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Pennsylvania DB is a frequent visitor to Ohio State
Unfortunately for Aliquippa (Pa.) cornerback MJ Devonshire, there’s no frequent fliers reward system set up for recruits pounding the pavement and getting out on recruiting visits. If there were, Devonshire would be swimming in points with how frequently he’s traveled from his Western Pennsylvania home to Ohio State.
Devonshire was back in Columbus once again on Saturday, taking in the Ohio State spring game and checking out the new Buckeyes roster in front of the fans. He grew up a fan of the program and any opportunity to watch them in person is a good one.
“I didn’t see anything new this time, I was just there to see the new-look Buckeyes,” Devonshire said, before going on to add clarification. “Well, I really came to see [redshirt freshman quarterback Tate Martell]. He was impressive. I’m hopefully going to meet him on one of these visits. I also wanted to see [redshirt freshman cornerback Shaun Wade], I know him.”
Since the loss of Kerry Coombs to the Tennessee Titans, Devonshire has seen his primary recruiters switch over to new cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson and linebackers coach Billy Davis, his area recruiter. Devonshire has held an offer from Ohio State since November and his relationships with the coaching staff have only continued to grow stronger since.
Devonshire will have plenty of time to continue building his relationships with coaches at Ohio State and other programs, as the Class of 2019 3-star prospect doesn’t see himself deciding any time soon.
“I really haven’t looked at front-runners,” Devonshire said. “Once the season comes and I have the majority of my offers, I want to start putting schools in order.”
On Thursday, Devonshire made a visit to West Virginia, one of the programs with the best odds to land him. The Mountaineers have primarily had defensive coordinator Tony Gibson and safeties coach Matt Caponi on the case recruiting Devonshire, a 5-foot-11, 170-pound standout.
“I have a great relationship with Coach Caponi,” Devonshire told Land of 10. “We talk often. He’s a really cool guy off of the field. I talk to him just as much as I talk to Ohio State’s coaches.”
The 247Sports composite rankings consider Devonshire to be the No. 36 cornerback and No. 414 prospect overall in the 2019 class, as well as the No. 5 prospect in Pennsylvania. He is a long-armed corner who excels in the technical aspects of coverage. The main question facing Devonshire is straight-line speed, but he hopes to address that this offseason with improved track times in the sprints.
Ohio State extends a trio of new 2020 offers
Three prospects in the 2020 class have landed Ohio State offers in recent days as the Buckeyes turn their attention toward the evaluation period and underclassmen around the country. As is befitting of an early offer from a high-level program like Ohio State, most of these recruits are among the top prospects in the country at this early stage.
RJ Mickens, a 6-1, 180-pound cornerback out of Southlake (Texas) Carroll, is ranked as the No. 55 prospect overall, No. 4 cornerback and No. 7 prospect in Texas in 2020. His offer list already includes more than two dozen schools, featuring Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Alabama, LSU and many of the other prominent programs around the country. Ohio State offered on Tuesday night.
Mickens’ offer earned some attention from sophomore Ohio State cornerback, fellow Texas native and former 5-star recruit Jeffrey Okudah. Okudah encouraged the Dallas-area prospect to join the Buckeyes.
Long-time Oklahoma commit Jase McClellan, a 2020 running back out of Aledo (Texas), also added an offer from the Buckeyes. McClellan has been committed to Oklahoma since July 2017, but has continued to take visits to other programs. Texas, Texas A&M, Alabama and other programs continue to pursue the 5-10, 198-pound McClellan.
Scottsdale (Ariz.) Saguaro cornerback Kelee Ringo, a 5-star prospect and the No. 6 overall 2020 recruit per 247Sports, added the Buckeyes to an offer list that includes more than a dozen programs. The 6-2, 185-pound recruit is built how Ohio State wants its corners to look physically. USC, Arizona and Arizona State are a few of Ringo’s prominent offers out West.
Evaluation period kicks off for Ohio State
Although the spring evaluation period formally opened for NCAA coaches and football programs on April 15, the Buckeyes’ assistants hit the road for the first time this spring on Thursday.
Land of 10 will have comprehensive updates in coming weeks on the stops made by the Ohio State coaches while they’re on the recruiting trail, but we can confirm that the action is getting started with a trip from Buckeyes running back coaches Tony Alford down to Georgia.
Alford actually arrived in the Peach State on Wednesday night, but he spent much of the day on Thursday at Roswell (Ga.) Blessed Trinity Catholic, the home of 4-star athlete Steele Chambers. Chambers is the newest commitment for Ohio State’s 2019 recruiting class and you can read about his decision and what it means for the Buckeyes right here.
More on Steele Chambers and what his commitment means
The interesting question coming out of Chambers’ commitment to Ohio State centers on what position he’ll play for the Buckeyes and how that will affect the recruitment of other prospects. Ohio State has been slated to receive an official visit from 4-star running back Devyn Ford —the No. 6 prospect at the position for 2019 — on April 28. The Buckeyes also have heavily pursued the country’s No. 2 back, Noah Cain.
With commitments from 4-star Indiana running back Sampson James and Chambers as an athlete with a high likelihood of playing running back, it’s unclear what that will mean for Ford and Cain. It’s entirely possible that Chambers ends up at linebacker, which makes this discussion somewhat moot. However, if he doesn’t? There are some questions facing the Buckeyes, particularly in Ford’s recruitment.
Ohio State has been surging for Ford in recent weeks after hosting him for an unofficial visit in April. The Buckeyes coaches have a strong relationship with Ford and they have closed the gap from seemingly running third (behind Penn State and Virginia Tech) to being in a two-team race with the Hokies.
On Wednesday evening, I cast a Crystal Ball prediction in favor of Virginia Tech for Ford. While I think that Ohio State has made a major run at the North Stafford (Va.) product, I find it unlikely that he would choose the Buckeyes given the depth chart he’ll be facing. Although Mike Weber will depart Ohio State after the 2018 season, it’s possible that four or more scholarship running backs will return to Columbus for the 2019 campaign before you factor in the addition of James and Chambers.
More than that, I think Virginia Tech still leads Ohio State straight-up for Ford. He’s an ultra-talented back and the Buckeyes normally would be thrilled to have him I’m just not sure I see this one working out between the two parties.
Cain’s recruitment is a bit different, as the Texas native and current Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy star is going to face a stacked depth chart at every program he’s seriously considering. When you look at the schools in the mix for Cain, nearly all of them will feature multiple blue-chip backs with eligibility remaining. He is fully aware of this and has made no plans to decide before December. I don’t want to count out Ohio State yet.
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