11W Recruiting Mailbag: Spring Football Edition

By Derek Young on March 20, 2013 at 3:00p

We're back with another mailbag as things begin to heat up again on the recruiting front with spring practice resuming. Ohio State finds itself with four verbals for the class of 2014, but there's a good chance that number increases by the end of spring ball.

Throughout the upcoming weeks many Buckeye targets will be traveling to Columbus to watch practice and to see the Ohio State coaches in action. Kerry Coombs at work is always great theater, and recruits being able to see how they'll be used and taught is a key tool at the coaches' disposal.

If you're worrying about a slow pace, don't. The timing of how the class has come together so far has nearly mirrored what took place for the 2013 recruiting class, when the Buckeyes had five commits at this time. As Mark Pantoni stated almost a year ago after the onslaught of early Michigan commitments, this is a marathon and not a sprint.

You may also recall that Ohio State's class of 2013 went on to finish as a consensus top-three class nationally, so take deep breaths and remember that the Buckeyes have Urban Meyer and other schools do not.

In this version of the mailbag we take a look at the Kyle Berger situation, the current status of the quarterback targets, and what offensive linemen may end up in scarlet and gray.

What's the deal with Kyle Berger?

As I mentioned in the recruiting forum, Cleveland St. Ignatius LB Kyle Berger is a battle between arch-rivals Ohio State and Michigan. What once was a sizable lead for the Buckeyes is now more of a toss-up, thanks to the efforts of Wolverines' commit LB Michael Ferns and defensive coordinator Greg Mattison. Berger is visiting Ohio State this weekend and it is a critical one for the Buckeyes, because he wants to make a decision this spring.

In your personal opinion, do you see any chance Jalen Hurd or Quin Blanding flip to the good guys or do you think that they are recruits that stick with the home-state team on National Signing Day? 

It's difficult to predict the future that far in advance but my answer now would be that they stick with their original commitment. I've heard nothing that would make me think otherwise. The only scenario I could see a possible flip would be a significant coaching change. Tennessee has a new staff so that would likely only be possible for Quin Blanding's situation at Virginia.

What is going on behind the scenes? It seems to be pretty slow right now. What's the deal on the quarterbacks? Why was Henderson's visit canceled? Do the 2015 offers show us the staff is going all in on Watson and not pursuing any other quarterbacks?

As previously stated, Ohio State's recruitment is progressing at about the same pace as last year's and that class was one of the best ever assembled in Columbus. Worrying about recruitment at this juncture would be very premature. 

Caleb Henderson's visit was rescheduled for this upcoming weekend, due to a scheduling conflict for the original date. Henderson still holds the Buckeyes in very high regard and an offer to him at some point is not out of the question. The staff contacts Henderson and Kyle Allen regularly. The 2015 quarterbacks would have received offers regardless, because getting a leg up and starting early is essential. It worked out for Clemson who now have the pledge of Deshaun Watson.

What's the latest on the posse of Georgia standouts?

LB Raekwon McMillan will be visiting the first few days of April, and the plan is that he will be joined by ATH Myles Autry. Ohio State remains in very promising position for McMillan. With Autry, it's a little harder to read, but the visit will bring a little more clarity. WR Demarre Kitt will also be making a return visit to Ohio State's campus during the first week of April in what appears to be a huge week for unofficial visitors in Columbus. Whenever recruits are willing to travel long distances multiple times for unofficial visits, it is something to pay attention to.

Who will be the next recruit to drop into the "committed" column?

It is always difficult to time when recruits may decide to publicly announce their college choice but I will pose two situations that make sense.

LB Dante Booker has visited Ohio State multiple times and has not spent too much time on any other campuses. This upcoming weekend Booker and Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary's high school compete for a state championship in basketball. It would be quite the feat if they were successful as they also brought in the championship hardware on the gridiron. With his pursuit for a ring in hoops coming to a culmination, it could open up time for Booker to get serious about making a college choice.

