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.
247Sports releases final Top247 player rankings
247Sports has released their final Top247 player rankings for the 2018 recruiting class. While the site may be best-known for the 247Sports composite rankings, which combine evaluations from other networks, the Top247 is based on evaluations only from the experts and analysts employed by 247Sports.
Seventeen commits from Ohio State’s 2018 recruiting class made the Top247, but 13 of those commits dropped in the rankings, including defensive tackle Taron Vincent and wide receiver Kamryn Babb, who lost their fifth stars. Still, several players saw significant bumps in the rankings, including Tyreke Johnson (up 83 spots), Brian Snead (up 33 spots), and Tommy Togiai (up 119 spots) and Ohio State leads the country in terms of number of commits in the Top247.
— Steve Wiltfong (@SWiltfong247) January 18, 2018
Ohio State is a ‘dream offer’ for Florida athlete Derek Wingo
It was a banner day for Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas athlete Derek Wingo, already earning top billing as one of the country’s best prospects in the 2020 class. Wingo added offers from Florida and Ohio State on Thursday after being offered by Louisville and Texas earlier in the week. Ohio State is familiar with the St. Thomas Aquinas program, landing Joey and Nick Bosa, Damon Arnette, and Trevon Grimes from the program in recent years.
— W1NG0 (@DerekWingo) January 18, 2018
“Honestly, I believe that I got the Ohio State offer yesterday and my coach forgot to tell me. When I went in the office today, he let me know and I honestly thought he was joking at first. I was like, ‘Coach, you can’t play with me like that.’ But when he said it was for real, I was honestly shook,” Wingo said. “That’s always been my dream school, that’s my No. 1 school. I have the pictures on the wall, I have the calendars. When I found out, it was honestly just a blessing.”
Wingo has plenty of familiarity with Ohio State on his own and talk of the Buckeyes has become familiar to him growing up around the St. Thomas Aquinas program.
“My family grew up as Florida State fans, but I have a lot of friends and family who live in Ohio, so I’ve always been around the Buckeyes. It’s always been a legacy from St. Thomas to Ohio State,” Wingo said. “Obviously, the Bosas went up there and [former Ohio State wide receiver Trevon Grimes] went up there. I honestly want to create something for myself, but it’s definitely something everyone always pushes and talks about around here.”
At 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, Wingo already has the look of a future Division I player, but is still growing into his body. None of the schools that have offered have pegged him for any one position at the next level, but outside linebacker may be where his heart is leaning.
“I was offered as an athlete, but I’m not sure quite where I could fit in in the future. If I had my pick, I’d definitely feel more comfortable on defense, because I’m a very aggressive and vocal kind of person,” Wingo said. “That’s where I’ll be working out at most often on camps, but I like to do a little bit of everything.”
Of course, Ohio State wasn’t the only school to offer Wingo on Thursday. Both Florida and Ohio State joined an impressive and steadily growing offer list that already included Texas, Louisville, Pitt, Cincinnati, FIU and FAU, among others.
“The biggest thing about Florida that shocked me was how there were three coaches today at St. Thomas Aquinas, including [coach Dan Mullen]. I thought that when a head coach comes out to talk to you, that’s a big thing in my eyes. To come and talk to you personally about your offer, that’s really welcoming and lets you know that they want to have you at your school,” Wingo said. “I think they’re on the rise as a program and it’s actually really good for academics, as well. Grimes just transferred there and [former St. Thomas Aquinas quarterback] Jake Allen is there, so a lot of our players end up going up there and I like to see that.”
Look for Wingo to make a visit to Ohio State in the coming months in order to familiarize himself with the Buckeyes’ program.
“I think Florida State, Tennessee and Miami are probably the top 3 I’ve been speaking with most often and taking visits to. Now that Ohio State offered, I definitely would like to get up there some time in the spring or summer,” Wingo said. “I’ll probably also be at Miami, Tennessee and Florida State again this summer.”
Buckeyes grow a robust walk-on program
Many programs around the country, particularly those without the recruiting reach and influence that Ohio State wields, rely on a strong program of preferred walk-ons. The Wisconsin Badgers, in particular, have been famed for their ability to take local Wisconsin high school football players as preferred walk-ons and turn them into valuable starters and NFL players over their time in the program.
While Ohio State is fortunate that it can rely on a roster primarily filled with blue-chip talent and the team has shown little need for supplemental assistance from walk-ons in important roles lately, that doesn’t mean the program goes overlooked. The Buckeyes have been active in this 2018 recruiting class in building a pipeline of Ohio natives to join Ohio State as preferred walk-ons.
On Thursday, Worthington (Ohio) Kilbourne long-snapper Roen McCullough, the younger brother of Ohio State long-snapper Liam McCullough, became the latest Ohioan to accept a preferred walk-on opportunity from the Buckeyes. McCullough is different than the rest of the PWOs joining the program, as he’s expected to take over his older brother’s scholarship spot once he matriculates from the program. Liam will be a redshirt junior for Ohio State in the fall.
— Roen McCullough (@roenmccullough) January 18, 2018
Nonetheless, McCullough joins an already robust group of Ohio natives who will enter the program as freshmen in the coming season. Mason (Ohio) defensive tackle Zaid Hamdan, who held scholarship offers from Buffalo, Navy, Army and Air Force, is already enrolled and on campus. Berlin Center (Ohio) Western Reserve linebacker Jack Cappabianca, Dublin (Ohio) Jerome running back Robert Cope, Sunbury (Ohio) Big Walnut athlete Abe Myers, Piqua (Ohio) linebacker Ben Schmiesing, Dublin (Ohio) Jerome linebacker Cade Kacherski, and London (Ohio) wide receiver Michael Johnson have accepted preferred walk-on opportunities from the Buckeyes.
The group could grow larger. Lyndhurst (Ohio) Brush defensive back Lloyd McFarquhar, Cincinnati (Ohio) Archbishop Moeller running back Colin Thurman, Lewis Center (Ohio) Olentangy Orange offensive lineman Jake Zinn, Bedford (Ohio) wide receiver Davion Johnson, Cincinnati (Ohio) Summit Country Day wide receiver Xavier Johnson and Massillon (Ohio) Washington teammates Austin Kutscher (wide receiver) and Ty Keirns (defensive end) all have offers from the Buckeyes as preferred walk-ons. In particular, Xavier Johnson could be a huge addition for the Buckeyes. The Cincinnati native holds Division I offers from Iowa State, Cincinnati and a slew of MAC programs.
While Ohio State doesn’t have the same reliance about non-scholarship talent that you may encounter at other programs, the possibility of adding multiple walk-ons who held full FBS offers is a big advantage for the Buckeyes coaching staff. Urban Meyer and company will add talent in any way they can find it.
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