Football Recruiting: End in Sight

By John Brandon on January 31, 2014 at 4:00p

Signing Day is less than a week away and the dust is beginning to settle. With limited scholarships this year, Ohio State is just about done filling up the "Dream 14," but they have a couple key recruiting battles with a certain school up north. Some big recruiting news, yesterday, shed some light on just how tight things are, as David Njoku cancelled his scheduled official visit to Ohio State.

While the Buckeyes look to close out the 2014 class in a big way (literally) they remain focused on 2015 recruiting as well. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes welcomed another commitment to the 2014 class.

Join us after the jump for updates and analysis on Jamarco Jones and Malik McDowell, as well as 2015 updates and more on Ohio State's latest commitment.

Jamarco Jones update

Keeping Jones is probably the Buckeyes' biggest priority for closing out the 2014 class, and they threw just about everything they had at him last night. Ed Warinner, Larry Johnson and Stan Drayton were all at the Jones' house last night to make their final in-person pitch to Jones.

Well, according to Jones' coach, Mike Boehm, Jones will still be making the visit to Michigan State this weekend. That doesn't mean there is any reason to panic though, as Boehm believes Jones will end up committing to Ohio State in the end. Boehm said that he thinks the visit is "[Jones'] way of reassuring himself that Ohio State is the best place for him." Last night's visit by the Buckeye coaches can't be understated as it appears to have been very impactful on Jones'.

We'll have to wait and see how this weekend's visit goes, but I firmly believe Jones will be a Buckeye when it's all said and done. Jones isn't the only player committed to a B1G school that Michigan State is chasing however, they are after Wisconsin commit Craig Evans as well. I would say it's pretty unethical of Dantonio to do such a thing, but that's just me, I guess.

malik mcdowell thoughts

The Buckeyes secured McDowell's final official visit after Coach Meyer made an in-home visit on Monday, and the Buckeyes will have the opportunity to lay out the red carpet for him this weekend. McDowell has favored Michigan State for a good amount of time now, but his parents continue to prefer Michigan and his dad has been quick to point out that "It's not Malik's decision just on his own." Ohio State could be the perfect "compromise" and Urban Meyer has the last chance to sell McDowell on playing for the scarlet and gray.

If McDowell and his parents can't come to an agreement, Ohio State and Florida State become more likely destinations with Ohio State having a distance advantage that would be important to the family.

Quite frankly, it's anyone's best guess where McDowell will end up committing, but I'm picking the Buckeyes for a few reasons: First, the whole "compromise" idea previously discussed. Second, the news of David Njoku's visit being canceled due to a scholarship Ohio State thought was going to be available no longer being available. Lastly, Meyer's closing ability - McDowell and his family are going to get a bunch of one-on-one time with Meyer this weekend.

There isn't any reason to think McDowell's parents will change their mind about Michigan State between now and Signing Day and there isn't any reason to think McDowell will change his mind about Michigan between now and Signing Day, so I'm cautiously optimistic about the Buckeyes' chances. We'll just have to wait and see how the visit goes this weekend.

coaches continue the chase for 2015

Meanwhile, the Ohio State coaching staff continues working the trail for 2015 and beyond. Not surprisingly, they spent a good deal of time in the New Jersey area again yesterday as Kerry Coombs visited Brandon Wimbush, Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steven Gonzalez and Daiquan Kelly, yesterday. Kelly is a relatively new name on the Ohio State board but is a target they are absolutely interested in. Kelly is a teammate of top target Steven Gonzalez and they could very well be interested in playing together.

Kelly is a big receiver, listed at 6-foot-3 and 200 lbs, and he runs a reported 4.60 forty. He currently holds offers from Rutgers, Syracuse, Boston College, Pitt, Virginia and UMass, while Penn State has also shown interest in him. Kelly is a composite 3-star, though 247 lists him as a 4-star and No. 21 athlete in the nation. The Buckeyes currently lead for Steven Gonzalez and I would imagine the possibility of Gonzalez and Kelly playing together could be a very real one if he gets an offer at some point. Kelly is a prospect to keep an eye on, as the Buckeyes have already been in New Jersey a lot and will continue to as they recruit Gonzalez very hard.

Meanwhile, Drayton paid Damien Harris a visit, yesterday. The former Michigan commit is one of the top if not the top running back prospect on Ohio State's board and they continue to chase after him hard. Harris' recruitment is going to be a dogfight between Ohio State, Michigan and others.

