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MJ Devonshire confirms Ohio State camp visit plans
Aliquippa (Pa.) cornerback MJ Devonshire is among Ohio State’s top 2019 cornerback targets and he’ll soon return to campus for the umpteenth time. Devonshire has been a frequent visitor to Columbus, making stops for the spring game, multiple spring practices and other trips over the last year. Since landing an offer from the Buckeyes in November, the frequency of those trips have increased.
Devonshire told Land of 10 that he will return to campus on June 22 and participate in Ohio State’s Friday Night Lights camp at Ohio Stadium. The annual event, while not strictly invite-only, generally consists of top-tier prospects that the Buckeyes are seriously interested in or thinking about offering. Nearly every player on the field will be a Power 5 offer candidate.
Though Ohio State has offered Devonshire, it’s the time of year when the Buckeyes will reorganize their board after evaluations during spring practices and summer prospect camps. Cornerback is a position where Ohio State may only take one or two players in the 2019 cycle, so spots are limited and competition for them could be fierce.
Last Friday at the Buckeyes’ first on-campus prospect camp of the summer, 4-star Tennessee cornerbacks Adonis Otey and Woodi Washington worked out for the coaching staff to solidify their status with the program. Devonshire will have his chance to do that in a week and a half.
The Pittsburgh area native has worked hard this offseason with a focus on speed training and technique work with trainers Dewayne Brown and Sean McCaskill.
A particular area of concern for some in evaluating Devonshire is his speed, but his work to improve his track times has been tremendous. Devonshire recorded multiple sub-11-second sprint times in the 100 meters, including a personal best and Aliquippa record of 10.83 during the district championships. He captured three gold medals at the district meet — in the 100, 200 and 400-meter relay — and qualified in all three events for the state meet.
Those times aren’t necessarily elite for a player of his pedigree. When you have scholarship offers from Ohio State, Michigan State, Pitt, West Virginia, Indiana and a slew of other programs, people expect you to be an elite athlete. However, the fact that Devonshire qualified for the state championships in track despite Aliquippa not having a track to train on seems noteworthy. He also only began running track within the last year.
After showing off his speed in the offseason, Devonshire will have a chance to show off his coverage skills and technique work at Friday Night Lights. Aside from Otey and Washington, he has to compete for a spot on the high end of Ohio State’s board with prospects such as John Dixon, Kaiir Elam, recently offered Florida State commit Renardo Green and others. Wide receiver recruit Zion Puckett could play defensive back at the next level.
I’m not confident in Ohio State’s chances of flipping Belleville (Mich.) product Julian Barnett from Michigan State, but he’s a player the Buckeyes covet.
Ohio State also has started to value 4-star safety Jordan Battle as a cornerback prospect, I’ve been told. Battle is a near-lock to end up in the Ohio State class, likely during a planned official visit to campus on the weekend of June 22.
I’ve had a Crystal Ball prediction on Devonshire in Ohio State’s favor for quite some time and don’t see myself changing that soon. I think he’ll solidify his spot in the Buckeyes’ pecking order at cornerback and I think Ohio State leads in his recruitment. West Virginia and Indiana are the two other schools I would view as highest on his list, but a recent offer from Pitt, his hometown team, could have an impact as well.
I have Ohio State’s primary cornerback targets as Battle, Washington, Otey, Devonshire, Elam and Dixon, not necessarily in any order. The legitimacy of Green’s interest is difficult to ascertain this early. I think Puckett ends up at wide receiver and Barnett is unlikely to flip.
Is anyone going to notice if I call this ‘Texas two-step’ again?
Ohio State participated in two satellite camps in Texas in the last few days. On Thursday, Buckeyes coaches participated in a Texas State camp just south of Austin. They followed up with an appearance at Houston’s camp on June 9 (and reunited with former Buckeyes quarterback and current Houston Cougars wide receivers coach Kenny Guiton).
The camp stops produced at least a pair of new offers from the Buckeyes to prospects in the 2020 class, a twosome of titanic Texas tackles.
Houston North Shore prospect Damieon George landed an offer from Ohio State on Saturday, which is offer No. 14 on his list. With the Buckeyes, Alabama, LSU, Florida State, USC, Oklahoma and other top programs already offering him this early, George is amassing one of the best scholarship lists in the country.
The Houston North Shore program he plays at is loaded with talent and this season will return a half-dozen other prospects with Power 5 offers. That list includes 5-star running back Zachary Evans, a major Ohio State target in the 2020 class and a friend of the Buckeyes’ lone commit in that class, Jake Wray.
The Buckeyes also offered another 2020 tackle in Texas, Jaylen Garth of Port-Neches Groves. If that school sounds familiar, it’s the home of 2019 Texas quarterback commit Roschon Johnson, a prospect whom Ohio State offered but never gained much traction.
On the same day Ohio State offered, Garth also landed an offer from the Longhorns. His scholarship list also includes Texas A&M, Nebraska, Arkansas, Houston and Utah. It’s an impressive list despite Garth’s 6-foot-4, 285-pound frame, which is not ideal for a tackle prospect.
Tackle is a major priority position for the Buckeyes in the 2020 class. Though these players have just finished their sophomore year of high school, Ohio State has offered 13 tackles among the 2020 crop and has one committed in Wray. With 5-star tackle Paris Johnson Jr. as an in-state prospect in the class, the Buckeyes have the potential to compile a great offensive line crew in 2020.
Ohio State’s camp season continues
Though Ohio State may have all of its satellite camp appearances in the books — all planned stops, at least — there’s still plenty of on-campus work to be done. The Buckeyes will hold their second one-day camp of the summer on Tuesday, their third on Saturday and Friday Night Lights on June 22.
The list for Tuesday does not appear to be as loaded with big-time recruits as the robust visitor list Land of 10 reported and confirmed from the camp Friday, but it will still feature plenty of important recruits. In particular, I’ll have my eye on three prospects in the 2020 class.
Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy safety Lejond Cavazos is one of the best prospects in the 2020 class. With Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia and more than 20 other Power 5 programs lining up to recruit Cavazos, he has his pick of the country’s blue bloods. The Buckeyes are considered the favorites for the rising junior and I have submitted a Crystal Ball prediction for Ohio State to land Cavazos.
2020 tackle Michael Carmody is a converted tight end from Mars, Pa., who’s begun to embrace his shift to the offensive line this offseason. Carmody has in fact embraced a number of changes. He played his first season of football as a sophomore in the Pittsburgh area last fall after spending much of his life as a basketball recruit. His older brother, Robby, signed with Notre Dame as a shooting guard in the 2018 class.
Carmody’s primary trainer in the offseason is Darnell Dinkins, a former NFL tight end. Carmody already has offers from 16 programs, including Penn State, Pitt, Michigan, Wisconsin and Nebraska. I’m curious to see how the 6-5, 265-pound prospect looks at tackle.
Joining him in working out at tackle is 2020 Cincinnati Elder prospect Jakob James. James already has a half-dozen Power 5 offers — LSU, Louisville, West Virginia, Indiana, Boston College and Iowa State — and more will be on the way for the 6-5, 260-pound tackle at one of Ohio’s best high school programs. Ohio State missed on Elder’s last big-time prospect, lineman Tommy Kraemer, who chose Notre Dame.
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