Football Recruiting: State of Love and Trust

By Jeremy Birmingham on November 17, 2013 at 7:30p
19 Comments

Another weekend has passed, and with it another big win for the Buckeyes (unless you're a fan of ESPN-style propoganda, so wonderfully pointed out by friend of the show, Tony Gerdeman) and another weekend of Buckeye recruits doing big things in big games. For some, the season is already over, for others the real season — the playoffs — are getting into full swing and state championship dreams are being chased.

It's a hard Knox life.Demetrius Knox is preparing for the next chapter in his career.

With Ohio State traveling this past weekend, there were no on-campus visitors to Columbus, but this coming week will host at least one major Buckeye target (New York JUCO offensive lineman Chad Mavety) and a host of other potential Buckeyes. 

Let's talk Buckeye 'crootin, ok?

KNOX GRABS SECOND RING

With a 42-7 win against Houston Christian in the SPC (Southwest Preparatory Conference) final, Demertrius Knox and his teammates put the capper on an incredible undefeated two year run. Now, Knox, the Springfield (Ohio) native and Buckeye commit is focused on the next step in his career: one last high school football game and then preparing like crazy for his arrival at Ohio State; he's got big plans for his freshman year.

"I'm getting ready for the Army All-American game," Knox told Eleven Warriors. "There's lots of work to be done. No time for resting on accomplishments."

Knox is hardly satisfied, despite an impressive resume. He finished his high school career with 22 straight wins and only five losses in his four years of high school, but he insists that now his only focus is getting better, and he'll do that by preparing for the All-American bowl as though it was the biggest game of his life.

"I'm really looking forward to playing against Derrick Nnadi, I think he's the best defensive tackle in the country," he said of who is looking forward to meeting up with. "He has the best speed-to-power attack I've seen he works his hands really well, playing against guys like him will make be better."

Another way Knox hopes to improve is by hitting the weight room — and the buffet table — to better prepare himself physically for the rigors of college football, and especially the hard-nosed ways of Buckeye offensive line coach Ed Warinner and strength madman Mick Marotti.

"Right now, I am 278 pounds," Knox said. "I want to get to at least 290-300 and I need to get a lot stronger. The goal is to be a freshman All-American next year and to do that I have to put in the work now."

Collier shares the moment with a fan.Stephen Collier had another big night in a victory.

OUR OWN TOUGHEST CRITIC

There may not be a high school football player in the country who is harder on himself than Buckeye commitment Stephen Collier. This past weekend, Collier's Lee County Trojans won the schools first playoff game since 2005, and second time ever in school history, 28-6. Collier finished the game with 205 yards through the air, 135 yards rushing and three total touchdowns. In the win, he tied a school record with his 39th touchdown of the season, but it's the two interceptions he threw that were on his mind following the game.

"Awful game offensively. But we got the W 28-6. Thankful for my team for holding me up and the learning experience," Collier tweeted following the game. "On a happier note I tied the school record for TDs in a single season with 39."

Collier is a perfectionist, completely aware of his imperfections and there's few things that drive someone with his competitive fire more than when he makes mistakes. It's who he is, and he knows what he needs to do.

"We just have to keep doing what we're doing on defense," he told 11W. "On offense we really need to work on being consistent. I think this past weekend we were too tight. There were dropped touchdown passes, but there were bad decisions on my part, too. I was trying to be Superman and I didn't need to be. I just need to relax and play my game and have fun."

As Lee County prepares for its next contest, a home game against Mundy's Mill, Collier is trying to not think ahead, knowing that a potential matchup with Clemson commitment and former Buckeye target, Gainesville (Ga.) star Deshaun Watson, is looming if each quarterback can engineer a win this weekend. 

HELPING HAND?

Today is the 18th birthday of Ohio State's biggest remaining recruiting target, Hinesville (Ga.) inside linebacker Raekwon McMillan. While that means nothing, I just wanted to share it. 

OK, that's not the extent of the update.

