If you're a fan of recruiting, you're no doubt familiar with the industry's latest fad: The Crystal Ball. 247Sports.com's "Crystal Ball" feature allows analysts and writers from all over the country and from various non-247Sports.com outlets to predict where the country's biggest recruits will end up.
If you put much stock into these prognostications and you're a Buckeye football fan, the odds are you're not real confident that Ohio State can land Arizona's Christian Kirk. Kirk's predictions, of which he has 34, paint a picture of a player leaning heavily towards Texas A&M, the school that signed last year's top-ranked quarterback Kyle Allen; a fellow Arizonan and a good friend of the country's 5th-ranked wideout.
The Kirk File
Kirk, for his part, has gone out of his way to try and quiet the rumblings that he's "all Aggie," or "all anything" for that matter. He cut his options from almost 40 to 10 just about three weeks ago and the Buckeyes made the cut thanks in part to a visit he and his parents made to Columbus back in early March. In the last two weeks, the 5-foot-11, 195-pound Kirk has made it to College Station and Columbus to take a closer look at two of the schools he's interested in. He's quick to point out that they are not the only two he's considering.
"I think people assume Ohio State and Texas A&M are my 'top two' or whatever because I've made return trips to both places," Kirk told Eleven Warriors. "They're both far from home and I felt I owed it to myself to visit them again because if I was to commit to either place I'd want to make sure it was a good decision, and I needed to get back to make sure. I don't even know where I am at with my recruitment, so I am not sure how anyone else could."
“This trip was for my coach to get a better feel for Ohio State," he added. "He’s a big part in my decision making process and it will help him to do his research, and to spend some time learning different offensive systems, which can help make our team better at Saguaro. I didn’t need to really see the campus and all that, it was about hanging out with the coaches and players for me this time around. It was a great trip."
He arrived at Ohio State on Friday afternoon with his coach at Saguaro, Jason Mohns. 2016 teammate and fellow Buckeye offer Byron Murphy was scheduled to make the trip with the Sabercat contingent, but last minute flights were not able to be secured.
"We got to Columbus Friday afternoon and we met with Coach (Zach) Smith and had dinner at Eddie George's restaurant," he said of the first evening back in the 614. "Their chicken nachos are pretty good (laughs), then we went back to hotel and called it a night because we were pretty tired."
"Saturday Ohio State had their camp session and so we with Coach (Buckeye offensive co-ordinator Tom) Herman for a bit and got his point of view on where I'd fit in the offense and how I'd be utilized there. I wish we'd have gotten to talk with him a bit more but he and coach Mohns had to get ready to participate with the campers. While they camped I went around the campus a bit with Coach Smith and that was cool because it was a lot different than the last time I was here, I mean there were leaves and stuff on the trees, so that was nice to see campus differently."
After another dinner with the staff, Kirk and fellow visitor Justin Hilliard spent much of the night with a number of Ohio State's incoming freshman class, including Raekwon McMillan, Johnnie Dixon, Stephen Collier, Kyle Berger and Sam Hubbard. The tightness of that group was not lost on Kirk, who had gotten to know a handful of them as one of the nation's few juniors that participated in The Opening in 2013.
"That was the first time I've met Justin, but we got along really well and were comfortable quickly. We didn't really talk about football, just got to know each other. I knew Stephen because he was on my seven-on-seven team last year in Oregon and I got to know Raekwon and JD (Dixon) there too. Johnnie's a real good friend of mine and our situations are very similar so he's got great perspective. We're both wide receivers from warm weather states that aren't close to Ohio. We talked a bit about how his transition has been from Florida, enrolling early and that sort of stuff but it's more as a friend than him trying to help the coaching staff 'recruit' me. We're similar as players but both would fit a different role in their offense, and if I don't end up at Ohio State we'll still be friends for a long time."
Sunday morning, Kirk and Hilliard spent some time with Urban Meyer and had breakfast with the Buckeyes' head coach.
"It's pretty awesome, to be in that situation," Kirk said of the one-on-one time with Meyer. "We talked and he said nothing has changed, that I'm still the guy they want there and it's crazy to think about just sitting there eating breakfast with a college football legend."
Kirk intends to take official visits this fall and is not close to making a decision, and he says the Buckeyes are most likely a choice for one of those official visits. Ohio State currently has no commitments at wide receiver for 2015, and other schools — like Texas A&M — have started to fill the position. That's not something to overlook he says, but it's also not a deal-breaker. The Aggies, for example, have two commitments from four-star wide receivers already.
"At the end of the day you have to consider the depth chart and the opportunity to get on the field, but no one has an idea where each player ends up playing," the Scottsdale star said. "I’m not scared to go in and compete with anyone because I know bring a different dynamic to the game."