The Hurry Up: Martell More Than Bluster, Big Day Approaching for Gillison, Emory Jones Arrives and More

By Jeremy Birmingham on June 13, 2016 at 7:45 pm
Tate Martell's Twitter edit

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.


Let's start this evening's show by talking a little bit about the weekend's biggest news, the commitment of Tate Martell. We've discussed what the country's top-ranked dual-threat quarterback can bring to the Buckeyes on the field and in the locker room, but the Las Vegas four-star remains a touch polarizing because of his social media presence and the cocky-but-close-to-conceited way he handles himself. He's not afraid to tell people he thinks he's the best quarterback in the country and that rubs some people the wrong way, but that's not the entirety of who he is.

Last year, when West Coast recruiting analyst Brandon Huffman and his family were suffering through his daughter's heartbreaking illness, Martell – who had gotten to know Huffman through his recruitment – was personally touched. 

Martell dedicated his junior season to Huffman and another ailing youngster:

Martell dedicated his games in 2015 for two seven-year-old's Thaddeus Thatcher, who is battling leukemia, and Avery Huffman, who is battling DIPG. The Texas A&M commit, Martell's play throughout 2015 would lead the Gaels to (a) perfect 15-0 record and the designation of Scout's 2015 National Champion. 

At the conclsion [sic] of the season, Martell sent a special gift package to Avery Huffman containing Martell's personalized cleats with Avery's name on the right side, his Bishop Gorman team backpack and his gloves. Included in the collection of gifts was a letter to Avery, thanking her for the inspiration for his 2015 season.

Monday, Huffman went to the message boards and tried to shed some light on who Martell is.

"I know Tate gets a bad rap for some things on social media, but I can tell you, Tate is a pretty exceptional kid and he personally impacted our family over the last year...for all the crap that Tate deals with in the media and from fans of opposing schools, he's a terrific kid and more than just an extremely talented football player, so I figured I'd share that over here."

The truth is that social media – especially for a teenager who has the world of college football hanging on his every word – isn't always a good thing, but don't let it completely shape your opinion of a teenager you've never met.


Social media does, however, play an important role in the dynamics of today's recruiting. Monday morning, just hours after announcing his commitment, Martell was hard at work on Twitter letting the world know he has a few major priorities in the 2017 recruiting class.

That trio of five-star wide receivers certainly aren't unknown names to Buckeye recruiting fans, but Martell will recruit them publicly and with a different kind of vigor and effectiveness than others may be able to. Martell was actively recruiting both Peoples-Jones and Lindsey while he was committed to Texas A&M and in the last few months, as it became clearer Ohio State may be the choice, the conversations have turned in the direction of the Scarlet and Gray and you should expect them to continue. For his part, Peoples-Jones was receptive to a little "Buckeye love" on Twitter and posted this (not great) edit of himself and some potential Ohio State commits along with Martell.

There was some interesting Twitter back-and-forth between Martell and Grimes months ago about the upcoming Bishop Gorman and St. Thomas Aquinas matchup, but there's absolutely zero hard feelings between the pair.

Every year, there are a few players across the country who possess a very natural "lightning rod" vibe about them and Martell – like Dwayne Haskins Jr. a year ago – is that kind of player. Everyone in high school football knows who Tate Martell is and a major part of his decision to make his verbal public was the chance to recruit for the Buckeyes this summer, especially at The Opening next month. Martell – like Urban Meyer – wants to win the recruiting "championship" next February.

As for the concern that Martell is a "flake" because he has two decommitments (he committed to Washington in eighth grade for Pete's sake, give him a break), there's no reason to think this commitment won't stick. From a football and personality standpoint, Martell and the Buckeyes are a perfect fit and as an early-enrollee, this is about a focus on moving ahead. Will it be a surprise if he takes a few visits this fall? No, it won't be, and that's OK, but this is the right fit for Martell and Ohio State.


Before diving too far down the rabbit hole here, let me say that it's wildly unfair to speculate on what to expect Danny Clark and his family to do moving forward. The country's 15th-ranked pro-style quarterback, Clark has maintained relative silence since March and the first visit from Martell and he's been – as usual – a class act in how he's dealing with what is an obviously difficult situation.

Last night, he replied to a Tweet from a fan on Twitter and it gives a little insight into his approach.

It's that approach that has made him a fan favorite since his commitment and that approach which should keep fans rooting for him no matter what decision he and his family ultimately make. Danny loves Ohio State and there's no doubt that he's going to work even harder to be the man in Columbus. 

Ohio State's quarterback situation heading into the 2017 season will be loaded with talent and that's only going to make everyone better.


Let's stay with the quarterback talk for a bit, shall we?

This week is going to be an interesting one for the 2018 class as the Buckeyes will welcome their top two options for that class this week. Late last night, Franklin, Georgia's Emory Jones arrived for his first visit to Ohio State.

Jones will stay in town with the Buckeyes for two days and should throw Tuesday afternoon, allowing both Tim Beck and Urban Meyer another opportunity to see him up close. Ohio State did get to see him last week in Atlanta during a camp but a second chance for Meyer to get entirely sold on him will be important. Jones told us that getting to meet the Buckeyes' head coach last week was kind of surreal.

"It was great. He's a really cool guy," Jones said of Meyer. "He's actually more cool than I thought he'd be. We connected really well. It's so crazy that this is happening."

The country's second-ranked 2018 dual-threat quarterback, Jones said Meyer was expecting to "coach him up" more than he needed to.

"He said he thought he was going to have to tell me more I need to work on," Jones added. "He said the only thing was to stay loaded up on my back foot on quick throws."

We'll find out Tuesday if Jones is able to put that advice to practice.

Later this week, the Buckeyes will host New Jersey's Artur Sitkowski, who is at the top of the quarterback wish list alongside Jones and Oklahoma's Casey Thompson, in 2018.


Last Monday, Pickerington Central 2018 tight end Trenton Gillison made the quick trip to Ohio State's campus to meet with Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes. 

"The meeting with them went real well," Gillison told 11W. "He said that he likes the way I've been playing tight end and he wants to see me progress strength-and-speed-wise."

The Buckeyes will get a chance to see the 6-foot-5, 220-pounder – ranked as the country's seventh-best 2018 tight end – Tuesday during their second one-day camp of the summer. Gillison currently has 14 scholarship offers, including Michigan State, Michigan, Ole Miss and Tennessee. With those offers, Ohio State may have to consider making a move on him a little bit earlier than they'd prefer.


One 2018 player who added a Buckeye offer recently is Chicago's Houston Griffith, a four-star defensive back at Mount Carmel High School. The son of Illinois legend Howard Griffith, the 6-foot-tall, 180-pound cornerback earned his offer after a camp performance in front of Urban Meyer at Detroit's Sound Mind/Sound Body camp.

Griffith, who has recently added offers from Florida and Georgia, told 11W that he had an idea the scholarship from the Buckeyes may have been on the way.

"From my understanding, the staff had been wanting to offer. (Urban) Meyer and (Kerry) Coombs wanted to see me move in person," Griffith said. After the workout, the offer followed quickly. "(After camp) Coach Meyer and Coach Coombs offered during a phone call."

The country's seventh-ranked 2018 cornerback visited Ohio State at the end of March and says he's working on getting back to Columbus this summer.

"I'm working on coming to Friday Night Lights," Griffith added. "I have to see how that works with my high school practice schedule."

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