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.
Ohio State at top of Zeke Correll’s list
Cincinnati Anderson guard Zeke Correll is fresh off a dominant Under Armour All-America camp performance, an effort that led to an invitation to the Under Armour All-America Game next January and a major bump in his ranking (more on that later).
Land of 10 caught up with Correll during the camp Sunday, and the 6-foot-4, 270-pound standout recapped his visit to Ohio State on Feb. 9.
“I actually got to go up on Friday, before the junior day on Saturday, so it was just 1-on-1 with Coach Stud [offensive line coach Greg Studrawa] and Coach [Urban] Meyer… It was great,” Correll gushed. “I got a better relationship with Coach Meyer and Coach Stud, which is crucial.
“If you go to a school, you have to know your coaches really well before you make a decision. You don’t want to play for someone that you don’t love.”
During the visit, Correll says Ohio State discussed his recruitment and future at the college level from top to bottom. The Buckeyes coaches mentioned the possibility of Correll moving to center, a position where they’ve produced Rimington Award winners Billy Price and Pat Elflein. Mostly, though, they just wanted to hang out, get to know each another and talk about the future.
“We talked about recruiting and where they see me and like what they want from me out of my recruitment and it went great. I loved the visit,” Correll said. “They told me not to rush [a commitment] and to keep working hard and they said, ‘Hopefully, you’re looking at us.’ ”
Correll is taking their advice to heart about not rushing into a commitment.
“I’m just trying to see what I think fits best for me. But if God gives me a sign on where I need to go, that’s where I’ll go… I’m looking for a great relationship between the players and the coaches, because if the coaches don’t love the players or don’t treat them like family, that’s not really a place that I’m looking for,” Correll said.
So how does Ohio State grade out to Correll? They seem to pass with flying colors on all fronts for the standout guard, who’s ranked No. 204 nationally and No. 10 among guard prospects.
“I’d say Ohio State and Notre Dame are the top of my list right now, but I don’t have like a set five schools or anything,” he said. “Those are the ones that are recruiting me the most, so I’d say they’re my top right now… Ohio State is definitely No. 1 in terms of who I’m hearing the most from. Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Penn State are probably the three I’m hearing from the most right now.”
While the Buckeyes will be able to continue building bonds with Correll, a process that started before they offered the Cincinnati native in May 2017, their chief competition recently had to press the reset button on that front. Losing offensive line coach Harry Hiestand to the Chicago Bears was a setback for Notre Dame’s recruitment of Correll.
“It was kind of tough [to see Hiestand leave]. He’s obviously a great coach and produced infinite NFL offensive linemen. He’s a great guy, too, and I love him a lot, but he’s gone now,” Correll said. “I’ve been talking a lot with the new offensive line coach, Jeff Quinn, and I like him a lot.”
Ohio State’s chief rival also has started to hop into the mix. Michigan offered Correll on Jan. 26 and the Wolverines are working on getting to know him, despite the on-field struggles of Tim Drevno’s offensive line and the Michigan offense as a whole.
“I’d say I talk with Michigan at least a couple times a week, I normally talk with their linebackers coach. It’s a good relationship. I like him a lot and we’re progressing that relationship… [Michigan’s struggles] don’t really concern me as much as people might think because any program can turn it around at any moment.”
Correll told Land of 10 that he might visit Ohio State for some spring practices. He also is considering a trip to Clemson, which offered on Jan. 28. He has yet to lock in any upcoming visits, but expect Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State and Kentucky to be in the mix.
“I haven’t set any official visits yet, but I think I’ll take all five of them in the spring, most likely. I’m not sure, though. I don’t have a decision time frame,” Correll said.
Let’s talk Texas
Ohio State’s newfound focus on Texas recruiting in recent classes has been a sight to behold. A program with the Buckeyes’ stature has always been able to cherry-pick a recruit or two in the Lone Star State — look at J.T. Barrett in the 2013 class or Demetrius Knox in 2014 — but Ohio State’s efforts have gone far beyond that as of late. Ohio State pulled seven total signees from Texas in the 2017 and 2018 recruiting classes, including 5-star prospects Baron Browning and Jeff Okudah.
The Buckeyes don’t appear to be slowing down those pursuits in the 2019 class. Ohio State has already offered 21 Texas prospects. Only Florida (23) and Georgia (21) talent have received as many offers from Ohio State. The degree of difficulty in reeling in top recruits from that far away is high, but Meyer has a proven track record.
