The Ohio State recruiting mailbag is back. In this space, we’ll answer as many questions as we can, gathered from around the internet.
Let’s dive right in.
Taking questions for a recruiting mailbag for tomorrow morning.
— Jeremy Birmingham (@Birm) December 4, 2016
The first question came in from Ethan Campbell.
@Birm percent chance Marvin Wilson ends up at OSU
— Ethan Ca❌pbell (@forrest_cam55) December 4, 2016
I touched on this in Sunday night’s version of “Dotting the ‘Eyes,” but, remarkably, the odds of this happening are getting pretty good. I don’t really “do” the percentages thing, but I’ll say that if today were signing day, I’d suggest the Buckeyes were the favorite to land the country’s top-ranked defensive tackle. Today. A lot can happen in the next two months, but it’s better to be playing from the lead than from behind.
@Birm with antjuan Simmons decommitting, is there another likely defector from the class and if so, whom would it be?
— Jamal Norman (@Ohio2Michigan) December 5, 2016
If you’ve followed me for a while, you know that I don’t like to speculate on stuff like this, but there are always names out there considering a change. The first, and most obvious, is still Shaun Wade. The 5-star cornerback will make a final decision between Ohio State, Alabama, Virginia Tech and Florida this week. He won’t announce his intentions until the U.S. Army All-American Game, though. He’s the most likely to leave the Buckeyes class. Beyond him, I think you may have another name to add contingent on which positions get another commitment or two before signing day.
@Birm How does the Akers recruitment affect our chances with 2018 backs, Zamir White especially, and can we take up to 3 next year?
— Derek (@P0tts1e_de_r0ck) December 5, 2016
I think the recruitment of Cam Akers could affect the 2018 – and potentially 2017 – running back situation a lot, actually. If by some chance Akers decided to surprise everyone and head North, there is a good chance J.K. Dobbins starts to look around, as he’s said he would. For 2018, it would mean the odds of landing a player like Zamir White (which are already low) go down even more. The Buckeyes have a running back already committed in 2018 (Brian Snead), and are chasing 5-stars White, Lorenzo Lingard, and Jaelen Gill. In my mind, you pass on Cam Akers and go full-speed ahead for three of the best in 2018.
@Birm how does this class finish? Thoughts on Akers, Smith, Wilson, Tufele, Holmes, okudah is 99.99% lock, harris, dpj low, wade, bolden
— Jared Goldberg (@jaredgoldberg13) December 5, 2016
There are so many moving parts and questions that do not yet have an answer (NFL early entrees first among them) that it’s hard to give a definitive answer to this sort of query. It’s easy to say “those guys are too good to say no to,” but the reality is that if they all wanted in, you’d have to say no to someone. Of the names listed, Ohio State can land Trey Smith, Marvin Wilson, Jay Tufele, Jeffrey Okudah and can hold on to Shaun Wade. Does that mean they will? Of course not, but I think the relationships with that group are better than the others.
@Birm how do you believe the staff is looking to fill the void that will be left by Raekwon, both from a starting and depth perspective?
— Jared Duncan (@buckeyefan686) December 5, 2016
I will tackle this from a recruiting perspective, because there are obviously some players on the current roster who will have to step up and fill the gap quickly. On the trail, I personally believe that Baron Browning will eventually end up in the middle of the defense, especially if the Buckeyes can land Indianapolis 4-star linebacker Pete Werner, who would be a perfect fit at strongside linebacker (SAM).
@Birm how upfront are osu coaches to plan b recruits? Do they outright tell them they are only an option if the other guy says no?
— Andy Carr (@bwacarr8) December 5, 2016
There is more than one way to skin a cat, you know? When it comes to communicating priority, the easiest way to do that is to prioritize communication, if that makes sense. Recruits and their families are savvy. They see the news, they read the updates, they know who is getting “the love.” You don’t have to sit Joe Schmoe down and say, “Listen, Joe, we’re recruiting you, but only if Larry says no.” Joe already knows.
@Birm – Who's the first big time commitment in 2018?
— Scott Bales (@ScottBales1) December 5, 2016
That’s an easy one: Emory Jones, who committed in July. He’s a 5-star quarterback. You don’t get much bigger than that.
@Birm how many 5 star recruits will the Buckeyes end up with?
— Caleb Fogle (@cafogle17) December 5, 2016
Right now, there are six 5-star prospects committed to the Buckeyes. How high can they go? Assuming they hold on to Shaun Wade, I think it’s reasonable to predict that they get eight with the addition of Jeffrey Okudah and either Trey Smith or Marvin Wilson. We’ll find out about Smith, an offensive tackle from Jackson, Tenn., quickly: he’s making his college decision tomorrow, Dec. 6.
@Birm with Richard Lecounte taking an OV for the game, any chance he's wavering on his commitment to Georgia?
— Andrew Schwisow (@darkknight1093) December 5, 2016
Nope. Richard was in town to see Raekwon McMillan, and that’s all. There’s a ton of mutual respect between the Buckeyes and LeCounte, and if Georgia hadn’t hired Kirby Smart when they did, I think he’d be committed to Ohio State, but, alas, he ain’t. He won’t be.
@Birm any current commits that just flat out surprised you when they announced?
— Jerm (@jerminator06) December 5, 2016
I think that anyone who tells you they expected Haskell Garrett or J.K. Dobbins to commit when they did – and to be as solid as they’ve been – is a liar. Those two, and Shaun Wade to a degree, were completely out of the blue.
@Birm Need we worry about a browning flip?
— Francis Parker (@franciszomes) December 4, 2016
I don’t think so, though I know Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide are sure to try and change his mind. Why do I feel the Buckeyes are in the clear? Because Browning committed last Thursday night when he had zero reason to do so then. He wasn’t forced to make a decision; he could’ve waited. It appears he and his family wanted the process over with and the selection of Ohio State was made with a clear conscience.
@Birm just give the latest news on T. Smith.
— Steve Lenhart (@stevel1969) December 5, 2016
The latest on Trey Smith is this: he’s announcing a decision on Tuesday. He made his official visit to Tennessee, the long-time favorite, during the weekend. Tonight, Monday, he’ll have Alabama and Ohio State in his home. Urban Meyer, Tim Beck, Greg Studrawa, and Kerry Coombs will be in Jackson to try and seal the deal for the Buckeyes. It’s hard to imagine that in a two-week stretch, the Buckeyes have gone from no chance to good chance, but here we are. This is likely a classic head (Ohio State, Bama) vs. heart (Tennessee) decision, and if you’ve followed me for a long time, you know that I say heart usually always wins.