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Who are the most important official visitors at Ohio State this weekend?
So … it’s here. The big weekend that Ohio State fans have been waiting for since early September and a weekend that the Ohio State recruiting staff has had circled on its calendar for even longer.
Simply put, the stage is set. The Buckeyes, who’ve had the country’s No. 1-ranked recruiting class since the spring, have a chance this weekend to launch the final phase of the 2018 recruiting cycle with either a boom or a bust.
There are eight expected official visitors (list below). Four of them are current Buckeyes commits, but that doesn’t mean those visits lack importance. Let’s look at the visits this weekend that stand out as the most important.
You know? Let’s rank the official visits in order of importance! Everyone loves lists.
Ok, here we go.
- Emory Jones
- Tyreke Smith
- Jackson Carman
- Kamryn Babb
- Sevyn Banks
- Tyreke Johnson
- Taron Vincent
- Brian Snead
You know, it’s kind of nuts if you think about it. Ohio State has 18 commitments. Three of them play high school football in Florida, and if you were to create a “Who Should Buckeyes Fans Worry About Flipping” list, those three dudes would be on the “don’t worry” list.
Anyway, yes, Emory Jones’ visit is the most important this weekend because the Buckeyes need to know exactly what’s what, period. No more conjecture, no more, “I’m committed but I want to see Bama,” etc. This is the time when classes – slowly built over the last 16 months – solidify or dissolve: Jones is a major part of that. I think he’ll end up sticking with Ohio State, and I say that because “comfort and relationships” are with the Buckeyes, but a once-and-for-all proclamation this weekend before he enrolls in two months is vital. Jones and his mother, Trina, will be on campus.
I’ve got Tyreke Smith ahead of Jackson Carman on this list because I believe – while both are important visitors – that the situation with Smith is close to being on life support and the Buckeyes need to hit a home run with him and his mother this weekend if they want to stay in the game. I think Smith is much closer to a decision – for Penn State – and that makes a major push this weekend necessary. With Carman, though I think USC and Clemson are legitimate threats worth being concerned about, things are closer to an even recruitment than they are for Tyreke Smith. Still, it’s good for Carman to be around the Ohio State commits and to get closer to them.
Which players could be on commitment watch?
Number 4 on my list above is Kamryn Babb, the St. Louis wideout who has been the top target for Ohio State at the position for months. Babb, as you might recall, tore the ACL in his right knee in August and has missed his entire senior season, but he remains a key priority for the Buckeyes.
They’re hoping he decides to end his recruitment this weekend, and I wouldn’t be at all surprised – despite his intention to still visit USC and LSU – if that happens. He’s the most likely candidate in the Class of 2018 to pull the trigger on a commitment this weekend. He’ll be accompanied by his mom and his dad on his official visit.
In the Class of 2019, the most likely to commit is Cade Stover from Lexington, Ohio. The 4-star linebacker prospect has been to Columbus almost 10 times in the last year and despite his desire to slow down his process and take visits elsewhere – he was at Penn State with 5-star DE Zach Harrison last weekend – he remains an important part of the Buckeyes plans in Ohio. He’s not talking about committing, but it could occur anytime.
Moving on to the Class of 2020 – yes 2020 – I think there’s a good chance that Ohio State could land Scottsdale (Ariz.) QB Jack Miller sometime in the near future. The Chaparral High School product will be in town with his offensive coordinator (his father had open heart surgery a week ago and won’t make the trip with him as planned), and that’s one reason I think he’ll wait until after the weekend, but the Buckeyes have been at the top of his list for a while now and he’s absolutely a priority, maybe more than any 2019 quarterback.
Would Ohio State take two quarterbacks in the Class of 2018?
That might sound crazy, but it’s apparently not off the table.
Yes, the battle for Emory Jones is ongoing, but according to Anthony Williams, the father of Kentucky commit Jarren Williams, Ohio State could be considering taking another signal caller in this cycle.
From Joe Musatto of SECCountry.com who spoke with Williams about the Buckeyes interest and recruitment of his son.
“What people don’t understand is that Ohio State’s not coming in late. Ohio State came down and did a camp at our school. Urban Meyer had an opportunity to talk to Jarren then.
