The Hurry Up is your nightly dose of updates from the Ohio State football recruiting trail, keeping tabs on the latest from commits and targets from around the country.
DON'T GET YOUR HOPES UP
Ohio State will learn the fate of three highly sought-after prospects on Saturday afternoon when five-star cornerbacks Darnay Holmes and Jeffrey Okudah and four-star safety Bubba Bolden announce their college decisions at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
Perhaps the least likely of the trio to end up in Columbus, Bolden will choose between Ohio State and USC. He was once committed to the Trojans but reopened his recruitment in July because he felt he rushed through the process the first time through.
Ohio State became an attractive destination with Bishop Gorman teammates Tate Martell, Tyjon Lindsey and Haskell Garrett in the fold, so much so that many — including this reporter — believed he would commit to the Buckeyes during his official visit in November.
Once he left Columbus, though, things began to trend in a different direction. USC reeled off nine-straight wins and capped a turnaround season with a Rose Bowl victory. That momentum only continued this week at Army Bowl practices, where Bolden was repeatedly spotted with future Trojan Hunter Echols and lean Greg Johnson.
Bolden has not given anything away — “Everyone will find out where I'm going Saturday,” he told Eleven Warriors. But he's also had fun with the recruiting process, teasing both fan bases by throwing up an “O” and “Fight On” hand gestures for separate pictures.
In the end, though, Bolden has been a USC fan his entire life, and the allure of playing in the L.A. Coliseum will be too much for Ohio State to overcome.
Sources close to Holmes, meanwhile, told Eleven Warriors on Friday he wants to go to Ohio State, but his mom wants him at UCLA and his dad is pushing him toward USC. They will all sit down tonight to make a final decision as a family, but it all comes down to whether Holmes can convince his parents to let him leave the coop.
I know you probably think a parent should never dictate where their soon-to-be adult son should go to school, but it's an emotional decision for everyone involved. Of course, they're going to selfishly want him to stay close to home as opposed to playing on the other side of the country.
The Bruins have long been considered the favorite to land the 5-foot-10, 190-pounder, but his official visit to Ohio State in November plus a subsequent in-home visit from head coach Urban Meyer and defensive coordinator Greg Schiano put the Buckeyes back in the thick of things late in the process.
Holmes has spent a lot of time with future Buckeyes Tate Martell and Baron Browning this week at West team practices, but his dad has also been within earshot. That cossetting is why my gut tells me he too ends up with the Trojans.
All signs point to Ohio State when it comes to Okudah, though in the spirit of good gamesmanship, he told Eleven Warriors on Thursday he played no role in the Buckeyes landing his good friend Baron Browning.
Ohio State has been at the top of Okudah's list for more than a year now, but Florida State and Oklahoma remain in the mix. He's intrigued by the Seminoles' ability to send defensive backs to the National Football League and is close to a number of Sooner commits, but there's no reason to think anything has changed at the top.
Okudah took an official visit to Columbus for the Nov. 26 game against Michigan, which was followed by an in-home visit with Meyer just a few days later. Florida State, meanwhile, only sent defensive coordinator Charles Kelly — practically conceding the race with a month left in the process.
PICTURE PERFECT ENDING
Ohio State quarterback commit Tate Martell will cap his illustrious high school career with a start for the West squad in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
But if you can't wait until Saturday to see the future Buckeye in action, Scout.com compiled the highlights from Martell's week of practice.
The 5-foot-11, 203-pound Martell threw for 2,363 yards and 41 touchdowns and rushed for 1,256 yards and 21 touchdowns this season to lead Las Vegas, Nevada, Bishop Gorman to its eighth-consecutive state title and third-straight mythical national championship.
He was recently named the national player of the year by Gatorade, MaxPreps and USA TODAY Sports.
SO MUCH FOR AN ALL-ACCESS PASS
Six hundred of the nation's top high school underclassmen gathered in San Antonio Friday morning for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl National Combine. The following Ohio State targets competed in drills like the 40-yard dash, shuttle run and vertical jump:
- Marietta, Georgia, Walton four-star wide receiver Dominick Blaylock
- Clearwater, Florida, Central Catholic four-star wide receiver Amari Burney
- Springfield three-star linebacker Cameron Hoelscher
- Indianapolis, Indiana, North Central three-star cornerback Donald Johnson II
- Bradenton, Florida, IMG Academy five-star running back T.J. Pledger
- IMG Academy four-star cornerback Brendan Radley-Hiles
- Katy, Texas, Taylor four-star defensive end Max Wright
The Army Bowl unfortunately only gave on-field access to 247Sports, so I was unable to catch up with any of the above-mentioned prospects while I was at the Alamodome today. I look to do so in the coming days and bring you a full report shortly, nevertheless.