The Hurry-Up: Malik Jefferson News, Where Things Stand with Burrell and Christian Kirk

By Jeremy Birmingham on October 28, 2014 at 7:45 pm

Welcome to The Hurry-Up, which runs Sunday through Thursday, serving as your last stop for recruiting news and notes nightly. We'll recap the day as it happened and preview the days ahead while keeping our ear to the ground on the Ohio State recruiting scene.


Ohio State hosts Illinois this weekend in another prime time, under-the-lights game in Ohio Stadium. These games are major recruiting tools used to help showcase the program to the country's biggest and brightest stars. One of the country's best players, regardless of position, is Mesquite, Texas linebacker Malik Jefferson, and he was scheduled to be in attendance Saturday night but that visit is now off.

"Ohio State cancelled on me, last week after Jerome Baker committed," Jefferson told Eleven Warriors. "They are full at linebacker because they've got three."

While it was unlikely that Jefferson would end up a Buckeye, it says something about Ohio State's confidence that they'll sign Baker, Nick Conner and Justin Hilliard if they voluntarily tell the nation's top outside linebacker "Thanks, but no thanks." That is especially interesting considering the recent notion that Conner and Hilliard have each wanted to take visits elsewhere. I talked to one person in the WHAC about this to make sure where things stood.

"We love Malik Jefferson, but the three guys we've got coming in are a perfect fit together, and for our system," the source said. "We really only wanted two linebackers at the start of this class but the three Ohio guys are a great fit. There's no point in risking any sort of confusion with more chasing of other guys."


Josh Norwood was offered by Ohio State a few weeks ago, and at that time, was a Cincinnati commitment. Now, Norwood says he's no longer committed to the Bearcats, and he's scheduled his official visit to Ohio State.

"I'm going to Ohio State this weekend, it's confirmed," Norwood told 11W. "I'll be there Saturday morning and I leave Sunday night."

Norwood, a 5-foot-10, 175 pound cornerback, could be competing with Virginia's Garrett Taylor for a spot at Ohio State. To that end, he made it clear to the Bearcats staff that he's looking around.

"Yeah, I told the staff at UC," he added. "They didn't have much to say about it, I think they understand.

I would not expect anything to happen on this front immediately, but it's a recruitment that bears watching moving forward.


In a sea of white on Saturday night in State College, the Penn State crowd, coaches and football team made a pretty big impression on Woodbridge, Virginia's Matthew Burrell, according to one source close to the 2015 lineman.

"Penn State definitely helped themselves," the source said. "But, I don't think they've moved into the 'lead' or anything. Matt's really thinking his choices through. It's hard not to get caught up in the emotions every place you visit, though."

Ohio State had Burrell's attention early, and has kept themselves firmly in the mix even after official visits to Florida State, Tennessee and now Penn State. An official visit to Alabama is still in the works, but most people believe Burrell was down to the Buckeyes, Seminoles and Volunteers before last weekend. How far did Penn State rise in his mind is the big question at hand. 

There's no date for a decision, but for a kid who has seen all his front-runners a number of times, you'd think the information is at hand and it's just a matter of time.


I've been on board for much of the year stating that I believe Saguaro (Scottsdale, Arizona) wide receiver Christian Kirk is the best wide receiver in the country. Kirk has visited Ohio State twice this past year, and Ohio State appeared to be in great position to land one of his official visits. Now, as we enter November, Kirk has been on two official visits and has scheduled two others, and the Buckeyes appear to be on the outside looking in. Losing ground with Kirk, a player Ohio State has made a priority from day one, is frustrating no doubt, but they're not giving up just yet.

The Buckeyes reached out to Kirk last week and although they've not yet been able to get a confirmation from him that it will happen, are still trying to arrange to be his fifth official visit. Texas A&M, Auburn, UCLA, USC and Arizona State are all in a good position with him, but the Buckeyes' offensive potency and the development of JT Barrett is something the Buckeyes hope to use to their advantage. Kirk's skill-set is truly different than the Dontre Wilson and Curtis Samuel types, despite similar speed and builds. 


Last year, Raekwon McMillan earned the nation's highest honor for a prep linebacker when he won the High School Butkus. This year, the Buckeyes have two commitments on the award's final list. Cleveland Benedictine's Jerome Baker and Cincinnati St. Xavier's Justin Hilliard find themselves competing against the other for the award.

The list is a veritable "who's who" of high school linebackers, with commitments to Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State, USC, South Carolina and others named as nominees.

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