11W Recruiting Mailbag: Wheels In Motion

By Jeremy Birmingham on June 5, 2013 at 4:00 pm

Welp, it's not exactly been the best couple days for the 2014 Ohio State recruiting class, has it? 

On Saturday, it was the decision of Chase Winovich, a key linebacker target from Pittsburgh who decided to not only spurn Ohio State, but did so by choosing to attend Michigan. Monday it was the unexpected announcement of Kyle Allen, the top pro-style quarterback in the country, who chose to end his recruitment by committing to Texas A&M, leaving the Buckeyes shocked two weeks before he was scheduled to visit. Then Tuesday night came the (now refuted) word that the "lead" Ohio State had over Clemson and Alabama for the services of All-American, "must get" linebacker, Raekwon McMillan had dissipated and the Buckeyes were now in a three-way tie for the star from Georgia.

As we've noted a number of times around the ol' 11-Dub water cooler, 'crootin' is a fluid business, things change almost daily, and so while it's fun to get worked up and start hooting and hollering when things go well, and it's equally as enjoyable to slam your fist on the table yelling "Dadgummit! when things go awry, it's important to keep calm and trust Urban.

Those guys know what they're doing. 

To the mailbag!

What is the story, as you know it, on Chase Winovich? Is there something going on with McMillan that, counter to what the general consensus was before, that chase and kwon were competing for only one spot instead of two? - RCBirk21

Rarely, and I mean rarely, is there ever anything "behind" a recruits decision to commit other than their personal comfort level with a school and a coaching staff. Chase was very upfront with me, telling me that after his last visit to Ohio State he said he "didn't feel like he belonged," and that was not how he felt at Michigan. Obviously I wanted to ask for more details, but I have a lot of respect for the kids I cover and don't see a need to infringe too deeply on their privacy.

Chase is a great kid who, for whatever reason, the Buckeyes got "beat" on. Raekwon McMillan has nothing to do with the Chase Winovich commitment to Michigan, and neither does Dante Booker. It was just where Chase felt more comfortable.

Much has been said during this recruiting cycle on this site and others about Urban Meyer recruiting a certain personality type for this recruiting class.  Could you give us some insight as to whether this is in fact true, and if so, exactly what type of personality is it that Urban Meyer is looking for, and what type of personality does not fit? - Ahh Saturday

I had a sneaking suspicion that after my comments last week regarding Da'Shawn Hand that this would be a commonly asked question this week. For some reason, my contention that Ohio State would not be aggressively attempting to get back into the Hand sweepstakes set off an internet wildfire with people. As I have said a few times, it's a simple matter of personality. Ohio State wants people who are going to go 1000 miles per hour, every day, on and off the field. They want people who fight for each other, for their university and for their own improvement. They want people who are challenging themselves to improve every day and do so without the need to proclaim their own greatness for people to see, read, or hear. They want competitors and they want fighters. 

As far as Da'Shawn Hand? I've never said he was not a competitor, just that things with Ohio State and Hand did not see eye-to-eye from the start of his visit in November because he was not being treated any differently than any of the other recruits on hand, 90-minutes before kick-off of the biggest game of the year. The Buckeyes could not give Hand the attention they would have liked to, and the day was a bit too hectic for him to get "comfortable" at Ohio State.

Do you think a commitment from Quincy Wilson could affect a commitment from Lattimore? - BuckeyeGuy0615

Ohio State will be looking to add at least two more defensive backs in this class by the time it's all said and done. I've long been high on Quincy Wilson ending up in this class and his upcoming visit to Ohio State (currently still waiting for definitive date) will go a long way towards making that a reality. Ohio State defensive backs coach Kerry Coombs is very high on Wilson, who holds nearly 45 offers from a who's who of colleges. The Fort Lauderdale senior-to-be has never made any bones about his affection for Ohio State, and I think that's a good thing coming from Florida.

Will that affect Lattimore? In a word, no. Marshon is fully capable of beating out any player, at a number of positions, and is not going to be swayed by depth-charts, especially considering that Wilson, despite all his protestations, could conceivably be a safety by the time his college career is finished. Also, depending on who else Ohio State is able to land, Lattimore could very well play offense. He's a special player and he'll get on the field in a variety of ways, early and often.

Any news on when Curtis Samuel will visit? - BuckeyeVSTheWorld

I've tried to track down Samuel, the New York star who has the Buckeyes near the top of his list for a few weeks now to get confirmed the rumor that he's visiting Ohio State officially in early October. As of now, I've been unsuccessful in doing so, but I will keep trying. What we know is that Samuel is very high on Ohio State and is one of a handful of potential players in the "PH-Role" that Ohio State would be happy to reel in for 2014. Their focus at wide receiver continues to be outside wide receivers, but some players like Samuel are too good to turn away.

