While the Buckeyes got off to a slow start with their 2015 class, #Elite15 is starting to roll after three commitments this week. The 2016 recruiting class might soon need a nickname with two of their top targets visiting and a commitment possible.
Let's get right to this week's recruiting notebook, which is heavy on discussion of the upcoming summer visitors.
2016 Corner Grew Up a Buckeye Fan
Last weekend, St. Louis (Mo.) cornerback Roderick Campbell made his way to Columbus to perform in front of the Buckeye coaching staff. His goal was to receive an offer from Ohio State, a task Campbell has worked hard to achieve. Although coaches have left positive feedback for the 5-foot-11, 180-pound corner, the staff hasn't offered the junior-to-be.
Tim Hinton, the Buckeye coach responsible for recruiting Missouri and inviting Campbell to camp, sought him out after the fact. "I talked to Coach Hinton, and he asked me how I did at the camp," Campbell told Eleven Warriors. "I also talked to a few other coaches that had good thing to say, as well, as far as my technique and ball reaction skills."
Heading into Sunday's camp, Campbell's only offer was from the Indiana Hoosiers. On Monday the Kentucky Wildcats became the second school to extend a scholarship. While these are major offers, it's no secret that an offer from Ohio State is the one he covets: "Ohio State didn't mention [an offer] but that's what I'm striving for."
"I have always been a Buckeye fan," Campbell continued. "I would love to play there someday."
Roderick Campbell will likely remain high on Ohio State's board. While Ohio is stacked with highly rated 2016 prospects, defensive backs are a relative weakness. Akron St. Vincent St. Vincent Mary defensive back Tyrece Speaight appears to be the only OSU-caliber defensive back in Ohio, so the Buckeyes will have to look to the rest of the country for their secondary recruits.
Upcoming Camper and Visitor Notes
Four-star 2016 quarterback Dwayne Haskins is visiting Ohio State today with his family. The four-star signal caller from Maryland hasn't been shy about calling Ohio State his dream school. With 23 offers from some of the nation's top schools, Haskins could be the highly rated QB the Buckeyes are looking for in 2016.
Also visiting today is four-star offensive lineman Andre James. The 2015 Utah lineman already holds an Ohio State offer, but it might be difficult to pull him out of the West; among others, Oregon and Washington are pursuing him hard. Nevertheless, getting a recruit on campus is always a chance to impress.
Another one of Ohio State's top targets, George Hill, is expected to be on campus on Saturday. The four-star running back has been on commitment watch for about a month now, so it's a situation to keep an eye on this weekend. Maybe Urban Meyer is trying to hold off 2016 commitments for the time being, but it's hard to ask a prospect as good as Hill to hold off.
Speaking of highly rated underclassmen, Tyler Green has been actively recruiting Steven Smothers and Shane Simmons for the Buckeyes. Green and Simmons are high school teammates while Green and Smothers are good friends. Both prospects are among the nation's elite.
Smothers, 5-foot-9 four-star receiver from Maryland, has Ohio State in his top five with Alabama, Florida, Michigan and West Virginia. He plans to visit Ohio State for Friday Night Lights, which attempts to cultivate an atmosphere to impress recruits. The Buckeyes lead on his crystal ball, although only six total predictions have been made.
After committing to Ohio State, Tyler Green mentioned Shane Simmons specifically as a recruit he was going to recruit to Columbus. Simmons, a 6-foot-4, 221-pound defensive end holds offers from the elites, including Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State. The Buckeyes might have some ground to make up since Florida State currently leads on the crystal ball.
Recently offered four-star wide receiver Austin Mack, a member of the 2016 class, is scheduled to return to Ohio State for Friday Night Lights on July 25. After earning an offer from an impressive camp performance, the Indiana receiver named the Buckeyes as his favorite.
For the current class, four-star tight end Chris Clark is set to visit on Tuesday. Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State are the top three schools vying for his commitment, which will be aired on ESPN at The Opening in July. While Michigan leads on the crystal ball, I think Ohio State has a good chance at landing Clark. Sam Hubbard is the latest Buckeye to try to recruit the tight end prospect.
A visitor that is more of a long shot for is four-star defensive end Mekhi Brown. In a couple of interesting tweets, the Crimson Tide commit mentioned his plans to visit Ohio State and noted an offer could shake up his top five (yes, apparently committed prospects have top fives these days). Even with an offer, it's doubtful Brown would flip to Ohio State since he has been actively recruiting for Alabama.
Sticking with the trend of 2015 prospects expecting to visit Ohio State in the next week, in-state receiver Deric Phouthavong is a name to watch. Phouthavong is expected to visit and camp at Ohio State next week. He holds offers from Akron, Ball St., Buffalo, Miami (OH), Robert Morris, Toledo and Western Michigan. Michigan State and Purdue could also offer once they receive his ACT scores. The Buckeyes have hosted the under-the-radar receiver twice already and have kept in close contact.
The third annual Friday Night Lights might be the biggest event yet. Five-star linebacker Justin Hilliard and four-star defensive lineman Jashon Cornell are two of the top prospects expected in attendance. By the time of the event on July 25, Hilliard could already be a Buckeye. Cornell is trending towards the Buckeyes with an official announcement coming August 28.
Eleven Warriors will continue to have updates on upcoming visitors, along with coverage from Ohio State's prospect camps next week. You'll want to stay tuned to the recruiting forum and front page for the busy summer recruiting period.