Wide Receiver Christian Kirk, Linebacker Justin Hilliard Highlight Huge Week

By Jeremy Birmingham on June 17, 2014 at 3:00p

Hello, welcome to Tuesday afternoon's Buckeye recruiting update. I'm your host and I hope that you find today's recap insightful, delightful and overall delicious. There's a ton of things happening around Ohio State's recruiting this week and this coming weekend, so there's little time for chatting. Let's get to the update, post haste. We'll start with today's biggest stories.


Ohio State's pursuit of a top tight end in the 2015 class has been well-documented. Today, they're getting their final shot to convince Chris Clark, the country's second-ranked player at the position, that Ohio State is the place for him. The Buckeyes have slowly started to creep back into the picture for Clark and today's visit — especially the chance to spend time with Buckeye commit Joe Burrow — will be the be all end all. While it's great for Urban Meyer's crew that Clark will be on campus, the Buckeyes will have to endure two other important trips for the Connecticut prospect this week.

The Under-Armour All-American will head north to Ann Arbor and East Lansing following his Buckeye visit. The visit to Ann Arbor will be his second, while he's making his initial trip to East Lansing. Michigan and Michigan State are two of Clark's final four schools (along with Ohio State and North Carolina) and he'll announce his choice at The Opening in early July. Eleven Warriors will have an update on Clark's visit to Ohio State as soon as possible.


Dublin, Ohio 2015 linebacker Nick Conner camped at Ohio State today, hoping to once and for all prove that he's worthy of a Buckeye offer. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Conner has had a couple big weeks in his own recruitment; he's recently added offers from Oregon and Michigan State and was named the linebacker MVP at the Rivals Camp Series in Baltimore two weekends ago. As far as today's performance at Ohio State, Conner's versatility could help him eventually land the Buckeye offer he covets. With the capability to play linebacker, h-back or even tight end, there's a line of thinking that the Buckeyes should offer Conner now and figure out the position later. 

We've been beating the drum for this offer to happen for sometime at 11W, and now we'll know soon if it ever will. If the Buckeyes don't offer Conner within the next couple days, you can bet he'll end his recruitment — likely with a commitment to Michigan State — soon.


With Chris Clark on campus, most of the attention at tight end is focused on 2015, and rightfully so. We've talked about Ohio State's desire to reel in two at the position for months, but we've also said over and over that the Buckeyes will not reach to fill a spot. 

"What's your point, Jeremy?"

The point, dudes, is this: if the Buckeyes can find a way to land the aforementioned Clark, don't be surprised if he's the only tight end come February. Why?

Meet Luke Farrell, the country's 10th-ranked tight end in 2016, from Perry, Ohio. Yesterday, Farrell was offered by Michigan and today (and tomorrow) he'll be camping with the Buckeyes. Ohio's 11th-ranked player in his class, Farrell has the unfortunate distinction of being behind Cincinnati Moeller tight end Jake Hausmann, who already has an offer from Ohio State and is considered by most to be strongly favoring the Buckeyes.

With a solid two days at camp, the 6-foot-6, 220-pound Farrell could help the Buckeyes shift their mindset about not only 2015 tight end recruiting, but 2016 as well. Exceptionally athletic and still growing into his frame, Farrell could also be a high-level defensive end in college. Have we mentioned that Ohio is loaded in 2016?


This past weekend, Scottsdale, Arizona's Christian Kirk — as well as recently offered 2016 teammate Byron Murphy — spent some time in College Station, Texas with Kevin Sumlin's Aggies. While each player acknowledged that a great time was had in Texas, this weekend will bring them each to Columbus and Ohio State. It will be the second Buckeye visit for Kirk and the first for Murphy, but the Buckeye brand is alive and well in Arizona the moment. 

Kirk, Murphy and their head coach at Saguaro High School will arrive in Columbus on Friday morning and spend two days with the Buckeyes. It is, suffice to say, a huge visit as far as Ohio State is concerned. The Arizona pair will spend plenty of time with Ohio State's Zach Smith, as well as Urban Meyer, but the Buckeye's greatest asset may be a yet-to-play-a-snap-freshman-to-be: Johnnie Dixon. 

Dixon, an early enrollee from Miami, has walked the walk at Ohio State and has become a good friend to the 5-foot-11, 195-pound Kirk. They're sure to spend a lot of time together this weekend.


