Welcome to The Hurry Up, which runs Sunday through Thursday, serving as your last stop for recruiting news ahind 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.
GUESSING ON GUSTIN
Today, Urban Meyer spent most of his day in his former stomping ground of Utah, where four-star defensive end/linebacker Porter Gustin resides.The 6-foot-5, 245-pound Gustin is one of the country's most versatile and imposing athletes and one of the highest-ranked uncommitted players still left on the national recruiting boards. Meyer's visit precedes an official visit with the Buckeyes that Gustin and his family (father, grandfather) will accompany him, signifying that the very least this trip isn't just a pleasure cruise for the nation's 41st-ranked prospect. While USC remains the odds-on favorite to land Gustin, there's some speculation that the Buckeyes are in a bit of a unique position to swoop in and steal him from under the noses of USC or Arizona State or Notre Dame, where he's also made visits. One thing to be considered a plus for Ohio State? As heavily slanted as he may be towards the Trojans, something has kept Gustin from locking things down. In fact, one Scout.com analyst very familiar with Utah predicted today that Ohio State could be the team to beat; and the Buckeyes are feeling a bit more optimistic than before.
"I've not felt great about our chances, but something tells me this weekend could make things interesting," one source at Ohio State said this morning. "He's paying a lot more attention to us than we hear about and (Meyer) and the staff have made him a priority. When he gets to see their plans for him within the defense I think he'll have a tough decision to make. We have a lot of what his family says is important to them."
As for Gustin himself, he says he's trying to go into this weekend without any preconceived notions and without letting previous trips weigh too heavily into how he views Ohio State.
"I'm being really open-minded on my officials," Gustin told Eleven Warriors. "I like some schools of course, but I'm looking for that overall vibe (from a visit). That 'in the heart' feeling that it's the right place. Then I can focus and just do the work."
ARNETTE ATTENTION RAMPING UP?
If we're calling a spade a spade here, which we try to do at every turn, then we can state plainly that the odds of Carlton Davis remaining with the Buckeyes has shrunk to very low. The writing is on the wall: a flip to Auburn is more than likely coming soon and the Buckeyes are going to adjust their focus and Fort Lauderdale cornerback Damon Arnette is the guy it is likely to turn to.
Like Davis, Arnette is a 6-foot-2, 185-pound cornerback, a three-star prospect with above-average speed and good range. Not quite as physical as Davis, Arnette hails from St. Thomas Aquinas High School and the school's connections to Ohio State make him an intriguing prospect. He visited the Buckeyes last summer and was scheduled to make an official visit during the season that did not transpire, but he will visit this weekend as planned, despite making an official to South Carolina, where he's been committed since July.
Ohio State's Urban Meyer is scheduled to visit Arnette on Thursday prior to his visit. At this point it's unlikely the Buckeyes visit Davis at home that day as planned, so Arnette will have a very good idea of what Ohio State is thinking/feeling about his role in their defense before he gets on a plane Friday morning.
GERALD ON THE VERGE OF BLOWING UP
When he left Portsmouth for the sunshine of Florida and the IMG Academy, Ohio State 2016 commitment Tyler Gerald did so to increase the level of competition he'd face on a day-to-day basis. A side effect of the decision was sure to be increased visibility with college coaching staffs and with that, more scholarship offers for the country's 4th-ranked offensive guard. That has come to fruition since yesterday, as Gerald has added scholarship offers from Maryland, Penn State and Florida State.
"It feels great to finally get a bit more 'big-time' recognition," Gerald shared with 11W. "I feel really blessed to have these opportunities."
Naturally, when new opportunities begin to arise, there will be concerns from Buckeye fans that maybe the commitment will consider them. Gerald said he does intend to make official visits next fall but that doing so will change nothing in respect to his college plans.
"I'll probably take my official visits," Gerald added. "I might go enjoy a few games but I'll always stay loyal to my Buckeyes. I can't wait to develop into an immediate impact type of player for my boys up in Columbus, and I can't wait to be a Buckeye."
Gerald plans to enroll at Ohio State next January.
2017 STAR READY FOR MORE ATTENTION
In case you missed it, 2017 Archbishop Hoban (Akron) running back Todd Sibley, Jr. got some pretty big news last Friday. The 5-foot-11, 205-pound junior-to-be received his first scholarship offer: from Ohio State. The Buckeyes are — and have been — considered the favorite to land Sibley as most expected an offer would happen eventually. On Saturday, he added an offer from Kentucky and today his hometown Zips followed suit. His sophomore highlights are impressive, and it's safe to assume he'll see many more offers soon.
BOWEN SEES FUTURE HEAD COACH
While he was in Utah today, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer also made an in-home visit with Buckeye offensive line commitment Branden Bowen.
The visit went well according to Bowen, who was happy to spend time with Meyer.
"He spent some time at my workout, and then came over and talked with the family," Bowen said. "It was good. He doesn't play around like a lot of coaches do, I like how straight-forward he is."