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.
THIS CHANGES NOTHING
Ohio State quarterback commit Emory Jones competed in the Elite 11 quarterback competition at Nike's The Opening Atlanta Regional on Sunday afternoon. And though he didn't earn an invitation to the finals — he struggled with his accuracy early, but found his rhythm as the day went on — the 6-foot-3, 193-pound signal-caller was certainly happy to be back on the field after suffering a season-ending shoulder injury last October.
— Junior Baker (@SouthernSwagg4) March 27, 2017
Of course, Jones fielded several questions after the event about his trip to Alabama on Saturday, as well as upcoming visits to Florida and Florida State. And even though they'll happen against head coach Urban Meyer's wishes, there isn't a reason to worry about him flipping his pledge anytime soon.
“I'm firmly committed right now. I'm solid to Ohio State. I think I'm real strong with them,” Jones told 247Sports. “He doesn't really want me taking other visits, but I feel — for myself — it's the best thing to do just to make sure I pick the right place.”
Coaches from those schools, as well as those from Georgia and Tennessee, certainly aren't going to throw in the towel because Jones is committed to Ohio State. He will undoubtedly entertain the idea of playing for each program, too, which leaves the Buckeyes in quite the predicament.
The staff is 100 percent committed to Jones and not seriously recruiting any other quarterbacks, but at what point do you start looking at potential replacements on the off chance he flips? It's a difficult situation, but also one Ohio State dealt with last year when five-star cornerback Shaun Wade visited Alabama, Florida, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech.
All Meyer and Co. can do is reiterate their commitment to Jones, and trust that your program will still stand above the rest when it's all said and done.
ALL THE RIGHT REASONS
Bradenton, Florida, IMG Academy four-star wide receiver Joshua Moore is among the most sought-after prospects in the country, holding offers from more than 50 programs including Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Ohio State, Tennessee and Texas. But if you ask him who or what motivates him on a daily basis, it's not the media attention or the opportunity to play football at the next level.
It's the loss of his older brother, Quintin.
That's why Moore — the 15th-best receiver and No. 80 prospect overall — will honor his late brother by making his college announcement on June 18. It's not only Quintin's birthday but also the same day he tragically took his own life.
— JoshuaMoore (@_TheJoshuaMoore) March 24, 2017
Having the pleasure of knowing Moore very well, this only speaks to his maturity and leaves no doubt to value he places on relationships. It's an awesome gesture and one that would certainly make his brother very proud.
In making the difficult transition back his recruitment, Moore recently included Ohio State in his Top 10. He hasn't been on campus yet or set a date for a visit, but the Buckeyes certainly have a chance to land him if he makes the trip prior to his announcement.
ON HIS TIME
Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller four-star defensive tackle Aeneas Hawkins, on the other hand, was set to make his college decision on May 10. His plans have changed, however.
Stay tuned. pic.twitter.com/GrxF3xgtnv
— Aeneas Hawkins (@King_Hawk92) March 27, 2017
“I needed to take a step back and remember why I do what I do,” Hawkins told Eleven Warriors. “The decision will come soon, but on God's timing. Not mine.”
The 6-foot-3, 265-pound Hawkins — the son of former NFL defensive back Artrell and nephew of wide receiver Andrew — is considered the top-rated defensive tackle in the state and No. 265 prospect overall in the Class of 2018. He holds nearly three dozen offers from programs such as Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State and USC, but Ohio State is presumed to be the favorite.
Hawkins recorded 42 tackles, two sacks and one forced fumbles for the Fighting Crusaders last season.
THE TEAM TO BEAT?
Dayton Dunbar three-star running back Tavion Thomas, meanwhile, announced his Top 12 on Friday night via his protected Twitter account but listed Ohio State alongside Alabama, Arizona State, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Michigan, Michigan St, Nebraska, Oregon, USC and Wisconsin.
“I like what [the Buckeyes] have going on,” Thomas told Eleven Warriors. “Coach [Greg] Studrawa is really cool and coach Tony [Alford] is very funny. We talk almost every day.”
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Thomas was arguably the hottest recruit in the country in February, earning nearly a dozen offers in less than a week. He's currently considered the 28th-best running back and No. 436 prospect overall in the Class of 2018, but will undoubtedly see his stock soar as recruiting sites update their rankings.
Thomas rushed for 1,606 yards and 17 touchdowns for the Wolverines last season en route to being named first-team All-Ohio Division IV. He'll be on campus tonight, but doesn't expect to make a decision on his future until after his senior season.
Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Blackman four-star running back Master Teague III will visit Ohio State the weekend of April 1, and to nobody's surprise, he'll bring his teammate — four-star wide receiver Trey Knox — along with him.
“I'm going when Master goes,” Knox told Eleven Warriors.
The two made the same trip together for last season's win over Northwestern, with the 6-foot-4, 190-pound Knox walking away with an offer in hand. And while game the offered the duo a chance to watch the Buckeyes on the field, Saturday's trip will give them a more in-depth look at the program.
“I was told there's a scrimmage on [the] Saturday that I'm staying for, and I'm looking forward to the meetings,” Knox said.
Knox is considered the 13th-best wideout and No. 82 prospect overall in the Class of 2019, having hauled in 54 receptions for 669 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Blaze last season. In addition to Ohio State, he currently holds offers from Florida, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Louisville, Mississippi State, South Carolina and Tennessee.
PUT ON THE BURNERS
One of the more underrated, but intriguing prospects to visit Ohio State this weekend was Lorain slot back Zion Cross.
“It was an amazing experience,” Cross told Eleven Warriors. “They have a top notch facility, as well.”
Ohio State Visit . pic.twitter.com/dvvrRy3O9s
— Future2xStateChamp (@2twinflash) March 25, 2017
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Cross is not ranked by any major recruiting sites nor does he hold any offers, but his speed has caught the attention of a number of programs — he is the reigning Division I state champion in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.86.
Cross, who had 26 receptions for 324 yards and five touchdowns for the Titans last season, spent most of his time with running backs coach Tony Alford and executive director for football relations Tim Hinton. He said he'll return for a camp this spring in hopes of landing an offer from the Buckeyes.
“It would be huge,” Cross said. “It'll make me wanna work even harder.”