In Dotting the Eyes on Monday, we discussed upcoming visit plans for two top targets — teammates Jalen Curry and Grant Gunnell — to visit campus in March. However, the wide receiver-quarterback duo from Houston aren’t the only prospects from Texas to monitor.
Jason Suchomel, a recruiting analyst for Rivals’ monster Texas site Orangebloods, recently posted an update on Austin (Texas) Lake Travis wide receiver Garrett Wilson that included some interesting info.
Wilson, as Ohio State fans may remember, is a former teammate of 2018 Ohio State quarterback signee Matthew Baldwin and the No. 90 overall prospect in the 2019 class, according to the 247Sports composite. After exploding for 98 receptions for 1,774 yards and 26 touchdowns (with an additional 3 rushing touchdowns) in his junior season, Wilson has become one of the top receivers in his class.
“Wilson will take an unofficial visit to Ohio State on March 23 and official visit to OSU in June,” Suchomel wrote. “He visited Oklahoma on Saturday and will return to Norman for an official visit, possibly the weekend of April 14. Return visits to Texas are also expected, and Wilson will take a UT official visit as well. His plan is to commit in the summer.”
The unofficial visit in March will be Wilson’s first trip to Ohio State as a recruit. Wilson grew up in Dublin, Ohio, just outside of Columbus, and did not move to Texas until middle school, meaning the upcoming trip will be a homecoming of sorts for the standout receiver. I fully expect Wilson’s recruitment to be a battle between Ohio State and Texas, but Oklahoma currently rounds out his top three.
Wilson won’t be the only top Texas receiver making a commitment in the near future. Theo Wease Jr., an Allen product and the No. 3 wide receiver in the nation, tweeted out a note that his commitment may not be far away.
Commitment coming this spring….. #TheMarathonContinues 🏁
— Theo Wease Jr (@_TheoWeaseJr) February 20, 2018
Wease previously included Ohio State in a top seven with Texas A&M, Oklahoma, TCU, UCLA, USC and LSU. He informed Land of 10 that Ohio State was one of “two or three” schools that he planned to visit officially during the new spring window. So does this mean that Wease’s commitment plans look like good news for Ohio State? Not quite.
Although he’s fresh off an unofficial visit to Oklahoma’s junior day on Feb. 17, predictions have been pouring in favoring Texas A&M. The Aggies already have six commitments in-state in the 2019 class under new coach Jimbo Fisher, but adding Wease would be among their biggest recruiting victories.
It’s unclear whether Wease will go through with official visits before making a decision. If he does, that obviously would create a window for Ohio State and other programs to win back the momentum. If not, Wease looks to be College Station bound.
A pair of other top-rated Texans cut down their lists Tuesday, featuring good news and bad news for the Buckeyes. I’m a bad news-first kind of guy, so let’s roll with that.
Final Cut….👍🏽🐘☝🏽 pic.twitter.com/1JuEeXFR09
— Hendi™ (@king_hendi) February 20, 2018
That final three comes from Richmond (Texas) Fort Bend Travis wide receiver Arjei Henderson, the No. 8 prospect at his position in the country and the No. 50 prospect overall. Henderson was never a serious option for Ohio State and never visited Columbus.
So, the good news?
Sorry for the wait……. pic.twitter.com/5niddGkmKB
— Erick Young ⁴ (@Fvmous_ey) February 20, 2018
Ohio State offered Erick Young in August 2017 and made his top 10 despite never receiving a visit from the standout cornerback, a teammate of Henderson’s at Fort Bend Travis. Texas A&M, Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, LSU, USC, Auburn, Georgia and Oregon also made the list, which Young says will be cut to a top five in 40 days. Young is ranked as the No. 13 corner and No. 154 overall prospect in the class. The Aggies are the perceived leader for Young and Ohio State may be on the bubble for the next cut.
The rankings they are a-changin’
The Rivals network is in the midst of updating its 2019 recruiting rankings, beginning with an updated Rivals100 release. The Buckeyes had several top targets make the list Tuesday, including a number of 5-star prospects. Check out my selection of Ohio State’s top targets below. Fair warning, it’s a long list — nature of the beast with Ohio State.
