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.
‘Amazing’ visit for Maryland running back
Class of 2019 Baltimore (Md.) St. Frances running back Joachim Bangda is fresh off of a Feb. 10 unofficial visit to check out Ohio State, accompanying teammates Shane Lee and Darrian Dalcourt for part of a loaded Ohio State junior day. Although he’s only ranked as the No. 55 running back in the country in the 247Sports composite rankings, Bangda has an impressive offer list, including Ohio State, Alabama, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Virginia Tech and UCLA. Bangda’s trip to Ohio State was a great opportunity for the 5-foot-10, 210-pound back to learn more about the Buckeyes.
“It was great. The coaching staff is amazing and Columbus is a beautiful place to be regardless of the weather. I enjoyed being around an amazing group of people with great experiences and backgrounds,” Bangda said of the trip. “I thought everything was good. I love what the coaches are trying to do with the players with the Real Life Wednesday and a career after football. Not many schools offer that opportunity.”
— 2️⃣1️⃣SAVAGE😈‼️ (@jbangda19) February 10, 2018
Bandga and his teammates have been in contact with Ohio State for several months, and the Maryland product has had the opportunity to bond with running backs coach Tony Alford and other members of the Ohio State coaching staff over that time.
“I have gotten to know the coaches at Ohio State and built relationships with them. They are all a good group of guys who have a passion for what they do. But nowadays you can’t base too much of your decision with the relationship you have with a coach or coaches because every year coaches change and you don’t know what might happen,” Bangda explained. “So it’s about what the school can do for you off the field and what kind of career can they help you build for yourself.”
It’s very early in running back recruiting for Ohio State. The Buckeyes likely will take two backs and have prioritized some of the major names in the country ― 5-star Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy running back Noah Cain, in particular ― but the board is still wide open and many players will receive attention from Ohio State. Bangda is unlikely to cut down his list until the late spring or summer, so Ohio State will have plenty of time to build relationships with him before worrying about what their recruiting board might look like.
During his junior season, Bangda amassed 1,425 yards and 35 touchdowns over the course of 12 games, notching more than 9 yards per carry during the year.
Buckeyes offer new 2019 quarterback
On Tuesday, the Buckeyes offered Houston St. Pius X quarterback Grant Gunnell, the No. 2 pro-style passer in the country, the No. 7 prospect in Texas and the No. 50 player overall. Gunnell has been committed to Texas A&M since June, but that’s done little to dissuade other programs. The 6-foot-6 standout has made multiple visits to TCU since committing to the Aggies, and the fact that his commitment predates the arrival of new coach Jimbo Fisher means that other programs won’t back off of Gunnell soon. The Buckeyes have offered only nine quarterbacks in the 2019 class and five of them, including Gunnell, are committed to other programs.
— Grant Gunnell (@grantgunnell7) February 13, 2018
Gunnell is among the most productive quarterbacks in the country and has the chance to rewrite record books nationally during his senior season. After his junior campaign, Gunnell ranks among the top prospects in Texas high school history in a number of major statistical category. His 11,356 career passing yards are No. 11 all-time. Gunnell’s last two single-season passing yardage marks, both over 4,900 yards, rank among the top six seasons in Texas history. With 142 career passing touchdowns, Gunnell is No. 7 on that list. Gunnell has added 1,088 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground during his first three seasons.
If Gunnell maintains or improves upon the production we’ve seen over his sophomore and junior seasons, he’d be projected to hold the all-time Texas high school records for career passing yards, career passing touchdowns and career completions.
Ohio State also has offered Gunnell’s teammate at St. Pius X, 2019 wide receiver Jalen Curry. Curry called Ohio State his “childhood dream offer” when he got the offer from the Buckeyes and is among the top prospects in the country. The 247Sports composite rankings have Curry as the country’s No. 89 prospect overall, No. 17 wide receiver and the No. 9 player in the state of Texas.
Fast-rising Georgia prospect to visit Ohio State
Few prospects in the country have had a run similar to that of Savannah (Ga.) Islands linebacker Kalen Deloach, one of the hottest prospects in the 2019 recruiting class. In the last month, Deloach has landed offers from Ohio State, LSU, Clemson, Alabama, Auburn, Michigan, Miami and several other programs. His offer list now totals 21 programs, the majority of them coming from the Power 5 ranks.
Per a report from Rivals.com recruiting analyst Chad Simmons, who handles Georgia and the Southeast, Deloach will visit Ohio State this weekend for his first unofficial visit to Columbus as a recruit. However, it is far from his first visit to Columbus.
“My sister [Taylor Deloach] runs track at Ohio State, so I have been up there before. I have been to one game, and I like the atmosphere they play in. It is loud in the Horseshoe, the fans always show up and I like that. I have been talking to Coach [Alex] Grinch a lot the last few weeks and he is the coach who offered me,” Deloach told Simmons. “He and the football staff did not even know my sister went there until I told them, so that was funny. I want to get up there, check them out more and just spend time with Coach Grinch and the coaching staff.”
Deloach went on to tell Simmons that South Carolina, Clemson, and Auburn were his top three schools after visits to each program, and in addition to his scheduled trip to Ohio State, Deloach also will visit Michigan and Alabama during February. Don’t expect any decision from this prospect with Ohio State connections in the near future.
“I am not really thinking about committing or anything yet. This has been like a blur the last month or so. I have not had a lot of time to see a lot of schools and to build relationships yet,” Deloach relayed to Simmons. “I am probably going to take my official visits during the season, then commit sometime after that. I am not in a rush.”
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