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.
Buckeyes getting to know 2018 Cleveland prospect
In a recruiting cycle that is likely to see four or five signees for Ohio State along the offensive line, there will not be many unturned stones at the position. On Sunday, we spoke about a number of potential options at the offensive tackle position and mentioned Cleveland St. Ignatius lineman Darian Kennard. The 6-foot-6, 315-pound lineman is not ranked by the national recruiting services (yet), which could be a result of not participating in most of the scouting agencies combines and camps.
Kennard isn’t afraid to compete or anything like that, so put that worry to rest immediately.
“I’m planning to go to more college camps,” Kennard told Land of 10. “I only went to one camp last year, because (Ignatius head coach Chuck) Kyle wanted me to go to the Ohio State camp because it was my first year in Ohio, but I will attend more camps this summer. I’ve been invited to the Under Armour All-American camp in the spring and I’m going to that.”
Kennard is originally from Tennessee, so he’s not a dyed-in-the-wool Ohio State fan like most Northeast Ohio prospects. He says he roots for the Volunteers (who, like the Buckeyes, are not among his nine scholarship offers), but that he’s not inherently loyal to any school.
“I grew up a fan (of Tennessee),” he said. “But that doesn’t mean they’ll win (if they offer.)”
That’s good news for the Buckeyes and for any program getting involved in his recruitment. Ohio State has two assistant coaches working with him now.
“Yes,” he replied, when asked if he speaks with Ohio State offensive line coach Greg Studrawa often. “It’s just a lot of talk, back-and-forth, between us. He doesn’t really (talk about) an offer. I also get along well with (running backs coach Tony) Alford.”
Kennard has been to Ohio State twice previously and said he intends to return to campus sometime soon.
“I’ve been down there for two games during the season,” he said. “My mom and I are working on (getting back.).”
Thad Matta offers 2019 Ohio State legacy
Let’s just be honest about the Buckeyes basketball program, OK? Right now, there’s a lot of questions marks about where things are going. That’s why, sometimes, it’s best to look back to figure out what used to work, then try to apply it to the present and future.
So, in that vein, Ohio State offered 2019 guard Jeremiah Francis, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound point guard from nearby Pickerington Central High School. That is the school that produced Ohio State junior Jae’Sean Tate, which is good, but Francis is the son of former Buckeyes great Jerry Francis, which is better. The elder Francis played in 133 games for the Buckeyes in the mid-1980s and he’s reminding his son regularly about his time donning the scarlet and gray.
“My dad,” Jeremiah told Land of 10, “he always reminds me how many points he scored in the Big Ten: 1,486. My dad and family is the No. 1 reason why I would choose Ohio State. My grandparents and parents don’t want to watch me on TV, they want to see me in person.”
As just a sophomore for the Tigers, there’s a lot of time until Francis needs to make a college decision. Still, he has begun talking to another Buckeyes legacy – 2017 signee Kaleb Wesson from nearby Westerville South High School – about the unique chance the pair has to reinvigorate a program that may need a big-time dose of local talent – guys who grew up loving Ohio State – to right an off-kilter ship.
“I have talked to Kaleb Wesson,” Francis said. “He believes me and him can change the program (and bring it) back to being one of the best. I believe there is still pride in Ohio State hoops and they want hometown favorites, kids that have watched in high school. It’s appealing because Value City Arena is dead. I feel like I’m a program changer and could help wake Columbus back up again, like how Mike Conley and those guys did.”
That’s a lot of pressure to bear, but perhaps Francis and Wesson – along 2018 in-state commitments Dane Goodwin, Justin Ahrens and Darius Bazley – can handle it.
The question is, will Matta make it to 2019? The natives, as they are wont to do when inconsistency rules, are getting restless.
Okudah primed for key role in 2017?
There’s going to be a handful of Ohio State 2017 signees in a position to earn playing time this fall but few will be the focus of high expectations more than 5-star cornerback Jeffrey Okudah. He’s the “easy” pick when it comes to predicting an instant-impact type of player, and another publication has done just that.
The Buckeyes have seen several players from their secondary head to the NFL over the past few seasons, opening the door for a player like Okudah to come in and see the field early. Some have compared Okudah to former five-star Jalen Ramsey, mainly because of Okudah’s ability to play either safety or corner. That versatility should only help him in Columbus, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see him as an opening day starter in the fall with his early enrollment giving him a jumpstart on the competition.
I don’t know how easy Denzel Ward, Damon Arnette and others will be to usurp in the Buckeyes lineup, but Okudah has all the tools to be a big-time player in his three (yeah, just going to call that now) years at Ohio State.