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.
THOUGHTS ON NEGATIVE RECRUITING
Earlier this week, Cincinnati Colerain cornerback Amir Riep became the 16th Ohio State commit for the Class of 2017. He joins 11 other Buckeye pledges in the 247Sports Top150, which may make this the top signing class in the six-year history of 247Sports' Composite Rankings when it's all said and done.
Head coach Urban Meyer and his staff are riding quite the wave of momentum, having won the national championship just 18 months ago and seeing 12 players selected in the first four rounds of this year's NFL Draft.
Right now, Ohio State probably doesn't need to put down another school to make itself look better to a potential recruit; the staff simply has to point to its 50-4 record since Meyer arrived and recruits will be falling over themselves to suit up in the Scarlet and Gray.
We haven't always been in the Golden Era of Ohio State football, though. You can bet that rival programs were negatively recruiting against the Buckeyes in 2011, when they finished with a school-record-tying seven losses. Or how about even more recently, now that Meyer is in charge, as I'm positive that schools mention his past health issues.
While not all negative recruiting rises to the level of health concerns or — as some have insinuated — a child abuse sex scandal, it can be good-natured and as simple as pointing out a school's inferior record, lack of traditions, ugly colors or uniforms and or stacked depth chart. Don't you think that teams like Tennessee — with a graduating senior starter and no quarterback commits — are telling 2018 prospect Emory Jones that he can start right away while he'd sit behind a plethora of signal callers at Ohio State?
Negative recruiting is not new. But just like anything else in this digital age, it is receiving more attention because more information is at our fingertips.
None of us know if teams are specifically using the Jerry Sandusky scandal against Penn State, and no coach would ever admit if they were. But if head coach James Franklin doesn't focus on getting things turned around on the field, high coaching turnover in Happy Valley might be the next bullet point on the negative recruiting checklist.
FLORIDA ATHLETE EYES OHIO STATE VISIT
One week ago today, Clearwater, Florida, Central Catholic athlete Amari Burney announced on Twitter that he had received a scholarship offer from Ohio State. The 6-foot-1, 205-pound prospect is considered by 247Sports Composite Rankings as the No. 22 overall receiver in the Class of 2018, but he told Eleven Warriors that the Buckeyes are recruiting him as a defensive back.
“I've been in contact with coach [Greg] Schiano twice and coach [Urban] Meyer once,” Burney said. “They expect me to play this hybrid safety/cornerback spot if I choose The Ohio State.”
Though he has 13 offers from schools such as Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin, Burney does not have a leader at this point in time.
He said one thing that sets the Buckeyes apart, however, is their ability to put players in the National Football League.
“I believe they had the record for the most players drafted in the first round,” Burney said.
Though Ohio State came up just short of eclipsing the record Miami set in 2004, it's clear that the Buckeyes have made quite the impression the 16-year-old.
Burney hopes to travel to Columbus this fall to watch a game and tour campus, but said he's unsure which game it could be. As for the distance, he added that it won't factor into his decision.
“It's just [wherever is] the best fit for me,” Burney said. “I will be making my decision when I feel the time is right and I found the school to fit me for the next three to four years.”
But first, Burney has his sights set on another target.
“[I expect] to win the state championship for my team and Pinellas County,” he said.
If the four-star prospect plays as well as he did as a sophomore — a year in which he was named Class 3A All-State after hauling in seven touchdowns and picking off two passing on defense — the Marauders may just bring Pinellas County its first state title.
MOTHER KNOWS BEST
Just one day after revealing a Top 3 of Alabama, Miami and Ohio State, four-star athlete Jermaine Eskridge released another list with two more programs. The reason the No. 130 overall prospect in the Class of 2018 added Florida and Oregon? His mother insisted.
After talking it over with my moms she would like to add these 2 programs to me list!! Thanks everybody again pic.twitter.com/6eLkshkMec— EJ2 (@Iam_Jermaine4) July 27, 2016
The 6-foot-3, 185-pounder from Tampa, Florida, also told Eleven Warriors on Tuesday that he would visit campus today, though it looks as if that trip has been postponed.
Having amassed nearly 50 scholarship offers, it's no surprise that a high school junior is wrestling with his future. And if he were to make a pledge in the next week, as our sources tell us he still may, expect a fluid situation through signing day.
Less than a week removed from picking up its first commitment from the Class of 2018, Ohio State handed out a scholarship offer to another heavily regarded rising junior. Four-star defensive back Anthony Cook of Houston, Texas', Lamar High School took to Twitter on Wednesday to share the news.
Standing 6-foot-1, 168-pounds, Cook is considered the fifth-best cornerback and No. 43 overall prospect in his class by 247Sports Composite. He has 24 offers from premier schools such as Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Michigan State, Oklahoma, Texas, TCU and USC.
Minutes after winning the inaugural College Football Playoff National Championship, Ohio State received a pledge from four-star athlete Bruce Judson of Cocoa, Florida. But a little more than 10 months later, Judson reopened his recruitment, citing a lack of communication between himself and head coach Urban Meyer at last year's Friday Night Lights camp.
“Long story short, I was walking in the hallway about to go to the indoor field and work out,” he told SECCountry.com. “[Meyer] was like, 'Hey.' I looked around. 'Come here.' He was like, “How you doing? You like your visit?' I said, 'Yeah.' Then he's like, “What up, Richard LeCounte? Are you showing this guy around?' I was like, 'Coach, I'm showing him around.' He asked me, 'Who are you?' I told him Bruce. He said, 'Oh, Bruce Judson from Florida? The speedy guy.' I was like, 'Yeah.' He said, 'I'm glad you're on board and glad you got up here.' After that, I knew I was de-committing.”
On Wednesday, the 5-foot-9, 203-pounder decided to stay close to home and play at the University of South Florida.
Bruce Judson to USF pic.twitter.com/Kt2qwmnm5T— Gabe Encinas (@Gabe_Encinas) July 27, 2016
He had more than 30 offers, including Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Miami and Tennessee, but chose to become the 10th recruit to commit to the Bulls in the last five days.
Here's to hoping head coach Willie Taggart remembers who he is.