Today, Meyer was in the Columbus area checking in on Nick Conner. He is one of Ohio State's top LB targets in the 2015 class and if you haven't read his story, you should check it out. Conner is only a 3 star according to the recruiting services, but the fact that Meyer himself went to visit Conner tells you what the Buckeyes think of him. He doesn't have an offer yet but he could very well get one in the near future, he's a very good prospect in Ohio State's backyard.

buckeyes add another qb commit

Much of the focus leading up to signing day is on Jones and McDowell, but Ohio State quietly added another commitment for the 2014 class this morning – St. Xavier QB Nick Tensing.

Tensing will join the Buckeyes as a preferred walk-on, turning down preferred walk-on offers from several FBS schools and Cornell (the Ivy League does not offer football scholarships). Tensing started at Cincinnati St. Xavier for two years, leading the Bombers to a pair of playoff appearances. He passed for around 2000 yards each year with a completion percentage of 60%. He's a pocket passer but he ran for over 500 yards as a junior and had about 5.5 yards per carry.

At the very least, Tensing adds quality depth at the most important position on the field and he could really blossom under Tom Herman's tutelage. Check out his highlights from the 2013 season finale against Moeller (Sam Hubbard's team - you'll see plenty of him too):

Happy trails

After cancelling his Ohio State official visit yesterday David Njoku wasted no time committing elsewhere, announcing his commitment to Miami today.



Miami is getting a phenomenal athlete and an even better young man in David Njoku. It just goes to show how fast things move in recruiting this time of year. Eleven Warriors will have plenty of additional content in the forums and on Twitter as Signing Day 2014 approaches, so be sure to stay tuned as The Chase continues.


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teddyballgame's picture
John Brandon's picture

This is huge, getting both parents on campus is critical because Meyer is recruiting them almost as much as Malik. Plus, it shows they are serious about Ohio State

Barnsey69's picture

C'mon Malik, help us win that title!

Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, and home of The Ohio State University Football Buckeyes- 2014 UNDISPUTED National Champions!

NorthwestOhioBuck's picture

I may be way off and this may not be true but while i was at school today i thought i noticed a tweet about the Number 1 safety visiting us? I dont know who this is or if its true so can someone shed some light on this?

In Urban we trust. That is all

oregonianbuckeye's picture

Derwin James, the #1 safety in the 2015 class, said he wants to visit tOSU. He is currently committed to Florida State. 

Gametime's picture

Nevermind, thanks OR-Buckeye

Between goals and achievement is discipline and consistency. That fire you have inside to do whatever you love is placed there by God. Now go claim it. ~ Denzel Washington

UFest57's picture

I thought cargo pants died in 2004...

teddyballgame's picture

yes, but "Where does the 800LB gorilla sleep?"

tennbuckeye19's picture

That death was unconfirmed at the time. 

buckz4evr's picture

Quick Dry cargo pants are still very popular with fishermen.  They love the shorts even more.

Buckeyeneer's picture

Still love cargo shorts. Don't care.

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

THE Ohio State University

KBonay's picture

Per our old friend Miles

St. Vincent-St. Mary duo of Dante Booker Jr. and Parris Campbell will be on campus. Athlete commit Malik Hooker will also be on campus this weekend making it at least three commits who will be visiting at the same time as McDowell.

oregonianbuckeye's picture

This is great news. Combine these visits with the early enrollees, and you have like half the class of 2014!

MikeEagleBuckeye's picture

A lot of news with lefty-QBs and the Bucks lately!  Danny Clark's commitment, Torrance Gibson's recruitment, and now Tensing!

John Brandon's picture

I was thinking the same, well we know how that worked out last time for Urban..

osubuck57's picture

All great signs!! Keeping JJ would be huge. Adding McDowell would just be sick. Was sorry it didn't work out for Njoku with us. Would have loved to add him to our already impressive class, but Canes definitely got a good young man. Hope we get some good news from CB's final appeal. I understand it could be any day now. That could be HUGE news, if he gets another year. Not to mention , a bolster to our secondary to have him back and send him out on his terms, instead of due to injury. 


John Brandon's picture

personally, I was pretty disappointed that Njoku won't be in the class. He's a phenomenal athlete and a first-class young man. I'll definitely be following him at Miami 

Statutoryglory's picture

All because we don't oversign...sigh

SilverState's picture

"No he is not committing to nothing," Mr. McDowell stated. "It's not Malik's decision just on his own. We are going to go with the best program with the best academics.

This may have sounded better in context, but reads on the slightly overbearing side.

hetuck's picture

I posted this before, but really hope McDowell's parents bump into Pres. And Mrs. Drake at the Blackwell.

