Heat Check: Another Bishop Gorman Star Emerges While a Pair of Longtime Targets Fall From the Board

By Andrew Ellis on September 29, 2016 at 2:15 pm
The Buckeyes offered safety Bubba Bolden in September.
Bubba Bolden

Recruiting is all about momentum. Sometimes you're gaining it, sometimes you're losing it. What prospects are trending up with Ohio State? Let's take a look.

Time has been flying by and September is almost behind us. The month saw the Buckeyes put up 170 points in just three games while only giving up 37 to the opposition. Props to Luke Fickell, Greg Schiano, Kerry Coombs, and Larry Johnson as the defense was only responsible for 23 of those points. 

In the world of recruiting, it was a fairly quiet month; at least on the commitment side of things. The Buckeyes entered September with 18 pledges for the 2017 class. With Tuesday's decommitment from longtime quarterback commit Danny Clark, that number has fallen to 17. Ohio State still, however, holds a fairly comfortable lead in the 247sports Team Rankings.

Let's take a look at where things stand as we head into October, which is still undefeated when going head-to-head with any of the other 11 months on the calendar. 

*The board will be updated over the next several months as we try and monitor the ups and downs of the 2017 class.

CAM AKERS RB 2 1 Ole Miss•Tennessee•LSU•Georgia
JAY TUFELE DT 3 3 Utah•Michigan
ANTHONY HINES LB 5 6 Oklahoma•Texas•TAMU
BUBBA BOLDEN S 6 NA Arizona State•USC•Florida
XAVIER MCKINNEY S 7 8 Clemson•Florida
JOSH FALO TE 8 9 Oregon•Colorado•USC•UCLA
DARNAY HOLMES CB 9 7 UCLA•Stanford•Michigan
JAYLEN HARRIS WR 10 11 Tennessee•Penn State•Alabama

*Last month's version can be found HERE.

Jeffrey Okudah still hasn't set his Ohio State official visit and he'll be in Athens this weekend checking out the Bulldogs (for the second time). He's already traveled to Oklahoma and the Sooners still look to be the only real threat in this recruitment.

Everything is still status quo with this one. The Buckeyes are in the driver's seat and it appears as though it would take a lot for that to change. The five-star can likely play corner or safety though right now it sounds like he's being looked at as more of a cornerback. 

When it comes to Ohio State's top running back target – five-star Cam Akers – it seems that no one truly knows what is going on. In the last six months, Ohio State, LSU, Florida State, Tennessee, and Ole Miss have all been rumored to lead at one point or another. Some say he's bound to leave the state while others say pulling him away from Ole Miss could be nearly impossible.

The good news for the Buckeyes? They already have a pretty good tailback committed in J.K. Dobbins, the nation's top-ranked all-purpose back. The possibility of a Dobbins flip to Texas is still out there, but some ties to Austin may not be as strong as they once were.

For Akers, it'll be wise to just sit back and watch how his official visits play out. He too is expected to visit Georgia this weekend, though they already have a pair of tailbacks in the fold. It will be interesting to see how the firing of Les Miles impacts LSU's chances.

Ohio State's pursuit to land a third defensive tackle has mostly been focused on Utah's Jay Tufele. The Buckeyes, Wolverines, and in-state Utes seem to be the most likely options at this point, but it remains difficult to get a read on a kid who doesn't talk to the media too much. Tufele released his final seven schools last week, but the official visits should tell the tale with this one. 

Marvin Wilson, the nation's top defensive tackle, resurfaces at No. 11 on the list. It's still likely a pipe dream as the 6-foot-4, 330-pounder appears destined for Texas or the SEC. Wilson was visiting Oklahoma when Ohio State came to town and did have some positive things to say about the Buckeyes' performance.

The Buckeyes continue to search for another linebacker to complement Ann Arbor's Antjuan Simmons, and the Texas duo of Anthony Hines and Baron Browning remain the top targets. Jeffrey Okudah's relationship with Browning can't be overlooked and it certainly doesn't hurt that the Buckeyes are expected to get his last official visit – Nov. 26 against Michigan – just three days before his scheduled announcement.

