Good morning folks. I'm sure the weekend has been a great one for most of you as it's been chock-full of football goodness and with that happiness in your bones that can't be easily described. The Buckeyes pounded out their first win of the season in less-than-glamourous fashion but a win is a win...right?
Outside of the Scarlet and Gray, this weekend also marked the first full weekend of prep football around the country and with it, our first look at how each of Ohio State's football commitments fared in their high school games. Aside from Buckeye commitments, we'll examine the outcomes of a few big games around the country that had Ohio State-recruiting-related news and notes.
Welcome to Sunday, and let's begin.
American Heritage vs St. Thomas Aquinas
After dominating Dwyer a week ago on national television, Torrance Gibson and his American Heritage teammates hosted took on MaxPreps.com's 3rd-ranked team, St. Thomas Aquinas at Sun Life Stadium in Miami. The results were decidedly different this time around thanks to a stout Raiders defense that kept the country's top athlete from doing, well, anything.
Gibson finished with only 34 yards passing on 6-12 passing and 20 yards on three carries, a huge departure from last week's highlight-fest. St. Thomas Aquinas, led by Ohio State recruit Nick Bosa, kept Gibson from beating them by keeping the ball out of his hands and it was a decision that paid off in spades.
St. Xavier vs East St. Louis
One of the bigger games across the country this weekend was East St. Louis High School traveling to Cincinnati to take on the Bombers of Cincinnati St. Xavier and Buckeye commitment Justin Hilliard. The Flyers of ESL are led by defensive end Terry Beckner, Jr. and running back Nate Strong, a Missouri commitment. Beckner, the 19th-ranked prospect in the country, impressed Hilliard, the star of the Bombers' defense.
"His stats may not show it, but he played great" Hilliard said of Beckner. "He's good. I'd like to have him as a Buckeye, and I want that Jeff Thomas too."
Thomas, a 2017 standout with offers from Florida State, Michigan, Ohio State and others, is the 20th-ranked prospect in his class. Despite the big name advantage going the way of the Flyers, the final score went the way of Hilliard and his St. Xavier teammates, winning their opener 35-20.
"I think I played pretty decent," Hilliard told Eleven Warriors. "I think I had eight solo tackles and one sack, or something like that. We can work on seeing out screens and with our pass rush. I stopped the run well but could've had more sacks."
Always our toughest critic, Hilliard made a big physical impression on Rivals.com analyst Josh Helmboldt.
Justin Hilliard got the best of Terry Beckner in the 1st #Rivals100 meeting of the afternoon. Tossed him aside on a blitz. Beckner at LT— Josh Helmholdt (@JoshHelmholdt) August 30, 2014
SIBLEY LIGHTS IT UP
Todd Sibley, Jr. is Ohio's best running back in the 2017 class and he showed it on Thursday night, leading the way in a 24-0 win for Archbishop Hoban (Akron) over Firestone with 197 yards and three scores. Sibley had touchdown runs of 32, 17, and 55 yards in his sophomore debut and made it clear he's a name to remember over the next three years.
A 5-foot-10, 195-pound tailback, Sibley made multiple visits to Big Ten schools this past summer and has become a personal favorite of Danny Clark, the quarterback in his recruiting class already committed to Ohio State.
MCCALL LIVES UP TO THE HYPE
One of Ohio's most explosive athletes, 2016 running back Demario McCall single-handedly kept his North Ridgeville teammates in their game against Westlake, but unfortunately fell short, losing 34-33. McCall finished the game with 279 yards rushing and five touchdowns, and left with the respect of Westlake's head coach, Dave Campo.
“They have a great back over there," Campo told the Akron Morning-Journal. "While we didn’t stop him, we stopped shooting ourselves in the foot when it counted.”
McCall, who plans on being in Columbus for multiple Ohio State visits this fall, had touchdowns runs of 59 and 37 yards among his handful but says the loss is what matters, not his own stats.
REAL DEAL HOLYFIELD
In the "file this away for later department" is the performance of Elijah Holyfield, a 2016 standout from Woodward Academy in Atlanta, Georgia. Holyfield, the country's 20th-ranked tailback in the 2016 class, scored seven touchdowns in his season opener against Decatur. After returning the opening kickoff 84 yards for a score, Holyfield proceeded to add six different rushes for touchdowns.
Holyfield finished the game with 147 yards rushing. He told 11W on Saturday that he is hoping to make a trip to Columbus this fall to check out Ohio State when they host Michigan in late November.
There were a few members of the "Elite '15" who didn't play this weekend, with their first games coming next weekend.
