Ohio State recruiting notebook: Slade still likes Buckeyes, the nation’s top 2018 linebacker talking to Ohio State regularly and more
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 for a glimpse at what’s coming next.
2018 5-star continues to be chummy with Ohio State
It’s a very busy – and very productive – time for Ohio State’s recruiting efforts. The Scarlet and Gray are seemingly “in the mix” for any player they express interest in and have catapulted themselves into a tier of recruiting prestige that has never been seen before with the program. That’s a fairly grand statement when you consider their historical success, but it’s accurate nonetheless.
Ohio State’s reach has them getting the attention of players from high school programs and locations they’ve never really tried to before, like Las Vegas and its prep powerhouse, Bishop Gorman.
If you follow the Buckeyes recruiting efforts, you know by now that they’ve got commitments from the top two players at Bishop Gorman, quarterback Tate Martell and defensive tackle Haskell Garrett. Each player is a 4-star prospect in their top-ranked recruiting class and is an integral part of Ohio State’s future plans and their 2017 recruiting class. One of the perks of current success at a major high school is getting to know the guys that are coming down the line, and the Buckeyes are using that to their advantage in Las Vegas.
Palaie Gaoteote, the country’s top-ranked 2018 linebacker according to Scout.com, is one of those players. He’s got an offer from the Buckeyes and has serious Buckeye interest.
“I talk to Ohio State quite a bit,” Gaoteote (pronounced Gah-oh-teh-oh-teh) told Landof10. “I’ve got to call (Ohio State linebackers coach Luke) Fickell this week.”
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound linebacker isn’t just a teammate of Haskell Garrett, he’s family. Cousins, technically, but the two are very close, like brothers. That means the Buckeyes are a pretty regular topic of discussion.
“(Tate and Haskell) talk to me about Ohio State a lot,” he said. “They always remind me about Ohio State. Every day. Especially Haskell.”
Can the Buckeyes strike gold once more with the Gaels in 2018? Getting the star linebacker to campus will be the next key step.
“Right now, I’m unsure of when I can visit,” Gaoteote added. “I want to get out there the next time my cousin goes.”
Ricky Slade still interested in Buckeyes
Another big-time 2018 athlete still has a lot of interest in what’s going on in Columbus, he’s just not been hearing from Ohio State as much as he’d like to lately.
Woodbridge (Va.) running back Ricky Slade is the country’s No. 36 prospect who was, at one time, a player many people believed would end up at Ohio State thanks to the close bond he shares with a former Bulldogs teammate, current Buckeye lineman Matt Burrell, Jr. In recent months, the communication between the Buckeyes and Slade has tapered off, but don’t mistake that as a lack of interest on either part.
“Ohio State told me that they are still in on him,” one source close to Slade shared. “Ricky thought that they had lost interest at first. They asked him to come up for Friday Night Lights on July 22, so he’s got a decision to make: We’re either visiting Florida or Ohio State that day.”
The Buckeyes were the first out-of-state school to offer Slade when they pulled the trigger in October of 2014, and that’s always carried a lot of weight with the 5-foot-9, 185-pound back. Right now though, Ohio State isn’t recruiting him as hard as some of the other schools who’ve offered since.
“Penn State, Virginia Tech, Tennessee, Clemson, North Carolina and Florida are recruiting him the hardest right now,” the source added. “He grew up a Buckeye fan, though. He just hasn’t visited since 8th grade so he has to get back on campus.”
One of the potential roadblocks to a “match” between Slade and Ohio State is Westerville (Ohio) South’s Jaelen Gill, who is one of the six underclassmen participating at The Opening next week in Oregon. Gill and Slade are similar talents and play similar positions and it’s unlikely they’d end up at the same school.”
New Top 10 list for 2018 standout
2018 wide receiver Jermaine Eskridge, a former Kentucky commitment from Tampa, has released a new Top 10 schools list and the Buckeyes – as well as Michigan State – made the cut.
Thanks for all the support pic.twitter.com/CEdDfCrssx
— EJ2 (@Iam_Jermaine4) July 1, 2016
The 6-foot-3, 185-pound athlete who plays both sides of the ball at Jefferson High School has kept Ohio State on his short list every time he’s changed it. But, he has not yet made a trip to campus making it hard to know exactly gauge his interest. He lists 44 offers and tweeted on June 2 that he’d be visiting Ohio State today – July 1– but it’s a recruiting “dead period” that prohibits any face-to-face communication, so it appears he didn’t check that out before scheduling.
There’s a long way to signing day for the country’s 146th-ranked prospect in the 2018 class, so stay tuned.
4-Star defensive tackle lists Ohio State, leaves off hometown Arkansas
It’s a Friday before a holiday weekend, it’s a recruiting dead period as mentioned and a lot of coaches, players and families are off to the beach or the lake or some other vacation and not diving too far down the recruiting rabbit hole. There are still some players making news and that’s what the power of the “Top 5” list is, especially when you’re a 4-star prospect who spurns your hometown.
Akial Byers is the country’s 13th-ranked defensive tackle out of Fayetteville, Ark. and today he announced a top schools list that didn’t include Bret Bielema and the Razorbacks.
Top 5 colleges?? No order
2.Ohio St ?
3.Mississippi St ?
5.Ole Miss ??
— The name is AKIAL (@akial_byers) July 1, 2016
As you can see, his list does include the Buckeyes, who offered the 6-foot-4, 275-pound Byers on May 20.
Ohio State has two defensive tackles committed already for 2017 (Haskell Garrett and Jerron Cage) and are hot on the trail of a third. For Byers to get on that list, he’s going to have to find a time to get to Ohio. As of now, there’s no visit scheduled to Ohio State.
Unless otherwise noted, all rankings come courtesy of 247Sports.com.
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