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.
D-DAY FOR DAMIEN
Tomorrow (Friday) morning, the country's top running back, Damien Harris, will announce his college decision. The trio of finalists are (reportedly) Alabama, Kentucky and Ohio State. While it once appeared that the Buckeyes were the front-runner to land Harris, he's not been on campus in Columbus since September 6th, the Buckeyes now have a commitment from Detroit Cass Tech's Mike Weber, and all the momentum in his recruitment seems to have swung towards the Crimson Tide and the Wildcats. As of last night, Harris indicated he was still not certain of his choice.
For everybody that thinks they know where I'm going, no decision has been made yet.— Damien Harris (@DHx34) January 7, 2015
There are few players across that country that I am personally as hyperbolic about as Damien Harris. He is 100-percent a star in the making provided he remains healthy in college and his size/speed combo is absolutely unique. I saw Harris for the first time two summers ago in Columbus at an Ohio State one day camp and it was obvious immediately why he was so highly-regarded. The Buckeyes did everything and anything they could do to land Harris. At one point felt that they had done enough to gain his commitment but that never materialized as the pressures of staying "home" increased. In October the once foregone conclusion that he'd become a Buckeye had swayed all the way to Lexington and Kentucky was the sure-fire destination. That too, changed. In November, it was Alabama who surged into the lead and has since then been regarded as the likely landing spot. Tuscaloosa is where I believe Harris lands tomorrow, and if that's the case, it's another notch in the belt of Nick Saban and his gang of recruiting warlords. Truly, beware the wicked witches in Alabama, there's nothing they want that they can't have.
BUCKEYES TRYING TO LAND VISIT FROM TIASSUM
As we've discussed a number of times here in the Hurry Up, the Buckeyes are still aggressively looking to add another defensive tackle to their 2015 class. They missed out on a pair of players they felt "decent" about this past week (Neville Gallimore to Oklahoma, Christian Wilkins to Clemson) and are long-shots at best to reel in Missouri's Terry Beckner, Jr., who is scheduled to visit the weekend of January 23rd.
As Larry Johnson and Urban Meyer and the recruiting staff at Ohio State begin to explore new options, the likelihood is they'll revisit past targets like Brandon Tiassum, a 6-foot-5, 285-pound tackle from Park Tudor High School in Indianapolis. Committed to Notre Dame since May, Tiassum does not yet possess an Ohio State offer but that's not stopped the Buckeyes from attempting to get him on campus for an official visit.
"(Larry Johnson) called me Monday," Tiassum told Eleven Warriors. "They want me to take an official visit. I'm not really sure if I'm interested, but I may visit."
The reason for a potential visit? Understanding the Buckeyes' need at defensive tackle.
"I know they need defensive tackle help," he added. "I just don't know yet if I'd make the visit. It's a big decision and one I'll need to make."
Tiassum had a monster season season at Park Tudor, collecting 94 tackles, 13.5 sacks and seven forced fumbles while splitting his time between defensive end and defensive tackle.
GUARANTANO WAITS, OTHER 2016 QUARTERBACKS COME OFF BOARD
Late Wednesday evening, 2016 standout quarterback Jarrett Guarantano announced his plans to delay his decision a bit longer as different schools still need to fill some coaching holes.
Waiting a little longer due to so many coaching changes . We will see what the future holds in a month or less— Jarrett Guarantano (@Guarantano18) January 8, 2015
What can be safely discerned from this tweet is that Guarantano is waiting to see who takes over the quarterback coaching position at Ohio State, the school that has been his publicly declared leader for a few months. The country's 6th-ranked pro-style quarterback in the 2016 class had planned to make a college choice in early January – like nowish. Now, as Tom Herman prepares to depart for Houston following Monday's national championship game, Guarantano waits patiently to see who could handle his development were he to commit to Ohio State. Rutgers, Oklahoma and Alabama all remain heavily involved with the quarterback who is at the top of Ohio State's wish list.
Two other 2016 quarterbacks that the Buckeyes were interested in early in the process have decided to commit elsewhere. Brandon McIlwain, the country's 4th-ranked dual threat quarterback, chose South Carolina last week. The Newtown, Pennsylvania product is one of my favorite players in 2016 and is a major coup for Steve Spurrier, stealing him from under the nose of Penn State and Pittsburgh.
In Texas, DeSoto standout Tristen Wallace decided that Texas Tech's gunslinging approach was the best fit for him, committing a bit earlier than most had expected he would. Wallace is a former high school teammate of current Buckeye Dontre Wilson and was a likely high-priority target for future Houston coach Tom Herman. He was also recently offered by SMU and their new head coach Chad Morris.
NEWMAN NEW MAN IN 2015 HOOPS CLASS?
Although the Buckeyes four-man 2015 basketball recruiting class in ranked ninth nationally and all four pledges are signed, sealed and delivered, don't expect the Buckeyes to rest on their laurels. In two weekends, they'll host the country's third-ranked overall player and top-ranked combination guard Malik Newman, according to his USA Today journal.
Kentucky, Kansas, Arizona and both schools from his home-state of Mississippi are high on the 6-foot-3, 175-pound guard's list. Because he's a five-star prospect and a darn good high school basketball player, everyone naturally assumes he'll end up at Kentucky, but for the Buckeyes getting him on campus for their Junior Day weekend on January 23rd-25th is a big deal. Ohio State hosts Indiana on Sunday the 25th in a 1:30 p.m. game that should have the home crowd fired up, which is always a good thing when hosting a recruit of Newman's stature.
No matter where this player ends up, there's one thing that is a certainty about his recruitment: he's got the most legitimate self-promoting website of any prospect ever. Heck, Newman even has his own logo already. Somewhere, Tate Forcier's dad is in a corner shaking his fists in anger wishing he'd done it this well.