11W Recruiting Notebook: Purdue Week

By Alex on October 17, 2012 at 4:00p

It was known from day one of Urban Meyer stepping through the doors at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center that the Ohio State Buckeyes would be actively recruiting playmakers on the offensive side of the football.

Meyer needs more talentMeyer isn't happy with the way his defense is playing

The OSU coaching staff did just that, getting early commitments from players like Jalin Marshall, Ezekiel Elliott, and Marcus Baugh, and later a commitment from Taivon Jacobs.

On the defensive side of the ball, all was thought to be ultimately set. The Bucks hauled in an outstanding group of 2013 defensive linemen to follow the outstanding group brought in with the 2012 class, and the secondary players committed were among the best in the nation. All that was really needed were a couple of linebackers to fill out the class, and it seemed that was all but a formality.

Of course, we sit here in mid-October and know that things have completely changed. While the staff is still looking for a few more offensive weapons to add to the class, the focus before Signing Day in February may actually be on the defensive side of the football, where nobody could have predicted the Buckeyes would be struggling so mightily, especially at the linebacker position.

In this edition of the 11W Recruiting Notebook, we dive into what players are trending when it comes to filling out OSU's 2013 class, as well as how the outcome of the Buckeyes' season thus far has impacted recruiting. Of course, we will also give you your High School Football Recap and talk about the weekend's visitors.

Join us after the jump to hear the latest on the recruiting trail when it comes to Ohio State with this week's 11W Recruiting Notebook.

The Buzz

As mentioned above, there has been lots of moving and shaking when it comes to Ohio State recruiting. Due to some unforeseen departures, there is now more room for the Bucks to add players to the 2013 class and due to the aforementioned struggles on the field, there has been a focus shift when it comes to where those spots may land.

Smith finding his wayCorey Smith might find himself coming home in 2013

An old name with some new news is WR Corey Smith, currently of East Mississippi Community College and formerly of Akron Buchtel High School. We spoke to Corey following his spring game visit and he was high on the Buckeyes then, but did not hold an offer and was told one may be coming if his grades checked out.

It turns out the OSU coaches have liked what they've seen from Smith in the classroom and have decided to extend an offer to the receiver. Smith says he will definitely make a visit to Ohio State, either later this season or in the winter, and will make a decision around Signing Day, enrolling at the school of his choice after East Mississippi's semester ends in May. He will have three years remaining to play two.

It looks like it could be a battle between OSU and Tennessee, where Smith originally committed out of high school, for the Akron native's services, but a lot can change between now and his decision time, so keep an eye on this one.

A new name out of the junior college ranks is that of LB Auston Johnson. Johnson, 6-1/235, is currently playing the MIKE position at El Camino Community College in Torrance, California, after making the transition from defensive end, where he played in high school.

Johnson currently holds an offer from Texas A&M, but says Ohio State is his favorite right now and if they offer it is likely he will commit. The JuCo star is set to visit Columbus in late November for The Game, so be sure to see how that visit plays out, as Johnson could be the answer to the OSU linebacker woes next season.

Outside of the junior college world, the Buckeyes are expecting a long list of the top prospects in the nation to visit for the Michigan game. Two of those players coming in are committed to other schools, but it hasn't stopped Urban Meyer from recruiting WR Sebastian LaRue and LB Trey Johnson.

LaRue, 5-11/195, is being recruited for the slot position at Ohio State and has been told by the staff he would be used like Percy Harvin. He is currently committed to USC, but seems open to checking out some of his options and the Buckeyes are a team he is genuinely interested in. It will be tough to pull the speedster out of California, but the fact that he is flying across the country to at least hear Meyer out is a great sign.

Johnson, 6-2/220, has been committed to Auburn since August of 2011, but recently has said he wants to make a couple of visits to ensure that is the right decision. Ohio State will be the first of those visits in November, followed by a trip to USC in mid-January, and possibly trips to Florida and Penn State (as a favor to former Auburn DC Ted Roof) as well. I think Johnson is a bigger long shot than LaRue is, but the four-star prospect knows the Buckeyes need linebackers and that could be appealing to him, as well as the chance to play for Urban Meyer.

