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.
Micah Parsons de-commits from Penn State
In case you missed it late Sunday, Harrisburg (Pa.) 5-star defensive end Micah Parsons de-committed from Penn State. According to the 247Sports composite rankings, Parsons is the country’s No. 3 prospect in the class of 2018. He committed to the Nittany Lions in February 2016, but he’s been as visible on the recruiting trail as any player in the country.
He’s been especially visible at Ohio State, a school that he’s visited at least five times since last summer, and the football program most felt was the biggest threat to Penn State should he re-open his recruitment.
Well, here we are.
It certainly isn’t a surprise that Parsons de-committed. Land of 10’s Penn State recruiting analyst, Tyler Donahue, shared some thoughts on what it means.
“If you polled Penn State fans about which 2018 was most likely to flip, I have little doubt Micah Parsons would’ve been the top choice,” Donahue said Monday afternoon. “Now that it’s come to fruition, the timing seems notable, as he spent time in both Happy Valley and Columbus during an eight-day span. Despite the obvious notion that Ohio State may be his likely alternative landing spot, multiple Southern powerhouses will have an opportunity to really pursue him as an uncommitted recruit, and the Nittany Lions have as strong a chance as any team to bring him back on board before signing day.”
There is zero doubt in my mind that, yes, Ohio State is the team to beat for his signature. Parsons says Penn State is still at the top of his list, but the timing of his de-commitment, just after a trip to Happy Valley for the Penn State spring game, hints that there probably is more to this story. Whether he came to an agreement with James Franklin to open things while he looks around (which looks better for a coaching staff were he to ultimately flip), or whether a decision was made to end the relationship is inconsequential. What matters is that the Buckeyes, along with USC, Clemson and a few other top-tier programs, are going to be heavily involved.
This is not likely to end soon, but the relationship Parsons has built with Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson Sr. is going to be tough for any school to top.
Brenton Cox visits Georgia and…
Cox remains uncommitted. That’s good news for Ohio State. A week ago, Cox was set to make a college decision and it was going to be the Buckeyes. He decided to push that back, perhaps fearing that his choice was being made hastily. The defensive end visited Georgia on Saturday for “G-Day” or Dawgs Day or whatever they call it, but didn’t pull the trigger for the Bulldogs.
A week ago, according to sources, he was informing coaches that he’d made up his mind. Now he’s back and forth.
A final decision is likely this week, and despite where things were at a week ago, many now believe the Bulldogs are pulling ahead. Cox and his family were blown away during their most recent visit to Columbus (the second trip he made in a four-week stretch) and the stream of NFL talent being developed by Larry Johnson is not easy to ignore, but home is home.
If you’ve read my stuff you know that I regularly talk about the battle between head and heart for recruits, and I say that heart usually wins. In this case, I think Cox’s heart says stay home and his head is screaming “Buckeyes,” but he’s trying to convince others in his life that it’s the right move.
It’s not easy to leave home for college, especially when home has a school and football program of Georgia’s caliber. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he picked Ohio State at all, but you can’t count out Georgia yet.
The end of the Dallas Gant visit tour?
We are approaching the end of the Dallas Gant recruitment. The country’s top-ranked outside linebacker according to 247Sports.com, Gant made what should be his final visit to Notre Dame over the weekend, taking in the Irish’s spring game. The 6-foot-3, 228-pound Toledo product is preparing for a May 16 commitment.
— Matt Freeman (@mattfreemanISD) April 23, 2017
That’s Gant (right) with former Irish quarterback DeShone Kizer, a Toledo Central Catholic alum. Enlisting the help of Kizer was one of the many angles taken by Notre Dame over the weekend as it tries to loosen Ohio State’s grip on the 4-star linebacker.
Gant really likes Ohio State. He really likes Notre Dame. He really likes Michigan State, where Mike Tressel has recruited him as well as any coach during the entire process. Ohio State lost a little ground when Luke Fickell took over as the head coach at Cincinnati; Notre Dame gained a little when it hired defensive coordinator Mike Elko away from Wake Forest. Michigan and Penn State are in his final five, but are not front-runners, though sources close to Gant have indicated that he could make another visit or two.
There are about three weeks until decision day, and Ohio State and Notre Dame will see Gant multiple times. The spring evaluation period is underway, which means coaches are visiting high schools and seeing their top prospects. The Buckeyes were at St. John’s Jesuit on Monday and the Irish are expected sometime this week.
I have Gant picking Ohio State, but Notre Dame remains a real concern.
We’re almost to May and there’s one position in the 2018 Ohio State recruiting class that seems a bit murkier than the rest: wide receiver. Zach Smith hauled in many of his biggest targets in 2016 and 2017, but things have moved at a snail’s pace in this cycle as the Buckeyes try to identify the best fits.
One player who had been discussed fairly regularly was IMG Academy’s (Bradenton, Fla.) Joshua Moore, a 4-star prospect who hails from Yoakum, Texas. Over the weekend, Moore unveiled his Top 7 schools and the Buckeyes, despite an excellent relationship with Smith, were not included.
— JoshuaMoore (@_TheJoshuaMoore) April 22, 2017
With a June decision coming, and Moore’s inability to get a Columbus visit scheduled, the writing had been on the wall.
Ohio State has a commitment from Jaelen Gill, who is listed as a running back but is a potential slot receiver/combo guy. OSU continues to pursue St. Louis 4-star Kamryn Babb. Babb is likely Ohio State’s top wide receiver target.