The Hurry Up: U.S. Army All-American Bowl Practices Begin While Another Option Emerges at Wide Receiver

By Andrew Lind on January 2, 2017 at 7:15 pm
Jeff Thomas
Jeff Thomas

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.


It's been widely assumed Ohio State will get a commitment from Cleveland Heights four-star wide receiver Jaylen Harris before things are all said and done with the 2017 recruiting class. But following yesterday's Under Armour All-America Game, quarterback pledge Tate Martell threw another name into the ring.

Jeff Thomas, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound wideout from East St. Louis, Illinois, set the record for most receiving yards in the all-star game with 148 yards and two touchdowns to lead Team Armour to a 24-21 win over Team Highlight.

The mark, interestingly enough, was held by former East St. Louis wide receiver Terry Hawthorne, who played four years at Illinois.

The eighth-best wide receiver and No. 49 prospect overall in the class, Thomas is still undecided on his future. He does, however, hold 16 offers from programs such as Alabama, Florida State, Louisville, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon and Texas A&M.

Thomas has not been to Columbus, though the Buckeyes offered more than two years ago. As we've seen before, though, once Martell sets his sights on somebody, their recruitment picks up significantly.

This will certainly be something to watch over the next month.


Speaking of Martell, practice began in San Antonio, Texas, today for the nine future Buckeyes invited to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Commits Josh Myers, Shaun Wade and Chase Young will suit up for the East squad on Saturday, while Martell, Baron Browning, Wyatt Davis and Haskell Garrett will play for the West team.

Tyjon Lindsey and J.K. Dobbins were also invited — giving Ohio State the most commits in the game for the third-consecutive year — but will not play after suffering season-ending injuries during their respective senior campaigns.

The main storylines to pay attention to this week are obviously announcements from defensive backs Bubba Bolden, Darnay Holmes and Jeffrey Okudah. They'll all make their decisions live on NBC throughout the game, but practices may have already given us a peek behind the curtain.

Bolden, who will choose between Ohio State and USC, spent time this afternoon with Trojans defensive end commit Hunter Echols and lean Greg Johnson, the top-rated athlete in the country. As much as it looked in November like Bolden would join his Bishop Gorman teammates in Columbus, things continue to trend in USC's direction.

Holmes and Okudah, meanwhile, were spotted with the aforementioned Browning at today's practice. Browning's relationship with Okudah is no secret — I mean, Okudah practically recruited the five-star linebacker to Columbus — and it will certainly be a surprise if he doesn't end up picking Ohio State on Saturday.

With the recruiting dead period in full swing and coaches unable to visit recruits, the duo is clearly doing its best to keep Holmes close this week and lure him from the West Coast in their stead.

I'll be traveling to San Antonio in a few short days to bring you more from the week's events, including practices, the underclassmen combine, awards show and the game itself, so stay tuned.


Ohio State starting safety Malik Hooker announced earlier today he will forgo his final two years of eligibility and enter the NFL Draft, showing how a player can go from relatively unknown to a star when finally given the opportunity to shine.

That's exactly why Akron East junior running back Devanier Floyd is excited to step into a starting role next season. The 5-foot-9, 200-pounder rushed for more than 1,000 yards while serving as the backup to Akron commit Jemarulin Suggs, but hit the weight room the moment the Dragons were eliminated from the playoffs.

“I've already started to do some things that are going to affect my season next year,” Floyd told Eleven Warriors. “I go to the gym four days out of the week and now I'm starting track again.”

A self-proclaimed raw talent, Floyd holds an offer from Akron and has significant contact with Ball State and Toledo. But he's hoping to catch the attention of programs like Michigan, Ohio State and Tennessee with a breakout senior year.

“I expect my recruitment to take off when I get showcased,” Floyd said. “Next season, I plan to be bigger and faster to reach my way to the top.”

The Buckeyes are in pursuit of several of the country's top-rated running backs, including five-stars Jaelen Gill, Lorenzo Lingard and Zamir White and hold a commitment from four-star Brian Snead. But if Floyd goes off like he expects to, watch out.

“I mostly think what's going to separate me from other backs in he country is how I run with the ball,” he said. “My strength and speed to break loose when it's really needed. I haven't been able to really show that because I was a backup running back last year, but this year I'm determined and confident that my talents will display all that needs to be seen and said.”

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