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 a glimpse at what’s coming next.
Buckeyes work hard to keep Darrion Henry at home
Darrion Henry has already earned a well-deserved reputation as one of the most impressive prospects in the state of Ohio. The 2020 Cincinnati Princeton defensive end has landed more than a dozen offers before the end of his sophomore season, including some of the sport’s blue-bloods — Ohio State, Notre Dame, Michigan, Penn State, Michigan State and several others have offered Henry. The Buckeyes already regard Henry as a major priority target.
Ohio State was one of the first major programs to offer Henry, extending a scholarship during an unofficial visit to campus on Feb. 19. The offer came on the heels of a dominant performance at the Under Armour All-America camp event in the Cleveland area by the 6-foot-6, 260-pound sophomore.
“I thought it was great. For me to be one of the best three — I think only three guys in my class in Ohio have the Ohio State offer —in Ohio is just a wonderful thing,” Henry said. “At the time, I was excited and I think Ohio State opened up a lot of doors. I didn’t think I was going to get the offer as early as I did. It was a wonderful offer.”
The Buckeyes again hosted Henry on Monday, March 26 for his second unofficial visit in as many months. While Henry got the lay of the land and learned Ohio State’s campus and facilities during his first trip, the follow-up was focused more on two things — taking in his first spring practice and getting to spend more time building relationships with the coaches, including Urban Meyer.
The first part of that equation was fun and informative for Henry.
“I mostly watched practice during this visit. It’s very intense and these guys really get after it. I wasn’t expecting anything less because it’s a top program. They get after it in practice a lot,” Henry detailed.
However, it seems like the second part — the opportunity to build relationships and to get to know Ohio State’s entire coaching staff — that set this visit apart for Henry. Meyer wasn’t around campus the first time Henry came to town, so they were making introductions.
“Of course, it’s a wonderful program and I think the best of the best should go to the best schools. It’s close to home also, which is a great thing to have too in the back pocket. They put guys into the league every year,” Henry explained. “It’s a great program that they have. They have a great fan base behind the program. There are great coaches, too.
“Me and coach Larry Johnson have a wonderful relationship. Coach Taver Johnson is a great guy. Coach Hinton also coached my coach, Coach Daniels, so that’s a fun relationship to have. I just met coach Urban Meyer this second time that I came up and we chopped it up a little bit and had a good conversation.”
Henry also recently took unofficial visits to Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Penn State, and Pittsburgh during March, using his time to see some of the early programs in the region that have offered. He says he has no other visits lined up at the moment.
Before long, Henry and his teammates at Princeton — 2020 linebacker Jaheim Thomas, 2020 defensive back Elijah Eberhardt, and other interesting recruits at the school — will turn their attention toward the upcoming football season. Cincinnati has long been a city dominated by recruits at the top private schools in the area — powerhouse programs like St. Xavier, Archbishop Moeller, La Salle and Elder.
Henry and his teammates have designs on changing that.
“We’re going to change that. The last couple [of] years, this program has struggled and had coaches after coaches. Coach Daniels is changing that in a major way. This year, we play Colerain and they’ve been winning the conference for far too long. We’re going to change that this year,” Henry said. “I’m planning on making a statement for the city.”
Preps to pros? Former Ohio State commit makes the move
We’re going to keep tonight’s column at Cincinnati Princeton, but we’re transitioning sports to discuss interesting news in college basketball recruiting. A former Ohio State commit, 2018 wing player Darius Bazley, has informed Yahoo Sports NBA insider Shams Charania that he will forego college to enter the NBA’s G-League.
Bazley was committed to Ohio State from August 2016 to April 2017 and later committed to Syracuse from July 2017 until the news Thursday that he would skip college. The 247Sports composite rankings regard Bazley as a 5-star prospect, the No. 8 prospect in the 2018 class and the No. 4 small forward. The 6-foot-9, 200-pound wing is a game-changer with his length and athleticism, seemingly capable of guarding 1 through 4 and getting his shot whenever he wants it.
The jump will allow Bazley, an Ohio native, to sign a contract, develop in a lower-level version of the NBA during the 2018 season, and enter the 2019 NBA Draft after drawing a salary in the G-League.
Bazley’s decision could alter the path for prospects at the top of college basketball recruiting.
For many players, college basketball is a great thing. It provides an opportunity for athletic and academic success and a launching pad to better things in life. However, the best players in the country participate in a system that offers them far less than their labor is worth and keeps them from maximizing their basketball abilities by inundating them with restrictions on coaching and workouts.
We’ll see if others follow Bazley’s lead.
Campus visitors update
Just to keep everything fresh in your mind, Ohio State is hosting several recruits on campus over the next few days for unofficial visits. Most of these were known, but Paris Johnson is a new addition to the list.
- 2019 quarterback Jalon Jones (offered) – March 29
- 2019 running back Noah Cain (offered) – Mach 29
- 2019 cornerback Sheridan Jones (offered) – March 29
- 2020 tackle Paris Johnson Jr. (offered) – March 30
- 2019 defensive end Gabe Newburg – March 30
- 2019 linebacker Jestin Jacobs – March 30
- 2019 safety Jaylen McCollough (offered) – March 31
- 2019 safety Nick Cross (offered) – April 1
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