Finally, Tim Kimbrough is another linebacker that was mentioned way back when by many OSU fans, as the Indiana native was in Columbus very frequently in the winter and spring. The Buckeye coaching staff never gave him an offer despite his heavy interest, so the Warren Central star decided to accept a scholarship offer from Georgia in July.

Fast forward to today, when the OSU linebacking corps is clearly struggling, and interest in Kimbrough has been renewed by the staff. While an offer was reported yesterday, we have not been able to confirm that just yet, but we did confirm that Ohio State has definitely reached out to the Kimbrough party to see if there is still interest.

At one point it was thought that if an offer came for one of the nation's top 10 inside linebackers that he would accept on the spot. Now, with OSU giving him the cold shoulder this spring, that may not be the case. Stay tuned for more on this story as it develops.

High School Football Recap

Another week has gone by in the world of high school football and like usual, Ohio State commits and prospects went at it hard on the gridiron.

Elliott is a dazzlerEzekiel Elliott continues to dominate Missouri football

After scoring three times on the ground, Ezekiel Elliott now has an eye-popping 28 rushing scores on the season. The John Burroughs product also found paydirt once through the air in helping his team to a 56-14 win over St. Louis (MO) Clayton.

The other big time playmaker in the class, Jalin Marshall, didn't have as much luck as Elliott. His Middletown team fell to 2-6 on the year with a 27-14 loss to West Chester (OH) Lakota West. Marshall finished the game 4/18 passing for 39 yards and a score, but threw two costly interceptions. The five-star prospect did better on the ground, running 24 times for 165 yards with a touchdown, but fumbled late in the game when the Middies were driving.

Taivon Jacobs and his Suitland team beat Beltsville (MD) High Point, 46-6, last week. Jacobs contributed to the cause by racking up 215 all-purpose yards to go along with touchdowns through the air and via punt return.

Darron Lee and New Albany rose to the occasion, taking down Sunbury (OH) Big Walnut, 17-6. Lee rushed for 92 yards in the game from his quarterback spot, but it was a late interception he had while playing safety that sealed the win for his team.

Jayme Thompson and Toledo Central Catholic had a cross-town victory against Toledo St. John's, 49-21, last weekend. Thompson played a big part in the win with 11 tackles and 2 pass breakups.

Tracy Sprinkle continued his tear on opposing offensive lines, recording 6 tackles (2 for loss) and a sack in a 49-14 win over Stow-Munroe Falls. Sprinkle has been a pleasant surprise this year and it looks like he could be the diamond in the rough for OSU's 2013 class.

Outside of verbally committed players, Vonn Bell had a great game, as his team beat Southeast Whitfield (GA) last week. Bell notched three touchdowns and kept it interesting, scoring via a rush, a reception, and a punt return.

MarQuez North, who will visit Columbus later this season, had a fine game in his team's win against Hopewell (NC). The big receiver caught a touchdown and ran for a score in the victory.

Finally, TE Jeb Blazevich was Mr. Clutch for his team. The big tight end in the class of 2014 saw his squad trailing late against Country Day (NC), but came up with a 44-yard catch on 4th-and-18 with just 1:33 remaining in the game and took it to the house to put his Charlotte (NC) Christian squad ahead for the win.

Week 9 Games to take note of:

  • Cleveland (OH) St. Ignatius at Cincinnati (OH) St. Xavier (Jimmy Byrne, Tim McVey, Michael Siragusa Trey Kilgore)
  • Lakewood (OH) St. Edward at Cincinnati (OH) Archbishop Moeller (Solomon Warfield, Shane Jones, Alex Gall)
  • Akron (OH) St. Vincent-St. Mary at Massillon Washington (Dante Booker Jr., Gareon Conley, Marcus Whitfield, Nathaniel Devers)
  • Hudson at Elyria (Ben Gedeon, Tracy Sprinkle)
  • Cherokee at Vorhees (NJ) Eastern Regional (Eli Woodard)

WEEK 9 OHSAA Football Rankings

Weekend Visitors

The Michigan game appears to be the "big kahuna" on the schedule when it comes to visitors, so the next couple of home games against Purdue and Illinois will most likely include more local products, rather than national standouts.

