Recruiting Mailbag: Spring (Game) Time in Columbus

By Jeremy Birmingham on April 8, 2014 at 3:30p

Welcome to the Mailbag, the one place where you can rest your feet, sip a cold drink and get most of your recruiting questions answered. You provide the feet, the drinks and I'll do my best to provide the answers to the questions, deal?

There are, as is the norm, a number of questions that come from similar places, so if I don't respond to yours directly, it could certainly have been a duplicate, or whatever.

Let's get to it. 

Brandon Wimbush, what's up with that? - Lots of Folks

There's no position more interesting to recruitniks than quarterback and Ohio State's approach in 2014 has led to even more interest than usual in their handling of the position for 2015. 

Brandon Wimbush, if you recall, was very close to committing to Ohio State back in December. He decided, when rumors of James Franklin taking over Penn State began to swirl, to delay things a bit. Since then, the scuttlebutt has been almost exclusively Nittany Lion-based for Wimbush, but he's not committed anywhere yet. Why not? 

Here's why: Wimbush won't commit until he's made it back to Ohio State, at least that's what he told me on Sunday. I found that interesting on a number of levels, but at the end of the day here's what I've always felt about Wimbush: Ohio State is is the place he wanted to be the most, and since then it's been nothing but "Penn State this, Penn State that." Like a number of key players, the decision is head versus heart, and I think Wimbush's "heart" has been with the Buckeyes since his visit last fall. 

Most recruits go with their heart, but there's a ton of pressure trying to keep Wimbush and the New Jersey pipeline headed to Happy Valley. Wimbush is, and has been, a priority for Ohio State and he is absolutely not a "fall back" option to Torrance Gibson

Stamp Stamp Stamp Stamp Stamp

As you know, a lot of people, including myself, are going just a little stir crazy. In your opinion when is the next commit coming? - AP2538

I get it, I get it. You see all these players committing and start to feel a bit anxious. It's natural. You want the toys and you want them now! Unfortunately, as the recruiting calendar has moved up, key recruits are waiting longer and longer to make their choices. The Buckeyes, as it were, aren't interested in recruiting "non-key" recruits, so therein lies the rub. 

So, with three commitments for 2015 in the fold, the Buckeyes are anxious for the next "wave" to begin, and I think that could start this weekend. There is a very good chance that Van JeffersonSh'Mar Kilby-Lane, Dre'Mont Jones, or Liam McCullough could commit this weekend, and a higher-than-average chance all three could be committed by the middle of next week. Would that satisfy anyone? 

Any news on the defensive line front, especially regarding Adam McLean from Gaithersburg, MD? - Hovenaut

Adam McLean is an interesting case, as he's had the Buckeyes in his top five for some time despite never checking out Ohio State. He received an Ohio State offer within the last month and ironically since then it almost feels like he's lost interest in the Buckeyes, as he's made no discernible effort to arrange a visit.  He says he's very close with Larry Johnson, Sr and he's good friends with Darius Fullwood — the two say they'd like to play in college together — but I don't see Ohio State involved here. I think McLean commits to Penn State or Michigan State, and the Nittany Lions are making a serious push to try and get that to happen this weekend. 

I believe that in some way, Ohio State's offer to Elijah Taylor, a played they'd take right now, sort of moved McLean down their proverbial wish list. As for the rest of the defensive line? Some big names are still out there and still high on the Ohio State board including the Virginia trio of Ricky DeBerry, Tim Settle, and Josh Sweat. The truth is that right now there are so many prospects still available that it could be anyone. It's all about getting guys on campus. DeBerry visits April 18th, so he's one that could move up the list soon.

How do you see the linebacker class shaping up? - Killer Nuts

I've amended my initial class projection — number wise — and I think linebacker is one spot that could be a lower number than I had originally thought. So, right now, I see the Buckeyes taking three linebackers in 2015: Kilby-Lane, Jerome Baker and then they hope Justin Hilliard.  If Hilliard ends up elsewhere, which at this point is the more likely outcome, then the Buckeyes will adjust. Is that when Nick Conner gets the call? Could be a bit longer wait than anticipated for the Dublin Scioto star, the question will ultimately be if the Buckeyes waited too long.

How long will Conner be okay with being Urban Meyer's second or third choice? I mean, is it wise for the staff to continue to put off a talent like Conner, a four-star Columbus kid who obviously wants to be a Buckeye, while continuing to woo higher rated players who don't seem to have the same affinity for Ohio State? - KMP10

There are a couple key points that have to be made here in order to answer this question. First, I love Nick Conner's approach, and I think that anyone who's ever really wanted something in their life, I mean really wanted something, knows that life rarely happens on our timeline. Conner has told me that if he has to beat out players at linebacker, tight end or fullback to get an offer from the school he wants, then that's what he'll do. He's a certified warrior, a hard-working, motivated kid. Ohio 

Second? Recruiting is not about feelings, it's about winning, and the Buckeyes, no matter how much we think we know, are making the decisions and evaluations they think will win them the most football games. They can't offer every kid who dreams of being a Buckeye, unfortunately.