“So, that relationship was always there. Although they had a commitment in Emory Jones, he always told Jarren that he really thinks Jarren is a special talent. When the whole thing happened with Emory Jones, I think that kind of furthered things along. They are pursuing Jarren. What they’re telling Jarren is that he has an opportunity to play. I think one of their quarterbacks, [quarterbacks coach Ryan Day] didn’t really mention which one, that may be transferring out. That could create an opportunity that they may take two quarterbacks in 2018.”
It’s not a secret that many people believe one of the current Buckeyes quarterbacks could leave following the 2017 season. That means that if Emory Jones is on the roster, Ohio State would enter the 2018 spring with just three quarterbacks on the roster, and they’d definitely prefer four. As evaluations of the Class of 2019 continue – a class I expected to have two quarterbacks – it seems it makes more sense to try to land a second in 2018, right?
Maybe, but it’s unlikely that Jones and Williams would end up at the same school, but right now, Williams is at least listening to other schools for one simple reason.
“The competition is not gonna scare him off. I think he welcomes competition, and I think Jarren believes he’s the best. And he believes that in order to be the best, you have to compete against the best. What Jarren’s looking at is, ‘Where can I go and compete right away and win?’ Cause he wants to win. He wants to play on that big stage.”
Check out the whole interview on SEC Country. It’s worth a read.
Antwuan Jackson quick-hitter
In case you missed it last weekend, Buckeyes defensive tackle commit Antwuan Jackson took an official visit to Alabama.
“Ohio State and the fans,” Jackson told Land of 10, “shouldn’t be worried at all.”
Weekend visitors update
Here is who we’re expecting this weekend on official visits, so obviously all these players are in the Class of 2018:
- QB • Emory Jones • Franklin, Ga. • Committed to Ohio State
- RB • Brian Snead • Seffner, Fla. • Committed to Ohio State
- WR • Kamryn Babb • St. Louis
- OL • Jackson Carman • Fairfield, Ohio
- DL • Taron Vincent • Bradenton, Fla. • Committed to Ohio State
- DL • Tyreke Smith • Cleveland Heights, Ohio
- DB • Sevyn Banks • Orlando, Fla. • Committed to Ohio State
- DB • Tyreke Johnson • Jacksonville, Fla.
That list is likely to change between now and Saturday. Of course, so too will this list of top 2018, ’19, and ’20 prospects. This certainly isn’t everyone, but here are the biggest names taking unofficial visits:
|Jaelen Gill||ATH||Westerville (Ohio)||5||2018|
|Master Teague III||RB||Murfreesboro (Tenn.)||4||2018|
|Blue Smith||WR||Huber Heights (Ohio)||4||2018|
|Max Wray||OL||Franklin (Tenn.)||4||2018|
|Brenton Cox||DE||Stockbridge (Ga.)||5||2018|
|Dallas Gant||LB||Toledo (Ohio)||4||2018|
|Josh Proctor||DB||Owasso (Okla.)||4||2018|
|Rasheed Walker||OL||Waldorf (Md.)||4||2018|
|Roen McCullough||LS||Worthington (Ohio)||NA||2018|
|Bryce Kirtz||WR||Brownsburg (Ind.)||3||2019|
|Doug Nester||OL||Huntington (W.Va.)||4||2019|
|John Olmstead||OL||Metuchen (N.J.)||4||2019|
|Darnell Wright||OL||Huntington (W.Va.)||4||2019|
|Zach Harrison||DE||Lewis Center (Ohio)||5||2019|
|Noah Potter||DE||Mentor (Ohio)||3||2019|
|Rodas Johnson||DL||Columbus (Ohio)||4||2019|
|Dorian Henson||DB||Westfield (Ind.)||NA||2019|
|Cade Stover||LB||Mansfield (Ohio)||4||2019|
|Cam’Ron Kelly||DB||Chesapeake (Va.)||4||2019|
|Jaylen McCullough||DB||Powder Springs (Ga.)||4||2019|
|Jalen Perry||DB||Dacula (Ga.)||4||2019|
|Jack Miller||QB||Scottsdale (Ariz.)||4||2020|
|Justin Rogers||OL||Oak Park (Mich.)||4||2020|
|Jake Wray||OL||Franklin (Tenn.)||4||2020|
|Bryan Bresee||DL||Damascus (Md.)||4||2020|
|Lejond Cavazos||DB||Bradenton (Fla.)||N/A||2020|
|Michael Drennen II||ATH||Dublin (Ohio)||4||2020|
We’ll continue to update this list as names move on and off of it.
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