Football Recruiting: Bye Week Blues

By Jeremy Birmingham on October 13, 2013 at 7:30p
Gesicki Will Be A Catch..But For Whom?Was the atmosphere of State College enough for Penn State to land Gesicki?

There are not many spots left in the 2014 Ohio State recruiting class as anyone who reads this column regularly knows. With six, maybe seven spots left, the Buckeyes have narrowed down their primary targets to a dozen or so players that they hope round out a top five national class come February.

Two of those players, New Jersey tight end Mike Gesicki and Brooklyn (N.Y.) defensive tackle Thomas Holley made visits to Penn State and saw the Nittany Lions get the best of Michigan in one of the season's most exciting and wild games. Many people have speculated that it will be an Ohio State/Penn State decision for each of those players, with an imminent decision from Gesicki.

As it stands, the Buckeyes — who have been fairly confident that they could land the nation's top-ranked tight end (according to the latest update by — now seem to acknowledge that they are falling behind Penn State as his likely landing spot. Ohio State is perceived by most to be the favorite for Gesicki himself, but many others in his support "circle" appear to prefer Penn State. With a decision coming possibly as early as this week, all the speculation is soon to be over with, one way or another.

Holley is not as close to a decision as Gesicki, but the Penn State visit was an important one as the Nittany Lions, buoyed by the NCAA's ruling that allowed them an additional five scholarships for 2014, have begun a reinvigorated pursuit of some players they might not have been able to otherwise. The 6-foot-4, 285 pound defensive tackle will travel to Columbus this coming weekend when Ohio State takes on Iowa. Interestingly, Holley and his Abraham Lincoln teammates take on Curtis Samuel and Erasmus Hall on Friday, then the two Empire State stars will travel together on a visit to Ohio State.

Moving on to recruits that are already in the Buckeye fold...


Noah Brown is good, in case you hadn't noticed. The Buckeye commit from Pope John XXIII in New Jersey has been tearing up his competition every weak and this weekend was no exception. Brown finished his game against Sparta with six receptions for 146 yards and two scores as well as nine carries for 67 more yards, helping his team to a big 31-27 win. Brown's exploits have earned him near celebrity status in his hometown, the acclaim has been a surprise for the humble 6-foot-2, 210-pound star wide receiver. If you want to check out some amazing video of what Brown can do, here's the place to look. He wears No. 21 and he's pretty darn insane. 


If you're looking for a Buckeye commitment "Player of the Year," at this point you'd be hard-pressed to not look directly at Akron St. Vincent-St.Mary's wide receiver/running back Parris Campbell. Saturday afternoon he and his Irish teammates traveled to Dayton to take on Thurgood Marshall and Michigan State commitment Vayante Copeland, and Campbell once again came out swinging, leading his top-ranked Irish to an easy, breezy, beautiful 41-12 win.

How does seven carries for 203 yards and three touchdowns suit you? Campbell also collected six tackles on defense. Campbell had touchdown runs of 44,50 and 98-yards as a part of his afternoon. Just another day at the office for lightning-in-a-bottle.

What about Campbell's teammate and fellow Buckeye commit, linebacker Dante Booker? He collected 12.5 tackles. Good day for the future Buckeyes in Dayton.


I don't like to use my position, the fact that people read what I write, as a podium for any sort of ranting and raving of my own, but occasionally it's important to highlight the things that are great — and unfortunately the things that are bad — about today's world of being so connected to recruits and players.

Take, for example, this fella. 

Now, I am well aware that fan is short for fanatic, and that there are many more "good guys" out there than "bad guys," but when you're (presumably) a grown man taking to social media in order to badmouth and berate high school players committed to a team other than the one you support, then you're a horrible, horrible person. No matter how much of a "joke" you pretend it was. The "joke," is you, as a person. 

Bottom line, if you're a Buckeye fan or you happen to be the fan of another team but just reading our site, please understand that you're dealing with and talking to kids; teenagers. Don't be that guy who embarrasses your whole fanbase just because you can't handle your liquor or you're a hypersensitive, emotionally defunct manchild. 


