he learned about the Buckeyes on this most recent trip. “The staff cares about having good grades and other important things, that you grow into a well-respected man. That is really important to me.
“They provide opportunities for internships and things like that, and they help you with things you’ll do in life. For instance, they’ll teach you how to cook, which seemed kind of weird at the time, but looking back on it, that kind of stuff is really important. It was cool to hear.”
As with most Maryland-area prospects recruited by the Buckeyes, Lee, from St. John’s College High School in Washington, D.C., will have his recruitment spearheaded by local legend Larry Johnson Sr. However, new linebackers coach Billy Davis will also be involved. The 6-foot, 210-pound sophomore spent time on campus getting to know those coaches and defensive coordinator Greg Schiano.
“Every conversation I had was a positive one,” he said. “They’re all filled with knowledge and experience, and it was cool to hear about them and what the Ohio State defense is about.”
With 13 early offers, including from the Buckeyes, Lee is going to find out a lot about many schools over the next two years. He is not close to a decision but realizes that to differentiate each opportunity from the other, he’ll need to focus on the things that are most important to him and his family.
“It’s going to come down to academics, life after football and, of course, football itself,” Lee said. “The things my family and I find important. I can’t predict what is going to happen in two years. I’m moving slow and exploring all of my options.”
In-state receiver one to watch?
In recent years, Ohio State’s wide receivers have tended to be less Ohio-based than some Buckeye State football enthusiasts would like. In the 2017 recruiting class, big-time prospects like JaVonte Richardson and Danny Davis never received an offer from the Buckeyes, much to the chagrin of folks within the state’s borders.
In the 2018 class, Huber Heights Wayne wideout L’Christian Smith has an Ohio State offer, but he might be leaning toward Kentucky because the Wildcats are likely to be more lenient with respect to him playing basketball (and wide receiver as opposed to tight end). Ohio’s sixth-ranked prospect, wide receiver JoJo Scates, is committed to Michigan State and recently added an Alabama offer while Ohio State sits on the sideline in his recruitment.
Well, fear not loyalists, there is a player out there in Xenia, Ohio, who may be worth paying attention to. His name is Meechi Harris.
“I talk with Ohio State a lot,” Harris told Land of 10. “They’re always checking up on me. I talk with (offensive line coach Greg) Studrawa and (wide receivers coach Zach) Smith. I talk to Tim Hinton sometimes also.”
Michigan State recently offered Harris, as have Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota. A 6-foot-2, 190-pound athlete who is also a standout on the basketball court, Harris said he didn’t grow up a fan of the Buckeyes like most in Ohio. Rather, he just observed the sport and individual players, citing former Cincinnati Bengals star Chad Johnson as a player he has emulated. When talking to the Buckeyes, though, the message is clear: Ohio State is interested.
“I’ve been up there once for basketball and our team stayed in Columbus, and I’ve been there for the junior day in January,” Harris said. “It’s nice there, I like it. Their primary message for me is to keep working and do what I can do. I think they want to see me compete at a national championship level.”
For a player from a small town who hasn’t spent much time in the public light, Harris has a calm and cool demeanor. He’s not in a hurry to make a college decision and hasn’t let the process get the best of him. He does admit to feeling a bit anxious when he first met Urban Meyer, though.
“I was nervous,” he recalled about being introduced to the Buckeyes head coach. “I tried not to show it, though. I couldn’t look nervous in front of the big boss himself.”
Harris will return to Ohio State soon, but the Buckeyes’ interest isn’t changing the country’s 61st-ranked wide receiver.
“I am going back there next Tuesday or Thursday,” he said. “I’ll be going up there for a spring practice. I appreciate all the offers I have and all the coaches that I talk with. (Ohio State) interest feels pretty much the same as the others. Right now I’m just trying to focus on basketball and school.”