Another one of Ohio State's biggest targets — Justin Hilliard, visited another one of Ohio State's biggest threats to his commitment — Notre Dame last weekend. The good news is that Hilliard didn't commit to the Irish, the bad news is that he's visiting South Bend once again this coming Friday for their big hullaballoo, the "Irish Invasion," this Friday night. The good news is that the next day he'll visit Ohio State once again, where he'll spend an overnight visit with the Buckeyes and his friend, freshman linebacker Raekwon McMillan.

The better news? These two visits are likely to be the final two trips Hilliard makes before he makes a decision about his commitment. There's a good possibility that the Cincinnati St. Xavier linebacker will announce his college choice at The Opening. He will be the centerpiece of someone's recruiting class, and the Buckeyes are hoping beyond hope it's theirs.

Don't be surprised if Hubbard, Ohio 2015 running back L.J. Scott is a Buckeye before the end of this week.

Damien Harris was hoping to visit today, but told me yesterday that won't happen. He's hoping to make it on Wednesday, instead. 

Had a good talk with 2016 Ohio offensive lineman Liam Eichenberg from Cleveland St. Ignatius earlier this week. While I was initially very confident that the potential five-star tackle was destined to wear scarlet and gray, I think this one is going to be a a challenge for the Buckeyes. Notre Dame is a real player here. In fact, if I had to pick one today, I'd pick the Irish.

Still hearing Buckeyes as the favorite for Tennessee wide receiver Van Jefferson, despite the delay in his decision. If the Buckeyes lose out on the Ravenwood, Tennessee star, maybe Ohio's Alex Stump gets a second look.

Andre James wrapped up his Buckeye visit yesterday morning and told me Ohio State will get one of his official visits this fall along with Oklahoma, USC, UCLA and Oregon. Despite a great visit to Ohio State this weekend — and family in Ohio — it'll take a big effort from Ed Warinner and Urban Meyer to lure the talented Utah resident to the midwest.

Deondre Francois has scheduled a Buckeye visit for Wednesday of this week. The talented quarterback from Orlando, Florida will give Ohio State a look after a one-day visit to Auburn. Florida State is still the leader in the clubhouse for Francois and the Buckeyes are very, very, very unlikely to take another quarterback in 2015.


Comments Show All Comments

Silver Bullet 10's picture

Hilliard could play beside Kwon or Jaylon Smith. I wish there would have been a way where we could have had all three on our team.

+10 HS
Ball-Z-Buck's picture

This years recruiting is pathetic. I don't see us being more than 50-50 with any player we are after.

-11 HS
Hovenaut's picture

There's still more to the picture - hang on.

+5 HS
TraSmith4's picture

Skid21 did you change your screen name?

+21 HS
NH-IO's picture

Gotta admit, that post was Ball-Z

+5 HS
tennbuckeye19's picture

You're right. It totally was.


+6 HS
BierStube's picture


"No matter where you go, there you are." B. Banzai

+11 HS
bethmowins's picture

Dang, I thought the negative helmet stickers went to -10. You proved me wrong.

+7 HS
brband64's picture


"Maybe the Big Ten is not that bad. Maybe it's pretty damn good.'' ~ Urban Meyer

+10 HS
MN Buckeye's picture

Love the Spinal Tap reference!

+1 HS
BuckeyeinToledo's picture

This is "11" Warriors after all...

"There's nothing that cleanses your soul like getting the hell kicked out of you."

-Woody Hayes

+3 HS
CC's picture

beat me to it...

brband64's picture

...aaaand it just went back to -11.  Which would have been perfect :-p.  In a negative way, of course.

Edit: sorry, I clicked the wrong arrow.

"Maybe the Big Ten is not that bad. Maybe it's pretty damn good.'' ~ Urban Meyer

Shangheyed's picture

So your saying we still have a chance?

CincyBuckeye31's picture

Thanks, Birm!  Good stuff as always.  

TraSmith4's picture

Ok I get the point we are only taking Joe Burrow and that's that! Not even going to talk about '15 QB's anymore! Moving on to '16. So it sounds like within the next 3-4 weeks we could be close to double digit commits.... I like :) 

+1 HS
MN Buckeye's picture

There is a lot happening right now, but much should clear up within the next few weeks. I believe that Hilliard's decision is the critical factor for this recruiting class.

+9 HS
Braxton2Devin's picture

Eichenberg is a MUST GET. Possibly top player in Ohio. Consensus top 50 player and ranked as a 5 star on many recruiting services. It would look really bad if Urban lost a five star, Ohio player to ND. ND is continuing to make inroads in Ohio....

+5 HS
otrain2416's picture

Agreed if we lose out on him or Hillard the number one players in the state for their respective classes to a team according to Gene Smith that refuses to play us, that would make me sick. 

