Damien Harris Changes Official Visit, Torrance Gibson, Lawrence Cager on Commitment Watch?

By Jeremy Birmingham on August 28, 2014 at 2:15p
All of the Torrance Gibsons

It's here. College football season is officially upon us. Gig. It. Tee. 

So yes, we're hours away from kick-off on the 2014 season, but surely you — and obviously I — can't help but think about the true lifeblood of college football: recruiting. As your work day winds down and your insatiable pigskin hunger gets its first measure of satisfaction in months, it's my hope you'll enjoy this little appetizer I've prepared for you.

Over the past few months, Ohio State's 2015 recruiting efforts have been, well, erratic. The tepid start to the class prompted some to abandon hopes of a top five finish from the "Elite '15," only to have their lack of confidence/faith thrown in their faces during a furious commitment push in May through July.

As key targets like Van Jefferson and Venzell Boulware have committed elsewhere in the past week, the Buckeyes are hoping some good news is around the corner. That corner could very well be next weekend in Columbus when Ohio State takes on Virginia Tech. A number of players at/near the top of the Buckeye board will be making their official visit with the Buckeyes, including a host of players who appear to have Ohio State at the top of their lists. 

On Tuesday, Berea, Kentucky's Damien Harris tweeted a pretty important change to his recruiting calendar.

With Harris now on the slate, the Buckeyes — and the 105,000-plus in attendance — will be putting on a show for the nation's top-ranked running back (Harris), the top overall player in the country (Josh Sweat), perhaps the country's most dynamic athlete (Torrance Gibson), the second-ranked cornerback in the nation (Kevin Toliver II) as well one of the fastest-rising wide receiver prospects in the country this summer (Lawrence Cager).

Cager is having some potential difficulties arranging travel plans for his family, so he may not make the trip and it appears Scottsdale, Arizona's Christian Kirk will not be on-hand as the Buckeyes had hoped. There is still an outside chance that Matt Burrell, one of the most important targets left on the Buckeye board, could make his official next weekend as well. So yeah, it's a big weekend.

Harris, Cager, and Gibson are among the players most people believe will end up as Buckeyes, and although each of them continue to be very big on Ohio State, they've each held off on committing up to this point. I won't be so bold as to predict that changes next weekend, but there's plenty of reasons to be optimistic Cager and Gibson could potentially change some of their recruiting plans as well.

Gibson, who was in some ways "outed" as a "silent commitment" said he still plans to announce on October 20th, but his official visit to Columbus is the only one planned and Cager has long named Ohio State his "dream school" and has not ruled out a commitment earlier than his All-Star game announcement plans.

While there's an obvious frustration from Buckeye fans all over the internet, clamoring for a commitment from a player or players who they believe to be difference-makers, each of these players continues to wait for the right time to make their choice. It's a new era in recruiting and I'm a believer that guys should wait until they're 100-percent ready to announce, and hopefully ready to do so without the need for additional visits. 

Maybe I'm just old-fashioned...

If you'd like a chance to watch Ohio State 2015 commitment Joe Burrow take the field for the first game of his senior season, you can. On Friday evening, if you head over to the Athens Bulldogs website and click on the link for ESPN, you'll be able to watch Burrow and his teammates take on Gallia Academy. The game is likely to get out of hand quickly, so if you want to watch Burrow you're going to want to check it out early. The game begins at 7:30 p.m. For the record, Burrow is one Buckeye commitment who will not be in attendance on September 6th in Columbus because he'll be in Athens watching his dad's Ohio Bobcats take on Kentucky.

Alabama commit Mekhi Brown visited Ohio State this past summer and had announced that he'd be taking an official visit to Columbus this fall. The initial plans were for Brown to visit during the Virginia Tech game, but he told me last night that won't be happening. He did suggest he'd reschedule the visit and pinpointed the home game against Michigan as the likely date.

If you're a fan of high school football and big-time prospects interested in Ohio State, then make sure you're watching St. Thomas Aquinas and American Heritage go head-to-head this Friday night on Fox Sports. Aside from Torrance Gibson, Buckeye targets like Tarvarus McFadden and Dredrick Snelson will line up for the Patriots of Heritage while St. Thomas Aquinas rolls out Nick Bosa (2016 DE) and Trevon Grimes (2017 WR) as well as 2015 studs Devante Peete, Jordan Scarlett, Rashard Causey, Damon Arnette and others. You'd be hard-pressed to find this much talent on one high school football field anywhere else in the country.

