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 checks in on 5-star RB Kendall Milton
Ohio State sources informed Land of 10 that Buckeyes running backs coach Tony Alford is in California on Wednesday, where he’s checking up on elite 5-star running back Kendall Milton. Milton plays at Buchanan, a program located in Clovis, Calif., a suburb of Fresno.
Astoundingly, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound running back collected nearly 40 scholarship offers before the end of his sophomore year. Milton landed his Buckeyes offer in January and his offer list is a who’s who of elite programs, including Alabama, USC, Notre Dame and UCLA.
It’s easy to see why programs are infatuated. Milton averaged nearly 9 yards per touch in his sophomore season, racking up 25 touchdowns and over 1,600 yards on just 185 offensive touches.
Milton has not visited Ohio State, so it’s very early in the program’s pursuit of the 5-star prospect. Land of 10 hopes to have more insight on Alford’s visit soon.
247Sports ranks Milton as the No. 9 overall prospect and No. 2 running back in the 2020 class. Among rising junior running backs, he trails only Houston native Zachary Evans, another Buckeyes target. Rivals.com considers Milton to be among the four best running backs in 2020.
Ohio State pursues Rashawn Williams, standout 2020 receiver
Despite the departure of long-time assistant and Detroit recruiting ace Kerry Coombs, who left Ohio State for a position with the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, Ohio State is continuously working to become a recruiting powerhouse in Michigan.
One of the younger prospects from Ohio’s neighbor to the north who has caught the Buckeyes’ attention is 2020 wide receiver Rashawn Williams. Williams plays at Detroit Martin Luther King, one of the state’s most competitive football programs.
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound Williams has yet to finish his sophomore year of high school, but he has already drawn offers from just about every major school in the Midwest. Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and 10 other Power 5 football programs have offered Williams. Though it can be an exciting process, Williams is already feeling the stress of high-level recruiting.
“Recruiting has been kind rough and stressful. I’ve been all over the country. I did our whole college tour and saw like 12 colleges, so recruiting is kind of tiring right now,” Williams told Land of 10.
Despite feeling burned out by the recruiting process, Williams is eager to continue building relationships at Ohio State and getting to know the Buckeyes coaching staff. He was offered a scholarship at a prospect camp in Columbus in June 2017, and says he intends to return for a camp or game in the coming months.
“It’s a good relationship. I talk to a couple of players that are committed there in the 2020 class, my class. They say that Ohio State’s coaches talk about me with them now and then,” said Williams. “I talk with Jake Wray and I talk to Justin Rogers a lot, too.”
Wray is Ohio State’s lone 2020 commit, the younger brother of freshman tackle Max Wray. Rogers is not yet committed to the Buckeyes, but the Michigan native should be one of the very best 2020 linemen nationally and Ohio State is the heavy favorite.
Though offensive linemen have been talking Williams’ ear off about Ohio State, the Buckeyes wide receivers have demanded his attention. Zach Smith, the program’s wide receivers coach, is Williams’ primary recruiter and his commitment to relationship-building has been key.
“I like that they develop receivers and that they care about you more as a human than they do as a player. You’re a student-athlete and they put the student first,” said Williams. “I also like that they get a lot of Michigan kids.”
For many recruits, it’s early in the process, but Williams plans to commit by April or May 2019, so this is an important stage in his recruitment.
“Ohio State, Missouri, Michigan State, Michigan and Purdue are the five schools recruiting me the hardest,” Williams said.
247Sports ranks Williams as the No. 245 overall prospect, No. 50 wide receiver and No. 5 prospect in Michigan in the 2020 recruiting class. Rivals.com does not yet have numerical rankings for the 2020 class, but he is one of only six receivers in the country rated as a 6.0 4-star recruit or 6.1 5-star prospect. The Rivals rating range extends from 5.2 to 6.1
Penn State picking up momentum on the trail
Ohio State has been in the mix for 2019 Connecticut defensive back Tyler Rudolph since offering the safety in February, but it looks as though its pursuit of the New England standout will end soon. Rudolph has announced a Monday commitment date on Twitter, and will reveal his decision in a 6 p.m. ceremony at his high school.
The Buckeyes never prioritized Rudolph over some safety or defensive back targets. Still, they have been considered a contender and Rudolph was planning an official visit to Columbus at one point.
Penn State is the overwhelming favorite for the 6-foot-1, 205-pound prospect and I expect the Nittany Lions to land Rudolph on Monday.
It’s possible that there will be a major run of good news for Ohio State’s rival to the east over the next week or so. In addition to Rudolph, Penn State is a finalist for three other prospects announcing soon, including 4-star defensive lineman Antonio Alfano (Friday), 4-star running back Devyn Ford (Friday) and 5-star linebacker Brandon Smith (Monday). I have Alabama for Alfano and Penn State for Smith and feel confident in both, but Ford is a toss-up between Virginia Tech and Penn State.
Buckeyes eliminated by blue-chip safety
Ohio State has been in the mix for Georgia safety Jaylen McCollough, the nation’s No. 100 overall prospect and No. 4 safety in the 2019 class. However, the Buckeyes were eliminated by McCollough on Tuesday evening when he announced that he’ll stay in the South to play football.
McCollough took to Twitter to announce his final-4 schools — Alabama, Auburn, South Carolina and Tennessee. Florida State, Ohio State and Georgia were somewhat surprising omissions by the 6-foot, 194-pound prospect.
The Buckeyes are in excellent position for elite safeties 5-star recruit Daxton Hill of Oklahoma and 4-star prospects Jordan Battle of Florida and Nick Cross of Maryland. With Ronnie Hickman and Bryson Shaw already committed, the coaching staff can afford to be picky at safety.
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