We were born to love Ohio State and hate that team up north.

BuckNutzGasMan's picture

Nobody is a must get.

Except Eichenberg.

(And 20 other players)

Go BUCKS! Get em all!!!

+4 HS
Hayze's picture

FWIW Duane at Bucknuts has a source close to Eichenberg who is pretty confident he'll end up a Buckeye.

Kraemer is the one we'll probably have to fight off Notre Dame for (and should do just that).

+2 HS
FROMTHE18's picture

ND has always been a presence in Ohio

NitroBuck's picture

Woody claimed to be Notre Dame's best recruiter.

Ferio.  Tego.

osu407's picture

I didn't previously realize how important early enrolling a few freshman is to recruiting the class beneath it.  We can't ask for a better group of early enrollees than the ones we got in '14. 

+1 HS
s.pasadena fl's picture

I still think Meyer will take another QB?

Ed Hopper

Soggy_McMuffin's picture

I love Burrow!!


+7 HS
TraSmith4's picture

because ⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️⬆️ knows!

+3 HS
jpbuckeye's picture

Awesome post/gif JB.

1) Awesome show

2) Brilliantly drives home your point.

3) Does so without being adversarial in nature.

Thanks a gazzillion.

+4 HS
Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

Care to speculate on who the other QB will be?

Read my entire screen name....

sivaDavis's picture


"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes

+8 HS
Mortc15's picture

As hard as it is to lose in state talent to other schools, id much rather lose it to a school like Notre Dame than another Big Ten team or, God forbid, an elite sec school. 


-1 HS
Scarlet_Lutefisk's picture

I'd much rather see an Ohio kid stay in the B1G.

+4 HS
Crimson's picture

Birm, I've been getting mixed messages.  Are we taking another QB or not?!?

+4 HS
Max Power's picture

Justin Hilliard and Raekwon McMillan patrolling the D in a couple years...that sight would put to rest the lack of LB play the last few years. Time to ressurect the true LinebackerU!

I hope Zach Smith can work his voodoo magic with Kirk. He would by dynamite in this offense. It helps that he and Dixon are hitting it off. Always helps when top talent from the previous class has a connection with the "next man up" (see Hilliard, Justin and McMillan, Raekwon).

I am still concerned about our TE recruiting. Its great that Hausmann is probably going to be a Buck and Farrell is a good possibility. That leaves us with 2 scholarship TEs in 2015 and after Vannett graduates, we are left with a JR TE in Marcus Baugh and freshmen Hausmann and Farrell (if they commit). Very concerning IMO. I dont see Clark committing to us and I hope I am wrong. I think its imperitive to take a TE in this years class, even if Noah Brown or Sam Hubbard moves to TE.

I hate to lose Ohio guys to any team from Michigan and it appears that if we dont offer Nick Conner that will indeed happen (a Columbus kid at that!) I hope he lands that coveted offer.

If we land LJ Scott, does that hurt our chances with Damien Harris? Is it worth waiting on the top RB if it means losing the best RB in Ohio to MSU? Im glad I dont have to make these decisions for my beloved bucks. As much as I stress over recruits every year, I cant imagine how our coaches feel! (Im sure those salaries help). When its all said and done I am sure it will be another great haul of blue chippers coming to Cbus regardless of what the naysayers think. Thanks Birm and Go Bucks! Gotta love recruiting folks! What else would we have in June? It makes OSU football last all year long

+2 HS
labuck's picture

Please re-read the part about TEs in Jeremy's article. It says OSU will take a TE this recruiting cycle and probably call it quits. Then the staff will turn their attention for '16 for the position and hopefully land Hausmann and Fickell. I mean Farrell.

weimerad's picture

IMHO, the biggest, AND THE ROCK MEANS BIGGEST, key to the 2016 class is wrapping up both Eichenberg and Kraemer.  And to top it off, get Gerald too.  I say this b/c, let's face it, OSU has lost out on some stud OL over the past couple years, both from Ohio and nationally.  To get these 3 guys, along with a stud out of state OL, would be huge for 2016.

+4 HS
Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Just as an addendum to this story - Francois is scheduled to be at Ohio State tomorrow but I'd not be surprised if that visit doesn't happen. Some scheduling issues with Ohio State's coaching staff have come up and it may not be worth it for him to visit.

HilltopHustle's picture

Reading that Penn State's having a "BBQ" this weekend and will do a second one later this year. Since when did they start doing these? Or did they always? Franklin's move? Anyways, Burrell and Settle are both going (their BFF Adam McClean is committed to PSU), and it's for Thursday–Saturday, so quite a while.

