The Hurry Up: Army Bowl Announcements Bring Added Clarity to Ohio State's 2017 Recruiting Class

By Andrew Lind on January 8, 2017 at 7:15p
Kendall Sheffield

Kendall Sheffield

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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.

BOOMING WEEKEND

After months of speculation, we finally learned the fates of highly sought-after prospects Jeffrey Okudah, Darnay Holmes and Bubba Bolden at Saturday's U.S. Army All-American Bowl. 

As expected, Ohio State landed Okudah, the top-rated cornerback in the country, and struck out on Bolden and Holmes. 

Many, including this reporter, believed Okudah's pledge to be inevitable, but he said after the game Florida State made a late push in his recruitment. 

The Seminoles really impressed upon Okudah their winning tradition and ability to send defensive backs like Jalen Ramsey and Xavier Rhodes to the National Football League. But in the end, the Buckeyes laid out the best plan for the five-star prospect.

"The relationship with my family, life after football and development at my position [is why I picked Ohio State]," Okudah told Eleven Warriors. "It just all came together and was the best decision for me and my family moving forward."

Ohio State undoubtedly sold Okudah on early playing time and its history of sending players to the next level, among other things, using departing cornerback Gareon Conley as the latest example. Now Okudah, who will enroll in classes on Monday, will look to fill Conley's shoes next season.

"I'm excited [to get to Columbus] and compete for and earn the starting spot," Okudah said. 

WHAT'S NEXT?

Now that the dust has settled on a busy weekend in San Antonio, it's time to reassess where Ohio State stands with its remaining targets. Among them, top-rated junior college cornerback Kendall Sheffield

Nobody was talking about Sheffield two months ago, and with good reason as Ohio State continued to await decisions from the trio mentioned above. But that all changed when the former Alabama cornerback took an under-the-radar official visit to Columbus for the game against Michigan. 

Head coach Urban Meyer and defensive backs coach Kerry Coombs made an in-home visit with Sheffield and his parents just three days later and the Buckeyes suddenly found themselves right in the thick of his recruitment. 

Texas and Texas A&M have also made a push for the Houston native, but nobody really seems to know what Sheffield is thinking at this point in time; he and his family aren't the most talkative bunch.

Sheffield planned to announce his intentions shortly after graduating from Blinn College in mid-December and enroll at his college of choice this month, but he may ultimately delay his decision and start classes in the summer. 

We'll know the timeline soon enough with spring semester starting on Monday.

If Sheffield does choose Ohio State, it's because the Buckeyes offer him the best chance to start immediately. He left Alabama after he was forced to redshirt as a freshman and would have three years to play two seasons in Columbus.  

ROUNDING OUT THE CLASS

All that said, the current scholarship crunch combined with the lack of prospects remaining on the board makes it less likely Ohio State adds four more commits to the class. 

The Buckeyes are truly only waiting for wide receiver Jaylen Harris to take his official visit and defensive tackles Marvin Wilson and Jay Tufele to announce their decisions on signing day, but it's unlikely they land all three. 

The staff will also reassess several in-state prospects like Massillon Washington offensive tackle Thayer Munford and Warren G. Harding athlete Lynn Bowden when the contact period opens on Thursday, but it's unclear if they'll follow through with an offer.

New names are certain to pop up in the final month of the process, but it'll be interesting to see whether or not the staff ultimately is content with the class as currently constructed.

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