Ohio State Tight End Search, Big Weekend Ahead And More

By Jordan Wagner on March 17, 2014 at 6:00p
Chris Clark to North Carolina
18 Comments

Spring break is over and the Buckeyes are set to return to the practice field. A warm front is moving in as Ohio State plans to host some of the nation's top junior prospects, and each would be welcome. Let's take a look at some news and notes from the past week, while we continue to preview the upcoming visits. 

Chris Clark Commits to North Carolina 

Yesterday, news of four-star tight end Chris Clark committing to the North Carolina Tar Heels surprised many. Many insiders thought Ohio State had a good chance at landing the ultra-athletic prospect from Connecticut. He was set to travel to Columbus for a visit, but that visit will not happen now that Clark has pledged to UNC.

In spite of the commitment, there has been questions about whether or not Clark's recruitment is over. The six-foot-six tight end held offers from pretty much every school you could think of and he had always planned to make a commitment early. Based on past conversations with him, I would expect Clark to be finished with the recruiting process and stick with his pledge to the Tar Heels.  

Missing out on Clark is undoubtedly a blow, especially since the Buckeyes want to bring in two tight ends for the 2015 class. Fortunately, it is still early and plenty of worthy tight ends are still out there. Hale Hentges of Missouri was offered while on a visit to Columbus for the Penn State game, and he plans to make a return visit to Columbus in early April. Jackson Harris is another four-star tight end with offers from Ohio State and pretty much every other top school in the country. Urban Meyer will find it difficult to pull him out of Tennessee, though. 

Another name to watch is Ohio's own C.J. Conrad. The Kentucky Wildcats could continue their assault on Ohio by landing the four-star tight end from Keystone High School. If Ohio State offers Conrad, expect for him to be a Buckeye. Jake Pickard could be another tight end prospect to keep an eye on. 

Penn State Hot On The Trail

Since James Franklin took over at Penn State, recruiting has picked up for the Nittany Lions. Just a few years ago, some writers fretted about PSU turning into a MAC-caliber program because of the "death penalty" they received. Fast forward to today, and Penn State holds the nation's fifth-ranked recruiting class, although it's too early for that to mean much. 

Four-star All-American Juwan Johnson recently pledged to Penn State over several other schools, including Ohio State. Unlike the Chris Clark news, this was expected. Johnson is the eighth commitment in Penn State's recruiting class.

It's still early in the recruiting process, but Franklin is doing good things in Happy Valley. Penn State ought to have have one of the Big Ten's top recruiting classes when National Signing Day rolls around in 11 months. 

As for the Big Ten's other top recruiting classes, Nebraska and Iowa are also surprisingly hot on the recruiting scene. Both holding national top 20 recruiting classes at the moment, but it's unlikely they can sustain their success. Michigan and Ohio State currently check in at fourth and fifth, respectively, in the Big Ten.

Big Weekend Coming for Buckeyes

Unlike many schools that host dozens of prospects at a time, Ohio State prefers to host a smaller amount of prospects at one time for a junior day. This strategy allows the staff to focus on a smaller number of visitors while spreading visits out over their spring practices. This weekend is expected to be one of the bigger weekends for recruiting, as Birm discussed a little bit already.

Van Jefferson recently scheduled his visit and will attend this weekend. The four-star receiver is one of the top guys on the Buckeyes' board and the interest is definitely mutual. I wouldn't expect a commitment this weekend, but he is a prospect that I have pegged in my early class predictions. 

The visit will be big for four-star athlete Jordan Whitehead of Pennsylvania. A standout at the Friday Night Lights Camp, Whitehead is one of the top corners Ohio State is recruiting. The Nittany Lions have made a move for him late, but this weekend could be an opportunity for the Buckeyes to make the move back to the top of his list. 

Larry Johnson Sr. will be asked to work his magic on high three-star defensive end Darius Fullwood. After OSU hired LJ Sr., Fullwood quickly picked up an offer from the Buckeyes. He will be visiting Columbus this weekend and is shaping up to be another Penn State-Ohio State battle for his services.

