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 for a glimpse at what’s coming next.
Why I put in a crystal ball for Zamir White and Ohio State
I wrote a story earlier Tuesday about the players I think will end up with the Buckeyes come signing day. The piece focused on the offense and included 5-star running back Zamir White, the country’s top-ranked running back and a player who is widely believed to be heading to the University of Georgia.
I added a 247Sports.com crystal ball prediction for White — to Ohio State — on Tuesday afternoon.
I have talked a few times recently about White, and how I felt that things were much closer than people were letting on. I’ve been told by multiple people (on different sides of this recruitment) that the player prefers Ohio State. Those rumors were always paired with this asterisk: White’s mother, Shanee, reportedly favored Georgia, and the two have been to Athens more than they’ve been anywhere, by a long shot.
While White and his mom have been to Columbus three times in the last year, the physical distance between Ohio State and his other top schools is something to consider, and all indications were that mom preferred him to stay close to his North Carolina home. That information, coupled with the fact that White is committing on June 27, his mother’s birthday, was something that had to be considered as the driving force in his recruitment.
Over the last few weeks, though, sources have indicated a softening stance toward Ohio State, providing a new wave of optimism on the Buckeyes’ side of things. Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and running backs coach Tony Alford are not going to give up the fight for White — who is a perfect fit for their offense — if they believe they have a chance to change mom’s mind (if it needs changing). The Buckeyes believe that they are capable of landing any player in the country, but their recruiting staff doesn’t waste time and resources on a player unless the Buckeyes are in a serious position to land a commitment.
There are multiple people close to this situation who feel Ohio State has been the team to beat for White for a while. With a little less than a month remaining in this pursuit, everything is moving in the right direction. There’s no plan for a June visit to Ohio State. If that were to happen, it would be a major sign that this smoke is turning into fire.
I am not someone who lives and dies by the “crystal ball” choices, and I rarely make one. With a player of this magnitude, though, I wanted to expound on my decision. A lot can change, and the decision date remains a concern if his mom isn’t on board with Ohio State. But I believe that’s where this is heading.
Jaiden Woodbey and the non-stop rumors
It’s happening … again.
Yes, the Jaiden Woodbey talks are heating up again. I told you two weeks ago it was going to happen, and another round of back and forth about the country’s third-ranked safety has begun.
“There will be nonstop rumors about most Ohio State commitments from now until signing day, so just expect them to come,” we wrote. “Woodbey is very solid with the Buckeyes, and if he takes other trips you can bet it’d be with an OK from the Ohio State staff.”
The use of the “OK” there was not an accident. In recent weeks, nearly all the discussion about Woodbey has been centered not on the school everyone expects — USC, where his father played — but on Oklahoma, which has come on strong. Sooners “insiders” are predicting a flip from the Buckeyes to Oklahoma, and 247Sports’ Tom Loy, a Notre Dame analyst who spent the weekend in sunny California at a quarterbacks camp, ended the holiday weekend with a crystal ball prediction backing up that assertion.
Woodbey worried months ago that he had committed too early. He also said, following a March trip to Columbus, that all doubt “went away.” He returned to Ohio State three weeks later and was a major part of Ohio State landing a commitment from Oklahoma safety Josh Proctor. Since that trip, though, the same old same old has persisted.
He hears it from people all the time that he doesn’t need to go to Ohio State when there are other options closer to home, closer to the Pac-12 life.
“Every single day,” Woodbey told Land of 10 about people in his ear. “Literally. You can’t really stop it.”
When Woodbey makes a visit elsewhere — and he’s almost certain to — those rumblings are going to intensify. That isn’t comforting for Ohio State fans, but it’s the truth. Fans, friends, and coaches are all telling him different things. It’s a nonstop deluge of a 17-year-old kid being told by people who care about him that he’s made a wrong decision.
To try to assuage any concern for Buckeyes fans, it’s important to know that Woodbey continues to tell Ohio State he’s not interested in flipping, but there’s no doubt that the Ohio State staff is on alert.
Championship roster I see 💰 https://t.co/tQGMApHEL6
— DUBSKI🇸🇴™ (@JaidenWoodbey6) May 30, 2017
Oklahoma is the latest school in what will be a line of schools trying to flip not just Woodbey, but every Buckeyes commit. That’s what happens when every player you recruit is a Top 100 talent.
Rivals updates its Top 100
Speaking of Top 100 talent, Rivals.com updated its 2018 rankings, and to no one’s surprise Ohio State commitments and targets are all over the list.
The biggest mover among the Buckeyes commits? Georgia defensive end Brenton Cox, who went from No. 156 all the way to No. 32. Woodbey also got a significant bump, moving up from No. 61 to No. 51. Here’s where Ohio State’s commits rank:
- No. 17 • QB • Emory Jones
- No. 18 • DT • Taron Vincent
- No. 28 • RB • Brian Snead
- No. 32 • DE • Brenton Cox
- No. 49 • ATH • Jaelen Gill
- No. 51 • DB • Jaiden Woodbey
A number of Ohio State’s top remaining targets are represented as well. Check out how many of the names you know that are just inside the top 50:
- No. 4 • WR • Amon-Ra St. Brown
- No. 5 • DE • Micah Parsons
- No. 6 • RB • Zamir White
- No. 9 • CB • Anthony Cook
- No. 11 • OG • Jamaree Salyer
- No. 12 • DB • Tyreke Johnson
- No. 13 • OL • Jackson Carman
- No. 21 • LB • Palaie Gaoteote
- No. 31 • WR • L’Christian Smith
- No. 45 • LB • Teradja Mitchell
The Buckeyes could be on their way to signing a truly special recruiting class.