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.
‘Guys that big shouldn’t be able to move like that’
There’s a reason that seemingly every major program in the country has gone to a rarely recruited state like West Virginia to pursue 5-star tackle Darnell Wright. Wright, the No. 20 prospect overall and No. 3 tackle in the 2019 recruiting class, has collected offers from Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Oklahoma, Penn State, USC, LSU, the big three in Florida and so on — I think you probably get the point.
The 6-foot-6, 290-pound Wright has been an Ohio State target since landing an offer from the Buckeyes in June 2017 and has visited the Columbus campus three times over the last nine months. Offensive line coach Greg Studrawa and the Buckeyes staff would be thrilled to add Wright to a burgeoning offensive line class that already includes fellow West Virginian tackle and Ohio State commit Doug Nester.
Given the priority that Ohio State has placed on landing Wright, I caught up with a trusted source on the ground in West Virginia who has been able to see the 5-star standout up close and in person not just on the gridiron, but on the hardwood as well.
“[Wright] is unreal. I watched him shut down Huntington Prep’s best basketball player in a pickup game last year and the kid’s a freshman on a Power-5 team now,” the source said. “Guys that big shouldn’t be able to move like that. He’s an elite athlete, man, and a great kid too. It’s crazy to see two elite tackles like him and Nester come out of our area.”
Huntington Prep is a major basketball program in West Virginia that has produced elite talent in recent years, including former No. 1 overall NBA draft selection Andrew Wiggins and 5-star Michigan State freshman Miles Bridges, a likely high lottery pick. Including prospects currently on the roster, Huntington Prep has produced an astounding 17 players rated as 4-star and 5-star players since Wiggins’ 2013 class.
Elite linebacker to visit Ohio State
Malvern Prep (Pa.) linebacker Keith Maguire Jr. was already a known quantity going into his junior season, but the continued growth from the standout linebacker has been one of the major recruiting story lines of the last month. Maguire already held Power-5 offers from West Virginia, North Carolina, Duke, Vanderbilt, Baylor and Virginia before the end of his junior season of football, but the Philadelphia-area prospect has seen his recruitment reach a different level in recent weeks.
Since December, schools like Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Northwestern, Boston College, Pitt, Maryland, Rutgers and many others have poured into Maguire’s high school to recruit the 6-foot-2, 215-pound linebacker. Although he’s only ranked as the No. 34 outside linebacker in the country and No. 496 prospect overall, his offer list is as impressive as any player in the state of Pennsylvania.
“Right now, I’m kind of just taking it slow. I’m talking to different coaches and different schools and seeing what you can learn from just talking to them. Pretty soon, I’ll start taking more visits to different schools and start narrowing down my recruitment,” Maguire said. “It’s kind of just staying under control and not getting too far ahead of myself.”
With only a pair of unofficial visits under his belt, Maguire’s recruitment is just beginning. However, all of his recent offers and attention from new programs means that at least two more trips will be on the docket soon for the big-time linebacker.
“I haven’t taken a lot of visits so far. I’ve actually only taken two — to Notre Dame and Northwestern. I’m also going to be visiting Ohio State and Clemson over a few weeks in March,” Maguire said. “Clemson will be March 3 and Ohio State will be March 23.”
Maguire landed his offer from Ohio State on Feb. 7, and has been in frequent contact with the Buckeyes coaching staff since that point. His potential future position coach, Billy Davis, and area recruiter Ryan Day, have been in the mix. So has Urban Meyer.
“It’s been going well. I’ve been talking to a few of Ohio State’s coaches. Obviously Coach Davis, but also Coach Meyer a few times and Coach Day,” Maguire said. “They’ve all been texting me and checking in, talking football and just kind of saying what’s up. It’s been a good amount of contact actually. I just like the competitiveness at Ohio State and the reputation as a great school.”
A conspicuous absence from Maguire’s list comes from one of Ohio State’s chief foes in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions, despite normally dominating recruiting of the Philadelphia suburbs, have not extended an offer to Maguire to date.
“I’ve been in contact with Penn State a pretty good amount, but they’re still doing the process of recruiting and checking out the film and all of that,” Maguire said. “I think I might visit there, but it depends on how everything recruiting-wise goes.”
Visits will be an important part of Maguire’s process over the next several months and he’ll use those opportunities to spend time around coaches and players on campus to evaluate the schools recruiting him and learn more about what they have to offer. Maguire will be searching for potential fits before cutting down his list.
“I’ll probably start narrowing them down this spring and more in the summer or maybe earlier. But I won’t really decide until next fall or maybe a little bit earlier than that,” Maguire said. “I’m sure I will [take all five official visits], unless I find a school I really love and don’t feel the need to take any more.
“I’m really hoping to see a place where I can fit in and where I can see myself. I want somewhere where I’m wanted and needed, not just somewhere where I can be a part of the team. I want to make a big contribution, play a lot and really show my part.”
