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.
Preparing for Jaelen Gill’s decision
In a somewhat surprising revelation, Ohio’s second-ranked 2018 prospect announced late Thursday that he would make a college decision next Wednesday, March 1.
I am announcing my commitment on March 1st at Westerville South High School, in the auditorium at 2:45 p.m. Thank you for the support!!
— Raaaaaad Chaaaaad (@jaelengill21) February 24, 2017
The country’s 30th-ranked prospect overall, Gill was offered by the Buckeyes at the end of his freshman season at Westerville South High School, just about 15 miles north of Columbus. The 6-foot-1, 182-pound athlete made his most recent visit to campus this past Monday and Ohio State has been the perceived favorite for years, despite Gill’s reluctance to name any school as the leader in his recruitment.
So, if does not select Ohio State next Wednesday, who could it be? UCLA has been a top school for Gill for much of the past year, so that’s a legitimate possibility. Tennessee also had some real interest.
The last time an Ohio prospect who had this kind of national “run” chose another school probably was Jerome Baker in the summer of 2014 when he picked Florida over Ohio State. Of course, months later, Baker flipped to the Buckeyes and is now a leader of the Ohio State defense.
Gill’s decision, according to sources, has been made for “quite awhile” and that would seem to play in the Buckeyes’ favor. Stay tuned, we’ll know within a week.
Chris Curry getting to know Tony Alford, Buckeyes
So, let’s make a dangerous assumption that Gill picks Ohio State. Then what? If Gill is in the Buckeyes would have two running backs committed in their first four pledges for 2018. They’d like a third running back because Gill could project as an “H-Back” similar to Curtis Samuel. Because of Gill’s versatility – and the relative lack of depth at tailback expected after the 2017 season – another “true” running back is coveted.
One player who could work himself into that conversation: Chris Curry out of Lehigh Acres, Fla. Curry is a 6-foot, 200-pound tailback and he’s been talking to Ohio State assistant Tony Alford.
“I try and communicate with the running backs coach every day,” Curry told Land of 10. “I’m just waiting on an offer.”
Right now, the country’s 23rd-ranked back has 12 offers, but they include Michigan, Oregon and Florida. He says Alford has been up front with him about the delay on the Buckeyes’ part: It’s just about getting acquainted and making sure the fit is right.
“He’s just telling me that we need to build our relationship,” he said. “We talk about all kinds of things, how the day was, football, me wearing the scarlet and gray. I’m going to visit in the summer.”
Curry wears No. 24 and says he models his game after former Seattle Seahawks great Marshawn Lynch. He believes Ohio State can help him reach his personal goals on and off the field and cites the development of players such as Carlos Hyde, Ezekiel Elliott and Mike Weber as proof it can happen in Columbus.
“I feel like I can win a championship there and also the Heisman Trophy,” Curry said. “I see what the guys they’ve had have done and it just gives me a drive to be like them, or even better. They all have great personalities and great work ethic. I’m looking for a great academic program, a strong coaching staff and a family feel at the school.”
Curry will visit Clemson next weekend and he’s previously been to Miami and Florida.
So what about Iverson Clement?
Now this is when recruiting becomes a challenging business to be in. Last weekend, New Jersey 4-star athlete Iverson Clement visited Ohio State, and the discussion heading into the weekend was that the country’s 19th-ranked athlete had intended to make a verbal commitment to the Buckeyes before he left town.
Clement didn’t commit and hasn’t spoken on the record about his visit. What gives?
If you’ve followed this stuff long enough, there are times when it becomes necessary to read between the lines, and this appears to be one of those instances. Clement was not being shy about his intentions and no commitment out of him likely means that things didn’t go the way he had expected. With an offer going out to Ohio running back Tavion Thomas the same weekend Clement visited, and now a decision being announced by Jaelen Gill, one could make an assumption that Clement’s potential “spot” in the class has been filled.
If the New Jersey star truly wants in at Ohio State, he may need to return to campus this summer for a camp and show that his versatility and ability at wide receiver and running back make him too good to pass up.
The likely outcome? Clement ends up somewhere other than Ohio State.