As for non-attendees, you can cross Chris Clark off the list after his verbal commitment to North Carolina. 

Future Buckeyes at NFTC Miami?

Five-star quarterback Torrance Gibson and four-star linebacker Sh'mar Kilby-Lane are two Florida prospects that Ohio State is in good shape to land. Both prospects continued to impress at the Nike Football Training Combine in Miami. 

Gibson, a dual-threat quarterback, listed Ohio State as one of the schools standing out, along with Tennessee and Miami. He spoke with 247Sports in a free video interview where he discussed his recruitment and mentioned that he hopes to visit Columbus during his spring break.

Kilby-Lane is a prospect that many thought could commit when he visits Columbus for the Spring Game. However, Kilby-Lane said he plans to wait until Signing Day. In a short video interview, he named the Buckeyes as his favorite with Florida State and Alabama in the mix. 

18 Comments

Comments

FROMTHE18's picture

we got ourselves a lot of work to do this coming year…hope we can stay high on Gibson and Kilby-Lane's list.

HilltopHustle's picture

We'll get a QB... one way or another.

PittBuckeye's picture

I wish it could be good news everyday. We should totally get a recruiting helicopter.

+1 HS
SilverState's picture

A couple prototypes:

 

+7 HS
m5987usus's picture

Do you think we can land jordan whitehead??

O-H!

HilltopHustle's picture

Whitehead got his first WVU CB last week sometime, and has been trending towards Penn State since February. We may need to put in some work here.

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Darius Fullwood is actually visiting the weekend of the 29th. He let me know yesterday via DM.

HilltopHustle's picture

Reading though that he's going to Penn State this weekend instead, which I don't like considering they're also having a "big" recruiting day this weekend, too. 

buckeyedexter's picture

We seemed to be missing on TE last year and so far this year.  What are the chances of Sam Hubbard making the switch to TE?  He has the size and is a good all around athlete.  With a redshirt year I'm sure he would have the time to learn the position.

ab1993's picture

That's what I'm hoping for. We're set at LB with this year's class as well as if we get the combo of Hilliard, Kilby-Lane, Conner, Holland, and/or Baker (assuming we get Harris and he plays LB)

Class of '16

BukFan's picture

99% of sports writers and "experts" greatly exaggerated PSU's recruiting demise.  Maybe with good cause.  I think a lot writers blindly agreed with the common narrative and could never imagine they would flourish only 2 years later.

-1 HS
HilltopHustle's picture

Couldn't agree more. I was guilty of thinking they'd fall to 4-5 win seasons, and sure, the media helped sway me. Still, the "sanctions" did do something—putting them back a few years at least. I still think 2014 will be a struggle for 7 wins for them, but they'll be thorny next year.

Poison nuts's picture

Just saw a tweet from Gibson that he's visiting 7 schools over Spring - OSU not one of them. That said, his other 2 favorites, Tennessee & Miami not getting a visit during that time either, so I imagine this is a look at some schools that aren't so high on the list, but that he does want to see.

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

Just saw the same thing. Was kind of surprises by that. Oh well... 

mtrotb's picture

Gibson said in an interview that he was visiting LSU, OU, and then us during his spring break.  That interview was posted yesterday.

mtrotb

BuckeyeJ's picture

Im not to worried that Gibson will not visit on his break, he isnt visting any of his top 3. So i look at it like a vacation for him.

If we miss out on a TE again this year, or only take one, and we get our target LB's then i def think Hubbard moves to TE.

Shangheyed's picture

Need a star to build on, seems most wait till signing day rather than get in early and build a team... would love to see a QB do that early, commit to the Buckeyes and work to build a great class around him...Gibson?   Even Harris at RB?    

 

This next recuiting classes 'A' grade depends on who fills the QB positionm such a key position for this class fingers crossed we find a winner.   

Buck Commander's picture

What up with Gibson? I would think if he liked OHIO STATE so much He'd do whatever to visit?????? WOW

Every time I set my DVR to record Biggest Loser......It always records Wolverine Football Games!