WR Derek Kief picked up an offer from OSU in the past month and will be visiting the Buckeyes unofficially at the end of the month. A verbal commit on the visit would not surprise me, but it may be determined by what he hears on his trip to Alabama this weekend. The Crimson Tide have already offered and if he likes what he hears and sees, he could consider Alabama moving forward. The Ohio State spring game is near Kief's home so I would also expect him to be on hand to see Meyer's squad for that as well.

Glenville safety Erick SmithSmith and his teammate Lattimore are taking things slowly.

Do you think it's a possibility that Ohio State takes six offensive linemen in Kyle Trout, Marcelys Jones, Jamarco Jones, Jermaine Eluemunor, Chad Mavety, and Braden Smith?

Six offensive linemen seems unreasonable with the 82-man scholarship limit and 20 being the approximate number for scholarships available in this class. 

Jamarco Jones has the Buckeyes high on his list but will continue to consider other schools. Florida may be a school to watch as they are expected to have him in Gainesville for their spring game. Eluemunor is supposed to be in Columbus soon for an unofficial visit, as is Mavety. Both are linemen in the junior college ranks and it may be a direction the OSU coaching staff decides to go in with depth being a bit of an issue at the position. I have a hard time seeing a scenario in which two junior college kids end up in the class at the same position. Braden Smith just finished up a visit at Ohio State, but has many others he still plans on taking. It is too early to tell where the Buckeyes stand with the 5-star offensive lineman.

What are your thoughts on where OSU stands with Marshon Lattimore, Erick Smith, and Dante Booker?

I think Urban Meyer and company have to feel fantastic about their chances with Booker. Again, it is way too early to put any kind of label on Cleveland (OH) Glenville Academy prospects Marshon Lattimore and Erick Smith since they are approaching their recruitment very slowly. However, with them visiting OSU a few times already the Buckeyes are where they need to be. At this point, I'd be surprised if they didn't don the Scarlet and Gray.

Do you think Watson will come on a visit and do we have a shot at landing him?

Urban Meyer and Tom Herman will continue their efforts to nab a visit from the elite signal-caller. Clemson will continue to attempt to prevent that trip from taking place. With Watson planning to enroll early, the coaches have about eight more months to see if they can make any ground. If a visit to Columbus comes to fruition, it is game on. If not, there is no chance. My thoughts continue to be that Ohio State's quarterback in this class will come from somewhere else.

Where does OSU stand at landing the giant from up north Malik McDowell?

McDowell has not spoken of any leaders yet, but I believe Michigan is in the best position. When I last spoke to him around a month ago in Cincinnati, he mentioned that a trip to Ohio State was in the plans. It is a wait and see situation for the massive defensive lineman.

Many of us are curious about Garrett's visit to Ole Miss over the weekend. Did you hear anything substantial on his visit to Oxford and do you think the Buckeyes still tentatively lead?

As I expected would happen, Garrett thoroughly enjoyed his trip down south. He is enamored with the idea of the brand of football that is played in the SEC. He will take his process slowly and do all of his homework. At the end of the day I still fully expect to see Garrett taking his talents to the capital city of Ohio.


Comments Show All Comments

ColumbusBornAndRaised's picture

This was the fix I needed. Great stuff!

weimerad's picture

Derek, you mentioned that the staff continues to stay in touch with Henderson and Kyle Allen regularly, but you didn't mention Drew Barker.  At one point he was the #2 target behind Watson.  Have things cooled with Barker, and do you expect either Henderson or Allen to get the next QB offer?

weimerad's picture

Ummm, so I just saw an article on Rant Sports, not sure how reliable/resourceful it is, about Clifton Garrett who now states that Ole Miss is his leader after his visit over the weekend.  Looks like this will be a battle to the end.  Another article on Rant states that Dylan Thompson could be a serious darkhorse to commit to Ole Miss as well.  That got me wondering because Thompson and Garrett are good friends through the Core 6.  Urban needs to work his magic with these two, especially when Thompson comes to visit soon. 

osubuck57's picture

Thanks for the mailbag Q & A Derek and staff!! Some of us,who do follow recruiting year round appreciate all your efforts!!


