The Hurry Up: Ohio State, Michigan Battle for Toledo Supremacy While Running Back is on Verge of Decision

By Andrew Lind on May 17, 2017 at 7:15 pm
Dallas Gant

Dallas Gant

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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.

TOLEDO WAR

Having grown up in a small town in Northwest Ohio, I witnessed firsthand how the region is split between Ohio State and Michigan — with a few Notre Dame fans sprinkled among the masses. It's understandable, too, considering the drive to Columbus is twice as far as a short trip up U.S. 23 to Ann Arbor.

Toledo, specifically, has long been a major battleground city for the Buckeyes and Wolverines, and the two programs went head-to-head once again for St. John's Jesuit four-star linebacker Dallas Gant. This, however, marked the first battle at the border between Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, who — naturally — were born just seven months apart in the same Toledo hospital.

Gant, of course, announced his commitment to the Buckeyes during a ceremony at his high school on Tuesday afternoon. But before he reached for the Scarlet and Gray cap sitting to his left, his father, James — an avid fan of the Wolverines, no less — asked the room full of family and friends which school they think his son should attend.

The one or two cheers for Michigan were quickly drowned out by an overwhelming calls for Ohio State, showing just how much the region can be influenced by one team winning 14 of the last 16 games of the series.

“I'm excited to be a part of the Ann Arbor and Columbus battle,” Gant told Eleven Warriors. “It's interesting [being courted by the two rivals]. Michigan made their appearance pretty late, but it was cool. I got to visit and I loved it. I loved coach Harbaugh. It was a great time down there, [but] they just kind of came in late. Overall, I just felt more comfortable at Ohio State.

“Michigan got me to think a little bit. Coach [Don] Brown is great, we built a great relationship and Coach Harbaugh is obviously a unique guy with a great coaching staff,” he continued. “[Ohio State] just phenomenal at recruiting. They know who they want to get and then they're just non-stop with recruiting them until they get them. It's just incredible the job that they do and the relationships they form.”

Surely, the two programs will meet again on the banks of the mighty Maumee. But until Harbuagh pulls a prospect Meyer wants, Toledo will remain a part of Ohio, just as it has been since the conclusion of the Toledo War in 1837.

SEWING SEEDS OF DISCORD

Ohio State recently won another prizefight for Georgia four-star defensive end Brenton Cox, but not because he grew up rooting for the Buckeyes. He spurned the long-time favorite Bulldogs for one very specific reason.

“I want to be a Top 10 pick or a Top 5 pick in the NFL one day,” Cox told DawgNation. “I think that I can be developed better for that at Ohio State. They will develop me better there and they showed me that.”

The 6-foot-5, 247-pound Cox plans to take a couple official visits this fall, but remains 100 percent committed to Ohio State. Just like all committed prospects have the right to do, he just wants to make sure he's making the right choice.

He named Oregon as a possible stop. Perhaps there will be 2-3 others.

Georgia won’t be one of those officials. He said he’s seen enough from UGA after maybe a dozen trips to the school since he was in the eighth grade.

If the familiar Bulldogs weren't able to land him in the first place, what makes you think a school like Oregon will make him change his mind? Reporters are going to continue to ask committed players like Cox, quarterback Emory Jones and safety Jaiden Woodbey questions like this to drum up some news, so let's not get too worked up until they actually step on another campus.

TIME IS RUNNING OUT

We've mentioned Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Blackman three-star running back Master Teague III as someone who could potentially land in Ohio State 2018 recruiting class if the Buckeyes strike out with five-star Zamir White next month.

Running backs coach Tony Alford has gotten to know the 5-foot-11, 210-pound Teague quite well in recent months and seems on the verge of offering. The only issue is that Teague has no plans of waiting around for that day to come and narrowed things down to Auburn, Georgia and Tennessee on Wednesday afternoon. An announcement will soon follow.

As mentioned, Alford recently visited Teague for a spring practice and is expected to attend another in the next week or so. It would be foolish, however, the Buckeyes could just offer and jump to the front of the line. 

Georgia will likely be Teague's landing spot, and he'll be a huge pickup for a team struggling to put together its 2018 class.

AHEAD OF THE CURVE

Ohio State wide receivers coach Zach Smith was in South Florida on Tuesday, at which he time he offered a scholarship to St. Thomas Aquinas sophomore outside linebacker Jahmar Brown.

“When I heard about it, I was pretty thrilled,” Brown told Eleven Warriors. “I've been watching Ohio State since I became interested in football.”

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound is not yet ranked by any major recruiting sites, but already holds offers from Arkansas, Cincinnati, Michigan State, Oklahoma and Oregon, among others. He recorded 86 tackles, four forced fumbles, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries for Miami Monsignor Pace last season, but transferred to Aquinas back in February.

PARTY IN THE CITY WHERE THE HEAT IS ON

Smith earned himself an evening of relaxation after he also extended a scholarship offer to Brown's teammate, cornerback Jaden Davis.

“He wasn't able to tell me personally, but when coach [Roger] Harriott told me, it was like a dream come true,” Davis told Eleven Warriors. “Ohio State has always been high on my list, and to receive an offer is crazy.”

The 5-foot-11, 165-pound Davis also does not have any stars next to his name, but holds nearly 30 offers from programs such as Florida, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Oregon and Tennessee. He finished his sophomore season with 26 tackles, 11 pass break ups and three interceptions — including in the state championship game to help the Raiders clinch their third-consecutive title.

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