Speaking of Nick Bosa, the country's top-ranked weak-side defensive end in his class — and brother of Ohio State defensive end Joey —will be one of the many major recruits on campus next weekend. Remarkably, Bosa won't even be the top-ranked defensive end in the 2016 class on hand. That honor goes to Tampa Bay's Shavar Manuel, the second-ranked overall player in the 2016 class. Manuel is a 6-foot-5, 262-pound end from Blake High School and although it's unlikely the Buckeyes are able to lure him north for college, getting him on campus is a great place to start. 

One player from the 2016 class that is on commitment watch for next weekend is St. Clairsville, Ohio's Brendan Ferns. The linebacker from southern Ohio will be back on campus for what seems like the 14th time in the last five months and the Buckeyes continue to be in a great position with the 6-foot-3, 223-pounder. Could a commitment be coming? Possible, but not likely. I'd expect him to wait through the end of the season, but the environment next weekend could change a lot of plans.

Ohio State offered 2016 wide receiver Divine Deablo from Winston Salem, North Carolina on Tuesday and he instantly becomes a member of the "all-name" team. The 6-foot-3, 180-pounder has offers already from Clemson, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia Tech and others. 

Another top 2016 offer that went out on Wednesday, to Pittsburgh's Damar Hamlin, and the Buckeyes are going to be involved in this one for a while. Hamlin is the country's 12th-ranked cornerback in the 2016 class and at 6-foot-tall and 175-pounds, he fits the profile that Chris Ash is looking for in his cornerbacks. Hamlin worked out at Ohio State during Friday Night Lights and apparently the Buckeyes liked what they saw. Hamlin told 11W that the Buckeyes are near the top of his list and we'll have more from him later this week.


Comments Show All Comments

buckeyeT24's picture

Nick Bosa looks just as good, or if not better than Joey did in high school! That family flourishes with talent.

+3 HS
Buckeye414's picture

He is EXCELLENT with his hands to shed blocks, good with the timing of his entanglements with other players, can shift inside and out and is also very patient with his rush. He will be great no matter where he goes.

-Go Bucks!

Clinger76's picture

Damn good stuff!! Can't wait to be at Sept 6th game. Gonna be electric!

"If you take no risks, you will suffer no defeats, But if you take no risks, you will earn no victories."

Myc24's picture

That's a whole heap of talent visiting the Shoe. Even if only half of these killer athletes commit, the future is shining and bright along the Olentangy.

"Because I couldn't go for three!"  - Wayne Woodrow Hayes

+1 HS
AlwayzABuckeye614's picture
+1 HS
WezBuck28's picture

The name Divine Deablo is just sick! I want him just for that alone..

+6 HS
JohnnyKozmo's picture

Deablo, is like, Spanish for a fighting chicken-Ricky Bobby

Pain don't hurt-Dalton

+9 HS
Colerainbuck's picture

And I guess since he's divine, that would make him a fighting chicken...from God!?!? Urbans all over him like a spider monkey!

WezBuck28's picture

I thought it means " a whales vagina"?, oh wait, that's San Diego...never mind..

mh277907's picture

It would be nice if the VaTech game ended like the PSU game last year. 


GoBucksToledo's picture

Can someone tell Nick not to hurt Torrance?

+9 HS
chemicalwaste's picture

Nick a Bosa is just a beast. Good luck to B1G qbs if it was Bosa on one side and sweat on the other. A lot of wishful thinking going on but it's not impossible.

nikolajz1's picture

Might even be possible to see Bosa's on both ends of the defensive line for one year. Couple that with McMillan and maybe Sweat. That defense is giving me chills thinking about it. 

+3 HS
chemicalwaste's picture

That is if sweat moved to linebacker. It would be tough to have 3 ends out there. And assuming Joey stays for his senior year. Hopefully he does because it would make it more compelling for Nick to come play with his brother.

Edit: Sorry Joey, I don't hope you die. It's bound to happen one day, but let's hope not for a while.

+1 HS
teddyballgame's picture

Hopefully he dies because it would make it more compelling...


+12 HS
Grayskullsession's picture

Really bad typo / autocorrection.

"if irony were made of strawberries, we' d all be drinking a lot of smoothies right now."

+2 HS
Squirrel Master's picture

That is the typo of all typos! Good lord could that be any worse!

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

+3 HS
chemicalwaste's picture

I don't really think it could be any worse.

What Would Troy Smith Do's picture

Hopefully he dies

This made me laugh out loud at work.  I knew it was typo and it just sent this statement so far into the absurd that I couldn't help myself.

