Welcome to Sunday afternoon and your weekly weekend dose of recruiting rants, raves and reviews. Today we're once again talking gloom, doom and the average Buckeye fan's guide to unrelenting sadness. Let's get straight into what's what, because I know everyone had a few too many mint juleps yesterday and my long-winded introductions could leave you bored to tears.
FRANKLIN MY DEAR, I DON'T GIVE A DARN
Another weekend passes, another commitment from a Baltimore/Washington D.C. area star for James Franklin and Penn State. Yesterday, it was defensive end Jon Holland, who visited the Buckeyes last fall. No, Ohio State didn't offer Holland, but it's another notch in the DMV for Franklin and Penn State. While there was no offer to Holland, Penn State is likely to land a couple more players within the next few weeks that Ohio State would definitely take; offensive lineman Sterling Jenkins and yes, quarterback Brandon Wimbush.
Jenkins is set to make his college decision on Tuesday, May 6th and unfortunately for Ohio State it's almost assuredly going to end up with him choosing the Nittany Lions. He and his mother are set to make a return trip to Penn State on Monday, and without a return to Columbus anytime soon, it would appear to be all but finished here. Jenkins has been a Penn State lean for sometime now, but Ohio State had seemed to be holding him off from committing; that is over.
The question then becomes this: does Jenkins' commitment help push Wimbush all the way over the edge? I believe 100-percent that he wants to make a return trip to Ohio State before deciding but it seems that every time he attempts to make that happen, something prohibits it. Wimbush told me last week he wants to visit Columbus again before deciding, but the clock is ticking on Ohio State's chances here.
Well, tomorrow night, Torrance Gibson will announce his top 15 schools (in order) and Ohio State will certainly be on the list. He will visit Ohio State this summer and the Buckeyes will know exactly what and who they need to overcome in order to secure his signature come February. I think they're still in excellent shape to do that.
Lorenzo Nunez will make his decision within the week and although he was the first of the "big three" quarterbacks Ohio State offered in 2015, it seems very unlikely he'll choose the Buckeyes. Expect North Carolina State or South Carolina to be his landing spot. The Gamecocks entered the picture late, but they've been straight-forward and active in their pursuit and their offense fits Nunez's game very well. Don't sleep on the Wolfpack, they're able to offer a chance at early playing time that others can't.
After Gibson and Nunez, the game changes quite a bit for the Buckeyes. Yes, Gibson's decision is one they'll wait on, but Ohio State will almost assuredly end up offering another quarterback in order to try and land two that they covet in 2015. Yes, there's the offer out to Orlando's Deondre Francois but the likelihood of him ever getting north for a visit, let alone eventually signing with the Buckeyes, is slim-to-none.
That leaves the next two most logical choices, two players that have started to climb up recruiting boards: Indianapolis' Tommy Stevens and Anaheim, California's Travis Waller. Ohio State has been in contact with each and will visit Waller next Monday (May 12th) where he'll throw for Tom Herman. The catch with Waller? Oregon will be out to watch him as well and they lost out on Brady White, who committed to Arizona State on Friday. Waller has told me before that Oregon is without question the one he's "waiting for."
Stevens may have been a Michigan State lean before they received a commitment from Arizona's Brian Lewerke. He's recently been very good at Rivals (named MVP of the quarterback position) and participated at the Chicago Elite 11 camp. He could return to Columbus for the Elite 11 camp on June 2nd.
MOVIN' ON UP
At present, most people "in the know" believe that Ohio State is the current leader to land Brentwood, Tennessee wide receiver Van Jefferson. Jefferson, the son of Tennessee Titans' wide receiver coach Shawn Jefferson, has been all over the country to check out potential schools but the Buckeyes continue to sit near the top of the list. Ohio State's Zach Smith was in Tennessee last week to check on Jefferson and the Buckeyes are making sure he knows he's a priority. There was some rumblings that Jefferson would be back at Ohio State this weekend or next, but a source close to the situation told 11W that no return trips would happen until the 6-foot-2, 180-pounder makes initial visits elsewhere. Stay tuned.
Ohio State's pursuit of wide receivers took Smith all over the country last week, from Tennessee to Houston to Phoenix. In the Lonestar State, one player the Buckeyes checked out was Kemah Siverand, a relatively new name despite the fact Ohio State offered the Cypress Ridge star last October. Despite only 25 receptions as a junior, Siverand had 611 yards and seven touchdowns and a highlight tape that showcases a complete player who plays within his offense. Siverand told me that he is going to attempt to make it to Ohio State for the NFTC on June 1st, and if he does, he'll visit Ohio State's campus at that time. He's a name to pay attention to, especially if that visit happens. Eleven Warriors will have a complete update on his recruitment soon.
This past Thursday, Smith made his way to Saguaro High School in Scottsdale to spend the day with Christian Kirk. Ohio State continues to be in great shape with Kirk and Smith's visit could be just the first in a number of trips to the Valley of the Sun this month. Kirk is a major priority for Ohio State in 2015.
Parris Campbell (pictured above) took part in the Austintown Fitch Optimist Invitational on Saturday afternoon and yep, he's fast. Campbell ran an incredible 10.47 in the 100-meter sprint, breaking a 22-year-old event record. Campbell has kind of been the "forgotten man" in the last year because of Johnnie Dixon, Curtis Samuel, Dontre Wilson, etc. but don't forget about what he brings to the table. This kid is a certified, national-level burner.
Is Damien Harris any good?
Five-star Damien Harris finished his spring game with 3 carries for 176 yards and 3 scores. Is that good? https://t.co/gISyVCokUx
— Tim Sullivan (@TimS_Wolverine) May 3, 2014
Hate to throw around terms like "must get" and "future All-American" but Harris is without question the single most impressive recruit I've seen the last two years.
Kentucky went into Northeast Ohio and stole one of the state's best — and most underrated players — for 2015, Lakewood St. Edward's wide receiver Alex Stump. Stump's commitment to Kentucky was not a surprise, he's never hid his affection for the Wildcats, but the timing did catch some a bit off-guard. He blew up at last weekend's Rivals Camp Series and has plans to attend the NFTC in Columbus as well. I think — and I don't mean this as a dig at Kentucky — that Stump is an Ohio State-level player and another excellent camp performance could have solidified his place in that upper-echelon of schools. Can he still end up going "bigger?" Of course, but he's seemingly not the kid who wants to flip and flop around.