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How losing affects an Ohio State recruiting weekend
Let’s dive right into it.
Whenever Ohio State loses, the first question I get is inevitable: How does the loss impact recruiting?
That question is especially pertinent when the Buckeyes lose at home on one of those “major” recruiting weekends … such as this one.
The stage was set in Columbus. The stadium was alive. The crowd was loud and energetic.
Ohio State fell flat.
It happens to every team at some point. The key on these recruiting weekends is to not let it become a habit, and for the atmosphere in the stadium remain positive and energetic. Unfortunately for Ohio State, the last few games have been disappointing on a number of levels and that can lead to negative energy among the fan base that has the ability to impact a recruit’s visit. That wasn’t the case on Saturday — despite the lackluster performance, the crowd stayed involved most of the game and helped create a good experience.
“It was real loud in there,” running back Noah Cain, rated the No. 1 back in the Class of 2019 by the 247Sports composite, told Land of 10. When asked about how a loss impacts a visit, he was quick to reply. “Not much. I’m sure Ohio State is going to regroup. They’ve got conference play ahead and can still make the [College Football] Playoff.
“The fan base, the way the coaches interact with the recruits before the game and stuff, that’s what stands out.”
But one of the Buckeyes’ top targets — on an official visit — said that yes, a loss does make a small impact. Coaches aren’t in nearly as good a mood, as you’d expect.
“Things were a little off after the game,” Jayson Oweh said Sunday. “Guys were a little bummed out. The facilities were pretty gloomy and Urban Meyer was pretty distraught, as well.
“But, they assured me, they’ll be back.”
As long as the Buckeyes make good on that promise, then this loss isn’t likely to have any lasting impact on the 2017 season or the 2018 recruiting class.
The Micah Parsons gaffe
Saturday in Columbus was a pretty wild day for 5-star defensive end Micah Parsons. The country’s No. 5-ranked 2018 prospect arrived in Columbus on Friday night for his official visit. He began his weekend with a visit to the set of ESPN GameDay on Saturday. There he met Ohio State royalty.
— Adam Friedman (@RivalsFriedman) September 9, 2017
Later in the day, Parsons gushed about his experience in Columbus.
Man I'm having the time of my life in Columbus #GOBUCKS
— BLESSEDMVP (@Micah_parsons23) September 9, 2017
Then the Buckeyes lost, and Parsons — saying he was caught up in the emotions of the loss — made a very ill-timed tweet at the expense of Ohio State quarterback (and captain) J.T. Barrett.
That, in a nutshell, is part of the Micah Parsons recruitment conundrum. Parsons is an elite-level talent, but his excitability — and in some ways lack of maturity — make recruiting him a Catch-22. You just don’t know what you’re going to get. What happened Saturday night is just a teenager making a bad decision and according to sources in Columbus, players in the Ohio State locker room were “pissed” about them.
Does that mean Ohio State will stop recruiting Parsons? I doubt it. But it’s another significant red mark against him.
What I do know is that Parsons is a player many teams across America would want. Ohio State is one of those teams, but the Buckeyes aren’t blind to his maturity issue. They’re not ignorant that Larry Johnson’s brand of coaching and person-building could be exactly what he needs in is life.
Talking to Ohio State commitments in attendance, the belief among them is that Parsons wants to be a Buckeye. The question for the next few months, before a likely December decision, is will he force the Buckeyes’ coaching staff to look another direction?
Jackson Carman visits, but remains very Jackson Carman-y
It wasn’t a total surprise, but it was still good for Ohio State to see 5-star offensive tackle Jackson Carman on campus again on Saturday.
Carman’s presence is a good thing, obviously, but he remains as mysterious as ever when he steps on campus.
“I didn’t talk to Jackson much,” one Ohio State commitment shared. “He’s a really hard guy to figure out.”
That was the general feeling from everyone I talked with about Carman.
“It’s just hard to know what he’s thinking,” another Buckeyes verbal in attendance shared. “He’s his own guy, and doesn’t really talk much about the way he’s feeling or thinking.”
So, the good news is that Carman visited Ohio State. The bad news is no one really knows what he’ll do next.
Updates on other official visitors
Ohio State hosted a few key official visitors this weekend.
Jayson Oweh is still on campus, and he’ll leave on Monday morning, flying out at 6 a.m.
From talking to him briefly (I really don’t like to reach out to recruits on their visit), the trip has gone well. From talking to others, there’s a growing confidence that Oweh’s relationship with the Buckeyes will be enough to surpass Penn State and make the Buckeyes the ones to land the 6-foot-5, 240-pound pound defensive end.
According to multiple sources, things with Idaho defensive tackle Tommy Togiai couldn’t be going better. The country’s No. 2-ranked defensive tackle (per 247Sports.com) has become a top priority for Johnson.
Togiai was one of the players on “commitment watch” this weekend. I checked with a few different sources on Sunday and the belief is that Togiai is “close” but there’s been no decision made yet. The 6-3, 290-pound prospect made the visit to Columbus with his parents. He was also on campus for Friday Night Lights in July.
Then there’s Anthony Cook, the 5-star cornerback from Houston. Cook was in Columbus for his official visit and while the commonly held belief is that he’s leaning toward an Ohio State verbal, it seems like none of the Buckeyes commitments in attendance had any chance to speak with him. That’s not to say he didn’t have a good visit, it’s just the way Cook prefers to handle his business.
“I didn’t talk to Cook at all,” one of the Ohio State commitments said. “He is so quiet. Just seemed to be taking it all in, but not really talking to anyone.”
Cook was hosted by his good friend Jeffrey Okudah, a fellow Texan, but there’s not a whole lot of time for hanging out with recruits on their visit when a game ends at midnight and the prospect is on an early-morning flight. Ohio State will have to withstand an official visit to LSU and likely another Texas trip for Cook before his Oct. 30 decision.