+3 HS
chemicalwaste's picture

Lo siento. Did it on my phone. Definitely not what I meant. I must fix.

+1 HS
fuzzmonky's picture

Dude, I just got yelled at by my boss because I was laughing so hard I had a choughing attack. That typo was epic because you were talking about brothers and playing for the same team it just was way to set up for success haha. Damn phones

...Because I couldn't go for 3

+1 HS
OSU725's picture

6-7 years of Bosa(s) coming at opposing BIG 10 QBs makes me pretty happy. Assuming Joey leaves as a junior that could be 6-7 years of a Bosa wearing #97. Big 10 opponents felt that Aaron Craft was here for ever just wait.

+1 HS
buckskin's picture

So how long will 11W be down if Harris, Sweat and Gibson commit to the good guys right after the VTech game?  That unlikely scenario would be absolutely awesome.  Internet server meltdown.

+4 HS
SilverState's picture

Looks like Gibson has set up his second official for Oklahoma, the week after VT:


+1 HS
BroJim's picture

Caint wait to see how it all plays out!

Go Buckeyes, beat Navy!

I season my simple food with hunger

CHUCKMEGA's picture

Where do the Buckeyes stand on landing a defensie tackle in '15. Also, watching American Heritage I thought Tarvarus McFadden with his size and speed looked like a five star cb!

Buckeye BadDog's picture

I watched the Bosa brothers in person Joey's senior year and frankly - at least in that game - Nick was more impressive. Now this was most likely because Joey's reputation was solid and he was drawing double and triple blocks, but I was impressed with Nick's speed. And from looking at the film, he hasn't lost a step. Will be great having Bosa bookends.

I would also love for the OSU coaches to take another run at another Naples HS standout (El Guapo's Alma Mater) - Tyler Byrd. I coached this kid 7 years ago in Pop Warner football and he was a standout then. He a soft-spoken kid and even though he has made a soft-verbal to Florida I think would fit well with the team speed UFM is wanting to maintain. And I KNOW he is an Urban Myer fan, so it's not like there is no shot.

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
- Albert Einstein

"Nothing that comes easy is worth a dime." - Woody Hayes

Poison nuts's picture

You're down here in SW FL? Fort Myers myself...

"Do not pass me, just slow down - I can move right through you" Superchunk - Precision Auto.

Balkestud's picture

Where at Poison Nut, I grew up in Town and River and went to Cypress middle and high. I am now living in Hawaii however

It gets kind of rough in the back of my limousine,



Squirrel Master's picture

"Hey Kirk, we got the top overall player and DE, the top dual threat QB and the top RB here in Columbus and me the top OLB. all we need is you the top WR"

tweeted from Justin Hilliard

(yeah I know, more than 120 characters)

Just think about that line right there. Unreal!

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

+2 HS
whobdis's picture

Hardly any of these highlight tapes suprise me anymore.but Bosa's is ridiculous

Scarlet_Buckeye's picture

Want. Nick. Bosa. NOW.

DenBuck's picture

Ohio kids like Ferns are so important to get IMHO. He grew up a Buckeye, loves the program and we've all seen his room. Can't let kids like that get away. 

Buckeye For Life

tiph88n's picture

Was told by a source within the program that Harris is a silent commit along with Gibson...fantastic if true!

Pain is temporary...pride is forever!

+1 HS
SilverState's picture

Pretty reliable source?

+1 HS
tiph88n's picture

Yes...and has "almost" always been correct...key word almost.  

Pain is temporary...pride is forever!

+1 HS
BrowardBuckeye's picture

9er...is that you pulling a reverse troll?

+1 HS
buckskin's picture

Nick looks like a college ready DL, just like his brother. He uses his hands very well, stays low and in that stance has great leverage and balance against the OL. He also has a nice burst of speed and a good feel for the game (as evidenced by the play where he lays off the QB and sniffs out the screen). He also is does a great job of getting his hands up to bat down passes when he can't get a sack. Come on bucks, lets get him.

cinserious's picture

Anybody else feel after Nick bosa's jr year, he ends up the no. 1 defensive end in the country?

One day I will valiantly become a political prisoner of 11W jail.

KBonay's picture

Matthew Burrell's game highlights were almost comical.  He literally man-handles a dude (or two, or even the ref) on every single play.

dubjayfootball90's picture

Damn, things are heating up. FOOTBALL IS BACK, BABY!!!!

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.