TraSmith4's picture

They should be careful Brady Hoke might show up! BBQ!

+2 HS
HilltopHustle's picture

He can duel it out with PSU's OL coach who was just on Food Network's Chopped.

KevinJ's picture

A 3 DAY Q?

Brady Hoke is going to be really, really jealous! I mean really Jealous!

+1 HS
HilltopHustle's picture

Hoke might try and do a week-long buffet next summer.

+1 HS
Hovenaut's picture

I'll take the under on that, they'll be out of food after the weekend.

+2 HS
brandonbauer87's picture

Bruce Pearl is jealous. 

HouseHarleyBuilt's picture

The thought of Dixon and Kirk on the same offense has to haunt opposing DC's everywhere. Throw in Wilson, Samuel, Elliott, Smith (s), Miller, Clark, Thomas, Greene, and any other player you can think of, and I fail to see a reason we shouldn't put up 60 a game.

Treat every opponent as if they are capable of beating you, because guess what? They are.

+1 HS
MN Buckeye's picture

I know that ND has this long storied history in college football, and the academics are pretty good as well (my daughter earned her Master's degree there), and the athletic facilities are very good, but to me the comparison between ND and OSU end there. South Bend is a tiny town out in the middle of nowhere (albeit an hour+ from Chicago) and cannot compare to the metropolitan area of Columbus. I have been on campus at ND several times, including the BC game in 2008 (I miss Charlie Weis), and OSU is by far a more energizing and pleasant atmosphere. I can also say that I am completely unbiased, I am not an asshole, and I am very self-aware. Finally, Brian Kelly reminds me of a purple onion.

+3 HS
Codeezy's picture

Just to add my two pennies, parents love ND always and that means a lot to these kids. And I was at game day in south bend for the Stanford game in 2012 and it was amazing. I don't have any doubts that ND can recruit with the big dogs. 

+1 HS
tennbuckeye19's picture

I don't think the question is if they can recruit with the big dogs, the question is can they compete against the big dogs on the field.

+2 HS
weimerad's picture

So should everyone stop talking about Gibson now? Is he practically a lost cause? Has urban moved on?

+4 HS
JohnnyKozmo's picture

Interesting that Conner is mentioned as possible a TE.  I wonder if that has anything to do with the offer (speculating from what I have been reading).  That way, if a LB that is already on the roster doesn't pan out, transfers, injured, etc, etc, (Like we have seen multiple times in the past 5yrs), he could switch back to LB.  If we have depth there, he could go to TE/H-back.  Not sure if it's an accurate comparison or not because I haven't watched any of his video, but isn't he a similar size as A. Hernandez?  In Urban's offense, there is definitely a place for a TE/H-back type who can catch, block, and run the ball.  

Pain don't hurt-Dalton

+1 HS
osu407's picture

Is Johnnie Dixon going to be disappointed that this article doesn't refer to him as J.D.?

+3 HS
rjenkins26's picture

I have been confused about that. Does he want to be called "J.D. Dixon", or just "J.D." ala Cher?

+1 HS
osu407's picture

Good question, maybe we should tweet him to ask?

+5 HS
osupolo's picture

Well played 407, well played indeed. 

+1 HS
DC-town's picture

Great updates as always Birm-

someone posted it a few weeks back, but a good method to keep calm and just trust Meyer will bring in a top five class...works every time.

then again, it's June so it's talk about recruiting or talk about the world cup...

'Piss excellence' -RB

theopulas's picture

i think Josh Sweat will be the prize of this class.....just wait and see.....


+1 HS
wyatt's picture

Not sure why OSU is having trouble getting top notch TE players. Chris Clark is the real deal and could help change that. 

+1 HS
jamesrbrown322's picture

Because all of Urban's TEs become murderers. Don't you watch ESPN or read SEC blogs?

(Too Soon?)

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

+3 HS
osupolo's picture

They only get that way is through Urbans training and Heisenberg like masterminding. 

HeuermanTheFireman's picture

I want Hilliard, Kirk and Harris reaaaaaaaly bad. Kirk just needs to look at OSU's history with receivers. Come to Columbus guys!

The person responsible for toes clearly wanted you to stub them.

+1 HS
cjkanski's picture


Kirk looks damn fast in this highlight reel.  I hope Urban can seal the deal this weekend!!!





"I could *BLEEP* forever. *BLEEP until I drop" - The Count