The Hurry Up: Top-Rated Ohioan Decommits from Michigan and Buckeyes Offer Elite Safety While Another Sets Official Visit to Oklahoma

By Andrew Lind on August 22, 2016 at 7:15 pm
Xavier McKinney
Xavier McKinney

The Hurry Up is your nightly dose of updates from the Ohio State football recruiting trail, keeping tabs on the latest from commits and targets from around the country.


Earlier this month, I mentioned that Springfield tight end Leonard Taylor should only be considered a soft verbal pledge to Michigan. Surely enough, the 6-foot-6, 258-pounder announced his decommitment from the Wolverines on Monday afternoon.

Taylor, considered the 13th-best tight end in the Class of 2018 by 247Sports Composite, made his pledge at Michigan's spring game in April. Just two weeks later, however, he showed up to Ohio State's spring game decked out in Scarlet and Gray.

Taylor — whose uncle, Ormonde Ricketts, was a captain for the Buckeyes under legendary coach Woody Hayes — never shied away from Ohio State despite his commitment. He's scheduled to take two unofficial visits to Columbus this fall for Ohio State's Oct. 8 game against Indiana and again on Nov. 26 when the Buckeyes host the Wolverines.

Taylor, who has 13 scholarship offers, is also set to visit Notre Dame on Sept. 17 (Michigan State) and Penn State on Oct. 22 (Ohio State).


Most programs across the country stopped recruiting Rosewell, Georgia, defensive back Xavier McKinney when he committed to Alabama in Fall 2015. But since he reopened his recruitment earlier this summer, schools like Auburn, Clemson, Florida and Georgia have entered the running for the No. 10 safety in the Class of 2017.

On Sunday evening, Ohio State officially joined the race by extending McKinney a scholarship offer.

“I talked to coach [Urban] Meyer tonight and [he] let me know they wanted to offer me,” McKinney told “I don't know what took them so long, but I'm happy to have it now. It means a lot to me and my family. Ohio State has been my dream school since I was little, [and] they have always been one of my favorite teams to watch. They have a great program and a lot of great players have come from there.”

It's difficult to tell at this point whether McKinney's offer is the result of another prospect trending elsewhere or if a scholarship may open up to include him in the class. Nevertheless, the 6-foot-1, 192-pound McKinney looks more than worthy of the offer.

Though it seemingly came from nowhere, Ohio State's offer immediately makes things interesting in the four-star prospect's recruitment.


With Monday's commitments from wide receivers Trevon Grimes and Tyjon Lindsey, five-star safety Jeffrey Okudah perhaps becomes the top remaining target on Ohio State's recruiting board.

He has more than 30 scholarship offers, but Ohio State or Oklahoma seem to be the most likely destination for the 6-foot-1, 190-pounder from Grand Prairie, Texas. Therefore, it makes sense that the first official visit of his senior season will take place when the Buckeyes take on the Sooners on Sept. 17.

I doubt the aforementioned offer to McKinney has anything to do with Okudah, though they play the same position in high school. The Buckeyes have also extended an offer to Bridgeton, New Jersey, safety Markquese Bell, so it seems like the chips rest solely with where Okudah — who recently narrowed his choices down to Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Ohio State, Oklahoma and USC — decides to play his college ball.


Ohio State is expected to take two running backs in the Class of 2018. But with Seffner, Florida's, Brian Snead already in the fold and a high priority placed on Westerville South's Jaelen Gill, the Buckeyes have seemingly struck out with Woodbridge, Virginia, running back Ricky Slade.

The five-star prospect released a Top 5 list on Saturday, noting that he'll focus his recruitment on Florida, North Carolina, Penn State, Tennessee and Virginia Tech.

If Snead were to back away from his pledge or things trend south with Gill, I'd expect Ohio State to get back into the mix for the 5-foot-9, 189-pounder, who is considered the top-all purpose back and No. 20 player overall in his recruiting cycle.

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