The Hurry Up: Early Relationships Leading the Way for Michigan in 2018, Tight End Talk, Amir Riep and J.K. Dobbins Visit

By Jeremy Birmingham on April 3, 2016 at 7:45 pm
Amir Riep at Ohio State on Saturday morning.
Amir Riep

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.


It was a busy morning at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center Saturday as thousands of students, siblings of students, media and high school coaches gathered around to watch the Buckeyes eighth 2016 spring football practice. Student Appreciation Day brought the people out in droves, including a relatively surprising visit from Cincinnati Colerain 2017 defensive back Amir Riep.

The country's 14th-ranked cornerback was back in Ohio after a spring break trip that saw visits to Georgia (he added an offer from the Bulldogs) and Florida. 

"It went well," Riep said of the trip to Ohio State. "Everything was good and I had a great time. I'm just enjoying the moment."

The moment for Riep continues to grow. He'll be all over the country in the next month, including LSU, Michigan State and Oregon as he looks for the place that fits him best. Saturday morning, Riep and his father spent a lot of time with his Colerain coaches and the father of a Cincinnati Buckeye–Carl Hilliard, redshirt freshman Justin Hilliard's father. 

I've talked to a number of people about this recruitment and while most still believe it'd be a major upset if Riep ends up anywhere other than Columbus, there are some who believe that Florida is a bigger threat than they are being given credit for. Michigan, Michigan State and others are hoping to upend the Buckeyes as well.


Ohio State hosted four-star running back J.K. Dobbins, the country's fourth-ranked 2017 tailback and a Buckeye commitment, for the first time this weekend. He and his mother arrived on Thursday night and stuck it out in Columbus until the end of the aforementioned Student Appreciation Day, before flying out Saturday afternoon.

Sunday morning, bright and early, Dobbins was right back to work, participating in The Opening's regional camp in Houston.

The Ohio State commitment earned an invitation to Beaverton for July's The Opening finals for his work.

I talked to one source who said the La Grange, Texas, star's visit seemed to go without a hitch.

"He got a lot of time with Urban Meyer," the source said. "It seemed like everything went really well."

Dobbins told 11W last week that he has no intentions to make any other visits and that he's solid in his commitment to Ohio State. When available, I'll get a full update on the trip from the running back himself.


The options for the Buckeyes at tight end in the 2017 recruiting class got a bit smaller over the last few days.

First, Wilmette, Illinois' Jake Marwede, who visited Ohio State in early March and was subsequently offered by the Buckeyes, ended his recruitment with a commitment to Duke. Then, Sunday morning, it was Plain City (Jonathan Alder) tight end Trey Pugh, who was a player the Scarlet and Gray very much wanted to see in person this summer, who made a pledge elsewhere. He committed to Northwestern.

Ohio State has offered only three tight ends in 2017 (Notre Dame commit Cole Kmet, Marwede and Cincinnati Moeller's Matt Dotson) and with two of them verballed to other schools, you'd think the focus may narrow a bit on Dotson, who visited Florida State this past week. As it stands, Dotson has no immediate plans to return to Ohio State, where he's been many times in the last year, instead focusing on a few other schools that he's seen less of. Rather than making it to the Ohio State spring game, or Tennessee (where he's been closely linked) he'll visit Michigan on April 16 and then Michigan State on the 23rd.

As of Sunday, it'd not be a surprise to see the Buckeyes forgo the tight end position in 2017, but with some speculation that Marcus Baugh–if he has a good year–could depart for the NFL, it may become important for Ohio State to address this position later in the process.


A while ago, it seemed that the Buckeyes could end up being a team to watch in the recruitment of IMG Academy defensive tackle Cam Spence. The Baltimore native has made no secret that he is a big fan of Ohio State, but with two commitments already at his position and Spence not visiting the school, it seems less and less likely he'll end up a Buckeye. That said, Sunday he released his Top 15 schools and it seems that Larry Johnson and the relationship he's made with Spence are still enough to keep Ohio State in the mix.

Spence is the country's 12th-ranked defensive tackle. He visited Texas A&M last weekend.


OK everyone –– don't freak out: Michigan is alive and well in Ohio.

On Friday, the first real shot at the Buckeyes' years-long fence around the state connected when the Wolverines landed Springfield's Leonard Taylor, the country's 22nd-ranked 2018 prospect and the teammate of Antwuan Johnson, who is also committed to Michigan. Johnson, who doesn't have a Buckeye offer, wasn't a huge surprise, though committing anywhere this early is kind of unexpected.

Taylor though? That's a surprise, and make no mistake, it opened some eyes in Columbus, and it should. This is a player Ohio State. This is a player with Ohio State ties–his uncle was a captain for the Buckeyes under Woody Hayes–and this was a shock to the system. 

Was a "wake up call?" No, that's silly. Let's not get ahead of ourselves. Ohio State offered Taylor two years before he sign a letter of intent, they've been working to develop a relationship with him and haven't taken his interest in them for granted nor did they ignore his interest in Michigan. This was Michigan capitalizing on their early work and doing a great job with Taylor. It's a sign that yes, it's worth paying attention to what they're doing in Ann Arbor, but it's certainly not a sign that the Buckeyes are doing anything wrong when it comes to recruiting Ohio talent.

It's very early for Taylor, who told 11W last week he'd be at the Buckeyes' spring game, though that is now up in the air as you'd imagine. There will be a concerted effort by Ohio State to make the Wolverines fight to keep the 6-foot-6, 260-pound Taylor for two years, which is certainly not going to be easy.

The rivalry is back, friends. It's back on the field, it's back in the living rooms. 

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