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Ohio State makes cut for 2 top targets
It is getting difficult to keep track of all the top prospects who have Ohio State on the list of their top schools, which is a product of Ohio State’s intense efforts on the recruiting trail this cycle. The Buckeyes are in the mix with top prospects from all over the country, and their nationally known brand will keep them in the mix for a tremendous number of priority targets well into the late stages of recruiting.
Safety Kyle Hamilton, a 2019 prospect with an ultra-impressive offer list that outperforms his ranking, named the Buckeyes to his top-7 list with Georgia, Notre Dame, Clemson, Michigan, Duke and Northwestern. Hamilton (Marist School/Atlanta) has added an astounding 26 offers in the last six weeks.
Thank you to all of the schools that have recruited me throughout this process. These are the schools I will be focusing on. pic.twitter.com/M4NSGOEtrQ
— Kyle Hamilton (@kham316) March 12, 2018
Hamilton, a 6-foot-3, 188-pound prospect, has taken unofficial visits to Ohio State, Notre Dame, Georgia, Clemson and Duke in the last couple of weeks, and he visited Notre Dame, Alabama (no offer) and Vanderbilt in the fall.
It is difficult to handicap Hamilton’s race this early in the process, but Northwestern and Michigan seem to be on the lower end of his list. Notre Dame leads the 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions, but Ohio State, Georgia, Clemson and Duke are firmly in the mix. Hamilton was thrilled to add his Ohio State offer on Feb. 21 and promptly visited on March 9.
“First off, it was a big offer. It’s a big school and a great football school, one of the most dominant programs in the country. I’ve been talking to coach Alex Grinch. He’s the linebackers coach up there, and we’ve been talking back and forth for a couple days now,” Hamilton told Land of 10 when he was offered. “He contacted me once before he offered me and then called me the next day to offer. They’re recruiting me as a safety.”
The Buckeyes also made a top list for another big, rangy prospect in the 2019 class: Louisville (Ky.) Christian Academy athlete/wide receiver Milton Wright. Wright is a 6-3, 190-pound play player, ranked as the No. 12 athlete and No. 135 prospect overall in the 247Sports composite rankings. He holds offers from Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia, Louisville, Kentucky, Miami, Tennessee, Purdue, Oregon, Minnesota, Illinois and Pitt, according to 247Sports and Rivals.
Wright caught up with KentuckyPreps recruiting analyst Dave Lackford, where he named Ohio State to his top-5 schools list alongside Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and Purdue. Alabama was the latest offer for the 4-star prospect. Wright told Lackford that he plans to visit the Crimson Tide and also will make offseason trips to Ohio State, Georgia and Kentucky. Dates were not specified.
Next local offer for Buckeyes?
Only three Ohio prospects in the 2020 class have landed Ohio State offers, but Dublin Coffman running back Michael Drennen II — called Donut by his friends and family — has plans to change that. The 4-star running back from the Columbus area is ranked as the No. 99 prospect overall in the 2020 class by 247Sports and holds four FBS offers: Indiana, Louisville, Kentucky and Cincinnati. He has been in frequent contact with the local program.
“Me and Ohio State, we’re tight. Me and the running backs coach [Tony Alford], his son goes to our rival school and we play them every year and he comes to all of the games,” Drennen said. “It’s kinda weird, just a little bit, it’s kind of weird. But, yeah, we’re getting closer, and he said he might pull the trigger here soon [on an offer].”
The offer could be a game-changer for Drennen. He would be the first 2020 prospect in the Columbus area to land an offer from Ohio State. Drennen didn’t pull any punches when discussing how important it would be.
“That’d be crazy. It would make a lot of people proud — my family would be proud, I mean, I would be proud. It’s Ohio State. I grew up in Ohio. It’s one of my dream offers,” Drennen said. “Their rival [is another dream offer]. That Team Up North.”
Ohio State has been watching Drennen closely, and it is possible that had he not sustained an ankle injury that cost him most of his sophomore season that the Buckeyes could have offered already. Drennen said he feels that his scholarship list would have grown were it not for the injury.
“I should have more [offers] than I have right now, but I got hurt a week before our first game and I had to sit like eight weeks, so I missed most of my season,” Drennen said. “I only played 2½ games. It was super tough. My sophomore year — since I started and played varsity my freshman year — was supposed to be my breakout year. We’ll see what comes up this year. … At first, I was trying to push it because I wanted to play. Right now, I’m 100 percent. I’m feeling fine.”
The missed time cost the Buckeyes an opportunity to evaluate Drennen more closely and determine which position he could play in college. He said he hopes that a trip to one or more of Ohio State’s summer prospect camps, part of a larger visit slate, could clear that up.
“Maybe running back, maybe slot. We haven’t really came to good terms on that yet. I might switch up. We’ll see what comes up when I go to their camp this year,” Drennen said, later noting he will be at Ohio State multiple times during the next several months. His visit plans extend beyond that.
“I want to go to Michigan, for sure,” he said. “I think I’m going March 14 or 16; I can’t remember the date. I’m also going to Louisville on March 14 or 16, one of those two dates for each of them. Other than that, I’m not really sure where I’m going right now.”
Only two schools have managed to claim a spot at the top of Drennen’s list — and both have placed themselves there before even offering.
“My top schools right now, in no order, are Michigan, Ohio State and … I just like Michigan and Ohio State, to be honest,” Drennen said, laughing. “It might [come down to an Ohio State-Michigan battle], unless I go where my uncle wants me to, which is Florida State. My dad loves Michigan. He likes Michigan and Tennessee. I used to want to go to Tennessee, but I don’t really talk to them a lot.”
Ohio State offers New Jersey standout
Ohio State extended an offer over the weekend to Montvale (N.J.) St. Joseph Regional guard Luke Wypler, a 6-4, 269-pound prospect in the Class of 2020. Coming out of his sophomore season, Wypler already holds more than a dozen scholarship offers, many of them from major programs.
“Luke called me immediately after he spoke with Coach [Greg] Schiano. He’s through the roof happy,” St. Joseph coach Augie Hoffmann shared with Land of 10. “He is definitely going to visit Ohio State.”
Ohio State joined an offer list that already included Michigan, Notre Dame, Florida, Stanford, Wisconsin and Virginia. Wypler’s high school program is a part of northern New Jersey’s private school powerhouse circuit, where he played league games against players such as 2018 Ohio State signees Tyler Friday and Javontae Jean-Baptiste.
Offer from Ohio State! 📍 pic.twitter.com/cIn4HLhRqg
— Wypler (@LukeWypler) March 11, 2018
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Correction: St. Joseph coach Augie Hoffmann’s last name was misspelled in the original post. Land of 10 regrets the error.