The Hurry Up: Lukusa Looking, Guarantano Visit Thoughts, Potter Talks Italy and Mack is Back

By Jeremy Birmingham on April 7, 2015 at 7:45 pm
Jalin Marshall
Jalin Marshall

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.


The rumor mill has been working overtime in regard to Traverse City West (Michigan) High School's Thiyo Lukusa and the Buckeyes. A 6-foot-5, 300-pound tackle, Lukusa could potentially play guard in college, and right now he's trending heavily towards Ohio State despite a 247Sports crystal ball that is literally all over the place.

What happens if Lukusa wants in, say, before Liam Eichenberg makes a return trip to Columbus on April 17th? That is the interesting question. Eichenberg is a true tackle, and with limited offensive line needs/spots open in the Ohio State 2016 class, they may be put into a position where they risk alienating Eichenberg – Ohio's top uncommitted lineman – and providing Notre Dame a bit more ammunition in their already feverish pursuit.

My dealings with Lukusa have always been straight-forward and he's told me for months that the Buckeyes were a team he felt checked all of his "boxes" and people weren't considering Ohio State a strong enough option for him. He's got offers from Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Georgia and a bevy of other national programs and a decision might be just around the corner.


The final visit Jarrett Guarantano will make to Columbus before his Wednesday April 15th decision date is now over. The Rutgers legacy, who has recently named Tennessee as his favorite after Ohio State held that spot for months, made a day long trip with his father, his mother and his sister. The chance for his entire family to evaluate Ohio State means that the Guarantanos were clearly serious about this visit, but now that it's concluded, what does it all mean?

First and foremost, the things Jarrett initially liked about Ohio State haven't changed. The school, the football program, the coaching staff, etc. None of that is different now than when he was blushing scarlet and gray and dreaming of playing in The Horseshoe. Ohio State still provides him all the things he's looking for in a school, but as a quarterback there's no doubt the path to playing time in Columbus isn't going to be an easy one. The events of last fall, the emergence of JT Barrett, then Cardale Jones, then the signing of Joe Burrow and Torrance Gibson, mean that any quarterback who considers Ohio State in 2016 needs to be cognizant of what's in front of him. Does turning away from the Buckeyes because of that depth make someone "afraid of competition?" Of course not, it's a personal choice that makes business sense on a very obvious level.

On the flip side of that coin is the scientifically proven fact that competition does make you better. Will there be competition for playing time early at Rutgers and/or Tennessee? Sure, but not like there will be in Columbus. If Guarantano wasn't still seriously considering the Buckeyes, he would not have made this trip. Bottom line, he'll do what's best for he and his family but I'm sure there's a lot of discussion happening in that car ride home to New Jersey.

still think this one ends up in Tennessee's favor, but the Buckeyes have put it on the table and now it's just a waiting game.


Austin Mack did something last week that he's been waiting a long time to do. Something that in today's recruiting world is harder done than said. He was a kid.

"I was a kid for a week!," Mack exclaimed of a spring break trip to Florida. "I didn't even respond to any recruiting stuff. I don't want to talk to people when I'm on vacation. I'd get 30-plus messages a day on Twitter."

Before his trip, Mack did make one recruiting visit – to Tuscaloosa and the University of Alabama – and he came away pretty impressed by what he saw.

"Their stuff is legit," he said of Nick Saban's program. "Everything is super serious there but it's so nice."

Now back home in Fort Wayne, Mack is preparing to get back on the recruiting horse. His first trip will be to Columbus this weekend, he plans to arrive Friday in Columbus and be on campus through Saturday. Next weekend he'll visit Michigan State.


In case you missed it, last Wednesday Ohio State secured a basketball commitment from 2016 center/power forward Derek Funderburk from Lakewood St. Edward High School. Funderburk, the country's 6th-ranked center and 41st-ranked overall prospect is a banger, built in the mold of Jared Sullinger at 6-foot-9 and a frame that could hold upwards of 240-250 pounds easily. A week prior to Funderburk's commitment, the Buckeyes offered Mentor, Ohio's Micah Potter, another center in the 2016 class, but a player that is a bit more able to beat you inside or outside. 

Last week, when Funderburk was making his decision, Potter was in Italy, getting a chance to play against some of Europe's best talent on an Ohio travel squad. 

"It was amazing over there," Potter shared about his experience in Italy. "We played five games, against amazing talent. I had 13.8 points a game, 12.4 rebounds a game, 3.8 assists per game and 2.6 blocks per game, according to the final stat sheet they gave us at the end of the tournament."

Potter said he and the Buckeyes were in regular contact during his trip. One topic of conversation? How Funderburk's commitment impacts him.

"I talked with them during the entire trip," Potter said, laughing. "It impacts me a little, but the Buckeyes are still very high on my list. They really want me to commit but they're not killing me over it, if that makes sense."

With likely one spot remaining in the 2016 class, Potter may want to make a decision sooner rather than later, but he won't hurry.

"I need to feel 100-percent in my choice," he said. "Derek and I don't play really similar positions, they want someone who can play a bit more outside."

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