Tennessee Important to Buckeye Recruiting Success

By John Brandon on March 14, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Continuing with our series of looking at priority states for the 2015 recruiting cycle, today we're taking a look at Tennessee. Meyer hasn't had much success in Tennessee yet as an Ohio State coach, but it is rich with talent  and the Buckeyes are well-positioned to make a push in the volunteer state this year.

Drew Richmond / Memphis / OL

Richmond is certainly the physically biggest target for Ohio State in Tennessee, and he's also the most important. A nationally elite player at a position Ohio State needs to continue to recruit well, Richmond is the No. 6 offensive tackle in the 247Composite and the top ranked player in Tennessee.

He recently announced a Top 11 that included Ohio State, along with Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, LSU, Memphis, North Carolina, Ole Miss, Tennessee and UCLA. He currently plans for a final announcement on September 9th (to honor a close friend who passed away).

 Richmond grew up a Buckeye fan and had a great visit to Columbus this past fall, previously calling his time in Columbus "a dream feeling." Right now it looks like Ohio State, Alabama, Tennessee and Ole Miss are the main competitors for his services. Don't sleep on Auburn either - Richmond plans to visit them in the next few weeks and is impressed by  Auburn's success on the field and putting linemen in the NFL recently.

Ohio State is in good shape here, but keep an eye on where Richmond visits in the upcoming weeks and months. The Buckeyes would like to get Drew on campus at least one more time before he makes a final decision.


Van JeffersoN / Brentwood / WR

The son of former NFL receiver and Tennessee Titans' wide receiver coach Shawn Jefferson, Van not only has a good size/speed combination, he's also very skilled and polished.

He currently is favoring Tennessee, Ohio State and Penn State, with hopes to visit those schools along with Clemson, South Carolina, Georgia and Ole Miss in the upcoming months. Jefferson had talked about announcing as soon as late March or early April, but recent offers from Georgia, South Carolina and Clemson have changed things. Still, he plans to enroll early, so expect a relatively early decision.

The Buckeyes are sitting in a good spot with Jefferson, having made him a priority for this class. Hinton has visited him twice, Meyer personally visited him once, and Jefferson had a great visit to Ohio State in the fall. Getting Van ready for the NFL will be a priority for the Jeffersons, so selling dad on the Buckeyes' ability to do that will be a primary objective for Meyer and company. Jefferson liked his Tennessee Junior Day visit, but I think this is an Ohio State - Penn State battle, as Jefferson has a strong relationship with James Franklin. For now though, I think he's a Buckeye.


Jackson Harris / Columbia / TE

Ohio State definitely wants to take two tight ends, and they hope that one of them is Chris Clark. As for the second tight end, several names have been thrown around: Hale Hentges, C.J. Conrad, Garrett Williams and Jackson Harris.

Harris is one of four tight ends with Buckeye offers, and there is a bit of mutual interest between the two parties. Harris visited Ohio State in September for the Wisconsin game before he had an offer, he has also been visited by coach Hinton. He's been blowing up over the past few weeks, picking up offers from Ohio State, Oregon, South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Penn State in the past month or so.

Vanderbilt was the early favorite, but he's picked up bigger offers and will be visiting several schools in the upcoming months, recently having visited Alabama and Florida. Ohio State is focusing most of its efforts towards Clark, but if the Buckeyes were to miss out on Clark they could turn their attention more towards Harris. Harris has enough good offers that he might not come to Ohio State with another tight end, but if Ohio State doesn't get their top guy he would be a great option.


Kyle Phillips / Nashville / DE

Phillips is an elite strong-side defensive end prospect and he's interested in Ohio State. Phillips recently said that Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Ohio State, Ole Miss and Tennessee are his favorite schools right now. Penn State is also in the mix as he was close with James Franklin at Vanderbilt.

Phillips is planning to visit Columbus at some point this summer and won't be making a decision until taking his official visits in the fall, so Ohio State has plenty of time to figure out their defensive line recruiting. The Buckeyes are in on several top defensive line prospects, but Phillips is a player to keep an eye on, especially if he visits Ohio State this summer.


C.J. Sanders / Brentwood / WR

Sanders is a Buckeye legacy - son of former Ohio State and Tennessee Titans receiver Chris Sanders - but hasn't yet picked up a Buckeye offer. It's easy to say that an offer from Ohio State would be tough to beat, Sanders called Ohio State his "dream school," but right now without a Buckeye offer his recruitment is wide open. Tennessee and Stanford are standing out among the schools that have offered, but the 247Sports 4-star is hoping to pick up a few more offers before deciding.

Sanders is certainly a player to keep tabs on, he already camped at Ohio State once and impressed the staff. If he wants to be a Buckeye he'll camp at Ohio State again this summer and try to earn an offer.


Other Names to KNOW

Jauan Jennings / Murfreesboro / ATH / HIGHLIGHTS
Joshua McMillon / Memphis / LB / HIGHLIGHTS
Deddrick Thomas / Memphis / ATH / HIGHLIGHTS
Cameron Ordway / Pulaski / CB / HIGHLIGHTS
Ugo Amadi / Nashville / CB / HIGHLIGHTS
Vincent Perry / Nashville / RB / HIGHLIGHTS

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