McMillan visited Alabama a week ago for the Tide's blowout win against LSU, and as expected, he had a great time. In fact, people I've talked to close to McMillan seemed to be genuinely surprised at how much Raekwon enjoyed the trip to Tuscaloosa. This week, Alabama pulled off a coup and landed a commitment from Virginia's Da'Shawn Hand, that nation's top defensive end. McMillan has long been fascinated by the idea of playing alongside Hand, but until now that possibility wasn't really realistically discussed. Now, with Hand helping the Tide's cause, and McMillan's continued excellent relationship with Alabama's defensive coordinator, Kirby Smart, Alabama becomes a legitimate threat to the Buckeyes and Clemson in their pursuit of the country's top linebacker.

I've lamented here in the past that I thought the Big Ten's ability to land Hand and McMillan was potentially a watershed moment for the conference and its longstanding fight against an ESPN-led exodus of the nation's top players to the southeast, and Hand's decision is a bad one for the B1G. 

How bad? One source close to McMillan told me that back in the spring, he thought Ohio State's chances to land the Georgia linebacker was "100-percent," but as of this week, he believes the Buckeyes' chances have fallen significantly, and that Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes are trailing both Clemson and Alabama, citing the distance from home as an increasingly difficult barrier to overcome. I am not jumping off the McMillan to Ohio State bandwagon yet, but there's reason to worry big time if you're a Buckeye fan. Can McMillan's relationship with Urban Meyer hold off a hard-charging Crimson Tide and Nick Saban? Raekwon will make an official visit to Clemson this weekend, and it's a huge opportunity for the Tigers to gain a definitive upper-hand on Ohio State.

BAKER PUTS ON HISTORIC SHOW

It seems, for some reason, that as people talk about the class of 2015 in Ohio, Cleveland Benedictine star Jerome Baker often is left unmentioned as Eric Glover-Williams, Justin Hilliard and a handful of others nab headline after headline. Baker is a quiet superstar, unassuming and humble, but after his performance Friday night, people have to be talking.

Against top-ranked Chagrin Falls on Friday night, Baker simply went off, off to the tune of 252 yards and five touchdowns rushing, double-digit tackles on defense with an interception and a forced fumble, off. The Tigers defeated the state's top-seed 52-35 and Baker earned the respect of everyone who saw him play. The 6-foot-1, 205 pound running back/linebacker had touchdown runs of 32, 80, 31, 8 and 33 yards and according to Chagrin Falls coach Mark Iammarino, there was not much that could be done to stop him.

"You give him a crease and he's gone," Iammarino told Cleveland.com "He's an outstanding back and we take our hats off to him."

As far as Baker and Ohio State? The Buckeyes are still in very good shape to land the Cleveland star, even if they're not sure what at position he'll ultimately line up.

 

High school football preview

Position Player School Opponent Comment
QB Stephen Collier Lee County (Ga.) Springfield Effingham (Ga.) Won 28-6, Collier had three total touchdowns and over 340 total yards.
RB Parris Campbell St. Vincent-St. Mary (Ohio) Poland Seminary (Ohio) Won 35-7, 128 yards on 18 carries and a touchdown for Parris.
WR Terry McLaurin Cathedral (Ind.) Whiteland (Ind.) Won 56-28, 89 total yards and no scores.
OT Jamarco Jones De La Salle (Ill.) at Chicago St. Rita (Ill.) Lost to St. Rita, season over.
OT Kyle Trout Lancaster (Ohio) N/A Season over (finished 5-5)
OG Marcelys Jones Glenville (Ohio) Bedford (Ohio) Won 26-12, signed midyear financial agreement with Ohio State.
OG Demetrius Knox All Saints Episcopal (Texas) N/A Season complete, won second straight championship. 
DE Jalyn Holmes Lake Taylor (Va.) Suffolk Nansemond River (Va.) Five sacks in 35-7 victory.
DE Dylan Thompson Montini Catholic (Ill.) Joliet Catholic Academy (Ill.) Won 22-21, Dylan led the way on a game-winning two-point conversion late in the fourth quarter.
OLB Kyle Berger Ignatius (Ohio) Hudson (Ohio) Won 28-17. DNP (ACL).
OLB Dante Booker St. Vincent-St. Mary (Ohio) Poland Seminary (Ohio) Won 35-7, Booker collected 3.5 tackles in the victory.
CB Damon Webb Cass Tech (Mich.) Macomb Dakota (Mich.) Won 32-17. Interception, six tackles and three receptions.
S Malik Hooker New Castle (Pa.) N/A Season over (finished 7-3) 
ATH Noah Brown Pope John XXIII (N.J.) Edison Bishop Ahr (N.J.) Won 56-0
ATH Sam Hubbard Moeller (Ohio) Cincinnati Elder (Ohio) Won 24-0, Hubbard recorded an interception.
ATH Curtis Samuel Erasmus Hall (N.Y.) Bronx Kennedy (N.Y.) Won 38-6, two touchdowns including a 96-yard jaunt.
K Sean Nuernberger Oldham County (Ky.) N/A Season over (finished 2-9)
OT Chad Mavety Nassau C.C. (N.Y.) N/A Will officially visit Ohio State on Nov. 23. 
DL Solomon Thomas Coppell (Texas) Irving (Texas) Won 56-8, had one sack in limited playing time.
ILB Raekwon McMillan Liberty County (Ga.) at Westover (Ga.) Lost 27-7, had a 15-yard INT for a score. Season over.
S Mike Rogers Campbell (Smyrna, Ga.) N/A Season is over.
S Erick Smith Glenville (Ohio) Bedford (Ohio) Won 26-12, held to one catch.
ATH Marshon Lattimore Glenville (Ohio) Bedford (Ohio) Won 26-12. One touchdown catch among 137 total yards. 
ATH Eric Glover-Williams* Canton McKinley (Ohio) N/A Season now over

