11W Recruiting Roundup: QB Quagmire Clearing Up

By Jeremy Birmingham on May 1, 2013 at 4:50p

It's midweek, it's 4:30 p.m. and it's time to talk Buckeye recruiting.

Kyle Allen got some "big" news on Wednesday.Kyle Allen got a long-awaited call.

This week we're taking an in-depth look at what is happening with Ohio State's oft-discussed, even more oft-lamented quarterback recruiting for the class of 2014. The Buckeyes have taken their time, dissecting and reviewing a number of talented quarterbacks over the course of the last year and a half, and at this point have struck out on the only two that have garnered a scholarship offer, Jerrod Heard of Texas and Deshaun Watson of Georgia. 

It was the decision of Watson last week that may finally have accelerated the Buckeyes' efforts at arguably the game's most important position, but in the meantime a number of talented, yet not offered players have made their choice to stop waiting for the Buckeyes to call. 

Of course, it is Ohio State football and there are a number of players still hoping for any sort of interest from the Buckeyes, and new names are being tossed around nearly every single day as Urban Meyer's staff "plants flags" across the country.

Who has said goodbye? A number of players have committed elsewhere in recent weeks, including Caleb Henderson (North Carolina), Darius Wade (Boston College), William Ulmer (Maryland) and Will Crest (West Virginia). All were on the "short list" to replace Watson and are now off the board.

But just a moment ago, the Buckeyes made their decision on "who's next" at quarterback.

Almost all of the scuttlebutt about the quarterback position these last few weeks has revolved around three names: Deshaun Watson, Brandon Harris and Drew Barker. One name that had not been discussed as frequently was Scottsdale (Ariz.) quarterback Kyle Allen

He's about to be talked about. A lot.

"I just got off the phone with Coach Meyer; it was awesome," Allen told Eleven Warriors minutes after the offer came his way. "This is huge for me."

It's huge for a number of players, including Harris, Barker and Apopka (Fla.) standout Zack Darlington, who is being visited by Ohio State this very afternoon.

Allen highlights:

At 6-foot-4 and 190-pounds, Allen is a pro-style passer ranked 4th nationally by Rivals.com, but is Scout.com's top-ranked QB. Allen visited and camped at Ohio State last summer and was long-rumored to be a "Buckeye lock" if an offer came his way, and while he's still got the Buckeyes very high on his list, there's no guarantee of a commitment. One thing is sure: he's not the prototypical QB in Urban Meyer's system, but that didn't deter the Buckeyes from making their play.

"He (Coach Meyer) told me that they had done their homework," Allen said of the wait for the offer. "They wanted to see me develop as a quarterback and they liked what they saw from me in the last year and they decided that today was the day to make the offer. It's huge."

On Monday, Allen got a scholarship offer from Notre Dame, and you can't help but wonder if the Buckeyes wanted to make sure they had their guy. It doesn't hurt that Allen's high school teammate, WR Mark Andrews, holds a Buckeye offer as well. The two of them have discussed attending the same school, but now as they're both getting major offers from the around country, it's a "package deal" that's worth exploring.

"I was pretty focused on the Buckeyes a year ago," Allen, who plans to graduate in December, said. "I wanted that offer pretty bad, but I think the wait (for the offer) is actually a good thing. I have gotten a chance to see a number of great schools around the country and I am looking at them all. It helped me do my homework and I've got a lot of great opportunities around the nation, but the Buckeyes are up at the top of my list. I will make sure to visit them again now."

That brings us to the interesting discussion about Harris, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound product of Bossier City, (La.) who has gone from an anonymous blip on the radar for most Buckeye recruiting fans to the Pièce de résistance of the recruiting cycle in less than two weeks; and Barker, who's waited patiently for a Buckeye offer during the course of the last year and a half. 

We'll have more on this at Eleven Warriors as it develops.


