Ohio State’s football coaches were busy recruiting last week, but their efforts during the second week of the January evaluation period (Jan. 22-26) puts that early start to shame. Land of 10 has confirmed over two dozen recruiting stops by the Buckeyes coaches throughout the last week as Ohio State cements relationships with their top prospects in the final weeks of the 2018 cycle and begins to build new ones with underclassmen in the 2019, 2020, and 2021 recruiting classes.
- The headliner of Monday’s in-home visit schedule was a two-man visit to California wide receiver Chris Olave from Ohio State offensive coordinator Ryan Day and wide receivers coach Zach Smith. The visit appeared to be a critical one for the Buckeyes, as it almost immediately coincided with a change in momentum in Olave’s recruitment, turning from UCLA to Ohio State.
- Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson stayed local to see the player who is arguably the most important Buckeyes target in the 2019 class, 5-star defensive end Zach Harrison of Lewis Center (Ohio) Olentangy Orange.
- Then-cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs checked in on Texas athlete Maurice Washington shortly before moving on from his position at Ohio State. Coincidentally, Ohio State moved on from Washington shortly thereafter.
- Newly hired defensive coordinator Alex Grinch stayed local to check in on Columbus (Ohio) Northland standouts and brothers John Branham Jr. and Kalil Branham. John is a 2019 running back who holds his first and only Power 5 offer from Pittsburgh. Kalil is a 2020 prospect with early offers from Cincinnati and Toledo. Grinch also went to Pickerington (Ohio) North, where underclassmen like 2020 wide receiver Chris Scott and 2021 defensive end Jack Sawyer look like future stars.
- Larry Johnson went on the road to familiar stopping grounds, making his way to Maryland. There, he checked in on 2019 defensive end Deandre Jules of Germantown (Md.) Northwest. Ohio State is keeping tabs on Jules, but would like to see him add more weight and develop physically after missing time with a meniscus tear.
- Urban Meyer and offensive line coach Greg Studrawa flew down to Florida, where they checked in on top offensive tackle Michael Tarquin. Tarquin is one of 2019’s top offensive line prospects and Ohio State, Oklahoma, Miami, and Michigan State are among his top contenders.
- Linebackers coach Bill Davis traveled to Georgia to check in on 2019 athlete/running back Steele Chambers, who does not yet hold an offer from Ohio State.
- It was busy day for Ohio State running backs coach Tony Alford. He made his way down to Tennessee, where he first stopped in Nashville’s Davidson Academy for consensus 4-star defensive end Ani Izuchukwu, who has been on Ohio State’s radar for years. Alford also stopped in Murfreesboro (Tenn.), home of 4-star cornerback Woodi Washington.
- Johnson stayed in Maryland, where he saw offensive tackle Rasheed Walker. Arguably Ohio State’s most important remaining target in the 2018 class, Walker was fresh off his Jan. 19 official visit to Ohio State and Johnson made sure to stay consistently around the Maryland native.
- Grinch joined Johnson in Maryland, but made a different stop. Grinch traveled to powerhouse program DeMatha Catholic in Hyattsville (Md.), the former school of star Buckeyes freshman defensive end Chase Young. While there, Grinch offered standout 2019 safety Nick Cross. You can read more about Cross’ thoughts on his offer at this link. DeMatha is home to a number of other top prospects. Only one other DeMatha prospect, 4-star 2019 defensive back DeMarcco Hellams, holds a Buckeyes offer, but 2019 wide receiver Jermaine Johnson, 2020 running back Marshawn Lloyd and 2020 offensive guard Golden Achumba look to be Power 5 prospects.
- I won’t go into too much detail here on coach Urban Meyer’s whirlwind tour of the Midwest, as you can read about the trip in its entirety at this link, but he made a number of stops around the country. Meyer saw players at Warren Central, Carmel, Cathedral Prep, Avon, and Brownsburg in the Indianapolis area. He went to Iowa for recent quarterback offer Max Duggan and did the same in the Kansas City area for Graham Mertz. In addition to the names listed in the report linked earlier in the paragraph, Meyer saw running back Sampson James and wide receiver Bryce Kirtz.
- Zach Smith, Ohio State’s wide receivers coach and ace recruiter, was in South Florida at powerhouse program American Heritage in the Fort Lauderdale area. Heritage is home to 5-star defensive backs Patrick Surtain Jr. and Tyson Campbell, the Nos. 1 and 2 cornerbacks in the country, respectively.
- Also in South Florida was Alford, who made his way to Lakeland (Fla.). As always, the Dreadnaughts are loaded with Division I prospects. However, only one player at the school, 2019 tight end Keon Zipperer, currently holds an Ohio State offer. Class of 2019 defensive ends Latrell Jean and Tre Huntley are expected to be Power 5 prospects. In the 2020 class, running back Demarkcus Bowman looks to be a future superstar, with offers already from Florida’s Big Three programs, along with Georgia, Michigan, Oregon, Nebraska, Tennessee and several other programs.
- Offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day was in the New England area, where he checked in on and offered multiple prospects. Day was in Rhode Island for 2019 offensive tackle Xavier Truss, who landed an offer from the Buckeyes a couple of weeks earlier. Day also swung through Massachusetts and Connecticut to offer 2020 offensive tackle Kevin Pyne and 2020 defensive tackle Tre Williams, respectively. Pyne and Williams are expected to be among the best prospects in the country at their position.
- Kevin Wilson, Ohio State’s other offensive coordinator, was in Virginia for 2019 defensive end/athlete Hakeem Beamon, a product of Chesterfield (Va.) Lloyd C. Bird. Ohio State has not yet offered Beamon, a North Carolina commit, but Beamon does hold offers from UNC, South Carolina, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.
- Meyer stopped at Clayton (Ohio) Northmont to see in-state 2019 defensive Gabe Newburg, who holds several Group of Five offers.
- Meyer continued on to Dayton (Ohio) Archbishop Alter, where he saw arguably the state of Ohio’s top returning offensive backfield for next year. Alter will feature 2019 running back John Bivens and 2019 quarterback Connor Bazelak. Bazelak and Bivens are arguably the top-2 players at their position in the state for 2019 and both hold multiple Power 5 offers.