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Buckeyes impressing super freshman Derrick Davis Jr.
PITTSBURGH — Few freshmen around the country have an offer list as impressive as that of Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway athlete Derrick Davis Jr., a 2021 recruit who most likely projects to safety or linebacker at the next level. Davis, who checks in at 6-foot and 176 pounds, has gathered major Big Ten offers such as Ohio State, Penn State and, most recently, Michigan.
Davis visited Ohio State for the first time on March 30 after the Buckeyes offered in mid-February and was joined by his father on the visit. The duo got the tour of the Columbus campus and what the program has to offer to recruits.
“It was really nice. I loved that intensity at practice. Campus was very beautiful and classes were important. They were actually really close to the dorms, so there’s no reason for anyone to be late or anything like that — not that I would be. It was all nice,” Davis said. “Definitely a good experience. I was paying attention to a lot of the defense at practice. On offense, I was kind of picking up on some of the calls and the little things that they were doing, things you normally don’t see from behind the scenes.”
It’s rare for Ohio State to offer freshman prospects — only seven players in the 2021 class have an offer from the program so far — but Davis is a rare prospect. The Buckeyes seemed to be impressed by his maturity and he was likewise impressed by his conversations with the coaches inside the program.
“I met with the safeties coach, the linebackers coach and then I met with Urban Meyer. Shoot — they’re very great coaches. Urban was down at Florida coaching Tim Tebow, he’s a good person in general and he was talking to me just telling me to stay humble,” Davis explained. “I had good talks with the safeties and linebackers coaches, too. They really can’t say too much because of the recruiting rules, but they were good talks.
“I’m only 15, so that was a big thing to them. They’re used to talking to players that are juniors and seniors and I’m only 15 years old, so they were kind of shocked. They were outstanding guys. They liked my tape and everything. They were just saying to keep working because I’ve got to come up better the next year.”
One of the most recent offers for Davis was Michigan, which joined Big Ten East rivals Ohio State and Penn State in extending an offer to the Pittsburgh-area standout.
“Michigan just offered. It’s a great program. Like all of my other offers, it means a lot to me and it’s great motivation. More offers are going to come, it’s a copycat league,” said Davis. “It’s just a matter of trying to handle it and being prepared for it.”
Davis will visit the Penn State spring game on April 21. While his high school career is in the early stages, Davis is already familiar with the Nittany Lions program and has been to Happy Valley on numerous occasions.
“I’m going to the Penn State spring game and then I’m going to try to get down to Kentucky soon as well. I’ve been [to Beaver Stadium] before. My first spring game at Penn State, I was in the seventh grade. That environment is crazy. Great energy, outstanding energy. It’s loud,” Davis said. “I’ve been to a White Out game and it’s unbelievable. The fans are so loud. I was trying to talk to my mom and she couldn’t hear me, she was right next to me.”
Only five high school players in Pennsylvania have landed offers from Penn State, placing Davis in rare company. He’s grown close with Penn State defensive backs coach Terry Smith and recruiting staffer Justin King, both former Gateway Gators who have moved on to the Nittany Lions. His early offers, success and accolades as one of Pennsylvania’s top prospects are exciting for Davis.
“It means a lot to me. It means that God blessed me with a great talent,” Davis said. “I can use it in the right way. I just have to stay humble, stay positive, do things the right way, and don’t get too big-headed. The offer means a lot to me.”
Maryland to Ohio State pipeline? Updates on 3 elite targets
Land of 10 has confirmed that two standout prospects from Maryland will visit Ohio State for the spring game on Saturday.
Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic wide receiver DeMarcco Hellams, a 6-2, 200-pound 4-star prospect, will make his first visit to Ohio State. Hellams was offered by the Buckeyes in December and has maintained contact with defensive line coach Larry Johnson, his area recruiter, since that point, per a source close to the recruitment.
Hellams is ranked as the No. 7 athlete and No. 65 overall prospect in the 2019 class, per the 247Sports composite rankings. Alabama, Clemson, Penn State, Maryland and Virginia Tech would appear to be the primary competition for Hellams, who has two dozen scholarship offers. This will be his first unofficial visit to the school.
Baltimore (Md.) St. Frances Academy linebacker Shane Lee, a 6-foot, 240-pound 4-star prospect, will return to Ohio State after visiting previously on Feb. 10. His second unofficial visit of the year, and fifth overall as a recruit, continue to mark Lee as a serious candidate to join this 2019 recruiting class.
The No. 61 prospect overall in 2019, the No. 1 prospect in Maryland and the No. 3 inside linebacker nationally, Lee has all the markings of a national recruit. Lee holds over a dozen offers, including Ohio State, Penn State, Alabama, Clemson, Michigan, Florida State and Notre Dame. Although the offer list isn’t as long as some other top prospects, nearly every scholarship is from a blue-blood program.
While he isn’t currently planning on visiting for the spring game, Ohio State fans should also keep an eye on super 2020 linebacker Mekhail Sherman. Sherman is ranked as a 5-star recruit by Rivals.com, one of only 10 prospects to receive that distinction.
“I’ve been talking with [Ohio State], for sure. I’m trying to get in touch with my area recruiter Larry Johnson about setting up a visit soon,” Sherman told Land of 10.
The 6-4, 225-pound Sherman landed a Buckeyes offer on Jan. 29, with Ohio State joining Georgia, Michigan, Penn State and many other programs in offering the Washington (D.C.) St. John’s College superstar. Sherman is friends with Lee and has been frequently tweeting some Ohio State-friendly content. He posted a graphic of himself in a Buckeyes uniform on April 4 and quoted the tweet of Derek Wingo, another standout 2020 linebacker from Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas, with a #GoBucks.
Adonis Otey arrives soon
On Thursday, Murfreesboro (Tenn.) Blackman cornerback Adonis Otey arrives at Ohio State for an unofficial visit. It will be the first trip to Columbus for Otey, who was offered by the Buckeyes on Feb. 27. He’s the high school teammate of freshman Ohio State running back Master Teague and 2019 wide receiver Trey Knox, who also holds a Buckeyes offer and visited on April 5.
Otey is ranked as the No. 312 prospect overall and No. 29 cornerback in the 2019 class. Alabama, Tennessee, Florida State, Oklahoma, Louisville and Michigan are few of the other prominent offers for the 6-foot, 175-pound Otey.
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