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.
Ohio State receiving official visit from Richard LeCounte?
If you’ve followed Ohio State recruiting for a while, you’re no doubt familiar with the name Richard LeCounte.
A 4-star defensive back out of Hinesville (Ga.) Liberty County High School, LeCounte has been committed to Georgia since December but at one time was a top target of Ohio State. In fact, many considered the Buckeyes as the favorite to land him before Georgia’s decision to change their program’s direction and let go of former head coach Mark Richt.
LeCounte was the first commitment for new Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, joining the Bulldogs less than a week after the hiring. The two had a well-developed relationship thanks to Smart’s time with Alabama and the 5-foot-11, 175-pound LeCounte had been looking for every reason to stay home and took the opportunity, much to the chagrin of the Buckeyes.
It’s recruiting in the year 2016 and there are few players in the country more solid in their commitment right now than LeCounte to Georgia, but according to Rivals.com’s Rob Cassidy, he’s still planning to take official visits to other schools this fall and Ohio State is going to be one of the programs he sees.
— Rob Cassidy (@Cassidy_Rob) June 25, 2016
Ohio State’s ties to LeCounte go way back. He’s made multiple visits to Columbus since the Buckeyes offered him during his freshman year at Liberty County, where he was a teammate – and self-described “little brother” – of Ohio State linebacker Raekwon McMillan.
Ironically, it’s the closeness to McMillan and the 2014 Ohio State recruiting class that may have negatively impacted his chances of committing to the Buckeyes. The majority of the best relationships LeCounte has at Ohio State are with guys who would be gone by the time he arrives in college and he’s forged very strong ties with players in the Southeast that he’ll line up with at Georgia.
So what to make of his plans to visit Ohio State?
It’s far more likely that he’d consider this trip to see his “brother” play in his last game at Ohio Stadium (presuming the game he chooses to visit for is in late November against a certain Maize and Blue group from Ann Arbor) than because he’s going to flip his commitment. Ohio State still has a great connection with LeCounte and would likely welcome him for a visit either way.
“I talked to him two weeks ago about it,” a source close to LeCounte shared with Landof10.com. “He told me before that he wanted to (visit) as long as Pantoni will let him. He said he wants to take all five visits and I believe Georgia, Bama, Ohio State, UCLA, and Clemson will be the five.”
Bottom line? Not much to see here. But hey, stranger things have happened, right?
Martell will return to Ohio State for Friday Night Lights
Ohio State 4-star quarterback commitment Tate Martell has been very busy lately on Twitter, showing the world who he intends to bring with him to Columbus next year. He’ll get a chance to put on his recruiting hat during Friday Night Lights next month at Ohio State.
My family and I will in Columbus on July 22 for the Ohio State Friday Night Lights Camp! #GoBucks
— Tate Martell (@TheTateMartell) June 27, 2016
Martell, the country’s top-ranked dual-threat quarterback, will be on campus at the same time as 5-star running back Cam Akers, 5-star defensive end Chase Young, 5-star linebacker Baron Browning, 5-star defensive back Darnay Holmes and others.
If you’re expecting Martell to wait until Friday Night Lights to do some ‘crootin? Guess again. He’s working with a pretty good wide receiver today in Las Vegas…but more on that player in a bit.
— Tyjon A. Lindsey ® (@tyjonlindsey) June 27, 2016
Okudah visits Oklahoma; Sooners emerging as a real threat to Buckeyes?
Twice in the last month, Ohio State has seen their top remaining defensive back target, South Grand Prairie (Texas) 5-star Jeffrey Okudah, on campus. The 6-foot-2, 195 pound Okudah has had the Buckeyes at the top of his list since his first trip to Columbus last summer and things remain very friendly between the two sides.
Following his most recent visit, Okudah made a surprise stop at Oklahoma, checking out the Sooners for the fourth or fifth time, which is somewhat concerning if you’re a Buckeyes fan. The fact is that no one makes that many visits to another school if they’re not interested and with Norman’s proximity to his hometown, there is definitely reason to believe that Bob Stoops’ program is starting to emerge as the most legitimate threat to Ohio State’s standing with the country’s top-ranked safety.
After his most recent visit to Ohio, which he took with his aunt, we checked in with a source about Okudah and the answer they provided should make Buckeyes fan very happy.
“Okudah was talking to (Urban) Meyer,” the source shared. “He said that Ohio State is No. 1 and that right now, there’s not really a No. 2.”
That said, it does appear a contender is stepping up. Okudah will announce his top-six schools on July 11, but there’s no date for a decision at this time. The Buckeyes may have the difficult task of holding onto the lead for his services all the way to signing day.
Tyjon Lindsey and the Cornhuskers
Speaking of two-team races for 5-star players, Ohio State wide receiver target Tyjon Lindsey made another visit to Nebraska this past weekend and took part in the Cornhuskers open-to-the-public football camp on Friday night.
— Tyjon A. Lindsey ® (@tyjonlindsey) June 25, 2016
The Corona (Ca.) Centennial standout was part of a large group of Southern California prospects that made the trip to Nebraska as Mike Riley and his staff continue to pound the “Calibraska” theme into their collective heads.
Towards the end of last week, rumors began circulating that Ohio State had, for some reason, decided to “drop” Lindsey from their recruiting board and a source close to the Buckeyes says that there’s no truth to that.
“I don’t know where that would come from,” the source said. “That is definitely not accurate.”
Ohio State has been the leader for Lindsey since his March visit to Columbus but there’s no doubt that right now Nebraska has the momentum in his recruitment. He’s pointed to his relationship with the Buckeyes wide receiver coach, Zach Smith, as the strongest of all his relationships but the efforts Keith Williams and the Huskers have put in recently are making a sizable dent in Ohio State’s lead.
Lindsey talked with IE Preps Magazine about his summer and what’s coming up for him in his senior season.
If you’re handicapping this one at home, I’ve still got the Buckeyes as the leader heading into the recruiting dead period but if Lindsey is unable to make it back to Ohio State this summer – they’re hoping to see him at Friday Night Lights in July – things may get real tenuous before his Aug. 22 decision.
Buckeyes in Top 13 (!) for New Jersey wide receiver
While we’re on the topic of 2017 wide receivers, Ohio State is one of 13 schools to make the cut for Markquese Bell.
— I C E ❄️ (@MarkqueseB) June 25, 2016
The country’s eighth-ranked athlete, Bell is a Bridgeton (N.J.) prospect and will participate in Nike’s The Opening in Beaverton (Ore.) next month.
Ohio State offered Bell in early June, but the 6-foot-3, 194 pound athlete is leaning toward Rutgers and Michigan, according to most in the know. He has not yet visited Columbus and with dwindling numbers available in their 2017 class, it’s hard to see where he may fit in Ohio State’s plans at this time.
Top 10 coming for 4-star linebacker Anthony Hines
The country’s most-offered player, Plano (Texas) East linebacker Anthony Hines III, will narrow down his list to a manageable ten schools in two weeks at The Opening.
I will be dropping my top 10 schools on July 7th @TheOpening .?
— Anthony Hines III® (@TheAntHines_Era) June 26, 2016
Hines visited Ohio State for the third time two weeks ago and the Buckeyes are a safe bet to make the cut. With a reported 90 scholarship offers, Hines’ top schools have included Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama and others.