The Opening: Hilliard, Cornell, Sweat Talk First Day

By Jeremy Birmingham on July 8, 2014 at 6:15p
62 Comments

The first day at The Opening is over for each of Ohio State's three participating commitments. Justin Hilliard, Jashon Cornell and Tyler Green each failed to finish in the Top 10 of the morning's preliminary SPARQ competition, which means none of them will participate in this evening's national finals. 

Hilliard, who finished 15th in the SPARQ contest, had the best day of any of the Buckeye commitments in attendance, as his lofty national ranking would suggest he might.

While Cornell struggled, admittedly, in the SPARQ competition, he held his own in one-on-one battles against many of the country's best offensive line prospects and he participated with both the defensive end and the defensive tackle groups, showcasing his versatility.

Green had a quiet afternoon, but showed excellent speed and loose hips in drills and one-on-one situations, although as a safety more than a cornerback he's sort of out his element in this type of camp setting. He did pinpoint a player that he faced today who he thought stood out to him.

"I was just out there, doing my best and recruiting as much as I can" Green told 11W.  "I was most impressed going against Christian Kirk, the wide receiver from Arizona. He's really good."


Kentucky star Damien Harris didn't have his best morning, and he wasn't happy with what he ran. He said he finished 11th in the SPARQ drills, which would normally be something to write home about, but not for a player with such high self-expectations. The country's top running back, coming off of elbow surgery, said he's not been back working out full strength yet and that may have hurt him.

Alabama commit Calvin Ridley was, in a word, ridiculous today. He's about as physically gifted as any player in the country and today he really stood out among a lot of excellent wideouts. Here's a highlight of one particularly spectacular catch.

I thought Matt Burrell was great today as well. The Virginia offensive lineman can flip a switch from fun-loving and nice to fired up and angry faster than most big guys I've seen. Burrell is very close to the Ohio State commits, and they continue to work as hard as they can to recruit him.

I got the chance to talk with Van Jefferson's mother, Marla, for a bit today and she said she and her family are excited about their return visit to Columbus next week. She was adamant that nothing has changed in her family's opinion about Ohio State, and that the Buckeyes' offense was not as "concern" of theirs as has been widely rumored. Jefferson may very well make a commitment at the end of this month, but the Ohio State visit is going to be the last trip before a choice. She said a choice will certainly come before the beginning of Van's senior season.

62 Comments

Comments

Brutus' Left Nut's picture

Birm, based on what you've seen so far, who would you say the best overall recruit at the opening is?  

And, who would you say is the best out of the OSU targets/commits - assuming Sweat?

Thanks for all the coverage!

bucknasty13's picture

How doss Sweat do and what did he have to say

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

There's a video of Sweat in this update.

Brutus' Left Nut's picture

Pretty rare to see a guy run a 4.4 forty and then in an interview say he usually runs slower.  I can't tell if he is just extremely honest or extremely humble (or both).  

+2 HS
teddyballgame's picture

the numbers don't matter, they aren't accurate.  he's pretty fast though.

BuckeyeCrusdader's picture

I'm almost 100% sure they use laser times at the opening, just the same as the NFL combine. I'd say that's pretty accurate

ISURVIVEDCOOPER's picture

Watching him run the 40 on ESPNU and he looks freakish like Clowney - especially his huge thighs.  Would love to see him in Scarlet and Gray... Oh wait, it's Hilliard trolling with the O hat following Sweat around - lol, good work Justin!

"I don't apologize for anything.  When I make a mistake, I take the blame and go on from there." - Woody Hayes

KINGBUCKEYE419's picture

Coach Johnson is a real difference maker.  I'm glad he's a Buckeye!

+2 HS
ArizonaBuckeye's picture

I said it right after he was hired. That man is a game changer. Vrabel did well as a d-line coach, but Johnson is the game changer. Can't wait to see what this d-line looks like this fall.

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

-1 HS
BrooklynBuckeye's picture

Thanks for the info. I'd rather have an angry/hungry recruit than a combine star, especially with a whole year of high school left. The best OSU Freshman RB ever (MoC) probably wouldn't have blown the doors off the SPARQ test.

+3 HS
blocko330's picture

Totally agree BB! While I would love to hear that our recruits are way at the top, there are things to keep in mind.  For one, let's face it some of these kids are committed and don't need to go 110% (though I'm not discounting they aren't going 100%); there are players that are, just by personality, more worried about ranking and perception...Then there are players who may be ranked lower than others and want to show that they shouldn't have been...you know, something to prove, something to improve their stock.

Honestly, if our guys don't finish as well as we hoped, or if they drop in rankings (for whatever reason), I'll just be glad they're buckeyes!!

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”

- TruthTeller

+1 HS
Buck Commander's picture

Keep 'Crootin fellas!!!!!!!!!!

Every time I set my DVR to record Biggest Loser......It always records Wolverine Football Games!

edr4225's picture

lets go bucks!!

+10 HS
oregonianbuckeye's picture

Thanks for the update, Birm. I've heard a lot about Hilliard and Cornell hanging with Burrell, but not as much about them hanging with Kirk. Am I just spitting out words to see where they splatter, or am I correct?

