Though it was not as eventful as some of its previous iterations, Friday Night Lights 2017 did provide insight into a number of things happening in the world of Ohio State football recruiting.
So far, no one has committed to the Buckeyes, but that doesn’t mean important developments didn’t occur.
Here are my 5 biggest takeaways from Friday Night Lights 2017.
The future of Ohio State’s defensive line could be in really good shape
Most folks who pay any attention to college football will plainly admit that the 2017 Buckeyes defensive line is one of, if not the best, groups in the country. This Buckeyes group is deep and talented.
If some of the names that were in Columbus on Friday night decide to attend Ohio State, there’s no reason Ohio State’s deep and talented bunch shouldn’t continue to be among the nation’s best.
Larry Johnson was closely involved with Micah Parsons, Brenton Cox and Jayson Oweh during the camp, working with the trio on technique, hand and footwork, etc. Cox is committed to Ohio State already, but things are trending in a positive direction with Oweh (I’ll have more on him this weekend) and Johnson continues to develop a very strong, more-than-football bond with Parsons.
Take that group and add in Tommy Togiai, who was excellent at defensive tackle on Friday — and who is still in town Saturday morning for a sit-down with the coaching staff — and add it to Taron Vincent and possibly Tyreke Smith?
That’s a ridiculous group of defensive linemen.
Don’t expect a drama-free recruiting cycle
If you were hoping that a bunch of commitments attending a final summer get-together would end up with everyone stamping “I’m all Ohio State” on their foreheads, you may be disappointed.
To this point, the Buckeyes have avoided much in the way of dramatics in the 2018 recruiting cycle, but there’s a recipe for pending theatrics. When you have so many out-of-state commitments who made early pledges, it’s almost inevitable.
Emory Jones didn’t back down about his interest in Alabama, and in fact doubled down and told the media he’s likely to visit Florida as well. Jaiden Woodbey told Land of 10 that he’ll have “doubts” all the way until signing day, reinforcing how important it is for him to make these Ohio visits.
Hundreds of miles away from Ohio, Buckeyes defensive end commitment Andrew Chatfield visited — and received an offer from — Florida.
There are seven months until signing day, and a lot of potential for drama exists.
Jackson Carman‘s recruitment will continue to be interesting
So, as expected (kind of), 5-star offensive lineman Jackson Carman showed up in Columbus for Friday Night Lights. Carman wore jeans and didn’t work out, but registered nonetheless, using the evening as a chance to spend time with the Buckeyes coaching staff, players, and more.
That’s all good. Following the camp, Carman avoided the media that hoped to ask him for an update on his recruitment and about why he showed up at Ohio State instead of Clemson, among other things. Carman waited behind a fenced-off area for an Ohio State assistant coach to whisk him away.
Carman’s recruitment continues to be the most captivating individual recruitment of the 2018 cycle in my opinion, and there’s no sign it will slow anytime soon. He has essentially cut off the media until he wants to use it.
That may feel a bit frustrating at times for the media and for readers hoping to gain some knowledge about his decision, but the key words remain: his decision. Only Carman can determine the best way to handle his process.
Brian Snead is the real stinkin’ deal
Camp settings are rarely ideal for running backs, but Ohio State commitment Brian Snead impressed me on Friday night. It wasn’t just Snead’s frame, or speed, or ability to catch and run out of the backfield, either. Yes, everything he needed to do physically, he looked right doing. He adjusted quickly to coaching from Tony Alford and despite being “the star” of the running backs group, he never skipped a rep or backed out of a rep.
Snead was not busy talking to Ohio State commitments all night or playing games: He was there to work, period. Between reps and drills, Snead worked with other players, talking them up, giving them feedback or a high-five, etc. It was impressive to see him be a vocal on-field leader when he handles his business so silently off of it.
There are many reasons a player — of any caliber — doesn’t pan out from one level to the next, but Ohio State fans should be geeked about Snead.
Ohio State’s Friday Night Lights is for dough, not for show
As more and more college programs deploy camp settings similar to Friday Night Lights, I couldn’t help but wonder if Urban Meyer and Mark Pantoni — the originators of this idea when they were at Florida — have changed their minds about the purpose of the event.
When Florida started this trend in the mid-2000s, there was a major need in Gainesville to add some juice to a program that was floundering following the Ron Zook era. Meyer’s camps were energetic and a place for fans to come and enjoy the spectacle. Now, at places like Nebraska, Texas, Clemson, and yes — Florida — that idea lives on.
However, in Columbus, it really doesn’t feel that way. The Buckeyes, unlike those other schools, aren’t openly promoting FNL for fans, or saying “come out and show recruits what it’s like here.” They already know. The Buckeyes are taking this camp opportunity and using it much more as a “select” camp for the biggest and brightest recruits and then rather than cranking up the “fun factor,” are amplifying the competition. There is no slowdown for any player working out with the Buckeyes, superstar or not.
The idea of any event that happens these days in Columbus? Who will compete the hardest. Fun be damned.