Linebacker Nick Conner was held out of his game against Kilbourne as a precaution, he's been dealing with a knee injury and his team didn't want to risk any further damage. Conner says he'll be back in short order without any longterm issues.
Cass Tech's Josh Alabi, a two-way lineman for the Technicians, was taken off the field on a stretcher during their opener against Oak Park on Friday, causing some concerns that he had perhaps suffered a serious injury, but according to Cass Tech's Jermaine Crowell, an assistant coach, it was simply a matter of dehydration.
"He's ok," Crowell told 11W. "Josh just needed an IV for some dehydration."
The prognosis on Sioux Falls' lineman Grant Schmidt's injury hasn't come in yet, but it appears the 6-foot-5, 275-pounder avoided a serious injury of his own despite initial worries he may have broken his leg. Schmidt, who went both ways in his team's season-opening win against South Dakota's second-ranked team, said he'd know more today.
"I'm going to get some x-rays done to make sure nothing snapped," Schmidt told 11W. "They were scared because my leg swelled up like a watermelon, and I'm guessing I'll miss a game or two, but I heal fast."
If you didn't see this in the middle of yesterday's cirque du football I understand, but it appears Matthew Burrell will in fact be at Ohio State next weekend, per his Twitter.
That tweet is good news for the Buckeyes' recruiting effort with Burrell, who has been a top priority along the offensive line for months and continues to be a player they view as a leader of the class-type. Burrell had been considering the visit for a while now and it's finally official, as for whether or not it's an official visit, that remains to be seen.
|JOE BURROW||2015||QB||Athens (The Plains, OH)||Gallia Academy (Gallipolis, OH)||Won 52-0, Burrow was 12-12 for 289 yards in two quarters.|
|JOSH MOORE||2015||TE||North (Olathe, KS)||DNP|
|GRANT SCHMIDT||2015||OL||Roosevelt - 03 (Sioux Falls, SD)||Brandon Valley (Brandon, SD)||Won 42-34 - injured ankle (see more above)|
|KEVIN FEDER||2015||OL||Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, NJ)||DNP|
|LIAM MCCULLOUGH||2015||OL (LS)||Kilbourne (Worthington, OH)||Scioto (Dublin, OH)||Lost 17-14|
|JOSH ALABI||2015||DL||Cass Tech (Detroit, MI)||Oak Park (Oak Park, MI)||Won 27-26.|
|JASHON CORNELL||2015||DL||Cretin Durham Hall (St. Paul, MN)||White Bear Lake (White Bear Lake, MN)||Won 34-27. Cornell had 4 sacks, 12 tackles and 5 TFL, including a forced fumbe.|
|DRE'MONT JONES||2015||DL||St. Ignatius (Cleveland, OH)||Lawrence Central (Indianapolis, IN)||Won 28-21. Jones played both TE and DE and collected three receptions and led the Wildcats with four tackles, including three TFL.|
|NICK CONNER||2015||LB||Scioto (Dublin, OH)||Kilbourne (Worthington, OH)||Won 17-14, DNP|
|JUSTIN HILLIARD||2015||LB||St. Xavier (Cincinnati, OH)||East St. Louis (East St. Louis, IL)||Won 21-6.|
|CARLTON DAVIS||2015||DB||Norland (Miami, FL)||Martin Luther King (Lithonia, GA)||Won 30-0, Davis had a pair of interceptions and was named MVP of the showcase.|
|JAMEL DEAN||2015||DB||Cocoa (Cocoa, FL)||DNP|
|TYLER GREEN||2015||DB||DeMatha (Hyattesville, MD)||Archbishop Wood (Warminster, PA)||Lost 34-13, Green had five tackles and one PBU.|
|DENZEL WARD||2015||DB||Nordonia (Macedonia, OH)||Mayfield (Mayfield, OH)||Won 36-35. Ward excelled on offense and defense - story above.|
|ERIC GLOVER-WILLIAMS||2015||ATH||McKinley (Canton, OH)||McDowell (Erie, PA)||Lost 30-21. EGW picked up 126 yards rushing on 12 carries.|
|TYLER GERALD||2016||OL||Sciotoville (Portsmouth, OH)||South Gallia (Crown City, OH)||Lost 48-12.|
|GEORGE HILL||2016||RB||Hubbard (Hubbard, OH)||Lakeview (Cortland, OH)||Won 35-0. Hill had 54 yards on 11 carries.|
|DANNY CLARK||2017||QB||Washington (Massillon, OH)||Perry (Massillon, OH)||Won 37-30. 15-27, 139 yards and two touchdowns.|