Ohio State commitments Terry Mclaurin and Jamarco Jones each told 11W that they expect to be in attendance next weekend against Iowa and for the October 26th night game against Penn State. The commitments are cognizant of Raekwon McMillan visiting for Penn State and want to make sure they are represented as fully as possible. Shelby Spence, Jones' teammate who visited Ohio State for Friday Night Lights in July will be visiting with Jamarco.

The Buckeye commitments are aware of what the main targets are thinking, doing, etc. I spoke to a number of different players about Mike Gesicki and each of them had a similar point of view about the star tight end. The general thought? Gesicki loved his visit to Ohio State, but he's very difficult to read and doesn't reveal too much. The confidence in what Ohio State is selling is what fuels the idea that there's no better place for him than in Columbus.

There was some confusion the other day as 2015 St. Peter's Prep (N.J.) quarterback Brandon Wimbush tweeted that he'd not be able to make it to the Penn State game because of a 1pm Saturday practice. For whatever reason people assumed he was talking about his scheduled visit on 10/26 to Ohio State, but he was referencing yesterday's game against Michigan. Wimbush and teammate (2015 cornerback and fellow Buckeye offer) Minkah Fitzpatrick are still scheduled and planning on checking out the Buckeyes in two weeks.

High School Football Review

Position Player School Opponent Comment
QB Stephen Collier Lee County (Ga.) Bye Watched football. 
WR Parris Campbell St. Vincent-St. Mary (Ohio) at Dayton Thurgood Marshall (Ohio) Won 41-12
WR Terry McLaurin Cathedral (Ind.) Indianapolis Arsenal Tech (Ind.) Won 23-14, 12 carries for 132 yards and a touchdown, no catches.
OT Jamarco Jones De La Salle (Ill.) Wilmette Loyola Academy (I'll.) Lost 48-0.
OT Kyle Trout Lancaster (Ohio) Gahanna Lincoln (Ohio) Won 22-19.
OG Marcelys Jones Glenville (Ohio) at Cleveland John Marshall (Ohio) Won 56-0.
OG Demetrius Knox All Saints Episcopal (Texas) Tulsa Holland Hall (Texas) Won 52-3.
DE Jalyn Holmes Lake Taylor (Va.) at Portsmouth Churchland (Va.) Won 55-7, DNP
DE Dylan Thompson Montini Catholic (Ill.) Woodstock Marian Central Catholic (Ill.) Won 40-35, played one half and blocked a punt and recored two tackles for loss.
OLB Kyle Berger Ignatius (Ohio) Eastern Christian Academy (Md.) Lost 32-29 on FG with :10 remaining. DNP (ACL)
OLB Dante Booker St. Vincent-St. Mary (Ohio) at Dayton Thurgood Marshall (Ohio) Won 41-12
CB Damon Webb Cass Tech (Mich.) Detroit Mumford (Mich.) Won 41-6, had an interception.
S Malik Hooker New Castle (Pa.) Imperial West Allegheny (Pa.) Lost 37-31.
ATH Noah Brown Pope John XXIII (N.J.) Sparta (N.J.) Won 31-27. Brown went off - see above.
ATH Sam Hubbard Moeller (Ohio) at Cincinnati Elder (Ohio) Won 35-14 to win GCL title. Nine tackles and four PBUs.
ATH Lonnie Johnson West Side (Ind.) at Gary Wallace (Ind.) Won 82-20, had five catches for 152 yards and three scores, as well as a rushing touchdown.
ATH Curtis Samuel Erasmus Hall (N.Y.) at Brooklyn Canarsie (N.Y.) Won 34-0, had two 
K Sean Nuernberger Oldham County (Ky.) Louisville Fern Creek (Ky.) Lost 35-13, 2/2 on FG, perfect on XP, had two punts averaging 64 yards per punt.
TE Mike Gesicki Southern Reg (N.J.) Bye DNP, visited Penn State.
OT Chad Mavety Nassau C.C. (N.Y.) at Georgia Military College (Ga.) No results available.
OT Damian Prince Bishop McNamara (Md.) DeMatha (Md.) Lost 61-27.
DT Thomas Holley Abraham Lincoln (N.Y.) Midwood (N.Y.) Won 36-12.
ILB Raekwon McMillan Liberty County (Ga.) Statesboro (Ga.) Lost 24-7, first defeat of the season.
S Erick Smith Glenville (Ohio) at Cleveland John Marshall (Ohio) Won 56-0.
ATH Marshon Lattimore Glenville (Ohio) at Cleveland John Marshall (Ohio) Won 56-0, punt return for a touchdown.



