The Hurry Up: Buckeyes Still Looking at Hudson, Pair of Defensive Back Targets Get Open, Top 10 for Higgins

By Jeremy Birmingham on May 15, 2016 at 7:45 pm
Toledo Central Catholic's James Hudson
James Hudson

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's been a good week for Toledo Central Catholic standout two-way player James Hudson. First he picked up his biggest offer to date – from Alabama – and then he made a midweek visit to see Ohio State.

"I was at Ohio State on Thursday," Hudson told Eleven Warriors. "I went there with my sister."

The country's 12th-ranked defensive end, who many think could line up along the offensive line in college, is committed to Kentucky but said the Buckeyes had a very simple message for him about a potential offer.

"They're just telling me to be patient," Hudson said. "They want me to camp."

According to multiple sources, Hudson – who checks in at 6-foot-5 and 280 pounds – will do just that and take a trip to Ohio State this summer with the hopes of earning an offer. His coach at Toledo Central Catholic High School, Greg Dempsey, gave a little insight into where things stand with the Buckeyes.

"They are evaluating his film at both positions now," Dempsey said. "They were very impressed by how much bigger and stronger he's gotten since last summer."


Two of the defensive backs left on Ohio State's board for 2017 went to Chicago Saturday afternoon and earned invitations to Nike's The Opening this July.

Cincinnati Colerain's Amir Riep and Detroit Cass Tech's Jaylen Kelly-Powell were among four chosen from the Windy City's regional camp. Riep was slated to participate in last weekend's Columbus camp, but didn't because of college prep tests and Kelly-Powell, who did take part in the Columbus camp, decided he wanted another run at the invitation and worked himself into the spot.

While there are a handful of guys on the board at defensive back, this pair has been commonly discussed over the last few months because of their versatility on the field as much as their work ethic and character off of it. 

As for their recruitments, both are keeping an open mind though they've got supposed favorites according to the experts. For the Buckeyes to lock up Riep, they're going to need to show him that he's a priority despite the large number of other targets. Like Lamont Wade, Riep continues to be told by many that the Buckeyes have "too many" defensive backs and that he'd not get a chance to see the field early in his career. Michigan State has emerged as perhaps the biggest threat to Ohio State, so keep an eye on that.

Riep is expected to make a mid-July decision. Both he and Kelly-Powell hope to enroll early at the college of their choice.


Another Top 20 player has the Buckeyes in his Top 10.

Tee Higgins, a five-star wide receiver from Oak Ridge, Tennessee, may not yet be a realistic option for Ohio State, but discussions about a summer visit – if that came to fruition – could change that. 

Zach Smith has visited Higgins, 6-foot-5 and 190 pounds, a few times in recent weeks and the Buckeyes are slowly moving up the list of the country's third-ranked wide receiver.


The country' top quarterback for 2018, Phil Jurkovec from Gibsonia, Pennsylvania, may be trending in Ohio State's direction. What makes him special?


"He's got a frame that gives him a lot of room to grow," Elite 11 instructor Matt James said. "He has big hands. The ball comes slinging out of his hands. He's still learning, but he can make all the throws downfield. Once he kind of gets some of the drills down and becomes more polished with his footwork, that's going to help his arm."

Physically, Jurkovec checks all the boxes. He's 6-foot-5 and 190 pounds, he runs well, he's got a strong arm and he's only going to get better. Despite those skills, it's something else about him that really catches people's attention.

"The kid is a sponge," one connected source shared. "He never stops asking questions, always wants to know what he can do to be better. He's got 'it.' I think you're talking about someone who could be a J.T. Barrett type of leader and could be used in an offense like Tim Tebow."

Pretty high praise for a junior-to-be in high school. Notre Dame and Pitt are still the greatest challengers for Jurkovec's commitment right now and the Pine-Richland High School star will head to South Bend to see the Irish again Monday. Expect the five-star prospect to see each of his top schools a handful of times before a decision – which could come this summer – gets made.


The re-recruitment of Todd Sibley is heating back up.

Ohio State informed Sibley last month that, in order to be a part of the Buckeyes' program, he'd need to take a grayshirt and enroll a semester late. Since then, the country's 18th-ranked tailback has started to examine other options and Pitt is one that could be a factor when it's all said and done. 

Sibley also visited Michigan State last month for the Spartans spring game, though he left without an offer. He remains publicly committed to Ohio State while he explores his opportunities.

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