+1 HS
MN Buckeye's picture

Glad to hear that Jefferson will be back at OSU, the last visit before his decision.

Thanks for all the updates, Birm!

+2 HS
Kingbuck12's picture

Can you imagine Kirk Harris Burrell Jefferson and Sweat in this class. Yikes!!! Plus our 2 five star guys. Shaping up to be OSU's best ever recruiting class. And everyone was worried 3 weeks ago. Ok maybe i was too. 

Kingbuck12

ODEEZ330's picture

He ran a 4.46 with a hip flexor. He's by far the top player in the country i really like sweat. No social media. Respectful well spoken kid. Anti diva anti clowney i want him here bad

O'Deez330
stark county football

+10 HS
chemicalwaste's picture

There isn't an uncommitted player left that I want to see in scarlet and gray more. Harris is up there too, but sweat would be huge.

+3 HS
TheBadOwl's picture

How was Clowney a diva?

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.

bigDbuck's picture

Not sure diva is right word. And, of course anyone would take him, just like T Gibson. But he laid big time egg his jr season. Watched him 4 times and absolute non factor. Give me a leader over a me-me guy any day. I thought texans made mistake by not taking K Mack. But I have been wrong before. 

+5 HS
clogan1032's picture

Because nobody would want Clowney. I don't care how many plays people claimed he took off, he was by far the most dominate defensive end last year. I'd take him in a heartbeat. 

+1 HS
chemicalwaste's picture

I completely understand the Clowney comparisons, and to end up as much a stud as Jadeveon is would be great, I have hopes for more of a turn out like Simeon Rice. Maybe that's the Buccaneers fan in me.

+1 HS
Kingbuck12's picture

I agree with you about Sweat. Up vote. You had me at anti social media. 

Kingbuck12

+3 HS
BroJim's picture

Not too worried about how the commits preformed, but I hope they do improve.

I season my simple food with hunger

gumtape's picture

Because sparq scores will help us beat the skunk weasels and sparty.

just another psycho, irrational, delusional Ohio St fan

HotSauceCommittee's picture

This is a thread about The Opening, where Sparq scores matter to these kids competing. Saying they don't while commenting in this thread is like saying ACTs / SATs don't matter to a kid prepping for his college entrance exams. 

+6 HS
Poison nuts's picture

Last year when Terry McLaurin killed it in the SPARQ score (2nd I believe) & the year before when Mike Mitchell did (best score ever), everyone here ate that shit up. So to now say it's no big deal is a little disingenuous. While I agree that it doesn't do a lot to determine who the best players may end up being, it is a measure of athletic ability & all of us would have been bragging & pounding our chest if any of the OSU commits had placed highly.

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

+11 HS
gumtape's picture

I didn't use sarcasm font. I was being serious.

just another psycho, irrational, delusional Ohio St fan

-1 HS
BroJim's picture

Nothing wrong with looking good.

I season my simple food with hunger

Brutus' Left Nut's picture

Burrell might earn a 5th star just by cutting his hair.

+7 HS
MN Buckeye's picture

I'm not going to be the one to tell him.

+6 HS
Groveport Heisman's picture

I know here at tOSU we are accused of having a fast track and our coaches get brought up for posting inflated 40 times,but these times coming out of Oregon should really have some heads turning. Sweat just ran almost on par with Paris and Terry. 3-4 years down the road does anyone legitimately expect these kids NFL combine times to have improved over the times coming out of  The Opening? At this point I'm almost waiting on the first 4.4's ever to be posted from a OT or DT prospect.

Mark my words..I don't need acceptance. I'm catching interceptions on you innocent pedestrians.

Damonbuckeye's picture

Thanks Birm these updates are awesome. ..

blocko330's picture

Now that I've watched the videos, there's two quotes I love hearing:

Via Sweat (On Ohio St. visit): "Larry Johnson, he's just an excellent guy he's one of those guys when he starts talking, you actually listen to every word he saying, I like him a lot."

Via Jashon (on why ohio state stuck out): "The main reason I became a buckeye was because of my relationship with coach Johnson....been recruiting me since Penn State...I trusted him as a player.....his resume is so good...his players sent to the NFL."

Love this hire!

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”

- TruthTeller

+6 HS
oregonianbuckeye's picture

Josh Sweat is up to 38.3" on the vertical. Ran a 4.46 earlier at 240 pounds, 4.0 on the shuttle. 

+1 HS
Squirrel Master's picture

Dude, that Ridley catch is sick. Did he even break his route an inch. That is unreal.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

+8 HS
sivaDavis's picture

I feel like Josh Sweat is a great humble kid, that's sometimes shy, closed and keeps to himself. It seemed that way in the beginning of the interview but then all of a sudden he lit up when talking about Coach Smith and Coach Johnson, that's always a great sign. I really feel if this comes down to Ohio State, VT and Georgia, I can see Ohio State getting his commitment. Hopefully he can make it to FNL and if he, which I'm expecting him to, schedules an official visit when the Buckeyes take on VT, I think Ohio State would be the runaway favorite soon after. The atmosphere of the game will be electric and they should put on a show against the Hokies. Should be alot of commits and target commits there. Hilliard did say he would try to be at every home game, along with some of the other commits. Will be an Elite class when it's all said and done.