The future early enrollee will be in Ann Arbor this weekend, but Texas and UCLA look to be the stiffest competition. 

Plano's Anthony Hines (Plano East) is also scheduled to make his commitment on Nov. 29 and the nation's No. 2 inside linebacker is expected to make an official visit to Columbus in late October. Oklahoma and Texas may be out in front right now for Hines, but there's still a ways to go. He visited Penn State in mid-September but they're not considered a threat primarily because they are Penn State.

If the duo were to end up together, it seems Austin would be the likely destination. There's been no indication that this is the plan, but a same-day announcement kinda makes you think.

Xavier McKinney made his debut on the board last month, and he continues to be one of the more likely possibilities in the secondary. Yes, the potential addition of another defender not named Jeffrey Okudah may come down to whether or not Shaun Wade decides to stick around, but McKinney has himself squarely in the mix.

He will announce his decision on Jan. 1 at the Under Armour All-America Game. Dabo Swinney and the Clemson Tigers could be the current leader in the clubhouse.

Bubba Bolden was offered by Ohio State on Sept. 6 and there's some chatter out of Bishop Gorman that the Buckeyes may very well be trending for the nation's 11th-ranked safety. The connection with the three other Gorman commits is obviously tough to overlook, and we will be watching to see if the whole group makes it to Columbus this season.

The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder decommitted from USC in July. Oklahoma and Texas both extended offers this week. 

Why is Darnay Holmes still included? Because he might be the best defensive back in America and his recruitment still seems to be fairly wide open. It's likely he stays out West, but Ohio State will get its shot on Nov. 5 when they host Nebraska, another Big Ten school that's still in the running for the five-star. UCLA looks to be the frontrunner. 

The Buckeyes still are looking to add another pass-catcher, but will it be in the form of a wide receiver, tight end, or perhaps one of each? Trevon Grimes and Tyjon Lindsey have been committed for just over a month now, and things are still looking a bit foggy for Cleveland's Jaylen Harris. Does Ohio State need another wide receiver in this class? Probably not. The question is going to be whether or not he's too good to pass up. 

The recruitment of four-star tight end Josh Falo is another one that's tricky to get a read on. Two crystal ball picks have been submitted and they're both pointing toward an Oregon team that already has two tight ends committed for 2017. The Buckeye didn't get involved until late August, but right now the Sacramento star is really the only tight end they're looking at. 

Clairton, Pennsylvania defensive back Lamont Wade's presence on the board is no more. There's just too much going on at defensive back – despite the group already being loaded – and it's difficult to see where he fits in. Pittsburgh and Tennessee seem to be trending.

Donovan Peoples-Jones is going to be a star at the next level, but he too was removed due to the emergence of some new names. Let's hope the Gators can pull off the miracle and beat out Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines.

The month was highlighted by the offer to Bubba Bolden, but the news out of Baton Rouge could shakeup recruiting on the national level. We talked about its impact on Akers, but Dylan Moses – who was nearly included on this month's board – is someone the nation will be watching. If not LSU then Bama seems to be likely, but the five-star is planning a trip to Columbus, so you never know. 

We briefly touched on the departure of Danny Clark, but I think it's important to give credit where credit is due. Danny was instrumental in helping to orchestrate Ohio State's 2017 class. For a while, it seemed as though he was spending every single weekend in Columbus when Ohio State was hosting recruits from across the country. 

The writing may have been on the wall since Tate Martell's pledge, but the longtime commit stuck it out and handled things with class and maturity. Best wishes to him on whatever his future may hold. 

October is all about Halloween, official visits, and enjoying fall Saturdays. Right now there really aren't any noteworthy scheduled commitments, but the post-visit reports will be worth watching as Ohio State's targets – starting with Okudah and Akers this weekend – will be checking out schools all across America.

Keep an eye on Andrew's Hurry Ups each night for the latest and greatest. 

Note: Sept. 24 marked the 25-year anniversary of the release of Nirvana's Nevermind album. It was a very special year—the year our very own Kevin Harrish was born.

I'll let my old friend Kurt (RIP) take you back to a more peaceful time. 

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