- No. 2 – Darnell Wright – Tackle – Huntington (W.Va.) – 5-star
- No. 3 – Theo Wease – Wide receiver – Allen (Texas) – 5-star
- No. 8 – Bru McCoy – Athlete – Santa Ana (Calif.) – 5-star
- No. 9 – Devyn Ford – Running back – Stafford (Va.) – 5-star
- No. 11 – Trey Sanders – Running back – Bradenton (Fla.) – 5-star
- No. 15 – Zach Harrison – Defensive end – Lewis Center (Ohio) – 5-star
- No. 17 – Chris Steele – Cornerback – Bellflower (Calif.) – 5-star
- No. 18 – Jordan Whittington – Athlete – Cuero (Texas) – 4-star
- No. 21 – Owen Pappoe – Linebacker – Loganville (Ga.) – 4-star
- No. 24 – Erick Young – Cornerback – Richmond (Texas) – 4-star
- No. 25 – Nolan Smith – Defensive end – Bradenton (Fla.) – 4-star
- No. 29 – Devontae Dobbs – Tackle – Belleville (Mich.) – 4-star
- No. 31 – Woodi Washington – Cornerback – Murfreesboro (Tenn.) – 4-star
- No. 33 – Quinn Carroll – Tackle – Edina (Minn.) – 4-star
- No. 36 – Shane Lee – Linebacker – Baltimore – 4-star
- No. 37 – Isaiah Williams – Athlete – St. Louis – 4-star
- No. 41 – John Dunmore – Wide receiver – Hollywood (Fla.) – 4-star
- No. 44 – Daxton Hill – Safety – Tulsa (Okla.) – 4-star
- No. 45 – Faatui Tuitele – Defensive tackle – Honolulu – 4-star
- No. 49 – Joshua Sanguinetti – Athlete – Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) – 4-star
- No. 50 – Trey Knox – Wide receiver – Murfreesboro (Tenn.) – 4-star
- No. 51 – Stephen Herron – Defensive end – Louisville (Ky.) – 4-star
- No. 53 – Brandon Smith – Defensive end – Mineral (Va.) – 4-star
- No. 55 – Lance Wilhoite – Wide receiver – Nashville (Tenn.) – 4-star
- No. 56 – Harry Miller – Tackle – Buford (Ga.) – 4-star
- No. 60 – Noah Cain – Running back – Bradenton (Fla.) – 4-star
- No. 63 – John Olmstead – Tackle – Metuchen (N.J.) – 4-star
- No. 64 – Jalen Curry – Wide receiver – Houston – 4-star
- No. 68 – Lewis Cine – Safety – Everett (Mass.) – 4-star
- No. 70 – Grant Gunnell – Quarterback – Houston – 4-star
- No. 76 – Mycah Pittman – Wide receiver – Calabasas (Calif.) – 4-star
- No. 87 – Will Putnam – Tackle – Plant (Fla.) – 4-star
- No. 88 – Garrett Wilson – Wide receiver – Austin (Texas) – 4-star
- No. 92 – David Bell – Wide receiver – Indianapolis – 4-star
- No. 96 – Julian Barnett – Defensive back – Belleville (Mich.) – 4-star (Michigan State commit)
- No. 99 – Kenny McIntosh – Running back – Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) – 4-star
Rivals did not provide the only updated rankings of the day. Although it’s a much shorter list of updates, 247Sports gave bumps to three Midwestern prospects following the Under Armour All-America camp in Geneva, Ohio, on Sunday. Keep in mind that these are updates to 247Sports’ own rankings and not the industry-consensus composite rankings.
Correll, whom we discussed above, was the main benefactor. I thought that Correll put together a fantastic afternoon repping around the interior offensive line and dominating the competition. The 247Sports analysts and reporters in attendance — friends and colleagues such as Steve Wiltfong, Allen Trieu, Bill Greene and Bill Kurelic — clearly agreed.
Correll was quick on his feet and had a lean body composition, but still showed the ability to sit down and anchor and deal with stronger linemen. His mean streak and compete level were bonuses. 247Sports moved Correll up an astounding 123 spots to No. 115 in the country. He is now the No. 4 player in Ohio and No. 4 at his position (guard) nationally.
Joining Correll in receiving big bumps were Michigan defensive lineman Michael Fletcher and Pennsylvania defensive back Joey Porter Jr., both of whom also competed at the camp. I am not aware of any contact between Fletcher and Ohio State, but Porter has been receiving attention from Ohio State. I covered a previous visit to his high school from Buckeyes assistant Billy Davis that you can read about here. I’ll have more with the Pittsburgh-area standout soon.
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.