"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

+6 HS
bethesdabuck's picture

Love the eye contact by Josh Sweat. 

+3 HS
Barnsey69's picture

Agreed, many young people do not understand the importance of this characteristic. Sweat seems like he has his **** together, just quiet, which is refreshing.

Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, and home of The Ohio State University Football Buckeyes!

Hayze's picture

OH NO. Hilliard said "Michigan" instead of TTUN! He's not a solid commit. He's gonna flip!

+2 HS
buckeyehub's picture

you weren't using the sarcasm italics! or periods! you must be serious

“Anyone can run the option. I can run the option.” - Urban Meyer
Let's beat the snot out of *ichigan.

+2 HS
toad1204's picture

Hilliard said adversity and somewhere Tressel is smiling.

Nothing like dancing on the field in 02... 

+6 HS
Mi.Buckeye's picture

Hilliard also said something about how he enjoyed that it's not all football. They teach you about life lessons and how to handle the media and he liked that it is being taught by Johnny Manziel. I hope he doesn't learn too much from Johnny Party.

-1 HS
Poison nuts's picture

Really stellar coverage Birm! I assume these are your photos too? They're very good btw. Thanks & keep up the great work!

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

buckeyehub's picture

great article, nice to hear from our new recruits, and one that hopefully won't be too far behind, and THE GUY RAN A 4.46 40! .13 seconds below his time on ESPN. 

“Anyone can run the option. I can run the option.” - Urban Meyer
Let's beat the snot out of *ichigan.

theopulas's picture

must say Mr. Birmingham that you are growing on me quickly.....great job...

Theopulas

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Are you new to the site or did I just not prove myself to you before? Haha.

Jeremy Birmingham's picture

Quick addendum to this story from tonight's SPARQ event...and one that's not a great update as far as Ohio State's concerned:

whiskeyjuice's picture

While it's nice to see OSU recruits score high, I wouldn't put much emphasis on these numbers as the psychology at these things has to be unreal. High school kids with high school minds dealing with all the egos (their own as well as all the other competition) all the while being nationally televised, If anything, I hope the kids learn how to be humble from these events. When are the kids too young to put all this drama and attention on them? (no wonder media is talking about paying college players like they are pros).

"You'll find out that nothing that comes easy is worth a dime. As a matter of fact, I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face." -- Wayne Woodrow Hayes

UrbanBuckeye's picture

Great work, Birm. Big fan of yours. Keep doing what you're doing!

In Urban We Trust!

+1 HS
Groveport Heisman's picture

Bunch of clown shit. Anyone see how they treated the kids coming off his 40 last night? some of it was  funny for a second but then it got right damned retarded,.had little kids involved and everything.  Justin and Jashon putting the Buckeye hats on TV were cool and shit man,but Ive never seen our product or a newbie pushing our product to have to act so drastic.It got out sanctioned there at the end.it had a little more polish to it before.Hopefully our youngmen can come away from there knowing they made a difference for their class.

Mark my words..I don't need acceptance. I'm catching interceptions on you innocent pedestrians.

-10 HS
Poison nuts's picture

What the hell are you talking about?

"Death created time to grow the things that it would kill" - Detective Rustin Cohle.

+7 HS
OSU069's picture

Does anybody know what the hell this means? 

+4 HS
Buckeyevstheworld's picture

It means you shouldn't drink and post.

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

+1 HS
buckeyehub's picture

“Anyone can run the option. I can run the option.” - Urban Meyer
Let's beat the snot out of *ichigan.

+1 HS
s.pasadena fl's picture

Mr. Birmingham:  Of all the reads, I enjoyed your conversation with "Marla" the BEST. As I get older the parents of these kids and their thoughts mean more to me than the kids statistics.

Ed Hopper

Barnsey69's picture

Awesome Birm, plus you're in Oregon, which seems like a very nice place to visit. I know you're working, but hopefully you will have some time to take in the scenery. 

Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, and home of The Ohio State University Football Buckeyes!

+1 HS
jpbuckeye's picture

Agree. We did some climbing, skiing, and hiking while out there with the US Army. Smith Rock rocks as do many places in the beautiful pacific NW.

Barnsey69's picture

Probably operator error, but I can't get the photos to pull up. Is it just the videos right now (which are great btw)?

Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, and home of The Ohio State University Football Buckeyes!

vwhiegs57's picture

Josh Sweat sounds, acts and seem's to hold himself like a truely outstanding young gentleman! Very humble and just one of those guy's who doesn't take what God has given him for granted one bit, truely truely would love to see this kid in Scarlet and Grey! even if he does go else where, someone's getting one hell of a good player and person.

Rjpfish2's picture

I thought Kirk would run a bit faster. Was it just one attempt?