Recruiting never stops, and if you take a day off, you fall behind, especially at The Opening. Land of 10 is live in Beaverton, Oregon for Nike’s premier recruiting event and will keep you updated on all the news and notes that matter. 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.
Kamryn Babb interested in Buckeyes offensive changes, trusts coaches
There is little doubt according to the people “in the know” that Ohio State’s top wide receiver target in 2018, St. Louis’ Kamryn Babb, is very seriously considering the Buckeyes. In fact, most people think that Ohio State is the top school for Babb, the country’s No. 1-ranked receiver by 247Sports.
Babb has made a good showing in Oregon at the Opening Finals thus far, showcasing an exceptionally smooth running style as well as excellent burst to go with more-than-capable hands. He’s a complete wide receiver and it’s easy to see why he, like Austin Mack in 2016 and Trevon Grimes in 2017, has been a favorite of the Ohio State coaching staff for more than a year.
That relationship has continued to expand and Babb will return to Ohio State in July for Friday Night Lights in Columbus.
“I am heading back to Ohio State for Friday Night Lights,” Babb told Land of 10 earlier on Friday.” We love it every time there. They’re great hosts to us. I don’t know if I am going to decide in July, though. I’m still evaluating things because this isn’t just a four-year decision, it’s a 40-year decision. I’m just taking my time, seeing what the coaches see in me and what I can give back to these schools.”
One piece of the puzzle that may be contributing to Babb’s ultimate decision being finalized? The new man in charge of the Buckeyes offense. How will Kevin Wilson’s system impact the plan Ohio State has for him?
“I am going to see how they’re doing during the season,” Babb said. “I talk to [Urban Meyer and Zach Smith] all the time about their plan for me, who they have in the offense now, what they have coming in.
“I know they have great plans for me in their offense, they’re some of the best coaches in football, but I am interested to see how the new offense looks.”
Jeremy Ruckert wants to enjoy his remaining time in high school
After seeing Jeremy Ruckert up close and personal the last two days in Oregon, I feel confident saying that he is absolutely a prototypical, high-major Division 1 college tight end prospect. He’s not just 6, 6 inches and almost 240 pounds and fast and all those things … he catches the ball very well and he has an incessant need to improve.
“I am here trying to raise my level of competition with every camp I go to,” Ruckert told Land of 10. “Coming from Long Island, I usually stand out against my competition. I am doing my best to make the little things the big things.”
While Ruckert is certainly the new standard at tight end, the time spent with him revealed something else: he is not the prototypical recruit when it comes to the way he handles the attention.
“My first college, or recruiting conversation, I was 14 years old and a freshman when Michigan came in to the school,” Ruckert said. “Thinking about it now, I’m 16 and I’m going to be a senior. It’s been almost three years and it feels like it’s been 10 years.”
In Oregon, Ruckert wants to learn. What better way than spending time with Jerry Rice?
“I’ve learned a lot, I really focused on learning from Jerry Rice and [Los Angeles Rams wide receiver] Cooper Kupp,” he said. “Whenever we would have a water break, I’d go find them and ask them some questions. I mean, I just talked to Jerry Rice. It’s crazy. Running routes with Jerry Rice? That’s why they call this place football heaven. He told me to be the best in-shape and conditioned player on the field. He told me that in the fourth quarter, all that matters is who has something left. So [he told me] to keep working to make myself in the best shape I can be.”
Whenever he commits — be it Ohio State, Michigan, Wisconsin or Notre Dame — expect him to then fade into relative obscurity for as long as he can. He will not enroll early at whatever school he selects, because again, he’s different. Where most kids talk about the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that recruiting provides them, Ruckert sees the other side of it.
“I’m going to ride out high school. You only go to high school once, and I play baseball and basketball. I will be talking to my coaches and making sure that I am ready to go whenever I get to campus, but I am going to enjoy my senior year.”
Tyreke Smith narrows list, shows up in Ohio State gear
Thursday and Friday in Beaverton were highlighted by quarterbacks, receivers and tight ends. On Friday afternoon, the rest of the players picked for The Opening Finals began arriving at Portland International Airport. Among them was one of the Buckeyes top targets at defensive end, Tyreke Smith.
His choice of apparel will likely please Ohio State fans.
— Steve Wiltfong (@SWiltfong247) June 30, 2017
Smith followed up his arrival at Nike HQ with the release of his top 5 schools. He’s mentioned recently that he intends to make a college announcement sometime “soon” — potentially toward the end of the summer — and paring down his list is a natural progression of events.
— Tyreke Smith™ (@T_23_baller) June 30, 2017
What is surprising though is two of the teams that didn’t make the list: Notre Dame and Michigan. Ohio State and Penn State are still the top two schools in all likelihood, but a looming visit to USC in mid-July could add some cross-country intrigue. Smith last visited Ohio State on June 17. Oregon and Alabama round out the top 5.
The country’s fourth-ranked weakside defensive end is one player we’ll be watching very closely this weekend in Oregon.