Elder is coming to townElder is the big name visitor this week

One exception to that rule comes this weekend, when Cornelius Elder visits Columbus on an unofficial visit. Elder is a tremendous prospect from Ensworth High School in Tennessee and can play running back, wide receiver, or defensive back at the college level.

Rumor has it Vanderbilt leads for Elder's services, but word lately is that he is wide open. Ohio State has been a program in touch with the four-star athlete for a while and he seems to be a perfect fit on either offense or defense for the Buckeyes. Keep an eye on this one as it could be a big weekend for Elder's interest heating up in OSU and an official visit may come later this year.

While we are still catching word on who the visitors will be this weekend, the list we have gathered as "possibles" include OSU commit Cam Burrows, 2014 OL Quenton Nelson, 2014 LB William White, 2014 DE Dante Sawyer, and 2014 ATH Myles Autry.

We will continue to update you throughout the week once we hear more about this weekend's visitors, so be sure to continue to check our Season Visitor Tracker in the forums for news as it comes.


Comments Show All Comments

kevinfrenchfry's picture

anything on mike mitchell, the plano LB that dude is an absolute missile?

Alex's picture

Yes he will visit OSU in November, although a date hasn't been pinpointed...I have maintained for a long time I think Mitchell is a Buckeye once that visit happens...still feel the same way

Royball's picture

Love that this coaching staff seems to be pursuing so many quality options, especially at LB and WR, they really aren't leaving any stone unturned.  It was interesting to read a (free) article on Rivals a week or two ago where Mike Farrell mentioned that Urban never failed to flip a big-time recruit seemingly every year.  We saw it in year 1 at OSU, it'll be interesting if he can flip LaRue or Johnson (or Kimbrough or either of the UF LB'ers, or Stevens [who's still 'committed']).

4-6 seconds of relentless effort

Alex's picture

I think we definitely get one flip...that mystery flip who I spoke about a few weeks ago in the roundtable is still trending towards OSU...I will let you all know in time

buckeye76BHop's picture

Great stuff and I was thinking no flips until this latest attrition.  I could see one as you stated (wish I knew who but I think it's a guy from the south;-) and possibly one more.  
As far as the 2013 commits, I was very impressed by T. Jacobs film from last year.  He reminded me of that old Cris Carter reference.  Except change it to all he does is catch TDs, intercept TDs, and punt/kick return TDs too.  He continues to amaze me this year too and I really think he could remind us of a cross between Chirs Gamble and Tedd Ginn.  He's going to be fun to watch along with many more in this class.  

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

"I love football. I think it is most wonderful game in world and I despise to lose."

Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987 

hodge's picture

It's also worth noting that Jayme Thompson was a flip, as well.  He was originally committed to WVU.

Royball's picture

Great point, completely forgot he was.

4-6 seconds of relentless effort

Larryp713's picture

Great report, Alex. I am concerned about Jalin Marshall - how bad is his team, or is there a ball security problem that will only be amplified playing D1 Football?



Alex's picture

Jalin is his whole team and the opponents target him all game, every game...the good news is that he will not be a QB in college...he will be a WR and a damn good one

btalbert25's picture

It's amazing how bad they've turned out to be.  Preseason they were ranked number 2 in the Enquirer's poll for local teams. 

Larryp713's picture

Consider my concerns addressed. Look forward to watching him. Thanks.



RedQueenRace's picture

Per comments I have seen on Yappi, Middletown has been dealing with a lot of major injuries all year.

