Lots of happenings around today's NFTC in Columbus, so I wanted to put together a few notes and thoughts on guys that were here. No time for introductions!
Moeller 2016 TE Jake Hausmann participated in today's event, and he and his parents will visit Ohio State tomorrow. Both of his parents attended Ohio State and the Buckeyes are a big favorite to land the Cincinnati star. He's got All-American potential and is not built like your average high schooler. Big body, can probably end up over 255-260 pounds easy if he wanted.
Jonathon Cooper from Gahanna Lincoln is a special athete. He's one of a handful of in-state 2016 prospects that Ohio State could land making that class one of the state's best in some time.
Louisiana's Hunter Dale, who was briefly discussed last night, participated in a few events today but due to a hip flexor injury he didn't stay involved in the entire event. Interesting prospect has offers from Oregon, Arizona State, Penn State and others but the Buckeyes really made a good impression on him this weekend. He wants to play baseball as well as football in college, so that's something to watch.
Jashon Cornell's visit to Ohio State finally happened and it appears that the Buckeyes hit a homerun with the Minnesota native. Cornell's "Crystal Ball" has begun to swing heavily in the Buckeyes' favor, but he's got upcoming trips to Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State to get through before I'll buy too much into that. One thing is for sure, if he didn't ever visit Ohio State, he was not going to come to Ohio State, so there's one piece of the puzzle down. A defensive end duo of Cornell and Dre'Mont Jones now becomes a real possibility.
CJ Conrad was really good today. Hard to imagine he wouldn't have earned a Buckeye offer if he camped at Ohio State and did the same things then as he did today. Unfortunately, as it's been lamented, he's committed to Kentucky and will not camp at Ohio State. He earned an invitation to The Opening today, one of five players to do so.
Justin Hilliard is absolutely becoming more and more a possibility for Ohio State. I know the common perception is that it's an Ohio State/Notre Dame battle for Hilliard but I can't get Alabama out of my head. A late June, early July decision bodes well the Buckeyes at this point, as does Hilliard's assertion that he plans to camp at Friday Night Lights at Ohio State. Hilliard, as I predicted this morning, was invited to The Opening, despite leaving the camp at noon in order to attend his brother CJ's graduation party.
Matt Burrell, Tim Settle and Darius Fullwood were - as you'd expect - very comfortable talking and hanging out together in the lineman area of the camp today. Burrell and Settle did not work out, Fullwood did, and they were there to support their friend. I still think Ohio State, led by Zach Smith and Larry Johnson, are in a great position for Burrell. As for Settle, the relationship needs a bit more time to percolate after a brief hiatus.
Ricky Slade, Jr. is a 2018, yes, 2018 prospect that will take the field this fall with C.D Hylton in Woodbridge, Virginia this fall as a freshman. He grew up a big Buckeye fan according to his father and got to check out Ohio State yesterday. While the younger Slade is still a bit quiet and unassuming around the media, his highlights (yes, I know we must consider competition) as an eighth-grader are pretty impressive. He's got a chance to be the starter for the Bulldogs this fall and expect him to be a name you hear a lot about over these next few years, especially if Burrell ends up in Columbus.
While Damien Harris didn't participate today, he was one of the most interviewed and talked to players in attendance and he remains as impressive to me off the field as he is on it. As the nation's top-ranked tailback, Harris is inundated daily with phone calls, texts, direct messages, and any other form of communication conceivable, yet put himself once again into the crossfire just to support a teammate (linebacker Aaron Sipple). The pair arrived at Ohio State last night and Harris took all the attention in stride today when he could have easily avoided the spotlight as he'd prefer to do. Ohio State continues to be a name widely attached to Harris' recruitment, but he insists things are still pretty wide open. He'll drop his list to eight this week. The Buckeyes would love to see him back on campus a few more times this summer.
Speaking of running backs, Detroit Cass Tech star Mike Weber looks like he's been working very hard in the weight room, adding a lot of good weight to his already solid frame. The Buckeyes, Michigan State and Wisconsin are standing out as his top three according to Weber, but don't expect Michigan and Tennessee to back down without a fight. There's a lot of time left in his recruitment and a number of big dominos yet to fall.
Joe Burrow, Ohio State's 2015 quarterback commitment, didn't throw much today, but he was participating in drills and looked the part, certainly. He's got the ideal frame for a college quarterback and I'm really looking forward to seeing him tomorrow at the Elite 11 competition where he'll get a chance to display more of his overall game.
Ohio State quarterback Stephen Collier was on hand today to watch the event and will be again tomorrow, despite the majority of his teammates already heading home before summer workouts begin in a week. Collier spent a lot of time talking to recruits and was a celebrity among the Student Sports/Nike staff who couldn't believe how much bigger he's gotten since they last saw him. Notre Dame signee DeShone Kizer will visit Columbus tonight and also take in the camp tomorrow.
Pennsylvania 2016 running back Miles Sanders was excellent today, one of the better tailbacks I saw participating. With good straight line speed and soft hands, Sanders showed why he's got offers already from Penn State, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech and others.
With all the talk about Nick Conner, CJ Conrad, Anthony McKee and a few other in-state players still waiting for Buckeye offers, Andrew and David Dowell kind of get lost in the mix, but they shouldn't. The twins from Lakewood St. Ed both stood out today, at running back and defensive back respectively, once again proving that Northwestern is getting a solid package deal.
Donovon Peoples-Jones, the 2017 wide receiver from Cass Tech, is the real deal. Once he adds weight to his slight frame, watch out.
Neville Gallimore needs a nickname. I was thinking "The Man-a-da from Canada," because he's an absolute beast. Not many prospects on this continent are picking up the steam he is and he'd be a steal if the Buckeyes can get him on board. Had a great visit Saturday, but there's a long way to go.
Count me as "in" when it comes to being sold on 2016 LB Brendan Ferns, the brother of Michigan freshman Michael Ferns. The younger Ferns is a solid 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds and showed himself a very natural and capable athlete today. You can also put me in the camp that says if Ohio State offers, Ferns chooses the Buckeyes.
Todd Huber from Student Sports passed along this video of a few one-on-ones from today's event. Pretty cool look at how things work.
That's all for now. Anything else that comes to mind I'll pass it along.