Good afternoon folks, it's Tuesday night and we're talking Buckeye recruiting. Spring break is upon Ohio State's campus, but that doesn't mean anyone is resting and sipping a pinã colada, so neither than can we. There are a number of small stories happening today before students get back on campus, so let's take a look.
BUCKEYES HOSTING INDIANA QUARTERBACK
Everyone knows the names Torrance Gibson, Brandon Wimbush, Jarrett Stidham and Lorenzo Nunez. Those four are "the" guys it seems, in Ohio State's search for a top 2015 quarterback. Stidham, who committed to Texas Tech over the weekend, is essentially off the list, so the Buckeyes search has begun expanding. Next week, they'll host Indianapolis Decatur quarterback Tommy Stevens (pictured above,) and he's an interesting player that Ohio State fans should keep an eye on.
Stevens is 6-foot-4, 200 pounds and runs in the 4.6-4.7 range, so he has the physical tools that make him an intriguing prospect. He's recently picked up offers from Michigan State, N.C. State, Iowa, Purdue and more and would like to impress the Buckeyes in person. He's being recruited by Tom Herman, his positional coach recruiting him rather than the regional recruiter for Indiana, so it's possible Ohio State's interest could be increasing. Stevens will visit on March 18th and he'll check out Penn State, Michigan State and Vanderbilt in the next week as well.
CJ CONRAD REMAINING PATIENT
Lagrange (Ohio) tight end C.J. Conrad picked up his 12th offer on Monday, earning a scholarship from Bret Bielema and Arkansas. That offer, Conrad's second from the SEC (Bet you a dollar you can guess the other without looking,) is his "biggest" to date, and one he hopes opens the door for some more elite programs. This past weekend, Conrad visited Michigan for the second time, and while the Wolverines continue to hint at a possible offer, they have not yet extended the scholarship to the 6-foot-5, 225-pound Conrad.
Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan and Penn State are the schools Conrad says he is hoping to earn offers from, but up until now, no one from that group has made the pitch. As with Nick Conner, the lack of offers from that group might be helping the Buckeyes, providing them with a bit more time for evaluation. Conrad is the nation's 8th-ranked tight end, a position that Ohio State is recruiting hard for 2015, and I think that he'll see a Buckeye offer at some point.
According to Conrad, he's focusing on "what he can control," and working hard to make sure he's ready for his senior season, no matter what happens in recruiting.
ROB DOWDY CONTINUES TO RACK UP OFFERS
In the last week, Westerville South (Columbus) offensive lineman Rob Dowdy picked up offers from Michigan State and the University of Miami, two more major offers for the talented in-state lineman. Ohio State has continued to stay in touch with Dowdy, but at this point no offer has been extended, meaning Warren (Ohio) offensive lineman James Daniels remains the only true offensive lineman in the state with a Buckeye offer.
I've talked a bit with Dowdy recently, and he's nowhere near ready to make a decision so the Buckeyes — as is the usual with in-state prospects — are in no hurry to finalize their evaluations. Dowdy's offer list is impressive, and Ohio State's needs along the offensive line are well documented. With players like Sterling Jenkins looking less and less likely to end up in Columbus, will the Buckeyes make a move on the local kid sometime soon? Ohio State is one school that Dowdy says he'd really like an offer from along with the Georgia Bulldogs.
DREW RICHMOND CUTS LIST
On Monday, Memphis (Tenn.) star offensive lineman Drew Richmond who has offers from upwards of 10,000 schools, cut his school choices down to 11. As expected, Ohio State made the list for Richmond, and they've been one of the favorites to land the four-star tackle for quite some time.
What other schools have made the cut? Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, LSU, Memphis, North Carolina, Ole Miss, Tennessee and UCLA. Pretty good group, right? It's nice to be loved, and Richmond's talent, along with his attitude, have made him one of the hottest prospects in the country. Ohio State was his childhood favorite, but the Buckeyes will have their work cut out for them against a host of the nation's best programs. Richmond will announce his college choice on September 9th.
BIG WEEKEND SHAPING UP
Unlike a number of schools, Ohio State has gone away from one or two designated "junior days," focusing instead of having the nation's key prospects visit when they have time to do so. Occasionally that approach will make off-season recruiting seem "slow," and occasionally, like next weekend, it will bring together a special group of players.
Who are the Buckeyes expecting next weekend? How about this list:
DE Darius Fullwood
OL Patrick Allen
DB Jordan Whitehead
TE Chris Clark
RB LJ Scott
OL Simon Stepaniak
OL James Daniels
LB Josh Barajas
Of that list, only Barajas and Stepaniak don't already have a Buckeye offers, but Barajas could be on his way to one. He's an incredibly talented player who has offers from Michigan and Notre Dame already. He's the top player in the state of Indiana for 2015. Ohio State's got their first big weekend of the year, and it's likely more names will be added to that list, so stay tuned.