Third: the Buckeyes are not the only program in the area waiting to pull the trigger on Conner (or C.J. Conrad, another player in a similar position,) Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Penn State are all biding their time as well. It's clearly not just something the Buckeyes are waiting to see play out, others are as well.

Maybe an odd question but do you think we have a shot with some kids out west? It just seems like we miss out on a lot of good California kids among others out west and I was wondering about it. - ItWasMe

It's hard to get kids from California to make visits to Columbus, that's the bottom line. It's a long, expensive trip and it's pricey for Ohio State to spend time and money and resources recruiting players that they have no natural "connection" with. Kids from all over the country know about Ohio State, and they like Ohio State, but unless they come from means it's not easy to arrange explorational visits, and without those unofficial trips, it's not likely the Buckeyes get chosen for official visits. 

I haven't heard anything at all about Terry Beckner Jr but apparently he is a Buckeye lean? I saw his crystal ball predictions were mostly Ohio State. - The Clean North

Color me as skeptical that Terry Beckner, who was once on record saying Ohio State was his favorite, ever even visits the Buckeyes, although he's planning on being in Columbus at the end of May. He's not a prospect who talks much about recruiting, which is why you don't hear of him, and the "Crystal Ball" stuff is ancient history from what I understand. Missouri and USC are the two schools I've regularly heard mentioned for him.

What is the true impact of Jauan Jennings committing to Tennessee and Gibson? Where does that put us in the race?  - Edugoon

Jauan Jennings, a talented athlete who committed to the Volunteers on Monday, doesn't impact their pursuit of Torrance Gibson, or Lorenzo Nunez, at all. If by some some chance the Vols are the team to receive a commitment from Nunez at the end of the spring, that could cause some ripples in that effort, however.

What is the latest on legacy C.J. Sanders? Is the staff recruiting him hard or have they focused on other targets? - PukinDawg

With recent offers from Georgia and Notre Dame, C.J. Sanders has gone from a nice legacy recruit to a big-time prospect with a number of major offers. So why aren't the Buckeyes aggressively pursuing Sanders? The depth at the wide receiver position is pretty daunting, especially at the "Percy Harvin" position, and Arizona's Christian Kirk (and maybe Eric Glover-Williams, if he plays offense) are higher on the Buckeyes' board. For what it's worth, the pursuit of Sanders is likely going to be more difficult later in the year now that he's moving back to California for his senior season.


Comments Show All Comments

buckguyfan1's picture

That was tasty, but I'm still hungry... Thanks Birm!

+8 HS
TMac's picture

As Always, Thank you Birm!

ONE Not Done!

+1 HS
mobboss1984's picture

Thanks Birm. A question off topic for you. Do you know whats going on with James Clark?

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

Ahh Saturday's picture

Thanks as usual for the recruiting update. In your earlier mock class you had Hilliard penciled in. Now you write it is "more likely" he ends up elsewhere. What's changed? And who do you think is leading? 

johnny11's picture

How do you think the RB recruiting shapes out Birm? Do you think we get Harris and Scott? Do we still stand a chance to pull a kid like Patrick out of Florida?

+2 HS
kmp10's picture

Interesting stuff. I get what you're saying specific to Nick Conner, and I now have a better understanding of why Ohio State is 'slow playing' him. Having said that, I just have a feeling that Conner will be a winner wherever he decides to play college football. I do follow recruiting and I enjoy reading about the Ohio State class as it develops each year, but very seldom do I care about one player in particular. Nick Conner is the aberration...

+2 HS
Colerain 2004 G.O.A.T.'s picture

The only logical excuse I will accept for slow playing Conner is....Its Hilliard or Conner...but cant be pick..Not sure why it cant be both makes no logical sense yet.

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

Statutoryglory's picture

Numbers.  This class looks to be 17-20 and we need to fit a LS, 2 QB, and 2 TEs in with it.  4 LBs would be too many.  Unless of course Spence, Perry, Decker, and a WR go pro early in which case I think we can do 4 LBs.  

alust2013's picture

I hope Conner gets an offer. Generally I think I would rather have a recruit that is perhaps slightly lower ranked, but grew up a Buckeye and would love to play for OSU. 

...and Michigan still sucks.

+3 HS
FitzBuck's picture

For me this sums up Connor and why we want him:


"Conner has told me that if he has to beat out players at linebacker, tight end or fullback to get an offer from the school he wants, then that's what he'll do. He's a certified warrior, a hard-working, motivated kid."


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

+2 HS
Colerain 2004 G.O.A.T.'s picture

That's was just enough to have me push my pipe and make we want to scrape up another 20 bucks...

