The Hurry Up is your nightcap of Ohio State recruiting news, catching you up on the day’s events with an ear on the ground for what’s next.
OHIO STATE EXTENDS OFFER TO 2017 LINEBACKER PETE WERNER
For the majority of 2017's high-major college football recruits, the real "meat" of their recruitment is underway. Yes, the truly rare and "elite" players get noticed, add offers and make headlines nowadays as a freshman or sophomore, but the months following your junior season and heading into your pre-senior spring are really where the cream rises to the top.
So let's meet one of the Buckeyes' newest offers, Indianapolis Cathedral linebacker Pete Werner, one of the Midwest's fastest-rising prospects. The Mount Vernon, Indiana resident added opportunities from Ohio State and California last night to a rapidly expanding offer list.
Cathedral, the alma mater of redshirt sophomore wide receiver Terry McLaurin, is one of Indiana's best programs, and though it's usually a Notre Dame feeder school (if the Irish offer, which in this case they have), the Buckeyes at least have a very energetic foot in the door: Indianapolis is one of Kerry Coombs' home territories on the recruiting trail and he has already developed excellent relationships with Cathedral 2018 stars, running back Markese Stepp and offensive lineman Emil Ekiyor.
At 6-foot-4 and 215 pounds, Werner–whose father played two years in the NFL with the Jets and Eagles–is explosive at the point of attack and has well-above average sideline-to-sideline speed. As a junior, not only did he line up at linebacker, but also cornerback and safety, showcasing his unique versatility. He reminds me personally of Minnesota's 2016 signee Carter Coughlin, who was a top target for Ohio State last year before choosing to stay home.
Being such a short distance from Columbus, I'd expect to at least see Werner on campus with the Buckeyes before making any kind of decision about his future. Yesterday, we talked about linebacker possibilities for 2017, and Werner certainly belongs on the list, even if he's going to be a tough "pull" from Brian Kelly and Notre Dame.
INTRODUCING 2018 DEFENSIVE LINEMAN TREVOR TROUT
You can never have enough quality defensive linemen in your program, and usually the earlier they can be identified and recruited the better, so it's a good time to introduce Trevor Trout, a 6-foot-3, 295-pound sophomore from St. Louis.
The Chaminade College Prep lineman has three early offers, including two Big Ten schools (Iowa, Indiana) and one SEC program (Missouri) so it's reasonable to expect that a year from now, as he prepares for his senior season, he's a name we'll be hearing a lot about. He told Eleven Warriors that he has begun to have some correspondence, via mailers, with the Buckeyes.
"They have (sent mail)," Trout said of Ohio State. "I'm interested. (Ezekiel Elliott) went there, and in St. Louis, he's one of the guys you look up to. They have great defensive linemen production and Columbus is a great place to play football."
The 2018 prospect grew up in Missouri and has an early offer from the Tigers, but there's no inherent advantage or fandom to speak of.
"I didn't watch sports until I was older, I just played them," Trout said. "I never really rooted for any team growing up. Since then I've paid attention to Nebraska, Clemson, Wisconsin, Iowa –– those type of big defensive line schools."
This coming weekend, Trout will be at Missouri's junior day and will also head to an Iowa elite junior day, but beyond that, he's just starting to get his feet wet with recruiting and isn't sure what schools he'll try to see this spring and summer.
HARBAUGH POKING THE BEAR
If you're a fan of Ohio State–as most of you are–there's not much that sounds better than watching the greatest enemies you've ever faced, Michigan and the SEC, go head-to-head in a "both sides come out looking weird" brawl.
Rejoice! That moment is upon you.
Today, Michigan's Jim Harbaugh put forth the official word that the Wolverines would head to Florida for spring practices.
The notion of this move has riled up SEC surrogates, their commissioner and fans, and certainly some in today's media are taking the opportunity to fire shots at Michigan's bizarre, yet undeniably successful, head coach.
Jim Harbaugh needs to quit while he’s ahead. Michigan’s coach is going to get his spring practice trip to Florida. Commissioners from the SEC (Greg Sankey) and the ACC (John Swofford) and NCAA President Mark Emmert feel the trip violates the spirit of the recruiting rules – but it does not break any rules. Harbaugh is pushing the envelope of the recruiting rules and he knows it. He is well within his rights to do it. But it remains that he’s doing it at a time when every other college football player is on break. Those who point that out, like the above-mentioned adults, are portrayed by Harbaugh as “whiners” or “comical.”
Let’s put aside the fact that it is inappropriate for a coach at any school to call out the commissioner of another conference. I know Harbaugh enjoys the WWE; he appeared at Monday night’s WWE event. But, coach, this ain’t the WWE.
OK. Harbaugh, of course, hears the rumblings about potential rule-skirting and naturally, he's going to reply because that's what he does.
If the Georgia coach is implying any intent on our part to break rules, he is barking up the wrong tree.— Coach Harbaugh (@CoachJim4UM) February 24, 2016
In all reality, and I realize that this position may cost me some points here, but this spring football decision is brilliant and as soon as the Buckeyes can arrange to practice at St. Thomas Aquinas, they should.
BUCKEYES LOOKING AGAIN AT THE JUCO RANKS
Late in the 2016 recruiting cycle, Ohio State went to New York and plucked one of the country's finest JUCO talents, offensive lineman Malcolm Pridgeon, from the hands of Baylor and others. Today, they offered a 2017 defensive tackle from another Empire State junior college.
Teair Tart-Spencer, a 6-foot-4, 295-pounder from Brooklyn's ASA, added the Buckeyes to an already impressive list that includes Alabama, South Carolina, Ole Miss and others.
Originally from Philadelphia's West High School, Tart-Spencer, the JUCO standout will have three years to play two when he makes a decision on what school will be his next stop.