The Hurry Up: Entering The Stretch Run for Damar Hamlin, Jordan Fuller and More

By Jeremy Birmingham on January 27, 2016 at 7:45 pm
Damar Hamlin at Ohio State in the summer.
Damar Hamlin

The Hurry Up is your nightcap of Ohio State recruiting news, catching you up on the day’s events with an ear on the ground for what’s next.


Wednesday is probably the day that New Jersey's Jordan Fuller will make his college decision, even if the public won't be aware of who he chooses until next Monday night.

The three primary finalists for the four-star athlete, Ohio State, Notre Dame and Michigan, will–by the end of Wednesday–have visited Fuller at school and/or at home. Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes are his last visit of the day, expected to be knocking on the 6-foot-2, 200 pounder's door at literally any moment now.

Since Monday, when Fuller returned from his official visit at Michigan, he's been in bunker mode, making a list and checking it twice, and Wednesday's visits will give each of the main contenders a final opportunity to state their case. The Wolverines, I've been told, have been feeling slightly more confident in their chances with Fuller since Monday, but there's been nothing to suggest Ohio State feels their own waning.

Meyer and the Buckeyes are likely to focus on the length and strength of their relationship with Fuller, how they've never wavered in having a spot for him in the 2016 class and how they've turned similar players into NFL early-entree stars. Greg Schiano, who recruited Fuller's brother before taking his own NFL job, has been working to get to know the younger version. 

My "crystal ball" is on the Buckeyes and is not going to change. Ohio State not lacking in confidence either: they've put together a great plan for Jordan and have presented it to his family in a way that they feel resonated with each of them.


One hour before Jordan Fuller makes his announcement on Monday night, Ohio State will find out their fate with Damar Hamlin, the Pittsburgh product they've recruited like crazy since the summer of 2014.

Hamlin's final three is by most accounts, really just a final two at this point, with Ohio State and Pittsburgh being the primary two and Penn State being more an extra hat on the table according to most. 

While Hamlin's most likely destination seems to be Pitt, there are a couple of reasons to at least think that he could surprise and commit to the Buckeyes on Monday night. 

First, the "smoke" around Hamlin's recruitment in December was that Notre Dame was actually the team in the lead to land him, not Pitt as most expected. The Irish though, did not have room for Hamlin and with that, his final four was cut down to a final three. He's visited Ohio State so many times in the last two years that there's literally nothing he doesn't know about the Buckeyes and he's stayed very close with them throughout the process. Ohio State is a viable and regular national championship contender, and while Pitt is a big draw for kids in the #412, the truth is that most of them will recognize they're trading a shot at a national title for a role as hometown hero, which is, to be fair, a pretty good trade for most folks.

Now, what you're going to ask (admit it, I know you were) is "Jeremy, if Hamlin commits to Ohio State on Monday, does that mean Fuller is out?"

I don't think so. Ohio State, and I know this sounds crazy, could absolutely take two more defensive backs to go along with Malik Harrison, especially if they don't end up bringing in another defensive tackle. Fuller, Hamlin, and Rodjay Burns are all so versatile as athletes that they could play cornerback, safety or even–in the case of Fuller and Burns–wide receiver if things played out that way.

Ohio State is expected to make their final visit with Hamlin Thursday night, which sounds good. However, Pitt will also have their in-home with the country's 14th-ranked cornerback tomorrow night and then will host him for an official visit this weekend.

The battle is uphill for the Buckeyes but they're definitely not out of it.


Another day in January and another day for Ohio State's coaching staff to get on the road as they look to round top off 2016 and charge into 2017.

Urban Meyer, who was in Georgia Tuesday, is–as mentioned–heading to New Jersey tonight, but before that trip he made his way, along with Luke Fickell and Kerry Coombs, to Virginia. There, the trio of coaches met with newly-offered speedster K'Von Wallace.

Wallace, who is on his way to Clemson for an official visit, has not yet decided whether or not he'll be making a trip to Ohio State this weekend.

Last night Coombs and Meyer were also in Jacksonville, where no doubt 2017 five-star commitment Shaun Wade was one their higher-priority targets.

Wide receivers coach Zach Smith got the chance to travel westward last night, stopping in California and making a point to stop in Calabasas, where a pair of 2017's, five-star defensive back Darnay Holmes and four-star wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson Jr.–reside. After California dreamin', Smith hit the Las Vegas Strip today and made a stop at powerhouse Bishop Gorman, the home to a pair of five-star 2017 prospects, quarterback Tate Martell and wide receiver Tyjon Lindsey.

Ohio State offensive coordinator Ed Warinner was in Brooklyn, checking in with with Buckeyes' commit Jahsen Wint at Erasmus Hall before heading to Poly Prep to see five-star offensive lineman Isaiah Wilson. Warinner also made a stop at Nassau Community College and talked with Malcolm Pridgeon, a colossal offensive tackle prospect, the country's fourth-ranked JUCO player. There's been some discussion that Pridgeon may make an official visit to Ohio State this weekend, although that has yet to be finalized.

The Buckeyes were also in Florida Wednesday, with Tony Alford stopping in Clearwater to see running back Adarius Lemons. The five-star Martell wasn't the only 2017 quarterback to get a visit from the Scarlet and Gray either: they were also at McEachern High School in Powder Springs, Georgia to see Bailey Hockman.

Signing day is coming fast and the efforts of the coaching staff on the road won't slow down until then.

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