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.
HILL THINKING SPARTANS?
Last night there was a bit of smoke swirling again about Hubbard, Ohio 2016 athlete George Hill, Ohio State's first commitment in the 2016 class, and his interest in Michigan State. We've talked about this particular rumor before, and Hill has all but laughed it off, but as continued discussion about it floats, it's harder and harder to ignore the possibility that he could end up elsewhere.
He was expected at Michigan State's spring game this past weekend, but did not make the trip, and as far as anyone knows he's not made any recent visits to East Lansing. I reached out to a few different people last night to try and get a better read on this situation, since Hill himself isn't much of a talker when it comes to the media.
The Buckeyes, for their part, haven't heard any sort of "issue" from Hill or his camp, so they're not necessarily concerned that anything is amiss. That said, they're months off of a national championship and are on an absolute roll in recruiting and if Hill decided to open up his options, Ohio State wouldn't skip a beat. If Hill wants to be a Buckeye, it's in his best interest to tread lightly, in my opinion.
Interestingly, Michigan State, I was told, was asked by Hill to consider recruiting him as a defensive back, which is obviously important to note for a few reasons. First, the Spartans' reputation for churning out defensive backs is formidable, even with Pat Narduzzi's departure to Pitt. Second, it would seem to indicate that Hill's issues with Ohio State – if in fact he has any – aren't related to the Buckeyes having commitments from Kareem Walker and Demario McCall, as many would speculate.
VJ KING HAS FINAL FIVE, BUCKEYES NOT INVOLVED
The Buckeyes have two commitments for their 2016 basketball recruiting class, Derek Funderburk and Micah Potter, and although spots are limited, it's still disappointing to lose out on talented players with Ohio roots. That is what happened today when VJ King, formerly of Akron St.Vincent-St. Mary's and now of Fairfax, Virginia's Paul VI Catholic High School. King, the country's 15th-ranked overall prospect in the 2016 class, released his final five schools and Thad Matta's group was not included.
2016 small forward VJ King (@VJKing13) announces that his final five schools are UK, Louisville, Arizona, UConn and Virginia.— Ben Roberts (@NextCats) April 30, 2015
Ohio State will be looking for the next man up at guard for 2016.
COLUMBUS 2016 STAR CHOOSES IZZO, MICHIGAN STATE
VJ King isn't the only Ohioan to say "no thanks" to Matta in the last 24 hours. Columbus (Gahanna) power forward Nick Ward, a 6-foot-9, 235-pounder, committed to Michigan State last night.
Thank you to all the coaches who have recruited me, however I have decided to commit to The Michigan State University. #Spartandog— Nick ward (@best_at_hoopin) April 30, 2015
Ward's decision is disappointing for the Buckeyes, of course, because you never want to lose top-quality in-state players to conference rivals, but with two big men already committed for the Buckeyes in his class, it seemed the writing was on the wall for Ward to eventually choose a different school.
UPDATES ON DEFENSIVE BACKS
We're still in a holding pattern on the next wave of defensive backs for 2016's recruiting class. Tony Butler was scheduled to talk with Ohio State last night, but said he was sick and plans to speak with Chris Ash about a potential scholarship offer tonight or tomorrow. Alabama visited Butler yesterday and there's talk that Penn State will be offering the Pittsburgh commitment soon, as well.
Ash did visit Fremd, Illinois' defensive back Kenney Lyke on Wednesday afternoon, but no offer was extended. The Buckeyes are hopeful that Lyke will make a return trip to Columbus for camp this summer, but Michigan State is lurking and they've offered so a decision may come sooner than that.
Columbus St. Francis De Sales' Austin Andrews will see Ohio State's Luke Fickell tomorrow. Andrews is on commitment watch for Michigan State as well, but didn't make the trip to their spring game last weekend and won't visit East Lansing this weekend either because Mark Dantonio will not be on campus.