The Hurry Up: Prepping for Best of the Midwest, Rankings Bump for Ferns, Wade Visits Florida and More.

By Jeremy Birmingham on February 15, 2015 at 7:45 pm
St. Clairsville's Brendan Ferns
St. Clairsville's Brendan Ferns

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.


Acknowledging that it is now evaluation season means one of two things: rankings adjustments and unnecessary squabbling over them. This weekend, updated their 2016 projections and St. Clairsville, Ohio's Brendan Ferns is now the top-ranked linebacker in the country according to that outlet.

Ferns' junior highlights showcase exactly why he's one of the best players in the country.

With over 30 offers — Texas A&M and USC are among the most recent — Ferns is finishing up his junior year of basketball and at that point will turn his attention to recruiting. Ohio State remains near the top of the list, but don't be surprised if West Virginia makes them sweat. The Buckeyes are currently in front of the Crystal Ball predictions and are working hard to let the entire Ferns family know they're wanted.


Tomorrow, the region's first major recruiting combine of the year, The Best of the Midwest, takes place in Indianapolis. Last year, Nordonia's Denzel Ward exploded on to the scene at this event and there's no shortage of talented prospects scheduled to be on-hand again this year, including a handful of the area's best quarterbacks.

The top overall quarterback in attendance may very well be 2017 standout Hunter Johnson. Johnson, a 6-foot-3, 190-pounder from Brownsburg, Indiana, is ranked as the top pocket-passer in 2017 nationally and drew rave reviews at last year's Elite 11 combine in Columbus. Behind Johnson, a trio of 2016 Ohio quarterbacks will get their chance to shine and see how they measure up against one another. 

Wayne quarterback Messiah deWeaver, who transferred from Trotwood-Madison, Dublin Coffman's Gunnar Hoak, and Cincinnati Moeller's Thomas MacVittie will all be in attendance. MacVittie recently picked up offers from Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, and at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, he's a player to watch closely moving forward. 

At running back, Toks Akinribade — a teammate of Hunter Johnson's — could battle for the top spot, but Detroit Martin Luther King, Jr's Martell Pettaway is my pick to shine the brightest. Pettaway is a four-star prospect and the 22nd-ranked tailback in the country.

Wide receiver is always a busy position during these combines and tomorrow is no different. However, the two most Buckeye fans should pay the closest attention to are Detroit 2016 Donnie Corley, Jr. and 2018 Westerville South (Ohio) athlete Jaelen Gill. Pittsburgh, Toledo and Kentucky have already offered Gill, and whiles there's no 2018 rankings yet, he's going to be one of the top prospects in that class. Expect to see his name in lights.

The offensive line may best the most difficult position to get a good evaluation, but Kentucky commit Drake Jackson is likely to stand above everyone in attendance. Jackson, who holds a Buckeye offer, committed to the home-state Wildcats in December. Jackson's teammates at Woodford County will join him in Indianapolis. There will a large contingent of Tarblooders from Cleveland Glenville as well.

The defensive line attendees will feature Fort Wayne (Wayne) 2016 star Auston Robertson. A nephew of former Ohio State running back coach Stan Drayton, Robertson holds a Buckeye offer and many expect him to commit to Ohio State this summer. The BotM will give him an excellent chance to showcase what makes him one of not just the region's best, but the country's. Current Buckeye pledge Jonathon Cooper from Gahanna Lincoln had a big performance last year at this camp and will once again look to dominate the position group.

Another Kentucky commit, Roland Walder, highlights a linebacker group that also features 2017 Orchard Lake St. Mary's Dwayne Chapman II. Chapman is a 6-foot-2, 205-pounder who helped OLSM win a state title this past December. Chapman won MVP honors in the championship game and sealed the victory with a last minute interception. 

The top defensive back prospect in attendance is likely to be Alexandria, Virginia's Patrice Rene, the country's 25th-ranked cornerback. Rene visited Ohio State today and will make his way over to Indianapolis this evening. A pair of Detroit Cass Tech teammates, 2016 cornerback Demetric Vance and 2018 athlete Kalon Gervin, will look to step up their games and become the next wave of Technicians to earn national attention. Gervin, along with the aforementioned Jaelen Gill, could be one of the region's best sophomores-to-be.


The 14th-ranked player in the 2017 recruiting class, Ohio State commit Shaun Wade, surprised everyone when he committed to the Buckeyes on January 12th. As one of the country's top-ranked cornerbacks, Wade — from Jacksonville's Trinity Christian Academy — took a visit to Florida this past Friday. In today's new world of recruiting, commitments are measured less in definitive terms like yes and no, but rather in an escalating scale. So, according to Wade, here's where he "stands" with the Buckeyes.

So, while the Buckeyes are sitting in the lead position with Wade, there's of course work to be done. Wade said he's getting to know Ohio State's coaches better every day.

"I've been getting to know the coaches a bit better," Wade told 11W. "I talk to (Tim) Hinton a lot. I love Ohio State's coaches."

View 51 Comments