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.
The Hurry Up is running early today in an effort to touch on the news of Bijan Robinson as early as possible on a weekend day. It will be the only Hurry Up published today. Thanks for reading, and see you tomorrow.
Running Back Recruiting Takes Some New Paths
News hit the Ohio State staff Sunday morning surrounding five-star running back Bijan Robinson’s commitment. They were informed that the Buckeyes, who were written in ink as the favorite to land Robinson’s commitment since his visit in June, are now no longer the favorite and have only a small chance to earn his commitment. That news was first reported by Bill Kurelic of 247Sports.
Texas has been making a strong push for him between his Ohio State visit June 14 and today, especially with Tim Beck’s experience coaching at the highest levels in Arizona. It appears that might be his destination.
It isn’t unrealistic for news like this to happen shortly after the end of the dead period, but Robinson, with his positive feelings toward Ohio State and his relationship with Lathan Ransom, seemed like the least likely prospect to change course so quickly.
The Buckeye staff and Tony Alford still have five days to work on Robinson before he announces his commitment, but the odds are fairly low for Robinson to become a Buckeye at this point.
Ohio State running back target Jaylan Knighton, the second of two running back prospects Ohio State has been expecting to commit to the Buckeyes, was also one of the recruits that Florida State did its best to get on campus for its SNL recruiting event this weekend, and Knighton complied, arriving Saturday morning in Tallahassee for the visit.
This was what Ohio State fans were fearing the most with Knighton in particular, as he decides between Ohio State and Florida State and hasn’t been to Columbus since June 21, a little more than a month ago. But Knighton is looking hard at the Buckeyes still, and a recruiting event scheduled just two days before his commitment isn’t guaranteed to sway Knighton away from Ohio State.
With the chance that Ohio State goes 0-for-3 on running back targets this week – Kendall Milton commits Monday and likely won’t choose Ohio State – there are other options within the class that won’t particularly build as impressive of a running back class as was expected just 24 hours ago.
EJ Smith is a real option for Ohio State and would probably be the top option, since he is very skilled in the passing game and can develop into a three-down back. Jalen Berger is a top-10 running back in the class and hasn’t displayed a favorite school outside of his affinity for Ohio State, but that relationship has likely suffered since his visit in the spring and Ohio State’s focus on the five-star prospects. Mike Drennen is another option at the all-purpose back position, but he struggles between the tackles, so if the Buckeyes are looking for a three-down back, he wouldn’t be a prime candidate.
It’s safe to say Zachary Evans is looking other places after Ohio State’s visit with him was cancelled so that he could visit Texas A&M in June.
To be clear, though, the odds that Ohio State loses out on both Robinson and Knighton are fairly slim, but adding Knighton without Robinson would be a disappointment, given Ohio State’s need for a three-down back bigger than 5-foot-9 and able to develop and contribute quicker than Knighton could.
Weekend Visitors Have Positive Visits with Buckeyes
As detailed in the last Hurry Up, Ohio State welcomed in a handful of visitors for the weekend, including wide receiver commit Mookie Cooper, who was able to get some time with wide receivers coach Brian Hartline and offensive quality control coach Keenan Bailey.
Three Tennessee teammates made their ways to Ohio State for unofficial visits this weekend, and three-star offensive lineman Noah Josey left with an offer from the Buckeyes. He and his teammates, Damon Owens and John Howse, all made their ways to Michigan for visits during the second half of the weekend.
Four-star 2021 defensive tackle Taizse Johnson also made his way to Ohio State for a visit this weekend. He’s one of the top prospects at his position, rated as the No. 12 defensive tackle and the No. 113 player overall. He has offers from Alabama, Georgia and others, and he’s building a relationship with Larry Johnson, who has a strong grip on the DMV area, including Washington D.C.
No. 3 inside linebacker Greg Penn’s visit also went well in Columbus. Penn, Howse and Owens have all confirmed with Eleven Warriors that their visits went well, and more details will be disclosed in future Hurry Ups.
Makari Paige Set to Commit This Week
Michigan safety Makari Paige announced that he’s committing Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. ET.
COMMITTING JULY 30TH @ 5:30PM ET— MAKARI PAIGE (@makaripaige) July 27, 2019
Paige has been seen as the odd man out of the 2020 class, as Ohio State added Lathan Ransom, and from there, connection dwindled between the staff and Paige. But with numbers potentially being more open than anticipated and the class potentially swelling to 26 or 27 commitments, it wouldn’t be out of the question for Paige to commit to the Buckeyes, given the staff has reached out and repaired what was lost in that relationship.
Paige was in Columbus for the Buckeye Bash & Barbecue event June 21, and his top schools are Michigan, Ohio State, Kentucky and Penn State. Paige was high on Ohio State and Michigan, as well as Penn State, but it seemed as if he would land at one of the first two locations.
With the confusion that has surrounded the scholarship numbers in recent weeks, it could be possible for Ohio State to feel comfortable taking a commitment from him, but Michigan seems like the likeliest of spots for him.