Updates on Big Recruiting Weekend and the Latest on Chris Clark

By John Brandon on March 21, 2014 at 4:00p
43 Comments

Happy Friday afternoon 11Wers. Hopefully you're enjoying the excitement of March Madness, and hopefully you've recovered from yesterday's horrible hoops loss to Dayton. With that behind us, it's time for some more positive news - the next two recruiting weekends will be huge, and this weekend has already been quite successful for Buckeye recruiting.

Ohio State has already had one of the top players in Ohio on campus, along with a top 2016 receiver and the No. 2 inside linebacker in the nation. All three enjoyed their time in Columbus and the Buckeyes hope to continue that trend throughout the weekend. Plus, the Chris Clark Saga may not be entirely over.

Visit going well for Benedictine Duo

The big recruiting weekend got off to a hot start, as Jerome Baker and Justin Layne of Cleveland's Benedictine High School made their way to Columbus yesterday. Baker has long been considered a heavy Ohio State lean, but Layne's recruitment is really just getting started and the Buckeyes impressed the 2016 athlete.

Layne, Baker and Layne's father made the trip, during which they got to watch practice, interact with the coaches and check out the facilities. They spent the night in Columbus and are heading home today.

No scholarship offer yet for Layne, who plays quarterback, receiver and returns kicks for his high school team. He'll most likely play receiver in college, and at 6-foot-3 and good speed, he could be a real weapon at Ohio State. He currently holds an offer from Michigan State, while the Buckeyes continue to evaluate him - check out his sophomore highlights here.

As for Baker, it was important for the Buckeyes to re-establish themselves as a clear leader following Baker's junior day trip to Penn State. That's exactly what they did, Baker loves Ohio State and should be one of the next great linebackers to don the scarlet and gray. He says he won't announce a commitment until after his senior season, but right now it seems like just a matter of time before he's a Buckeye.

Barajas enjoys visit, picks up scholarship offer

Another top linebacker prospect was on campus yesterday, and came away impressed. Josh Barajas is ranked as the No. 4 inside linebacker prospect nationally in the 247Composite, and is the top player in the state of Indiana. Notre Dame was a heavy favorite coming into the weekend, but according to Steve Wiltfong, the Buckeyes have tightened things up. Notre Dame is still the most likely landing spot, but Ohio State is at least a close second right now. Next up for Barajas is a trip to Penn State, then he'll return to his home in Merrillville, Indiana.

Linebacker has clearly been a recruiting priority in this class, and the list of players that Ohio State is at or near the top for is staggering. Baker, Barajas, Justin Hilliard, Sh'Mar Kilby-Lane, Ricky DeBerry and Nick Conner just to name a few. Like last year's class, the 2015 LB crop could be a very special one and linebacker depth concerns should be a thing of the past very soon.

Chris Clark Latest

Chris Clark committed to North Carolina last weekend, but he's not quite done with visits. As reported by Mike Farrell and former 11Wer Alex Gleitman yesterday, Chris Clark will be visiting Ohio State and Notre Dame this spring.

As Birm discussed in the forums, Clark is firmly committed to North Carolina and feels it's the place for him, but there could be some pressure from the people around him to make a trip to Notre Dame, as he has family ties there. As for Ohio State, I think the reasoning for a visit to Columbus is a bit different. As many of you probably recall, Ohio State and Georgia were Clark's favorite schools for a while. Clark visited Georgia, but never made a trip to Columbus.

The sense that I'm getting from the situation is that, while Clark loves North Carolina, he wants to visit Ohio State to confirm North Carolina is the right place for him. It's very understandable, Ohio State was one of his favorite schools, so he might feel some obligation to make the trip to Columbus because of the strong relationships he has with the Buckeye coaches. I don't expect Clark to flip from North Carolina, but Ohio State at least has a shot - and as we've seen with Meyer, anything is possible at that point.

Looking Forward to the Weekend

The big recruiting weekend is already off to a strong start, but there are many more elite prospects coming to Columbus this weekend. Perhaps the most important potential visitor is Justin Hilliard. Hilliard said he might be coming up to Columbus to watch practice tomorrow, although he could be delaying his visit until next weekend. Hilliard has been to Ohio State multiple times, but the staff would love to have him on campus to watch spring practice.

Brian Cole is another big time athlete on campus this weekend. He's the top player in Michigan and has serious interest in the Buckeyes, which would be huge for Meyer and the Buckeyes.