The interesting case of Brandon Harris, who had become the trendy pick as the Buckeyes Pièce de résistance at quarterback, added more intrigue on Monday:

Ohio State was in Bossier City on Monday to check out Harris in person for the first time, and it's a visit that could be very telling as to Ohio State's intentions. Ohio State's Tom Herman was scheduled to be in Louisiana May 7 and 16 to see Harris, but apparently the news with Watson helped push the Buckeyes into action on Harris. 

There were reports that if impressed by Harris, Herman was granted "permission" to extend an offer to him, but sources that I've spoken to indicated that was not entirely the case. 

"Not necessarily (true)," the source told Eleven Warriors. "I'm sure they would have to talk about it as a staff first (before the offer)."

That appears to be accurate as Herman's visit came and went and as of now there's no offer to Harris, yet one to Allen. For his part, the quarterback felt confident about how he performed and about the chances of that offer coming his way. Harris told Brad Bournival of ESPN.com that he believes it could come as early as this Friday, but that may be changed at this point.

"Coach Herman seemed to love my game and the way I threw the ball," Harris said post-visit. "I hope the offer is on the table soon."

Perhaps one of the reasons the discussion was necessary was Herman's scheduled visit this week to Connor High School in Hebron (Ky.) where Drew Barker was poised to get himself reacquainted with the Buckeye playcaller. Barker was contacted last week by Ohio State for the first time in about two months, and it appears that the Buckeyes have some face-saving to do in order to keep him interested. Barker, 6-foot-3 and 205-pounds, has admitted to some frustration with how the Buckeyes have operated, and it seems that could push the Kentuckian away from the Buckeyes even if he ended up being the guy the staff decides to eventually extend an offer to. Kentucky and South Carolina, along with Tennessee, have all made a big impression on him and have already made their offers to him. 

Urban Meyer was supposed to call Barker this past weekend, but did not manage to do so, according to Barker himself, who was looking forward to the chance to throw again in front of Herman. As of now, Herman has not been to see him, although he could still make the visit this week. One person close to Barker was very candid about the way he's feeling.

"The window (for Barker) was so wide open," he shared. "I think (Urban Meyer) is gambling a bit because in his mind, he does not have to take a QB in this class."

News came early this week however that it's not just a two-man race for another offer at this point.

Apopka (Fla.) junior Zack Darlington has 12 scholarship offers at this point (including West Virginia, Virginia Tech and Nebraska, among others), a state title in Florida's largest division (8A), an All-American game invitation under his belt and a 3.3 GPA to go along with his 6-foot-2, 210-pound, twice-verified 4.43-forty frame. A self-described "football junky," Darlington gets his chance today to wow the Buckeyes, and an offer from the Buckeyes would be difficult for him to pass up, according to those in the know. Could he steal Brandon Harris' "Thunder"?

While the popular notion is that there's "no way" Braxton Miller departs after this upcoming season, if he decided to then the Buckeyes could find themselves in quite a pickle moving ahead into 2014. With Kenny Guiton's swan song coming, one that is hopefully filled with clipboard holding and mop-up duty in Buckeye blowouts, the 2014 quarterback situation looks a bit bare. 

Cardale Jones, who redshirted last season, has shown some flashes but is hardly ready to take over the reins of a program like Ohio State and incoming freshman JT Barrett is coming off of major knee surgery and, barring some roster disaster or miracle, will redshirt this year. In a full class of 25, I almost think I'd take two quarterbacks considering the current setup.


Comments Show All Comments

Conroy's picture

I think some people may be nervous about offering a pro-style quarterback because of how John Brantley turned out at Florida.  It's important to remember that he (Brantley) primarily failed at Florida because he was a bad player.  A pro style quarterback can excel in Meyer's offense as long as they aren't a total statue in the pocket.

FitzBuck's picture

Remember Leak was not the most mobile QB.  In this offense making the correct read is the most important.  Having playmakers in space and getting it to them quickly is also more important then the speed and mobility of the QB.     

Fitzbuck | Toledo - Ohio's right armpit | "A troll by any other name is still a troll".