45OH4IO's picture

I have to admit I was silently frustrated last year that Urban and tOSU were hauling in so many defensive recruits and not any huge offensive playmakers. I honestly thought the D was more capable than the O. But now I see that Urban is great at fitting a system to personnel on offense and isn't as successful at that on D...
there are so many new LB targets now. Does anyone have a theory or rough idea about which ones are the best options for the Bucks? (Alex??) 
i would prefer M. Mitchell first, but outside of that, who is next most wanted?!

Alex's picture

Chris Worley is out there and may move down to LB....gives us a faster guy to defend the boundaries.....Trey Johnson is a stud and I would love to have him....don't know too much about this Johnson kid from JuCo yet.....Tyquan Lewis will be a big help as a pass rushing LB....Kimbrough would be a good get for MLB in my opinion...you can then take Mitchell and play him at SAM which would be scary....Mitchell at MIKE would allow us to have so much speed at the position though

Matt's picture

I definitely want Mitchell at MIKE.  He would have a chance for immediate PT next season, given our LB situation.  He could carry on the Wilhelm - Hawk - JLau - Rolle tradition at the position of high achievers.
What is your take on Worley?  He's just a 3 star, right?  Diamond in the rough, or is that rating about right?

buck-I.8's picture

Worley recently became a 4 star on the margin at 24, for what it's worth

EvanstonBuckeye's picture

I was curious about that. Like that others are taking notice of him. Seeing him more and more as a Buckeye.

45OH4IO's picture

Thanks Alex. Now I can see juco johnson as a stopgap at MIKE. then let Mitchell roam a liitle on the outside with his versatility. Then develop a 2014 MIKE for a more permanent solution. If mitchell picks things up quickly, he could take that leadership role instead. Then maybe a lighter, faster guy on the weak side...nice. Thanks again.

sir rickithda3rd's picture

im worried marshall is going to get hurt being the only guy on that team... he takes a beating

mark may wins douchebag of the year... again

tennbuckeye19's picture

i agree with your concern. seems to be a similar to the situation braxton was in @ wayne. 

NObuck-I-inTEAM's picture

Good work as always Alex.  I hope we can flip some guys by NLOI day and get some people mad!! No mercy!

ODEEZ330's picture

Wish kimbrough got his offer earlier he'd be a buckeye

stark county football

NYC Buckeye's picture

So I read this and go review the list of commitments for 2013, and out of 17 I see not one LB...  good start!
I do however see another 3 DE's, combined with this years class, that should give us 38 DE's on next years team... so maybe we can get to the QB SO fast we won't really need any LBs???

tennbuckeye19's picture

That list doesn't take into account guys who will be or can be moved to LB. It only lists their current high school positions. We also had 2 guys de-commit who would've been LB's. Our class for 2012 had several LB's in it, so it's not like they aren't trying to go after LB's. Not to mention, there are a lot of stud LB's for 2014 that are considering OSU. 

NYC Buckeye's picture

Thanks, I am aware of Anzalone and I forget the other kid, but was just trying to introduce some sarcasm...

tennbuckeye19's picture

My bad. I guess my sarcasm meter is busted.

Have an upvote sir.

NYC Buckeye's picture

Lol, nice work on the meter so quickly...
I guess I was trying to make light of Urban's belief of better defensive line play and depth is why the SEC dominates other conferences, of which I agree with...  Bt when u look at his recruiting class it looks like he is taking it to another level on stacking the line...

buck-I.8's picture

Tyquan Lewis, who is listed as a DE will not be used as one. Take a few minutes to watch his film, he rarely has a hand on the ground. He'll be used in the Viper role, as a hybrid OLB who will occasionally come down on the end.

Poison nuts's picture

Alex - lots of speculation with everyone who has left the current team, that we may take up to 25 players now. Is that even possible? Is the deal that as long as we are at 82 that we can take as many as 25?