Van Jefferson, Sterling Johnson, Jordan Whitehead, Larry Scott, and several other top prospects will be in Columbus this weekend, a complete list can be found here.

Next weekend will be another huge one for Buckeye recruiting. Jake Fruhmorgen, Darius Fullwood and C.J. Conrad, among others, will be on campus next weekend. One story line to watch will be whether C.J. Conrad picks up a scholarship offer now that Chris Clark has committed elsewhere. Stay tuned for more on the huge upcoming recruiting weekends.

43 Comments

Comments

Colerain 2004 G.O.A.T.'s picture

We need a leadertostep up and take the reigns. Baker should be that guy for us. Somebody has to point out that every top recruit cant just wait till their senior season is over. The PSU fans are already back and as cocky as ever thinking they are running shit because of a  few recruits.Can somebody remind them of their overall B1G record.

I speak the truth but I guess that's a foreign language to yall.~~Lil Wayne

+1 HS
HilltopHustle's picture

Baker could certainly be that leader, no question. Maybe it'll happen soon. And to your point on Penn State fans, let them have their time in the recruiting sun... like Michigan last summer.

+1 HS
pcuzz1's picture

Is jefferson still looking to commit soon?

pat cozzens

Woodshed's picture

Afaik. No one has said any different.

John Brandon's picture

He's planning on taking more visits now, I wouldn't expect a commitment until summer/fall

mtrotb's picture

Connor does not have an offer, so he really shouldn't be listed with those other guys.  If we get who we want, he will not receive one either.  Baker, Hilliard, Holland, Lane and DeBerry are guys we are either first or 2nd with at this time and we will get 3 of those for sure, if not 4.

mtrotb

-1 HS
osubuck57's picture

Big weekend indeed. Might we see a commit or two out of this weekend? Hope so, but doubtful. Jefferson and Cole would be a great start.lol

SCOTTC.

John Brandon's picture

Wouldn't count on it but you never know

Seattle Linga's picture

We need some of the dominating skilled players to commit soon. 

JakeStevensIsSwag's picture

saw on Twitter Hilliard is also visiting. Great news

Buckeye fan from PA

+3 HS
John Brandon's picture

Important to get him up again, he'll presumably get to watch practice and get a better feel for how the linebackers are coached - time for Fick to turn up the intensity in practice 

JakeStevensIsSwag's picture

Do you think there is a chance that anybody commits this weekend?

Buckeye fan from PA

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Ignoring Chris Clark news unless I see a Gray Box with his name in it.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

+1 HS
HilltopHustle's picture

To be totally honest, I'm with you. Hoping this kid's process doesn't turn into one of those recruitments a la Alex Anzalone.

+1 HS
Youngbuck85's picture

My guess is he will flip at one point to either osu or notre dame. With the draft coming around I'm sure they're hyping up the fact that Ebron will be an early pick. Once the season comes around they won't have much to show and he is already planning visits 

TheBadOwl's picture

I thought last week was the big recruiting weekend. WELL, WHICH ONE IS IT, 11W STAFF?!?!?! 

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

buckeyeradar's picture

How about we turn up the heat for the Baker.

Buckeye in Texas

Seattle Linga's picture

Now your talking my language

FitzBuck's picture

Woot woooot love me some "cruiting"

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

+1 HS
HilltopHustle's picture

Reading the breaking news update here that Brandon Wimbush is suddenly going back to Penn State tomorrow—all of a sudden—to take part in their big recruiting weekend. He's on "commitment watch" according to posters on Lions247.

John Brandon's picture

I've felt that was where he would end up. I wouldn't say Ohio State has completely cooled on him, but Gibson is the clear No. 1 target now imo, as opposed to both of them being even like it was at one point.

HilltopHustle's picture

Nailed it, John. As of this late he hasn't committed to Penn State FWIW, which is a small victory.

Colerain 2004 G.O.A.T.'s picture

That sucks donkey balls. Wimbush is legit man. Kid is going to be a monster and sucks we will have to face him. Im not one the subscribes to the "this is good for the B1G BS" Im more worried about whats good for tOSU and adding a kid with that skill set to one of our division rivals is not going to benefit tOSU in any way shape or form. Lets hope Gibson can pull the trigger faster then he expects too. If PSU pulls Wimbush and Minkah Im going to crawl into a fucking hole and curl up in the fetal position. We put all of our eggs in a basket last year and it cost us pretty good,hopefully the staff will not make that mistake 2 years running.