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.

Vince Lombardi

teddyballgame's picture

Sounds that way, but I'm pretty sure most parents are just as involved.  Spielman wouldn't have been a buckeye had it not been for his father. 

EvanstonBuckeye's picture

I know exactly what you're saying (cue Landon Collins' mom video, but I've also seen the (Stephen) Collier family, the (Eli) Apple family, the (Ezekiel) Elliot family, and others join the Buckeye family in the last two years, and I'm all about it. As a teacher, I can tell you that great kids very often come out of tough situations, but when I see a solid, supportive family, I see success more often than not.

skid21's picture

The parents sound like a couple of asses IMO. I understand looking after your kid but trying to control his every move based on your own biases?

Mortc15's picture

Parents always want what's best for their kid. And it sounds to me like they may think he's going somewhere primarily because of football and not football + academics combined. Just my take. 


Squirrel Master's picture

Is it me or does Tensing have that Tebowesque feel? He can run but is more of a bull than skill. Throws hard short passes, fairly accurate though, but never really see him throw a good deep ball. Big although he could use some weight.
He most likely won't start but he might be a good addition to the team.

I saw a UFO told me to have a goodyear!

allinosu's picture

I hope he doesn't feel he must distance himself from his father or FSU has him.

Ahh Saturday's picture

I distanced myself from my parents by 2 hours when I left for school. It might as well have been on the other side of the moon.

jedkat's picture

Truth. Just far enough to where the reeeeeeaaaaallllly wanna have to surprise you if they want to drive.

"Can we please stop the message board fighting? I really can't stand the message board fighting..."

"No. You're an idiot, and your posts are terrible."

John Brandon's picture

Being from tsun (a couple hours north of Detroit fwiw), Ohio State is a nice distance (4.5 - 5 hours) from home. Far enough that I'm "on my own" but close enough for the family to come down for an occasional football game. Southfield is about 3 hours from Ohio State so its in that range of "nice" distances and parents can still come to games regularly.

Fwiw Michigan State is about an hour away from him and Michigan is only about half an hour away.

BayArea_Buckeye's picture

Don't forget that Kwon's on campus too :)
I'm sure he'll bring hanging around the facilities when Malik shows up. 

Normal Buck's picture

The Chef!  
(I just can't go cold turkey without something like the occasional "RDS!")

bethesdabuck's picture

Can anyone delineate exactly what is going on with McDowell's parents and the two Michigan schools? And should their role be cause for any concern?

John Brandon's picture

Malik prefers Michigan State's football program to Michigan's, but his parents prefer Michigan's academics to Michigan State's. Ohio State could provide the best of both worlds - an elite football program and strong academics that his parents would prefer.

allinosu's picture

John do you suppose a possible investigation of MU for the handling of the rape changes anything in our favor or his parents giving in to him for MSU.

John Brandon's picture

that's an interesting thought, I don't think it necessarily makes them more interested in MSU, just less interested in UM if that makes sense. Probably helps all 3 non-UM schools (MSU, OSU, FSU) equally but I don't think it will have much impact.

FitzBuck's picture

I wish Knox was on campus.  He had nothing but great things to say about McDowell from going up against him over the summer.  Just seemed like they clicked.

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

tdible2132's picture

Knox actually ripped McDowell after the Rivals camp this summer, but recently said he "got better" after the army all american game. I think you're thinking of Nnadi. Knox had nothing but good things to say about him. That's not to say McDowell and Knox don't get along though, I have no idea about that.

FitzBuck's picture

You are correct it was him and Thomas.

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

BuckeyeJ's picture

I will be "refreshing" and watching 11w all week. And then watching MON TUES WED!

Droptopcar's picture

I find it very comical the idea that anyone who was debating between scUM and any other school could arrive at Ohio State as the compromise school given the rivalry. They must really hate the Spartans. 

kholmes's picture

Yes..this whole thing seems so bizarre. I wonder how much of this drama with him and his parents is overblown and is just the paid recruiting sites creating some narrative around his situation to draw clicks. The kid has basically said close to nothing his entire recruitment yet everyone seems to talk about all this drama involving him and his parents.
As for OSU..if he chooses OSU, Im willing to bet that its because he really wants to go to OSU and thinks its the best school for him and not because of some sort of bizarre compromise with his parents. But Im sure the fans of the other schools (especially MSU but also UM) will claim he didnt even want to go to Ohio State and that the only reason was because of the compromise.
As for Michigan..the situation is bizarre also as they were supposedly his favorite awhile ago. Now the stories make it sounds like only his parents like Michigan and that he would basically go anywhere else to avoid Michigan. There seems to be little chance for Michigan but its safe to say if he does pick Michigan, fans of other schools (especially MSU) will claim that his parents forced him and he doesnt want to be there.  

