Recruiting Notebook: Bowen Setting Visit, James to UCLA & OSU's Running Back Situation

By 11W Staff on July 11, 2014 at 2:51 pm
Robert Washington

Despite an NCAA-imposed dead period, there is plenty going on in the recruiting world. You can thank The Opening for keeping everyone busy.

Eleven Warriors director of recruiting Jeremy Birmingham has been killing it with his on-site coverage of the The Opening. Be sure to check out his Twitter feed for plenty of updates.

Bowen Planning Official Visit

In June, three-star lineman Branden Bowen made his way from Utah to Columbus for an unofficial visit. He left without knowing whether he had a scholarship offer. Since then, Urban Meyer has let the 6-foot-7, 330-pound offensive lineman know where things stand.

"Urban has made it clear to me and my trainer that he wants me to be a Buckeye," Bowen told Eleven Warriors. "[Meyer] said he will reserve one of the offensive line spots if I want to commit."

Bowen, who doesn't plan to commit until late in the recruiting process, has previously said Ohio State would be one of his top schools if they offer. Just a few weeks after an unofficial visit, he already is setting up plans to get back to Columbus.

"I just talked about taking [another visit] with Urban a few days ago," Bowen said. "I'm not sure on a date but we talked about me heading out there for a night game."

For those not familiar with Bowen's background, his trainer played for Meyer at Utah. The Buckeyes' boss has spoken with Bowen's trainer on multiple occasions while recruiting him.

"Ohio State said they want to watch my first game of the season and then they'll officially offer," Bowen said. "I'm looking for a few more schools to give me the opportunity to play for them after I have a good senior season."

The Utah native has offers from Boise State, BYU, Colorado, Oregon State, Utah, Utah State and Washington State. He hopes to add offers from Ohio State, USC and Wisconsin.

The Buckeyes already have two offensive line commits in Grant Schmidt and Kevin Feder. The plan has been to take four linemen in the 2015 class, with a spot reserved for Matthew Burrell if he wants in. Ohio State is facing an uphill battle for most of their other targets on the offensive line.

James Picks Bruins Over Buckeyes

Speaking of offensive linemen from Utah, four-star Andre James did as expected by committing to UCLA over Ohio State at The Opening.

The 6-foot-5, 275-pound lineman was offered by Ohio State in March and visited Columbus in June. Even with most of his family being from Painesville (Ohio), the Bruins won out in the end.

Ohio State became a serious player in James' recruitment after a June visit to Columbus, but unseating UCLA as his leader was too much for the Buckeyes.

Ohio State Running Back Situation

Many recruitniks were caught off guard when four-star Ohio running back Larry "LJ" Scott announced he was committing to Michigan State over Ohio State.

The Spartans were long considered the favorite to land the star running back, but some (myself included) got the vibe that Scott was trending toward the in-state Buckeyes. There was even talk that he was close to committing on his trip to Ohio State; obviously, that didn't happen.

After missing out on Scott, all eyes turn to five-star Damien Harris. As luck would have it, Jeremy Birmingham took this picture of Harris and Buckeye commit Justin Hilliard at The Opening as the news of LJ Scott's commitment broke.

Depth at running back isn't a huge concern for Ohio State. One running back in 2015 is enough, especially with four-star junior George Hill already committed for 2016. The Buckeyes are in good shape with two other 2016 prospects besides Hill, DeMario McCall and Robert Washington.

Despite being listed as a running back, McCall could be a candidate for the hybrid position. McCall was named the fastest player at Ohio State's prospect camp on June 8, and he showed the ability to catch the ball and run crisp routes. There has been some speculation that he could commit to the Buckeyes as soon as July 25, the same day Friday Night Lights will be held.

Urban Meyer and company have been looking for the next Carlos Hyde. Washington, a four-star prospect, could be that guy; the coaching staff themselves have already made that comparison. While Washington soon plans to announce a top 15, there was plenty of talk that he was considering committing on a visit to Ohio State on June 21.

Larry Scott is a great pick up for Sparty; it's a good thing the Buckeyes should be fine at the running back position moving forward.

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