45buckshot's picture

And Leak also split time with a freshman QB named Tebow, who was clearly more successful in Urbans system--which requires a mobile QB to add to the numbers in the run game. The Brantley experience drove UM3 out of football, I can only imagine what he's thinking here. The kid seems mobile enough, maybe they're thinking that he can run a little bit?
The only thing I can think is Tebow obviously was not BM in the speed game, all you need is a QB who is a threat to run. Steve Young was no burner but still gained a lot of yards on the ground...
What about Kizer? I'm still hoping maybe he gets a look after the summer camps this year (as a backup option).

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”
—G.K. Chesterton

sfgoody's picture

WOW!! Commence drama now!


bukyze's picture

Yowza.  The quarterback rollercoaster continues.  I really have no idea how the staff is playing this out, but I guess we have to trust that they know exactly what they're doing.    It's getting hard to keep track of all the QB recruits this year!

tennbuckeye19's picture

FYI: Allen threw for 3200 yards and 36 TD's with only 7 INT's as a Junior. I'll take that. 

Abe Froman's picture

How many yards did #81 have with that team?

Basking in the wake of mediocrity.....

tennbuckeye19's picture

#81 is Mark Andrews, Allen's WR teammate who OSU has also offered. He had 81 receptions for 1590 Yards and 22 TD's.

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

This offer to Allen can't hurt the Buckeyes as far as Andrews is concerned.

GABuckeye's picture

He also went 202/280.  That's 72% - yes please!

sfgoody's picture

Would be interesting if we swapped out Watson/Kitt/Autry for Allen/Andrews/Jelks. It could happen.


EvanstonBuckeye's picture

Watson's jilting of us was the best thing that could have happened. Allen and Harris are both great recruits if it's only those two and Barker and Darlington sound like they could be great fits as well. There is nothing about this that's not good news.

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Allen was by far the best QB I saw at OSU's camp last year. Seems to have grown a little since then, was 6-2 at the time. Very accurate, polished passer, poised and calm. He's not a burner, but he's good very good feet and keeps his eyes down the field at all times. He's a winner, pure and simple and he's thrilled to get this offer. 

Not commitment watch at this time, but it's going to make an impact on his recruiting.

okiebuck's picture

Jeremy; nice article. I agree that Allen looks good; very polished and nice release but I disagree that we must sign at least one QB this year even IF Braxton heads to the NFL. JT Barrett is already in school and if needed; he will be ready to start after red shirting this year. By next season he will have been through 2 spring and two fall camps and will know the playbook inside and out and has big time talent; trust me the kid will be a star.

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

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Even if Jones and Barrett become stars, you NEED more than two QBs on a roster.

redfox's picture

We didn't lose Watson he was never ours to start with.

EvanstonBuckeye's picture

This is true. I guess what I meant was his ending his recruitment (probably should use quotes around that as it's only May 1) has proven to the be the catalyst towards pursuing other recruits.

otrain2416's picture

thanks for the update jeremy I don't think anyone saw this offer coming glad their trying to add different weapons to our offense

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

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

This staff is very diligent and I think they decided that Allen was a "Safe" bet to "not miss". Maybe he doesn't have the long-term upside of Barker or athleticism of Harris or Darlington, but he's a winner and a steady leader under center.

SilverBulletNYC's picture

Meh. Prefer Harris or Barker. But I'm not Urban- just a fan behind a computer. In Urban we trust. 

The South will NOT rise again!

ATXbucknut's picture

Another intriguing article, Jeremy.  Good work.

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Thank you very much. I appreciate it.

lutzbuck's picture

Saw Darlington in the Florida State Championship game.  Kid has all the tools and is a winner.  Here's some highlights:

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

I LOVE Zack's personality and attitude. I think if the Buckeyes offered (and took) a second QB in this class he would be a PERFECT fit.

Goose's picture

This kid looks like the perfect fit for the Meyer/Herman offense!

ATT2121's picture

Thanks for the update! Your input and analysis is greatly appreciated.


"It all goes so fast, and character makes the difference when it's close."
Jesse Owens

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Thank you choosing our site to get your Buckeye fix.