Comments Show All Comments

oregonianbuckeye's picture

Thanks, Birm. These updates are great. Keep up the fantastic work.

Chief B1G Dump's picture

Man I love that a surprise-ish type recruit like Noah Brown is doing work...and its absolutely boss when an ohio bred slasher like Parris is shredding. Cant wait to see these guys in the Shoe.

BTW, I'm assuming that "UM_Athletics" tweet to Kyle Berger is in no way actually associated with TSUN athletics...because that would go from turd to double turds.

EvanstonBuckeye's picture

I think Parris Campbell is going to be special. I pity the teams that play he and Booker.

KBonay's picture

Ugh...well said.


tdible2132's picture

If Gesicki chooses Penn State, I will wish him the best, but I sure hope he chooses them because HE prefers PSU.  If he really does prefer OSU but his "support circle" prefers PSU, then they aren't much of a support circle.  JMHO.

northcampus's picture

When you question his support circle, I assume you are referring to his family and/or his high school coaching staff?  Step away from your point of view regarding PSU for a second and imagine yourself in this kid's situation.  He lives in New Jersey (which makes PSU closer for his family to travel than OSU), his support circle sees a situation where this kid will probably get immediate playing time at PSU (not a given at OSU), and he's guaranteed a world-class education at each school.  Considering his family wants to see him excel on and off the field (and even be there to witness it more often than if he was at a school of a greater distance), do you really think his family and/or support circle is steering him in a direction where they are not "supporting" him as you claim?
Some 'support systems' are indeed a situation where a kid is getting bad information, but I'm fairly certain in this situation, that is not the case.  I hope he ends up at OSU, but if he doesn't, it's not a failure on his part or whoever is assisting him in this process.

rosycheeks's picture

Plus OSU doesn't throw to the TE.

tdible2132's picture

Yeah I agree with what you said and I'm not bashing his family/whoever his support circle is. My point was more so just an honest questioning of what truly is going on behind the scenes. Clearly both schools are great institutions, but if he prefers OSU deep down yet feels he's letting his support circle down if he doesn't choose PSU, then I just don't think that's right. Not sure if you caught "The book of Manning" documentary but Archie Mannings approach to his kids' recruitment was what it should be IMO. He was there to support them but left the decision up to the kid because it wouldn't be fair for him to get involved. I can't pretend to know what's going on with Gesicki and his recruitment but I'd just hate to see the kid make a decision based on what other people think, even if it is his family. Either way, we can't know what's really going on behind the scenes. I just know that I wouldn't want a kid to come to OSU on those conditions, so I would hate to see us lose a kid under those conditions.  A kid should go where he feels is right, barring extenuating circumstances ( and who knows maybe that's what is going on here).

InHartWeTrust's picture

I agree with you, a kid should always be able to go where he wants to go...and the support circle should do just that, support that choice 100%.
Not saying that is the case here at all, just saying I'd hate to see any kid make their decision trying to make someone else happy.  This is their time to shine, and the first big decision of their lives that they get to make themselves.

CC's picture

Support the choice after it is made, it hasn't been made yet.  I'm glad my support circle helped steer my decision as I would have made an uninformed one if left to make it by myself.

ronbizi's picture

If I remember correctly, Noah Brown was feeling Rutgers and his home-town school.  However, his support circle was encouraging of Ohio State.  So I guess it works both ways.  As long as these support circles are motivated by these kids' best interests, I see no problem in adults helping recruits through life changing decisions.

lljjgg's picture

IRT "Don't be that guy" I recently saw an OSU "fan" hassling Marshon Lattimore on twitter when Lattimore posted that Abbrederis was giving Roby some struggles on Twitter. The "fan" told Lattimore that he needs to go elsewhere/OSU doesn't want him -- because apparently this "fan" is in control of OSU recruiting lol.

Wish these supposed fans would crawl back in their hole. The bizarre thing is on some level they must have convinced themselves that they're actually helping OSU/UM/etc. by hassling 17-18 year olds on twitter? I don't get it. 

