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Ohio State hits the trail again for 2019 and beyond
Urban Meyer was not coy in discussing Ohio State’s recruiting plans post-National Signing Day. His staff won’t be taking any time off to celebrate its tremendous 2018 recruiting class — the No. 2 group in the nation and the highest-ranked class in Ohio State history to date, per the 247Sports composite.
The Buckeyes head coach spoke with media members during his news conference Wednesday, National Signing Day, and told the gathered group that he expected his coaches and staff to be pounding the pavement for the top 2019 prospects in America right off of the bat.
“We’re going to celebrate a very high-ranked class, a bunch of players on paper that look fantastic and look even better in person. And then we post it and everybody — tomorrow you get — you better have the next guy on the phone for us. We already had a blitz, I want to say yesterday, a blitz is I think we had 43 calls made in this office to the top [2019 prospects] in America for next year,” Meyer said. “So that’s the paranoia I guess that I live with, is how do you top this year with next year’s?”
Meyer’s words were not taken idly his coaching staff, not in the slightest. The Buckeyes coaches were on it again Thursday, offering some interesting prospects.
With offers from Penn State, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Stanford, and several other Power 5 programs, 2019 wide receiver TJ Sheffield has already arrived on the recruiting radar. The 5-foot-10, 170-pound pass catcher out of Thompson’s Station (Tenn.) Independence has a baker’s dozen of scholarship offers, with the latest coming from Ohio State. Sheffield actually committed to Tennessee during the fall of his sophomore year, but de-committed in his junior season during the instability around former head coach Butch Jones’ job status.
— Tj Sheffield (@the_tj2) February 8, 2018
Sheffield was joined by North Carolina commit Hakeem Beamon to land an Ohio State offer during the day’s events. Beamon is a 6-foot-3, 245-pound athlete out of Chesterfield (Va.) Lloyd C. Bird, a suburban program about half an hour south of Richmond (Va.). It’s unclear what position Ohio State expects Beamon to play — it seems as though defensive end or tight end are most likely — but it is clear that he’s a bona fide stud and the Tar Heels will be hard-pressed to hang on to him. In the new year alone, Beamon has added offers from Ohio State, Alabama, Penn State, South Carolina, West Virginia, Maryland, and Florida International. Virginia Tech has previously offered Beamon, as well. The Buckeyes previously sent offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Kevin Wilson to visit Beamon at his high school.
I’m BLESSED and HONORED to get an offer from The Ohio State University pic.twitter.com/ecaNXsZv1P
— Hakeem Beamon (@hakeem_beamon) February 8, 2018
While Meyer’s missive for assistants was to go out and land the top 2019 prospects in the country, Ohio State saw an opportunity in a younger class and decided to take its shot. The Buckeyes became the second program (after the home-state Georgia Bulldogs) to offer Roswell (Ga.) Centennial wide receiver Julian Nixon, a standout freshman in the class of 2021. Of course, Nixon doesn’t look like your typical freshman at 6-4 and 205 pounds.
Blessed to receive my 2nd offer from The Ohio State University pic.twitter.com/VNveaosKYo
— Julian Nixon (@JulianNixon11) February 8, 2018
In his first season of high school, Nixon caught 51 passes for 754 yards and 7 touchdowns, rushed for 261 yards and 6 touchdowns, and went a perfect 3-for-3 passing for 56 yards and 3 touchdowns for good measure. He’s playing football as a varsity starter at the 6A level, Georgia’s second-largest classification, and producing very impressive numbers. So it’s only a matter of time until the offers started to pour in for Nixon. He’s also still just 14 years old for another day.
Nixon already has the make-up of a future 5-star prospect and schools are recognizing that early. Georgia and Ohio State have offered and Clemson and Auburn have shown interest. It should be helpful for the Buckeyes that Nixon’s father is an Ohio native, although he relocated to the South years ago to attend Auburn.
Get to know Julian Nixon’s name now, because you’re going to be reading it in recruiting headlines around the country for the next three years. Don’t believe me? Check the tape.
Ohio State getting creative
All FBS college football programs are prevented from making in-person contact with prospects outside of campus grounds until April 14 due to the quiet and dead periods. College football coaches aren’t able to visit recruits in-person, but they can see them on their own campus and can put out as many phone calls, texts, and messages as their hearts desire.
However, Ohio State will have coaches at one of the top high school football programs in the country on Feb. 17. So what’s the deal?
The Buckeyes will be attending and presenting at the coaching clinic at Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic, one of the country’s most storied and productive high school football programs. They’ll join coaches from Notre Dame, Virginia, Temple, Syracuse, and four of their Big Ten East foes — Penn State, Michigan, Maryland, and Rutgers. The event, put on by DeMatha head coach Elijah Brooks, is an excellent opportunity for high school and college coaches to learn from one another and interact on the finer points of football strategy and technique.
For Ohio State, it’s also a great opportunity to rub elbows with high school coaches from DeMatha and some of the other top programs in Maryland, Washington D.C., and Virginia. The Buckeyes won’t be able to interact with any of DeMatha’s prospects while they’re there — they’ve already offered 2019 wide receiver DeMarcco Hellams, 2019 defensive back Nick Cross, and 2020 running back Marshawn Lloyd — but they sure can talk with their coaches while they’re in town.
In addition to the opportunities to spread the Ohio State brand to the DMV area, stay sharp on football knowledge, and get to know some excellent coaches, the Buckeyes are making a shrewd move to improve relationships at one of the top programs in one of the country’s most fertile recruiting grounds. It’s a strong decision to attend by all of the programs planning to be there.
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.