I speak the truth but I guess that's a foreign language to yall.~~Lil Wayne

+1 HS
Woodshed's picture

Fwiw, it seems like Fitzpatrick hasn't had real interest in psu.

HilltopHustle's picture

No way Fitzpatrick goes to PSU. He hasn't said a word about them.

chirobuck's picture

If we keep this up with the lbers were gonna have to invent new defenses with like 5 of them out there

 
^ best post ever ^

+1 HS
mobboss1984's picture

That Josh kid could committ as well. He is a beast

Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.
Bruce Lee
 

+1 HS
bull1214's picture

osu has to get the "don't use the tight end enough" monkey off their back. we had it under tressel and haven't done anything under meyer to change it. making the tight end a bigger part of the offense has to be a priority this season.

John Brandon's picture

I think Meyer counters with something along the lines of: "well, we haven't had the kind of athlete we want at tight end... if we had YOU we would use it a lot more" or something. But yeah, kids need to see some proof on the field

Jeremypreemo81's picture

Agree 100%. I said something similar in a Chris Clark post a few days ago. Until we use the TE consistently I think it's going to be hard to get the top TE's to consider OSU. We got 3 pretty good ones now I hope we use them down field...time to showcase

O'boy's picture

recruiting has changed these kids want to play now, there has to be a spot open before thy sign, but I do agree offence has to open it up last year was Hyde hitting b gap, a wide receiver screen, Braxton up the middle Wilson on a around, no tight ends, no slants I mean it worked until the last two games but I also think these recruits wanna see how they are gonna play also. I like urban and Herman they know a hell of a lot more than me but with two of the best in the business I think we should have more plays than that,

O

John Brandon's picture

I think we'll see a lot more this year - senior QB and most of the offensive skill players back, also with a new OL and RB I bet you see them air it out more early in the season.

Youngbuck85's picture

Isn't the student appreciation day coming up soon also? That was a huge recruiting weekend last year 

John Brandon's picture

I believe it's the first week in April

Colerain 2004 G.O.A.T.'s picture

I fully expect with the new line to see some 2 TE sets,I expect a lot of things every year but rarely see it on the field. Meyer wants to say both of his TEs will be playing in the NFL and that this is the best set of TEs he has coached then I say prove it. Would love to see Baugh get down the seam a few times this year.

I speak the truth but I guess that's a foreign language to yall.~~Lil Wayne

Woodshed's picture

I have to admit, I am going to be a little bummed if we don't get a commitment this or next weekend.

mtrotb's picture

I for one am sick of all this whining about catering to tight ends.  All I know since Tressel came hear, not counting 2011, we have won a ton of games regardless of how many catches the tight ends have.  On offense that is the least position I care about.  We need top notch QB's, RB's and Oline, and wideouts.  Oh yeah there were a couple of 3 * tight ends from OH under Tressel who turned out to have pretty nice NFL careers in spite of not catching many passes here.  Ben Hartsock has been playing for about 10 years and Jake Ballard about 5 or so.  Let's get the kid from Keystone LaGrange and some other Ohioan and we will be fine.

mtrotb

+1 HS
bull1214's picture

u made my point exactly while trying to refute it. tressel had te's good enough to have long productive nfl careers but not good enough to be a consistent threat in the passing game at osu? head scratcher to say the least. this needs fixed bcuz its still happening under meyer and the recruits see that.

JohnnyKozmo's picture

No one likes to bring up the name, and rightfully so, but Aaron Hernandez did everything at Florida, so TEs do work in this offense.  He took handoffs, shovel passes, and ran every route in the book.  I think it's got more to do with the QB than the guys playing TE.  Braxtons checkdown is to take off running.  Could they call more plays with the primary read being the TE?  I guess, but only Urbs and Herm know that.  How often does any team look first to the TE, unless it's short yardage or goal line situations?  With the speed at the skill positions, I would imagine they are the 1st few reads, depending on the play, with TE being 3rd or 4th at least, usually a safety valve.  When you have a QB who doesn't get past his 1st or 2nd read, then you aren't going to see a lot of throws going to the TE. 

+2 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

Johnny is there a hidden message when you say that AH did everything at Florida?

JohnnyKozmo's picture

Now that you mention it, I think I could have phrased that differently.

 

Strictly speaking on the field.

Seattle Linga's picture

No worries just wondering - thought it was kind of funny