I noticed you predicted Demetrius Knox to UCLA. Why is that? Interesting since he seems like a heavy Buckeye lean, do you know something we don't? - TheObi

The aforementioned Chase Winovich grew up a Buckeye fan. He made a decision that, in some ways, was contrary to what he always grew up thinking he'd do given the chance, and I feel that Knox is in a similar position. Demetrius loves Ohio State, he talks to me more about their schedule this year, how they can beat Alabama, what they need to do to improve more than any other person I talk to, let alone recruits. He also loves the recruiting game and is going to soak up every ounce of it, so his recruitment will last into January most likely. It's not a matter of me feeling he likes UCLA or Miami or anyone else better than Ohio State, I just think that at the end of the day he'll come to a different and difficult conclusion: sometimes what you love is not the right fit for you. 

What's the deal at quarterback? - Everyone, and their mother.

Things got weird, and quickly, for Ohio State at the quarterback position since the start of last Friday's campus visit for Brandon Harris.

First, Harris had a great time, and he does genuinely like Ohio State. He believes he can win there, and he believes he can get a chance to learn and grow behind Braxton Miller, an opportunity he relishes. He's a quiet, respectful kid from a small town in Louisiana with a population that's only a fraction larger than Ohio State's enrollment. That's quite an adjustment.  His recruitment will go like this: Ohio State, Alabama and LSU are near the top, as LSU or Bama accepts another quarterback, another school from the south will suddenly become the en vogue choice for his commitment, like what happened with Auburn suddenly jumping into the picture as Texas A&M slipped out. One constant will be Ohio State, but it's a constant in this way: He likes Ohio State, but choosing the Buckeyes is the hardest of all the choices. As Woody once said, "Nothing easy is worth a damn," and we'll see if Brandon takes that challenge to heart.

Then DeShone Kizer from Toledo Central Catholic, who Ohio State has not yet offered, went out and won the Elite 11 on Saturday, prompting many around the state and the country to question the Buckeyes and their quarterback decisions. Top that off with a weekend that saw two outstanding performances from Drew Barker, who the Buckeyes never offered after more than a year of evaluations and the skepticism keeps growing. The Buckeyes hit the trifecta of quarterback doom-and-gloom when Allen chose the Aggies Monday. He was another player they waited, for over a year, to offer after first evaluating.

Where are the Buckeyes going to go if Harris says no come July 18th? Perhaps who will be left after July 18th might be a more appropriate question? I am in the minority that believes Apopka (Fl.) quarterback Zack Darlington, scheduled to be at Ohio State later this month, will leave Nebraska this weekend as a Cornhusker commit, and that he never makes it to Ohio State. Kizer? If that offer to LSU he claims is a committable one, don't be surprised if he's off the board much sooner rather than later. What about Notre Dame? The Irish offered Kizer just today and even if Ohio State offered at this point they may be too late.

Two names to watch for as the next few weeks unfold are Leesburg (Ga.) native Stephen Collier, who will be camping at Ohio State this weekend and Bolivar (Mo.) product Rafe Peavey, who is currently committed to Arkansas. Collier was somewhat of a "surprise" selection for the Elite 11 finals at the end of June, but he's a big, strong kid from a great family who is willing and eager to improve. Peavey, camping at Ohio State on the 21st of the month, has been committed to Arkansas for over a year, but he's been vocal that an offer from Ohio State is one that would force him to at least consider accepting.

Ohio State is considered the "favorite" for several 247Sports.com top 100 players. (McMillan, Lattimore, Jamarco Jones, Knox, Samuel) How many of these do you think actually choose the good guys come signing day? - DeepSouthBuckeye

It's kind of crazy to think about how far away signing day still is, because these are kids I've been writing about and following for what seems like - and actually has been - years. Yet, despite all the time talking with them, trying to read between-the-lines with them, so much can still happen from one day to the next. Most of the thing that can happen between now and signing day have little or nothing to do with the players themselves as coaching staffs make behind-the-scenes adjustments to their "board." As it stands, I think Ohio State will land Raekwon McMillan, Marshon Lattimore and Curtis Samuel of the players you've listed. 

With OL being our most critical position for this class, how do you see us finishing?  Mavety, Jones, Knox, Bookser? - KNARCISI

I'm a contributor, one of thousands, to the 247Sports.com "Crystal Ball" feature which essentially is a good indicator of what recruiting guys from around the country are hearing/feeling/thinking on recruits at a particular moment. As noted above, I have Knox currently to UCLA, because that's what my gut is telling me. As of today, I have Ohio State landing Pittsburgh's Alex Bookser, New York product Chad Mavety and Chicago's Jamarco Jones, but I am considering changing my pick on Jones today. I suspect Ohio State will end up with three more very good lineman, and it could be Jones, Bookser, Mavety and it none of those three. That group of four listed is where they hope to land the remaining three (at least) offensive lineman will come from, however. My gut - which is not receiving any special information - feels like Jones is trending towards the Mitten, whether Green or Blue.


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