Jeremy Birmingham/Land of 10
Recruit Jackson Carman headlines this week in recruiting news.

Ohio State recruiting mailbag: The Buckeyes will have to make tough decisions on Jackson Carman, Micah Parsons

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. 

Well, this has been an interesting week. We’ll just dive in, and in a little change of format, since many questions were about the same thing, I’m going to merge some thoughts together.

What the heck should Ohio State do about Jackson Carman? – Lots of you

I am not going to rehash the entire chain of events that has led to this question, but if you’re just hearing about it for the first time, here are the CliffsNotes: Ohio State lost, its quarterback struggled again in defeat, recruits – including Jackson Carman and Micah Parsons – publicly called for a change at the position in Columbus via social media. That led to a number of current and former Buckeyes being irate, or at least frustrated, that recruits would so easily try to shame and embarrass one of the schools wining and dining them. One of those players, ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit, suggested that to make a transition into the college locker room easier, it makes more sense for a recruit to bite his tongue for now.

Carman retaliated on social media, calling Herbstreit a “sheep” and suggesting he has not only a right but an “obligation” to say whatever he wants about whomever he wants.

No matter where you stand on the issue of Ohio State’s quarterback play, there are two absolutes in play here: no college coach, anywhere, is going to take kindly to a recruit – even a top 10 player such as Carman – criticizing/questioning his decisions, especially in a public forum. Especially when that school has been recruiting you and building a personal relationship with you for almost two years. The second absolute is that we live in a time where athletes are, more and more, using the platform and the leverage they have to voice their opinions on whatever they see fit because there’s almost always another team ready to scoop them up. We’re not at a point yet where red flags supersede talent, in most cases anyway.

I don’t think Ohio State will walk away from Carman, but I also feel fairly confident in saying that some people within the football program might at least be thinking about it. As I wrote on Wednesday night, there is a feeling that maybe that’s what Carman’s goal is in this whole debacle. Urban Meyer saw his Florida dynasty crumble when he allowed too many players, just because they were talented, to call the shots in his program. That is not going to happen again, and if a heart-to-heart conversation with Carman doesn’t happen soon to get to the root of the matter, you may see a distancing between the two sides from each direction. USC and Clemson are waiting eagerly to “win” one against the Buckeyes.

And what the heck happened with Micah Parsons? – The other half of you

Then there’s Micah Parsons, the 5-star defensive end from Pennsylvania who started this whole social media mess on Saturday night before the Buckeyes even were back in their locker room.

As we’ve mentioned here in the past, Parsons’ recruitment has been all over the map since the beginning. He’s a former Penn State commit who has played the recruiting game for two years and shows no sign of slowing down. He tweeted he was “having the time of my life” on his Ohio State official visit but later had to say he was caught up in the moment when he tweeted a call for Dwayne Haskins to take over at quarterback.

I am going to say this and I realize how it’s going to sound, but please know that this is entirely my opinion: the difference between the Carman tweet and the Parsons tweet is that Parsons just doesn’t know better. I don’t think it was meant to be malicious or insulting or meant to cause a stir.

With Carman, I believe that’s exactly what it was intended for.

That said, Parsons’ tweet is emblematic of the bigger-picture problem his recruitment has faced from the start: he’s a wild card and kind of immature. There are a number of those red flags around him and that means Ohio State, and other programs, are working hard to figure out the risk against the reward. There’s just no easy answer.

In the summer of 2014, Ohio State – recruiting Torrance Gibson as hard as any school – basically walked away from him because he let fame and attention dictate his choices and he grew more and more arrogant.

Is it time the Buckeyes do the same here? I don’t think they’re the only program considering it as a possibility, and that’s one of the reasons you’ll see schools such as Nebraska hang around and elevate their place in this conversation. The Huskers are a rising program again, thanks in part to a heavy marketing push by adidas, and that makes them much more willing to take a shot at landing a superstar talent with off-field questions around him.

Again, there are no easy answers.

Does Palaie Gaoteote stay committed to USC? – KBonay

Until an official visit to Ohio State is planned and actually happens, there’s little reason to talk too much about the odds of flipping the country’s No. 1-ranked linebacker in the Class of 2018.

But we will anyway.

Gaoeteote says he’s 100 percent committed to USC, and there’s little reason to doubt him, again, at this point. He’s not visited anywhere else, and other than Ohio State, there’s been no public discussion about other trips.

If the Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) star visits Ohio State in October – the Penn State game keeps being brought up as a potential time – then sure, you can’t count the Buckeyes out. I still think it’s a longshot that he flips, but there has always been real interest in Ohio State on Gaoeteote’s part.

What does Antwuan Jackson‘s commitment mean for Tommy Togai? – OhioValleyBuckeye75

Short answer, and that’s all that’s really necessary: not much.

With the addition of Antwuan Jackson, the Buckeyes are still going to pursue Tommy Togiai as aggressively as they would’ve otherwise. Togiai will make at least two more official visits, with Washington and USC slated to get them, and a final decision is expected sometime in December.

All it means for Ohio State, really, is that unlike the last few recruiting cycles, the Buckeyes won’t be empty-handed if they miss on their top remaining target at defensive tackle near signing day.

We missed on Dwayne Cohill.  At one point it felt like he was one of the Ohio players we would be able to land but now is another example of an Ohio recruit choosing to play elsewhere.  Is this us still recovering from Thad Matta’s national approach to recruiting?  Are Holtmann and staff just focused on other players?   – SB97

I am not afraid to say when I am out of my element, and in this case, I’m out of my element.

However, I asked my friend Zach Fleer of  270Hoops.com, one of the top recruiting analysts for Ohio State basketball, to weigh in. I hope his answer satisfies you.

From Zach:

“The Ohio State staff was not as invested in Cohill as Dayton and other schools were. Cohill is still somewhat of a combo guard and not a pure point guard, and I feel Holtmann and his staff were looking elsewhere for talent, with guys like Elijah Weaver for example. Ohio State liked Cohill, but they didn’t love him. I don’t see this as an example of another program out doing Ohio State for an in-state recruit. The staff was not heartbroken when Cohill announced he was going to Dayton.”

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.