Buckeyeneer's picture

Am I the only one who seems to want whoever I read about most recently?
I have no clue who I favor in this race.

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

THE Ohio State University

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

There does seem to be a bit of "New Guy-itis" that people suffer from.

osubuck57's picture

Allen isn't a new guy though.His name has come up many times as far as QBs go,just not officially til now with his latest offer by OSU.Never thought he was considering OSU that strongly though,so we'll see if he comes for another visit  and see.Like his numbers and as you've said Jeremy,all he does is win. Thought we would be higher on Harris or Darlington,but what do I know??Just the basic OSU fan.Trust the staff!!Great read!!


Jeremy Birmingham's picture

If Ohio State would have offered Kyle last summer when he camped then the Buckeyes would have had a quarterback commitment for the last year-plus. His interest was VERY legitimate and this offer will make him reshuffle his deck. I think he had kind of given up on the idea of an offer until just yesterday.

osubuck57's picture

Hope so!!Would be a nice battle between him,Jones,and Barrett when Brax decides to go whether its after this season or his senior year.Plus he could bring Andrews with him.lol


zbd's picture

Allen looks good. His big receivers make some great catches too. Sure would like OSU to develop a passing game. This QB soap opera of waiting to offer players is beyond me. Thanks for the update on recruiting. Seems like it changes daily.

johnny11's picture

Yah Allen is a good qb. I just am not sure how this will work. Its not that he isn't a threat to run the ball, its just that he seems to never keep it. You can be a threat all you want, but if u never keep it the defense can key all they want on the rb. I really like this kid in the passing game and on bootlegs though. Really good hip movement on his throws. I think coach Mick can make him faster and quicker, but I'm still more sold on Harris.

Ross Fulton's picture

The distinction between a 'pro-style' QB and a 'running' QB is an artifice.  All you need to run read plays is a QB that is a threat to beat you with his legs if you leave it open. John Elway, Aaron Rodgers, Joe Montana, could have all succeeded with read plays.


Allen is clearly a good enough athlete to do that--he isn't a statute.

johnny11's picture

I understand that, but when he makes his reads he never keeps the ball. That makes an easy read for the d end or d tackle to always crash down on the rb. He has legs I'm not disputing that. He probably runs in the 4.8 to 4.7 range, but if you never keep the ball on that read the play now doesn't work as well. Being a threat is not just having the athleticism its also using that athleticism. Great throwing prospect and reminds of Aaron Rodgers I would say that.

d1145fresh's picture

I have always wondered what OSU would be like with a legitimate pro-type quarterback running the offense. I'm not saying someone like Joe G.,  Bobby Hoying or Craig Krenzel but someone who legitimately be the #1 NFL draft pick at quarterback (not saying Allen is that guy... don't want to put that much pressure on him). But really we have never had a superstar passing quarterback run our offense. Braxton is very good but it would be interesting to see if the offense would become more pass oriented under a QB like Allen (a la Iowa State under Herman) 

Iron_Buckeye's picture

I think this kid Allen fits more into the Alex Smith mold, and I trust that Urban know how the kid can be best utilized.

“The minute we stop expecting greatness from our football program, we become Wisconsin.” Craig Krenzel

SilverState's picture

Harris offered:

Crimson's picture

So, is this a 'whoever commits first' thing, or are they going after 2 QBs?  Live at tOSU just got interesting.

Knarcisi's picture

It sure did.  You have to think Barker's shipped has sailed.  This makes a statement.

Crimson's picture

Either it has, or he gets an offer by tomorrow.
Also, Life*.

Knarcisi's picture

I watched half of the video on Allen, and I'd take him in a second.  Pocket pro style passer?  That's a very misleading label.  This kid is very mobile in and out of the pocket.  Maybe he got that label because he is on-the-money accurate.  I'll take him. 

Iron_Buckeye's picture

My sentiments exactly, dude is pretty mobile. He looks to be a pass first QB with a good sense of awareness...stepping up into the pocket and eluding rushers.

“The minute we stop expecting greatness from our football program, we become Wisconsin.” Craig Krenzel