The Hurry Up: The Chase for Damar Hamlin, the Latest on Naquan Jones and More

By Jeremy Birmingham on May 12, 2015 at 7:45 pm
Damar Hamlin Continues to be at the top of Ohio State's list.
Damar Hamlin

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.


Over the weekend, Sean Fitz, a prominent analyst for that network's Penn State affiliate, made some noise by predicting that Pittsburgh 2016 cornerback Damar Hamlin would eventually choose the Buckeyes. Hamlin, the country's 11th-ranked cornerback has his "crystal ball" split almost down the middle between Ohio State and Penn State.

Yes, Tom Loy has Hamlin to Notre Dame, but most people assume it's a two-way fight between the Nittany Lions and the Buckeyes. Why would Fitz go against the grain and the team he covers to predict Ohio State as the eventual winner? One explanation is that Penn State could be full at cornerback with Lavert Hill and Zech McPhearson already in the fold, but Hamlin's too good of a prospect and too big of a talent for Penn State to turn away.

Hamlin has visited Ohio State four times since last July and remains at the top of the Buckeyes' target list at defensive back/cornerback, but even sources in Columbus don't really know where the optimism re: potentially landing Hamlin comes from. He's a Pittsburgh kid, and the Ohio State staff always feels they do a good job there, but it's a unique area to recruit from and even though Hamlin has not seemed to be too high on Pitt, the Panthers still have a lot of sway in the area. If Hamlin doesn't end up at Penn State, the Buckeyes will continue to fight off the Western Pa. pull that new Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi is sure to employ.

So, in summation: Ohio State feels good about Hamlin, but there's nothing happening directly that makes them feel any better than they did a week ago. One thing that is for sure: they'd love to have him in the class and the sooner the better, but it appears that Hamlin is planning to take official visits and decide during his senior season.


The list of defensive tackles that Ohio State hopes to land for 2016 is long and complicated. We all know about Rashan Gary and Antwuan Jackson, right? If not, you've not been reading The Hurry Up enough, because we talk about those two guys all the time. However, beyond them, one player who could work his way into the mix is Evanson, Illinois lineman Naquan Jones. Jones, a 6-foot-4, 285-pound tackle, released his top five six schools on Sunday night and the Buckeyes, whom he's never visited, made the list.

The country's 323rd-ranked prospect talked with to discuss his favorites. What is it about Ohio State the keeps him interested in the Buckeyes?

Relationships played a big role in his recruitment to the Buckeyes as well with co-defensive coordinator / safeties coach Chris Ash taking the lead as his primary recruiter.

In fact, Jones said the Buckeyes are in the mix “just because I’ve been in contact with coach Ash”.

“Me and him have a great relationship,” Jones said. “I haven’t been able to visit yet, so I haven’t had a chance to see the campus or anything like that. But I mean stuff like winning the National Championship as a great team with a great coach. I’ve been talking a lot to coach Ash, and that’s someone I feel comfortable with.”

If Jones makes a visit to Ohio State before his planned June decision, he may become someone worth watching, but let's be real: no visit, no real chance to become a Buckeye.


Earlier this afternoon, Michigan State added a commitment from one of Ohio's top uncommitted players, St. Francis De Sales (Columbus) defensive back Austin Andrews.

Andrews was one of a handful of players who could make a decision this week to join Mark Dantonio's squad in East Lansing, and one of an important group that was on campus at Michigan State today. Penn State commitment Lavert Hill and high school teammate Donnie Corley were in East Lansing, so too was Akron Archbishop Hoban athlete Jonah Morris. While Hill is still a work in progress, Corley and Morris are each leaning towards the Spartans, according to most connected to the wide receivers.

Tomorrow, Detroit Cass Tech safety Demetric Vance, who holds a Buckeye offer, will annouce his college decision according to analyst Josh Helmholdt.

Vance is 100-percent predicted to land with the Spartans as well. Michigan State currently has the third-ranked class in the Big Ten, but could move up to No. 2 by the end of this week.


Another defensive back with Buckeye interest, Suwanee, Georgia's Chad Clay, will make his college choice this week. 

Last week, Clay named the Buckeyes as his leader and received a visit from Chris Ash and Kerry Coombs, Ohio State's defensive back gurus, but since then things have been relatively quiet between the two parties. As a decision looms, it seems that it will be Georgia or Florida ahead of the Buckeyes, so don't expect a Gray Box on this defensive back later in the week. 

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