The Hurry Up: Five-Star Targets Gush About Florida State Visit, Top-Rated JUCO Linebacker Reopens Recruitment and Indianapolis Corner Impressed By Atmosphere in Ohio Stadium

By Andrew Lind on October 31, 2016 at 7:15 pm
Gary Johnson
Gary Johnson

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.


Four of Ohio State's top remaining targets for the Class of 2017 had a front row seat for Clemson's 37-34 win over Florida State on Saturday night. And while head coach Jimbo Fisher didn't get the on-field result he was looking for, the Seminoles made quite the impression on five-star prospects Cam Akers, Baron Browning, Jeffrey Okudah and Marvin Wilson.

“It was crazy,” Okudah told 247Sports. “I was taken aback because I've never been to an ACC game, so I had no idea what to expect. But those fans blew it out of the water.”

Rumors have surfaced in recent weeks the 6-foot-2, 190-pounder from Grand Prairie, Texas, silently committed to the Buckeyes, but he has always spoken highly of Seminoles' ability to put defensive backs into the National Football League.

Okudah, the top cornerback in the current recruiting cycle, listed Florida State and Ohio State alongside Clemson, Georgia, Oklahoma and USC in his Top 6 schools back in July. He's expected to take an official visit to Columbus for the Nov. 26 regular season finale against Michigan before making a decision.

Browning, meanwhile, did not list Florida State in his Top 10 schools back in April, but decided to join a pair of fellow five-star Texans on an official visit this weekend anyway.

“[I've] been to many places, but have yet to experience an atmosphere like that one,” Browning said.

The 6-foot-3, 230-pounder from Kennedale, Texas, is considered the second-best outside linebacker in the class. He will also take an official visit to Ohio State for The Game, just three days before he is set to announce his decision.

Wilson, the least likely of the bunch to pick the Scarlet and Gray, also enjoyed the trip.

“I'm not gonna lie, when I walked out of the tunnel before the game and onto the field, I looked around [and] was like, 'damn,'" the Bellaire, Texas, product said. “It was crazy. I got some goosebumps.”

The top-rated defensive tackle in the class included Ohio State in his Top 10 back in early June, but both parties seemingly moved in a different direction until the Buckeyes' 45-24 win at Oklahoma. Wilson was in attendance and suggested afterward he would like to make an official visit to Columbus as a result, which he'll also do on Nov. 26.


As much as Ohio State would like to add Browning and/or Plano, Texas, four-star Anthony Hines III to the current class, the Buckeyes may have another option at linebacker in Dodge City, Kansas, Community College's Gary Johnson.

The top-rated junior college linebacker was committed to Alabama, but announced on Twitter Monday afternoon he has been forced to reopen his recruitment for academic reasons.

The SEC reportedly has stricter rules for junior college transfers than any other Power 5 conference, forcing prospects to spend at least three-consecutive semesters at the school from which he receives his associates degree.

That means Johnson, who once said he couldn't see himself playing for anyone but the Crimson Tide, must also cast aside offers from Auburn, Georgia, LSU, Mississippi State, Missouri and Ole Miss. It's unclear at this time whether Johnson would qualify academically at Ohio State, though the Buckeyes offered back in May.

Johnson allegedly had behavioral issues growing up and unsatisfactory grades in high school, and therefore received little attention from FBS schools. He was able to get eligible to play three sports during his senior year, but only a few junior college schools came calling so late in the process.

Johnson, who is originally from Birmingham, now holds 15 committable offers from programs such as Arizona State, Baylor, Iowa State, Louisville, Miami, UCF and West Virginia.


Indianapolis, Indiana, North Central three-star cornerback Donald “D.J.” Johnson was one of several first-time visitors at Ohio State's game against Northwestern this past weekend.

“It went great,” Johnson told Eleven Warriors. “They really impressed me. Probably my favorite visit yet. Just being in the atmosphere of a game like that, the energy was crazy.”

The 6-foot-1, 160-pounder is considered the fifth-best prospect in the state and the No. 49 overall cornerback in the Class of 2018. He currently holds an offer from Bowling Green, but has unofficially visited programs such as Indiana, Louisville and Notre Dame in recent weeks.

“Ohio State had the most energy and the best facilities I've seen,” Johnson said. “They really impressed me.”

The trip came about when defensive backs coach Kerry Coombs reached out to Johnson earlier this month. The two spoke in person for the first time on Saturday.

“They seem like they are pretty interested in me,” Johnson said. “He told my mom I was having a great season and that he was looking forward to seeing me around more and building a relationship with us.”

Johnson, who has recorded 34 total tackles and two interceptions for the Panthers this season, said getting an offer from Ohio State would make for one of the happiest days of his life.


Scholarship offers are few and far between for kickers, but Ohio State has begun to show some interest in Mooresville, Indiana's, Jake Wallman. The 5-foot-11, 200-pound junior was invited to campus for this past weekend's game against Northwestern.

“It was wonderful,” Wallman told Eleven Warriors. “Pretty city. Fans were really welcoming. Great place to be, for sure.”

According to 247Sports, only two placekickers from the Class of 2018 have been extended a scholarship offer in BYU commit Sekope Latu Latu and N.C. State pledge Chris Dunn. But Wallman continues to pique Ohio State's interest nonetheless.

“I've gotten a couple recruiting letters from them,” he said. “They were interested enough to have me come for a visit last year, and they invited me back this year.”

Wallman plans to visit programs such as Ball State, Indiana, Louisville, Michigan, Purdue and Tennessee in the coming months, but longs to get an offer from Ohio State.

“It would mean the world to me,” he said. “To play for a program as great as Ohio State would be a dream. I highly respect Urban Meyer, and it would mean a lot for them to give me the chance to be a Buckeye.”

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