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Marcus Tillman Jr.‘s ‘great’ Ohio State visit features Bill Belichick
The weekend of March 23, Ohio State hosted several prominent visitors, including standout 2019 Orlando (Fla.) Jones linebacker Marcus Tillman. A teammate of 2018 Buckeyes early enrollee Sevyn Banks, Tillman returned to campus for the first time since attending the Penn State game in Ohio Stadium on Oct. 28.
“Everything was great when I visited the school again. I got to see the facilities, watch practice, learn a lot about Ohio other than football, and I also got to meet Bill Belichick. It was crazy meeting him,” Tillman said.
Belichick attended Ohio State’s pro day last Thursday, the very start of Tillman’s visit. Although NCAA rules prohibit Tillman from attending pro day, Belichick is a personal friend of Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer and has spent time around the Woody Hayes Athletic Center numerous times during previous offseasons.
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Tillman, the No. 38 outside linebacker in the 2019 recruiting class per the 247Sports composite rankings, has more than a dozen offers. Ohio State is among his top choices, seemingly alongside Florida at the very top.
Tillman is in the midst of a seven-school tour this month that covers all corners of the country. Ohio State has managed to stay in the thick of his recruitment largely because of the strong relationships the Buckeyes staff has built with the Florida linebacker. Banks and running backs coach Tony Alford, the area recruiter for Orlando, have built close bonds with Tillman.
“We took [Banks] out to eat and he was just telling us how he’s adjusting and how it’s been so far for football and academics. It was good seeing him and hanging out with him,” Tillman said.
Ohio State also hosted several other offered 2019 prospects that weekend — wide receiver Garrett Wilson, tight end Brayden Liebrock, defensive end Marcus Hicks and linebacker Keith Maguire. Check out Land of 10’s interview with Maguire here and stay tuned more details on all of the Buckeyes targets and their visits.
Pittsburgh-area standouts discuss Buckeyes’ spring practice
Ohio State had its sixth spring practice of 2018 on Monday, and it featured a robust visitor list. Among the prospects who traveled to campus were 2019 Aliquippa (Pa.) teammates MJ Devonshire and Solvauhn Moreland.
Devonshire is a 3-star cornerback who’s been a frequent visitor to Ohio State the last several months and I currently have a Crystal Ball prediction in for the Buckeyes to land the western Pennsylvania standout. Moreland, a two-way lineman, still awaits his first offer but received a first-team all-state nod after his junior season and has been in touch with multiple Power 5 programs.
“It was a good trip. Practice looked very intense. It was a great practice and the defensive backs looked really good. I’ve toured the campus before and I’ve spent the night, so I feel like I’m pretty familiar with everything around campus already,” Devonshire explained. “I had a meeting with [cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson] — me, him, and my dad — and we just talked about football and life in general.
“It was a good conversation. It was one of my first times actually sitting down with a coach and him wanting to get to know me 1-on-1. That tends to happen a lot at Ohio State, they actually get to know who I am and what kind of person I am. He was just talking with me about college, what my life is going to be like, and how hard it can be or how easy it can be, depending on how my attitude is and how I come in and approach it.”
Devonshire has a half-dozen offers from Power 5 programs under his belt, including Big Ten schools such as Ohio State, Michigan State, and Maryland. The 5-11, 170-pound cornerback is still seeing his recruitment expand, with notable programs that have not offered, including Michigan, Penn State, Notre Dame and Pittsburgh, showing interest. Despite the new interest, some programs are already standing out for Devonshire.
“Ohio State, Michigan State, West Virginia, Syracuse, Missouri, and schools like that. Those are some schools coming to mind right now [in terms of standing out from the pack],” said Devonshire, who also stressed that it was not an official list of top schools. He may put together such a list and release it on Twitter soon, but that’s not been finalized.
It’s not just the personal relationships and rapport that Ohio State’s coaches have with Devonshire that have put the program at the top of his recruitment. The Buckeyes can offer competitive academics and a long track record of sending defensive backs to the NFL. Ohio State has had a defensive back selected in eight of the last nine NFL drafts, including a combined four first-round picks in 2016 and ’17.
“It’s a good school. Academically, it’s a very good school. They have a good communications program and that’s something I want to major in. Plus, me being a defensive back, they’re putting guys in the league,” Devonshire said. “A lot of first-rounders. Being a first-rounder and going to the league, that’s a dream.”
While Devonshire is a frequent visitor to campus, his teammate Moreland was making his very first trip to Columbus to check out the program. Moreland is still awaiting his first offer of the recruiting process, but the 6-4, 275-pound prospect has athleticism and versatility on his side. After his aforementioned all-state accolades, schools such as Ohio State, West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Penn State, along with several FCS and Division II programs in Pennsylvania, have worked to get Moreland on campus.
“This was my first visit to Ohio State. Practice was up-tempo, which is much different from my school. You know, it’s a small school. It was cool. Everything was fast and I really liked it. … I’m just blessed to be able to be selected to do some of this stuff. Not too many people can say they got to walk in the same building as Urban Meyer.”
During the visit, Moreland sat down with Pittsburgh area recruiter and Ohio State linebackers coach Billy Davis for the first time. Davis previously visited Aliquippa to speak with Devonshire and Moreland, but the lineman was not in school when the Buckeyes assistant made the trip.
“I talked to [Davis] a little bit today. When he came to the school, I was actually in the hospital for a surgery on my arm. I hadn’t really talked to him a lot, but they invited us up, treated us really cool, and welcomed us with open arms. … An offer from them would mean a lot. It’s early in the process and I’m only finishing my junior year, but I would be really excited about it.”
Moreland has upcoming visits scheduled to West Virginia, Robert Morris, Slippery Rock, and other programs around Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He could play on either side of the ball in college, but guard feels like his most likely position at the moment.
Other visitors on campus
If you missed our earlier update on the visitors on campus Monday, make sure to check that out for photos and details on the visits. The Buckeyes had a talented group of players around the Woody Hayes Athletic Center watching and meeting with coaches and many of those names were confirmed by Land of 10.
2019 Springfield (Ohio) teammates Moses Douglass and Isaiah Gibson, two clear Power 5 talents who do not have an offer from the Buckeyes, made the trek to campus. So did 2020 Cincinnati Princeton defensive lineman Darrion Henry, the only other offered prospect in attendance besides Devonshire.
Massillon (Ohio) Washington linebacker Jamir Thomas, a 2019 prospect without an Ohio State offer, visited with his head coach Nate Moore. Moore is the former legal guardian and coach of sophomore Buckeyes tackle Thayer Munford.
Finally, Ohio State hosted three signees from the 2018 class. 5-star defensive tackle Taron Vincent, local defensive lineman Alex Williams, and St. Louis area athlete Cameron Brown all trekked to campus from their respective homes.
Miss a day of the Ohio State recruiting notebook? Don’t fret! You can get all of the previous versions of Dotting the Eyes here.