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

umsitsonit's picture

I've head Tim Settle pop up here a lot.  A co-worker of mine is very good family friends with a kid who is a teammate and good friend of Settle's.  My co-worker is a Florida fan, who has read that Florida is also on his radar. He's a recruit-nut like myself and asked the kid point black where he thought Tim Settle was going.  He said there was no way he wasn't going to Alabama.  Obviously, things can definitely change, but I'm not holding my breathe for a Buckeye commitment here.

FitzBuck's picture

Every time me I read about a friend/ relative that knows a recruit I think of Space Balls.

Lone Star: So what does that make us?
Dark Helmet: Absolutely nothing."

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

+8 HS
Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

I live in Murfreesboro and spoke with a local sports writer at the DNJ about Jennings the other night.  He said UT told Jennings they would give him a shot at QB to start out but if he hadn't made the rotation by his sophomore year they'd move him to DB.  Personally, I don't see Jennings ever playing QB and I don't see him having any affect on Gibson's decision.  

Personally, I wish the staff would make a little harder push for Wimbush and get a commitment from him.  Then offer Joe Burrow and take him as our second QB in this class if he would be willing to come to OSU.  

+3 HS
ab1993's picture

We are pushing for Wimbush........ why can't people get that through their heads

+5 HS
Buckeye_in_SEC_country's picture

I guess the perception is we aren't going as hard after Wimbush as we are Gibson...  We read a little more about Gibson than Wimbush.  I'd love it if we were going hard at both of them.  In my mind, Wimbush would probably be a more realistic commit because he was so close to being a Buckeye and he is more regional.  I'm just hoping we don't miss on our top 3 guys which would be Gibson, Wimbush, or Nunez.  

Any staff members want to enlighten us on who they think our top 5 QB targets are?

+1 HS
ab1993's picture

Well considering Wimbush is Penn State's top QB target, and he said himself that OSU is recruiting him the hardest, I'd say that we're pushing pretty damn hard.

+3 HS
buckeyeguy0615's picture

We are pushing for Wimbush........ why can't people get that through their heads

Maybe we can't get it through our heads because Wimbush said HIMSELF, just a couple weeks ago, that the OSU staff wasn't talking to him as much as they used to.  Maybe that's different, now.

+2 HS
Colerain 2004 G.O.A.T.'s picture

That's a mighty fine plan you got there at the bottom  sec.

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

+1 HS
buckeyeradar's picture

Thanks Birm, it's hard to be patient when you want the best of the best.  Just getting the kids to Columbus and seeing what we have to offer is one of our best recruiting tools.

I may not be the sharpest crayon in the box but I'm one of the most colorful.

-1 HS
BassDropper's picture

Who's an off-the-radar type of recruit you could see committing to the Buckeyes, or in other words, your Johnnie Dixon?


+1 HS
WezBuck28's picture

Give me Wimbush over Gibson all day..of course at the qb position that is..

+1 HS
Kingbuck12's picture

I think we take our time like LSU did last year, then at the end of January next year we start seeing five star guys start committing to us, and we land another top 3 class maybe even number 1. Gibson,Settle,Hilliard,Sweat,Harris and Kirk. How sweet its going to be.  


ScarletNGrey01's picture

Great writeup Birm thanks!  A four star kid from Columbus, still no offer, you did a great job of explaining the situation ... but I still "don't get it" if ya know what I mean.

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

Horvath22's picture

Thanks, Jeremy. Appreciate it.

pdan46's picture

I like kids like Connor who really want to be Buckeyes.  We have a history of taking kids like that (e.g., Hawk) who are not as highly rated but who end up as stars.  My fear is that we may wait too long for Connor and that he commits to MSU or PSU or, worse, Michigan, and in a few years he comes back to haunt us.  This is not just a kid who grew up wanting to be a Buckeye.  Connor is a guy who is rated as a 4 star and, based upon his comments, is ready to compete to be a starter.  We need kids like that!  I say, offer him right now!  If Hilliard is as good as advertised, he will not be put-off by Connor's commitment.  He will view it as just another challenge.  I hope that we get them both, and Lane and Baker as well, and that they all end up being great Buckeyes.


I feel much the same about Wimbush.  If he really wants to be a Buckeye, then show him the same love and respect that we are showing to Gibson.  Last year we put all of our eggs into one basket at the QB position and the result was that we missed out on a number of talented QBs only to see our primary target commit to Clemson.  Make a push for Wimbush and, if we get both Wimbush and Gibson, so be it.  Let them both help us to recruit and then compete to be our starting QB.

Jeremypreemo81's picture

Awesome job Birm.
I want the kids that want to be here, who want to be Buckeyes. I am not concerned at all about 5*'s. Kids who want to be here, who dreamt of being a Buckeye will play the hardest and give 100% each time they step on that field

Seattle Linga's picture

No one but 11 W would put this together - thanks Birms and staff 

Can't get enough

blufftonbuck's picture

I am hoping that your thought process is true and we push hard for Wimbush.  Then recruit the heck out of Gibson and see if he makes a late in the process commit.