Jeremy Birmingham/Land of 10
Ohio State won't walk away from Jackson Carman.

Ohio State recruiting mailbag: The Buckeyes and Jackson Carman, more recruiting questions that you want answered

Jeremy Birmingham

Have Ohio State football recruiting questions? We’ve got answers. Join us every Thursday for the Land of 10 Ohio State recruiting mailbag to discuss Buckeyes recruiting. This week, official visitors return to Columbus, and with them come your questions. 

In some ways, things have leveled off for the No. 1-ranked recruiting class in the country, and as the season rolls along, the Buckeyes could use a shot of momentum.

We here at the recruiting mailbag can’t bring that, but we’re hoping to bring some answers to your questions, so let’s get into them.

Do you still think Jackson Carman ends up at OSU, or is he truly trending toward Clemson or USC? Is the staff backing off of him because of the Twitter incident, or are they still prioritizing him? – JacksonOhio5

I don’t like to play the middle usually, but the truth is that right now, no one really knows what Jackson Carman is doing. The 5-star offensive tackle from Fairfield, Ohio, has managed to keep people guessing for months, and he’ll continue to do so.

There are rumors out there that he’s telling people close to him that he’s going to USC. He’ll visit the Trojans and Clemson, officially, in December. He’s expected to make an official visit to Ohio State at some point too, but that’s not been announced yet. Sometimes it seems as if Carman goes out of his way to avoid saying anything at all about the Buckeyes if he can help it.

Does that mean he’s not really thinking about Ohio State or does it mean he’s trying very hard to throw people off the presumed scent?

I can and do see it both ways. The “Twitter incident” was an unnecessary bit of dramatics, but it is what it is — a chance for Carman to speak his mind, and it just so happened to rile some folks up. Will Ohio State back away from him? I don’t think so, and certainly not without a good sense of what other players, such as Rasheed Walker or Nicholas Petit-Frere, are doing with their recruitments.

We’ve written here for months that Carman isn’t your average Ohio recruit, and that while the Buckeyes aren’t out of it to land him, that there could be some tense times.

Way back in the Jim Tressel era, there was a big-time offensive lineman from Cleveland Glenville named Aundrey Walker who would tell everyone he was going to USC and wasn’t going to follow in the path everyone thought he would. “You’re just creating drama” people would say, but Walker was serious. He chose USC. Is Carman the next guy to do that? He could be.

If it’s true that Carman just had his heart set on going out of state, should we really view it as the staff’s fault for not getting him? There will be several articles and posts written saying that OSU got beat by whatever team he signs with, but is it fair to blame the staff if they never really had a chance?  Seems like the Buckeyes have benefited a few times from situations where kids from out of state were set on leaving for college. – JDunc686

I don’t know that Carman’s decision is going to come down to location as much as it will come down to not wanting to do whatever people think he is going to. He prides himself on being unique, on being someone that goes his own way. He genuinely seems frustrated and agitated that people assume he’s going to Ohio State. That was the reason for the whole Twitter blowup in the first place.

As far as going out of state, sure, there are some players who just want to get away and start experiencing life on their own. I think that’s reasonable. I think, though, for an intelligent kid like Jackson, he also knows that if he were to go to Ohio State and succeed, he would be set for life and able to go anywhere he wants in three years with a big NFL contract and the love and adoration of his home state.

It doesn’t matter if a player of this caliber dreams of going away or not. At Ohio State, the expectation is that the Buckeyes land Ohio’s best players, period. If they don’t, it hurts. That doesn’t mean they “failed” or whatever, but it still hurts.

It seems like we may have a good shot with Chris Steele and Shane Lee in 2019, but there isn’t a ton of conversation yet about them.  What are your thoughts on these guys and OSU’s position with them? – FootstepsFalco

Ohio State has only one commitment so far in 2019, and generally speaking, they appear to be taking things kind of slowly in that class.

As you mentioned, Chris Steele (a 4-star, former UCLA commit from St. John Bosco in California, and Shane Lee (a 4-star linebacker from Washington, D.C.), are two of the country’s best prospects in that class. They’re in pretty different situations when it comes to Ohio State.

Lee has been to Columbus multiple times and, in my opinion, Ohio State is probably the leader in the clubhouse. He’s in no hurry to decide and will be a player the Buckeyes continue to see up close over the next few months.

With Steele, who has family in Ohio and with Buckeyes ties, it’s a bit different.  He’s not been to Columbus to visit Ohio State yet and while he’s close with Buckeyes freshman Wyatt Davis and 2018 commit Jaiden Woodbey, there are no immediate plans to make a visit. Until that happens, it’s hard to take his interest too seriously, despite regular communication between him and the Ohio State coaches.

What’s the latest on Kamryn Babb and Anthony Cook?  Still seem like OSU is the favorite? – JacksonOhio5

Short answer here: Everything seems to be the status quo with this pair.

Babb is going to visit Ohio State officially for the Penn State game on Oct. 28. He’s always been quiet about his recruitment, and since his season-ending knee injury occurred in late August, he’s been even more under-the-radar as he focuses on rehab, etc.

Ohio State hasn’t turned its attention to other receivers, and that should give you a little sense of where things are with Babb.

Anthony Cook took his official visit already and is expected to announce a college decision on Oct. 30, but there are some rumblings out there that he could delay that. He’s expected to visit LSU and Texas (again) before making a choice, but the Buckeyes remain the team to beat, according to most people in the know, including most people in his home state of Texas.

I don’t think you can count out Texas or LSU, especially if he pushes his decision back, but until that happens, things still seem positive for Ohio State.

They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. With that in mind, how flattered are you by your former employer’s Last Go ‘Round series? – PotatoDigger

You know, you’re right: Imitation is a pretty flattering thing and because of that, I think it’s awesome when people try to replicate what I do here or what we used to do when I worked elsewhere. There are only so many ways to skin a cat, and we’ve certainly taken some ideas that work from other places (for example, the Wake Up, Sloopy piece) and tried to make them into our own style.

The best thing about covering Ohio State football and Ohio State-related topics is that this fan base is so rabid and so large that there’s room for everyone to do what they do, and to do what we do, too. The more good, quality, #content the better, in my opinion.

Have a question about Ohio State recruiting? Tweet us @Landof10OSU and we’ll try to answer it in a future mailbag. If you wish to have your Ohio State recruiting questions answered in a future version of this column, sign up for our Ohio State forum. We try to keep the conversation going over there.