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

I saw, and interacted with the same dude. Very frustrating.

Poison nuts's picture

I actually saw that too & I also wonder wtf people are thinking when they do that shit. Twitter should come with an IQ test that dictates whether you have the brains given a monkey & can handle it.

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

ScarletNGrey01's picture

That is sad.  On the other side of the coin, I'd prefer kids to focus on their academics and their health and training and not even have a twitter account.  One hundred positive tweets can be canceled out by a tweet that was ill conceived and sent in haste, and of course that is the one the media will pounce on.  Then again, I'm old school, I don't even have a Facebook account.

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

skid21's picture

You can't tell who are truly fans of a school on twitter. I'm not doubting this guy was an OSU fan but anyone can have a twitter account and pretend to be anyone they want. If recruits actually let twitter have an effect on their feelings about a school then they are doing themselves a disservice.

MN Buckeye's picture

I really do not understand why a fan would tweet high school kids anyway. There is way too much opportunity for potential weirdness, and I am not sure what good can come out of it. Recruiting analysts and coaches have reasons to communicate with recruits, but I certainly do not.

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Great update thanks.  I don't understand why a top athlete would want to attend PSU if they had the opportunity to play at OSU.  The most repugnant scandal in the history of college athletics that was experienced there so recently aside, Columbus is a large, nice white-collar city with lots to offer, Happy Valley is isolated down in the sticks, the bucks have the best coaches around, fantastic facilities, the future looks so bright for the buckeyes.  Maybe the thought is you would make more of an impact at a school that is a big program but not elite, a little less competition to start?  Not sure, of course I am 110% biased but wish all these kids the best regardless of where they end up. 

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

Aesculus.'s picture

Noah Brown is going to be a BEAST.  Total Urban Meyer guy.

InHartWeTrust's picture

Missing on Gesicki and Holley would be a tough one to swallow.
Glad to see Brown and Campbell/Booker continuing to tear it up.  I am excited for the incoming class already and can't wait to see how it rounds out.

tallydoug's picture

Is Jalyn Holmes still suspended?  I see a DNP on his stat line.

EvanstonBuckeye's picture

He was serving a suspension for stepping on a guy during an ESPN game earlier this year. Don't know if he's back and playing yet.

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

I thought I read in one of the updates that his suspension was over either this week (the previous friday) or last week.

oregonianbuckeye's picture

Sounds like Gesicki is planning on announcing this week. Still think we have a decent chance, but don't like that PSU got the last visit.

EvanstonBuckeye's picture

Yep, and that PSU TE's had a pretty high-profile game against Michigan (actually, UM's Funchess had a pretty high-profile game as well). Don't think people completely appreciate, either, how much pull PSU has in NJ.

Oldschoolbuck's picture

Well "that guy" is probably like 98% of scUM fans after Saturday - complete mental breakdown.
But yeah, that's totally classless.

36buck's picture

PSU is not a gold football team nor will they be for about 4 more yrs.

EvanstonBuckeye's picture

I agree with you to a point and said the same thing about this time last year. O'Brien, though, is selling the illusion of relevancy. Business is not as bad as I thought it would be. Imagine if the other teams in the B1G (minus Wisky, Michigan, and NU) had the same drive and charisma.

Arizona_Buckeye's picture

If you want to play in a stadium full of 108,000 wearing white for a mid season game that is basically their season - by all means, go to PSU.  If you want to play for national titles during the next 4 years - come to OSU

The best thing about Pastafarianism? It is not only acceptable, but advisable, to be heavily sauced

gumtape's picture

When you are a fan of a big and successful program like we are there are always going to be fans on the fringes of what is considered acceptable behavior. We had our anzalone moment last year and i am not really proud of how we treated kalis either. 

High and tight boo boo

Buckeye_Mafia's picture

Two of those players, New Jersey tight end Mike Gesicki and Brooklyn (N.Y.) defensive tackle Thomas Holley made visits to Penn State and saw the Nittany Lions get the best of Michigan in one of the season's most exciting and wild games.

What game was I watching?  I'd say more along the lines of laughable and poorly executed.  Haha!

"At critical moments throughout the season, we learned about the character of this football team.  This was a team of true character, of true resilience." -- President Barack Obama