John Brandon's picture

Very well put kholmes. It's been a bizarre recruitment for sure and we haven't gotten much directly from McDowell so there has been a lot of spin and he said she said etc.

There has certainly been some exaggeration going on - I think he genuinely likes OSU and FSU and I don't think he hates Michigan by any means. Whatever school he goes to he will at the very least be comfortable at. To tell you the truth none of the 4 would shock me (though FSU would surprise me a little), for a long time I thought he was UM for sure, then I thought he was MSU for sure, now I'm thinking OSU but none of those 3 would surprise me in the least.

bethesdabuck's picture

FWIW, I noticed a camp video where HE had on Michigan shorts. 

allinosu's picture

When was that?  Hopefully awhile ago

MikeEagleBuckeye's picture

I wouldn't look too much into that seeing as where he's grown up.

skid21's picture

I know I want input into where my children decide to attend college but to think my opinion holds as much influence as the child him or herself is ridiculous. My parents were involved with my college selection but they did not make the final decision. If I would have chosen to go to a school they hated they would have lived with it. IMO this should be Malik's decision alone after consideration of his parents' input. He is the one who is going to have to live with it.

allinosu's picture

Has he connected to anyone in our recruiting class.

John Brandon's picture

Played with a bunch of Buckeyes in the Army bowl 

HighBallAce's picture

I'm the same way with my daughter. I want her to go to Ohio State. Her mom and her want her to go to Texas A&M cause that's where her mom went. For awhile she wanted to go to Ohio State but she's been going to cheer camps at Texas A&M for so many years and that's where she lives so it's only a couple hours from where we lived.

dwcbuckeye's picture

ooh, I like this new ICON.

weimerad's picture

Does the preferred walk-on commitment mean that OSU will focus on taking just 1 QB for the 2015 class?

teddyballgame's picture

Too early to tell... they need to see what they've got in the spring.

oregonianbuckeye's picture

Everything I've read re: 2015 class is that tOSU will take 2 scholarship QBs. IMO, a preferred walk-on does not change this. 

John Brandon's picture

I don't think this will have any impact on 2015 except possibly helping with Hilliard, but it shouldn't impact the 2015 QB situation

Buckifan4Life's picture

Njoku,..."I shall cheer for you."

Wishing him the best in Miami. :)

allinosu's picture

Do you think this is like the Gesicki situation and put all our eggs in one basket and turned away others?

ScarletNGrey01's picture

I'm far from an expert on CFB like the 11W staff and some of the members and as proof of that, I have no idea what a "preferred walk-on" means.  Does that mean they get first crack at a scholarship if one opens up?

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

Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

It means they are guaranteed a spot on the roster and count as having been 'recruited' in various instances where that definition is important.

Zofinda's picture

Regular walk ons must try out, Preferred walk ons have a spot guaranteed

Oyster's picture

Or as was posted earlier today from a Tweet (I apologize that I did not find the post), "A preferred walk on means that OSU would prefer that you pay the tuition"
It was a QB that committed as a walk on and I believe the tweet was from his parents.  His parents have a great sense of humor!

"Scrolling hurts my finger"

(and FitzBuck was clearly the winner)

John Brandon's picture

All walk-ons pay tuition. Preferred means he is on the team and won't have to try out 

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

I live in TN and have a son that'll be here in May. I'd gladly pay out-of-state tuition to see my son wear the scarlet and gray. 

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Thanks for the info guys.

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

chirobuck's picture

color me excited about Tensing, he looks like he has it between the ears....findin the hole in the zone and seeing the whole field!!! plus when is the last time we had a good south paw at QB


^ best post ever ^

bucknut94's picture

Is it Wednesday yet? I've followed recruiting for several years and there is always suspense until the NSD is over. In the end everything works out for the best and everyone is happy.

patriot-missile's picture

In Urban we trust.  I have no doubt that he'll keep Jones and reel in McDowell before it is all said and done.  Dream 14 is just around the corner baby!  I see us ending with the #2 spot on Wednesday!  How much longer until August? Go Bucks!

Kellen Winslow - Where can I get a sweater vest like yours?
Jim Tressel - Hit the weight room and you can borrow one of mine.