Ahh Saturday's picture

@ Derek,
Any idea how the staff will be handling recruits for the spring game? Are any/all of them going to Cincinnati for the actual game? Can OSU arrange transportation or is that a violation?

Buckeye_TilIdie's picture

Good stuff Derek I love recruiting especially football recruiting. Honestly I'm not a big fan of basketball so this is a fix for me.

Punks jump up to get beat down.

buckeye76BHop's picture

I do believe this is the internet definition of Troll^^^Yep pretty sure it is...
As far as Derek's Mailbag Column...it's for ppl like myself...who used to pay for this shit...and now we have guys like Alex, Derek, Miles, and others who give us these answers to our inquires for FREE (thanks for answering my question too Derek...pretty cool of ya).  
I can't agree more with the others who have told you to go elsewhere if you don't like it.  It takes more time to type this BS out then to just ignore it and move on.  Not quite so sure why you're ragging on this site or the Buckeyes...if you don't like it...go elsewhere.   If you're a Buckeye fan...have a little class as well as respect for your compadres (even if you don't like it or agree with them...it's kind of what this site is for...just saying).

"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 

fear_the_nut70's picture

Guys, don't feed the trolls.  If you don't, they will go get their "food" elsewhere.

Derek Young's picture

For the spring game Ohio State can not facilitate any kind of transportation. They will have kids there but I imagine it won't be as many, and probably mostly southwest Ohio kids.

For Drew Barker, he has stated to me that he has been hearing less from OSU. I think they are favoring Kyle Allen and Caleb Henderson more at this point. 

Either of them, or another quarterback that pops up, could get offers at some point. It is wait and see still.

Buckeyeneer's picture

I don't recall tampa being a troll in the past. Either a hacked account or Go home tampa! You're drunk.

"Because the rules won't let you go for three." - Woody Hayes

THE Ohio State University

BuckeyeChief's picture

Staff, please check into Tampa's account; I am going to assume it was hacked.

"2014 National Champions...deal with it!!!"

German Buckeye's picture

Thinking the same thing Chief - hacked.  Been here since Aug 2010 and Tampa, although devils advocate sometimes, usually isn't like this. 

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

Really appreciate all of the info.  I'm ready for the season to start that way these 2014 recruits can see the Buckeyes are for real and these kids won't want to go south anymore.  I hate SEC country.  I have friends who are UT fans who cheer for Bama every year in the title game.  What good does that do UT?  Anyway... I hope we keep the midwest kids in the midwest and still a few kids from the south.

Buckeye_TilIdie's picture

Yep it's funny and my brother and I laugh all the time at fans of lesser SEC teams like the vols. I mean it's cool if you want to cheer for a team from the conference in a bowl game or whatever but it's another to brag about the best team in you're conference like it's has anything to do with your team and walk around chanting SEC! SEC! SEC! Especially when your one of the worst teams in the conference.

Punks jump up to get beat down.

Poison nuts's picture

Thanks for the answers Derek.

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

okiebuck's picture

Thanks for the update D-Man. Guys don't be concerned about a slow start; it's way too early to worry; remember it's how you finish that counts and we have one of the best closers around!

"Fate has cards that it don't want to show"

ATXbucknut's picture

Here's the recruiting flyer that the o-line recruits are no doubt receiving.

SMP's picture

Sweet pic... would upvote if I could!  I'm a trenches guy and would love to see 3 to 4 stud OL signed each year. The pic says it all, "The Foundation". 

Buckabroad's picture

Hi Derek,
I wanted to thank you for your hard work and an excellent article. After reading it, I am a little less worried about the present recruiting situation. Still, I don't feel good about the Garrett situation. He is one of three "must recruits" imo.

"The minute we stop expecting greatness, we become Wisconsin."

gobucks96's picture

You're doing a fantastic job....