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

Alex's picture

I think we'll be around 23 but yes if we're at 82 we can grab whatever's needed to get there

lljjgg's picture

Any news on Vonn Bell, Alex? I heard a rumor a week or two ago (think it was from Rivals or Scout) that he's essentially assumed (like many) that Dooley will be out of Tenn at the end of the season, and that because of which he's quietly narrowed things down to OSU and Alabama?

Don't know if that's true, but would love to have him!

Alex's picture

If Dooley is out it hurts Tenn but hell wait to see who replaces him...OSU and Bama are licking their chops

otrain2416's picture

Alex if you had to rank a recruiting board for our WR position btw Gibson, Quick, Stevens, Smith, LaRue, North, Elder, Boyd, and Timmons (just for Waycraken) how would you list them? and how many more do you think we'll end up taking in this class?

We were born to love Ohio State and hate that team up north.

Alex's picture

I think we take 2 WRs










That is my order but any two would be solid

buckeye76BHop's picture

I like North but think he'll go elsewhere but think Quick will be committing before him after hearing his reaction to visiting.  I think Charlie's out at Louisville and some recruits seem to be decommitting due to that possible fact.  I like Gibby, LaRue, and Quick.  I tend to think 3 because WR seems to be a deficit along with LB.  

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

"I love football. I think it is most wonderful game in world and I despise to lose."

Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987 

Squirrel Master's picture

Yeah, that all happened back in early August and it was 3 players (one from 2014). Those decommits were moreso due to the Big East and not because of a possible departure from Strong. I wouldn't put Strong out of Louisville just yet and I wouldn't say Quick won't go there. Louisville is very much in the running.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

btalbert25's picture

I wouldn't count Strong as gone either. Not for Arkansas anyway.  I do think it'd be interesting to see the route Bama would take if Saban took off.  I'm not sure Strong has proven enough just yet, but would have to think he'd be a candidate for that job.

Max Power's picture

Mike Mitchell has to be the top priority in this year's class. Woeful play from our lbs, this kid could be the shot in the arm the lb corp needs. I still think that one of this years freshmen linebackers will step up, but landing Mitchell will ease alot of worried fans and coaches alike in Cbus. I'd love to see Vonn Bell suiting up for the good guys, but a southern kid visiting in December always worries me a bit (snow can be the enemy) but if anyone can reel him in, its Urban. Johnson on the OL would also be a nice addition. What's the scoop on Shelton Gibson? I'm wondering if he will have to take the Fork Union route if he can't get his grades in order. We seem to be looking at several other receivers (i.e. LaRue, North, Quick, Elder and the WR who decommitted from FSU...name is slipping my mind), is this a sign that Gibson won't be able to make the grades? It seems like he should be a shoe-in to commit to the bucks if not for his low test scores.

jrich612's picture

The name from FSU you are looking for is Stevens. 

D. Anthony's picture

Any word on if we're hosting any defensive coaching recruits? There's a chubby, loud-mouth with a foot fetish from NYC named Rex who may be available next season? 

D. Anthony

Max Power's picture

I just puked in my mouth thinking about Rex Ryan at OSU...helluva defensive coach, but I can't stand him.

D. Anthony's picture

I'm not a Rex fan either... He's definitely not a college guy.

D. Anthony

buck-I.8's picture

I'd actually prefer Rob Ryan over Rex. That being said, his successful defenses have been based on complicated schemes and packages to confuse offenses, which basically is unique to the NFL. I dont think college players could operate like a pro defense.

buckeye76BHop's picture

No way on the Rex Ryan comment.  I wouldn't be expecting to see a massive change with OSU's Defensive Coaching staff.  I honestly believe Urban has seen enough and will have Withers take over and get rid of the "Co" title (especially if the defense gets another 40 spot put up on them or may be that won't matter).  Luke will go back to LB or Dline coach...personally I don't know why he doesn't take Dline and Vrabel take LBs.  Anyhow...just my thoughts on it.

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

"I love football. I think it is most wonderful game in world and I despise to lose."

Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987 

AC1972's picture

A lot of folks seem to think that, if there is a def. coaching problem it is with fick and not withers. I don't know much about withers, but I do know that fick is a helluva lb coach and was coach by and with some great ones. Wy do we not think withers (or the meshing of the two) is the "coaching problem". 

Larryp713's picture

That is a good point, AC. Fickell has had a hand in some great defenses these last ten years.



bassplayer7770's picture

They will all be evaluated, but Fickell calls the plays, so that's probably why he gets blamed for the issues on D.

BuckeyesMJ's picture

This is just a guess, but Fick probably takes more heat because he's been here 10+ years and Withers wasn't around last season when we were bad......just a guess.  More press coverage and MORE BLITZING!! Blitz from everywhere. What could it hurt? Indiana marched when they wanted to so why not act like Saturday is opposite day and do the exact opposite of what you are planning for Purdue LOL

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

I agree in theory, but something tells me that our lack of experience on defense and our demonstrated ability to be out of position on nearly every play is limiting the aggressiveness.  I think the coaches want to do more press and blitz, but it's clear that our back 7 can't handle it.  Let's face it, even when we drop 7 back, we're still out of position.  While many think our defensive woes are the coaches faults, I tend to think that we're lacking football IQ and experience in the back seven.  I think the coaches know this and this is why we see the coverages that we do. 

Read my entire screen name....

southernstatesbuckeye's picture

Does anyone have a link to a Youtube replay of the Indiana game? I cant seem to find one.

No, I'm not a glutton for punishment...I never got to see it, and even with all the flaws, desperately looking for it.


I like cookies.

Squirrel Master's picture

your probably out cold right now southern but you should watch the game. there were some amazing highs and some bad lows but it was a compelling game.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

Go Bucks's picture

With the success of Hyde's power running game and the staff reconsidering which recruits would best fit the team, is there any hope of going after Derrick Green?  I have read that we had passed on him, but you have to think the staff enjoys the success of the power running game as a complement to slashers like Braxton.

bassplayer7770's picture

I'm not Alex, but I don't see the staff going after Green again simply because we'll still have Hyde, Smith, Dunn, and Ball next season.  That's why the staff went after guys like Zeke and Jalin.  They need more "horizontal threats."

RunEddieRun1983's picture

I actually work with Jalin Marshall's brother in-law in Dayton.  I talk to him all the time to get updates on him and his season.  Poor kid is just getting hammered on the field. 
I'm told during the season he stays knicked up and bruised.  The kid is tough as nails though, I mean he is the entire offense for the Middies. 
Also got to watch Cam Burrows in local action a couple of weeks ago, I'm telling you, the dude looks like a grown up playing football with a bunch of little kids, he will be special at the next level.

I don't always downvote, but I do always downvote a Michigan fan trolling the Buckeye boards.

weimerad's picture

What's the latest with Skai Moore?  They were targeting him heavily a couple weeks ago and even said that they wanted him badly.  With the JUCO LB now in the picture how many will they take?  Obviously Mitchell is the #1 priority, but then you have Moore, Trey Johnson, the JUCO and Worley (converting) and even Tyquan Lewis switching.  I hope this won't affect how many LBs are taken in 2014

bassplayer7770's picture

I did hear Skai was visiting this weekend for Purdue, but Alex had him down for the Illinois game.  Regardless, keep in mind that the staff offered quite a few players last year in an effort to have backup plans in case their main targets fell through.  I have no doubt they're doing the same this year.  I'm not implying Skai, in particular, is a backup plan because I have no way of really knowing what the staff thinks of each player.

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

With the troubles on defense this year is there any chance the staff makes Elder a DB or do they keep him on offense?

oregonianbuckeye's picture

Thanks for this update, Alex, really great information. Does Urban have a history of bringing in JC guys? Seems like tosu has only gone after a couple of guys the last decade or so from JC. Is this a "we really need to fix these two position areas (LB and WR)" or something that we should expect to see regularly. I don't have problem with it, just wondering about Urb's philosophy here.