When you pop in his tape, it doesn’t take long to understand how Maguire has racked up nearly 20 offers already. In truth, he could likely contribute at several different positions around the field, but his instincts and physicality make him a natural at linebacker. Maguire arrives at the football with bad intentions and his short-yardage burst gets him there quicker than most quarterback or skill players are prepared for.
“Coaches like my athleticism and how I play on the defensive side of the ball with my athleticism. I can cover both the pass and the run,” Maguire recalled. “They like how I have a good motor and keep running down plays. I’d like to improve my overall play to become a more dominant player and one of the best in the nation.”
Check out Maguire’s highlights for yourself:
A native son of Ohio
Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy has become a proving ground for many of the country’s top recruits, who will move to the powerhouse program on Florida’s Gulf Coast from all around the country. Ohio State has recruited heavily from the program in the past, landing natives of Maryland, Ohio and Florida who eventually matriculated to IMG at some point in their high school careers.
The Buckeyes have offered three 2019 prospects at IMG to date — defensive end Nolan Smith (a Georgia commit) and running backs Trey Sanders and Noah Cain — but the subject of this section has not yet received an offer from Ohio State. Offensive lineman Charles Turner Jr. came to IMG following his sophomore season, departing his home at Canton (Ohio) McKinley and moving to Florida for a chance at increased exposure and development.
He was a legitimate recruit worth paying attention to with six offers, including Kentucky and Minnesota, before going to IMG. However, his recruitment has hit a different level after working across the line as a junior.
Since his season has ended, Turner has landed offers from Florida, Michigan, Auburn, Nebraska, Pittsburgh and Missouri. Still, the Ohio native has one offer in particular that he’s been eyeing and hoping to add. The Buckeyes have been in contact with Turner in the past and hosted him for a prospect camp in June 2017, but he wants his discussions with his home state school to go beyond that.
“I haven’t heard much from them since they came to our school last month, but it would mean a lot to me to land an Ohio State offer. It would be a dream come true, especially growing up as an Ohio kid,” Turner told Land of 10.
The 6-5, 270-pound lineman has positional versatility and an impressive mean streak. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Turner play any of the five line positions at the college level. Only time will tell if Turner can land an offer from the Buckeyes, but he’s impressed on the camp circuit early on this offseason. Keep an eye on Turner in Ohio State’s search for offensive linemen in 2019.
— Notorious CKB (@CurtisK421) February 19, 2018
Making the cut
It’s that time of year. Seemingly daily, top prospects are tweeting out lists of which programs will be making the cut for them and which have been eliminated from contention for their services. More often than not, Ohio State benefits from these early cuts and expects to make top lists. Sometimes, it misses the boat.
That was the case today when Texas linebacker Marcel Brooks, who was offered by Ohio State in August, announced his top 2. The Buckeyes did not make the cut and are not expected to be a factor in Brooks’ planned June decision.
NO GOING BACK 🐘🙇🏾🐯 pic.twitter.com/JlurIuU4kl
— ⛽️️ang (@MarcelBrooks_5) February 21, 2018
The good news is that this wasn’t the only top group that came out today. It wasn’t even the only top list that came from a prospect in Texas who holds an Ohio State offer.
In an interview with the Land of 10-affiliated SEC Country network, specifically LSU recruiting reporter Sam Spiegelman, Houston (Texas) St. Pius X wide receiver Jalen Curry named the Buckeyes to his top-3 schools along with LSU and Texas A&M.
We’ve talked a lot about Curry lately, and for good reason. The Houston native labeled Ohio State as a “dream school” when he received a scholarship from the Buckeyes on Feb. 6. Since then, Curry has made plans to visit Ohio State on March 8 alongside teammate Grant Gunnell, the No. 2 pro-style passer in the country, a recent Texas A&M de-commit and a fellow Ohio State target.
Keep an eye on Curry and Gunnell when they come to Columbus. This visit could be a game-changer for the Texas teammates.
Rivals updates continue; movement for Ohio State targets
We spoke about the newly updated Rivals100 release on Tuesday, so I won’t rehash all of that for you too much in this notebook. On Wednesday, we saw another rankings release from the national staff at Rivals – the new 2019 Rivals250. There are far too many players to go over individually, but I will highlight a few notable players near the top of the new list.
- No. 104 — Jake Smith – Athlete – Scottsdale (Ariz.) – A recent Ohio State offer and one of the biggest risers in this rankings update.
- No. 107 — Jowon Briggs – Defensive tackle – Cincinnati (Ohio) – Dropped 23 spots, Ohio State offer.
- No. 110 — Nolan Rumler – Guard – Akron (Ohio) – A Michigan commit who Ohio State is attempting to flip.
- No. 117 — Doug Nester – Tackle – Huntington (W.V.) – Ohio State commit
- No. 118 — Sheridan Jones – Cornerback – Virginia Beach (Va.) – Teammate of 2018 Ohio State signee Teradja Mitchell who recently reclassified into the 2019 class from 2020. Major Buckeyes target.
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