Recruiting Mailbag: What’s up with Okudah, Cam Akers, taking a guess at the next commitment and more
Welcome to the Ohio State recruiting mailbag, the first I’ve run here at Landof10.com.
I’ve gathered questions over the last 36 hours and decided to answer a few of the queries that come from one person but are thought about my many who don’t reach out. Make sense?
I hope so. Here we go.
@Birm can Lindsey play Saturday?
— Craig Henman (@henman11) August 24, 2016
This question is, I presume, asking about Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas) wide receiver Tyjon Lindsey, who committed to Ohio State on Monday. The 5-star wide receiver recently transferred back to Bishop Gorman from Corona (Calif.) Centennial High School and because of the move, there have been some questions about his early-season eligibility with the Gaels. Couple that question with the “but is he healthy?” question that arose after taking a pretty brutal shot to his shoulder last Friday and it makes perfect sense to wonder if Tate Martell and Gorman will have Lindsey available for them on Saturday night at Cedar Hill, Texas.
From what I was able to gather, the answer is no, I would not expect Lindsey to play on Saturday night. A source I’ve heard from out west indicates if he doesn’t play, that it’s an eligibility issue more than a health issue, but Lindsey should return to the lineup by the end of September.
@Birm Do you envision the remaining 2017 targets to be much different by NSD? Can a better/worse than expected season draw/lose anyone?
— David Fraley (@DJDFRALEY) August 25, 2016
One of the most interesting things about this recruiting cycle for Ohio State is that the guys on the list have been the guys on the list for a long time. The Buckeyes’ 2017 recruiting class had 10 players in it in July 2015 and since then Urban Meyer’s staff has been able to be very selective about who they’re chasing and that’s paid off in spades.
They knew they wanted one defensive end, so they found one early — 5-star Chase Young — and made him the only priority at the position for a year, resulting in his July commitment. They’ve handled their pursuit at running back (Cam Akers), linebacker (Baron Browning and Anthony Hines III), and defensive back (Jeffrey Okudah) similarly. Identify early the guys you want and go get them, and don’t waste time on others unless the need arises.
Bottom line, no, I think the guys on the top of the board now are the guys on the top of the board all the way to signing day. As for your second question, no, I don’t think the outcome of this season — barring some sort of sensational disaster — has any bearing on what happens in recruiting. The work is pretty much done for 2017 and as long as the Buckeyes come out and play competitive football and the coaching staff stays relatively intact, a few losses won’t throw things too far out of whack.
— Buckeyes (@GoBucksAllDay) August 25, 2016
To answer quickly, I think the chances are pretty good. Cam Akers — the country’s second-ranked running back — visited Ohio State twice in the last year on his family’s dime and will head to Columbus this season for an official visit with the Buckeyes as well.
The thing with Akers is that he’s quiet, very quiet, but he’s also been – reportedly – telling a number of schools “all the right things” and that muddles the situation. What I know is that Ohio State still feels they’re right at the top of his list. Ohio State believes that they’ve developed a strong relationship with the Clinton, Miss., 5-star and his family over the last year and that they’re in a good position to to land him.
— John Miller (@johnmillerlive) August 24, 2016
This is kind of piggy-backing off the earlier question about who remains on the list moving forward, but I think one of the newer names to watch is tight end Josh Falo, who was offered this week by Ohio State. The Buckeyes had gone most of this recruiting cycle thinking they wouldn’t take a tight end and this late – and surprising – offer doesn’t happen if they didn’t feel they could land him.
— Jared Duncan (@buckeyefan686) August 24, 2016
I guess my question to you, Jared, is this: Why do you think things feel less positive with Jeffrey Okudah? The country’s top-ranked cornerback visited Ohio State twice in the last three months – from Texas – and that’s nothing to sneeze at. Yes, there’s been a lot of talk around Oklahoma lately and the 5-star defensive back has buttoned up his social media pretty good, but things are where they need to be between him and the Buckeyes.
Would you prefer he never visit another school and just make a commitment to the program that he’s listed as his leader for over a year? Yes, but it’s his decision and right now he’s checking around to make sure Ohio State is the place for him. I suspect they’ll land him, whenever he commits.
— Andrew Schwisow (@darkknight1093) August 25, 2016
No, and no. What it really means is that Xavier McKinney is a really good football player. There are obvious questions about Shaun Wade’s commitment as Bama lurches in the shadows. Ultimately, this is about preparing for any sort of hiccup in the plan and making sure relationships are being built with the players that Ohio State think are good enough to play for the Buckeyes.
McKinney fits that bill. There is little risk that a Top 100 player from Georgia will try to commit immediately so offering now is more of a “Hey, we like your game and we’d like to take a closer look at you and would like you to take a closer look at us.” It’s the beginning of the process with McKinney while they’re at the end of the process with Wade, Okudah, etc.
@Birm if they end up having to choose between them who does Ohio state take Dobbins or Akers?
— Andrew Jacobs (@Droowsome) August 25, 2016
In a dream scenario, Ohio State would love to land both J.K. Dobbins — who is committed to the Buckeyes — and Akers and they’re not giving up on those plans. If they end up being forced to choose one, it comes down to a simple answer: Which one fits what you want to do as an offense the best?
I am not going to sit here and pretend I know that answer, because they’re both very good running backs. But they are different running backs, which is why the Buckeyes think they could bring them both to Columbus.
— Shuff (@kshuff92) August 24, 2016
I’ll go with Jeffrey Okudah, Amir Riep, Marcus Williamson, Isaiah Pryor and … Brendon White staying at safety in a surprise move. I know Ohio State isn’t giving up on Shaun Wade but I think holding on to him is going to be a challenge no matter what. Lamont Wade, the 4-star cornerback from Clairton, Pa., is certainly not out of the picture because he plans to visit this fall, but the Buckeyes have fallen behind Pitt and Penn State and haven’t made Wade a priority like they have some other targets.
— Allen Shinaver (@Bobbobbob234) August 24, 2016
Ah, the age-old question that never seems to have a satisfying answer. The truth is, it’s really hard to tell because as you get into the school year and the football season, a lot of players are shutting things down.
So, with that said, I think it’s going to be a month or two before you get any sort of “feel” from anyone about a pending verbal, especially as guys like 2018 Ohio prospects Jackson Carman, Jaelen Gill, and Dallas Gant all want to wait things out a while. The Buckeyes aren’t going to host any of their high-value 2017 targets until later in the season, though no official visit date has been set for Cam Akers, so conceivably he could make an visit sooner than later.
So, if I have to guess at who could be next, I’ll go with Okudah, whenever he makes his official visit to Columbus.