 

 

 

19 Comments

Comments

MN Buckeye's picture

Raekwon is coming down the home stretch with the recruiting. While I hope he picks the Buckeyes, and I still trust Urban, nothing surprises me any more. 

sirclovis's picture

Nice! I'm going to guess that the title is a Pearl Jam reference.

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

It is, thinking I am going to see them live in concert for the first time in my life Tuesday night, I'm a bit amped. ;)

vitaminB's picture

They are awesome live.  Enjoy the show.  One of America's best Rock Bands.

m5987usus's picture

This is an awesome write up thanks birm.

O-H!

Ahh Saturday's picture

Birm, has Urban had his in-home visit with Raekwon yet?  If so, what opportunities, if any, does the staff have left to pull him in?

buckeyeguy0615's picture

I thought he did during our first bye week.

Jack Fu's picture

Best movie soundtrack ever.

Hovenaut's picture

Best thing about the movie, really.

Not a bad track on that album.....Soundgarden's "Birth Ritual" the best, imho.

+1.

Bigbutterbuckeye's picture

I actually saw Soundgarden and Pearl Jam as part of Lollapalooza the year that movie came out at Riverbend. Soundgarden was kinda disappointing, Pearl Jam on the other hand was one of the best performances I have ever seen.

Seattle Linga's picture

Knox on a two year run being undefeated .............. sound familiar - perfect fit for the Bucks!

pmille32's picture

As much as I've come to dislike majority of ESPN related material they did post an article of them playing 20 questions with Raekwon on his recruitment and his answers were very pro-buckeyes. However, it was posted on Nov 12th so whether or not the actual interview was done before the LSU-Alabama game is kind of up in the air.

Buckabroad's picture

Congratulations to both Meechy and Stephen or fantastic performances. Really looking forward to seeing you both here!

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

DenBuck's picture

Kwon is a monster need. We really really need him. He could likely start next year. 

Buckeye For Life

fear_the_nut70's picture

Perhaps the best thing we have going for us is the always developing story that is our linebacker situation.  I have to believe Kwon starts from day one here while he starts second or third on the depth chart at Alabama.  It really depends on what is most important to the kid.

kareemabduljacobb's picture

Losing out to Kwon and being left out of the national title game despite another undefeated season would suck. ass.
 
 

mc22's picture

Anyone have any inside info on Clifton Garret from Illinois?
Dude passes the looks test as an inside backer - and Vrabel was listed before as recruiting him.

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Was very high on Ohio State early, but decided he would prefer to play in the SEC.

mc22's picture

thanks - who could we turn to to replace shazier in this class if Kwon stays in the south?
Are all of our eggs in Kwons basket?
I do like Booker though...seen him play - he is a beast.