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.
Assessing Ohio State’s quarterback situation
Ohio State got to the point Thursday where it could not wait any longer for a final answer from Emory Jones and accepted a commitment from Austin (Texas) Lake Travis 3-star quarterback Matthew Baldwin.
What does that mean for Jones and Ohio State? Though Jones has been committed to the Buckeyes since July 2016, his decision to take visits to other schools throughout this fall — most notably to Alabama and Auburn — has put the Buckeyes in a tough spot. Jones responded to the Baldwin news with a puzzlement emoji, but in reality he’s certainly been told a number of times throughout the fall by the coaching staff what the situation was.
— Emory Jones (@eXjones6) December 8, 2017
In fact, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer publicly acknowledged in November that there was a chance he’d have to take another quarterback in this class if Jones continued to waffle. (Because of NCAA rules prohibiting coaches about specifically speaking about unsigned recruits, the question was phrased as a non-specific hypothetical.)
“[It’s] possible, possible,” Meyer said about taking two quarterbacks in the Class of 2018. “Just like you said, the issue that’s going to come up here is the early signing period. And you still don’t know who is going to declare for the draft a month later. [Buckeyes director of player personnel] Mark [Pantoni] just keeps wanting to talk to me about it — and I said, ‘Give me some time.’ But we don’t have much time.
“But the other thing you’re going to see is the guy you keep on the back-burner and try to flip him at the end, he signs on [Dec. 20, the first day of the early signing period], you don’t have those guys, either. It’s going to be an interesting year.”
All of this is to say that it’s entirely possible that Baldwin’s commitment is not a deal-breaker for Jones. He’s known for some time that this was a possibility, and it’s doubtful that a less-heralded recruit would affect his decision if the actual Ohio State depth chart didn’t.
This will still come down to whether he feels either Alabama or Ohio State is the better program for him, and that question appears to be a near-impossible one for him to answer. One way or another, though, a resolution probably is coming soon. Meyer and Alabama coach Nick Saban are only going to wait so long before pushing for a final answer. The early signing period begins Dec. 20, making it less than two weeks away.
Could a final decision from Jones come this weekend? Stay tuned.
Buckeyes hosting official visitors
Ohio State is hosting a few official visitors this weekend, including some commits and one particularly prominent player committed to another Big Ten school.
Nebraska commit Cameron Brown, a 4-star wide receiver for St. Louis Christian Brothers, tweeted Friday that he was on his way to Columbus for an official visit. Brown is a high school teammate of 4-star wide receiver Kamryn Babb, who is overwhelmingly expected to choose Ohio State. Given the turnover on Nebraska’s staff and the way the Buckeyes have recruited Brown lately, a flip could be something to watch for.
December weekends offer more time with the staff for official visitors than a game weekend does, and the Buckeyes also will have several commits on hand. The list of players expected to be in Columbus this weekend includes in-state commits Blue Smith, Jaelen Gill and Dallas Gant as well as Lindenhurst, N.Y., tight end Jeremy Ruckert.
Ohio State offers Paris Johnson
On Friday, Ohio State also hosted Cincinnati St. Xavier Class of 2020 tackle Paris Johnson for an unofficial visit, and he walked away with a scholarship offer.
— Paris Johnson Jr. (@ParisJohnsonJr) December 8, 2017
Johnson also holds offers from Cincinnati, Clemson, Michigan State, Rutgers and Virginia.
— Cameron Brown® (@luh_cam_) December 8, 2017
— Ruck (@Jeremy_Ruckert1) December 8, 2017
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