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.
ONLY A MATTER OF TIME?
One prospect who has become increasingly familiar with Ohio State is Penn State five-star defensive end commit Micah Parsons. Only adding to the intrigue, the 6-foot-3, 235-pounder told Eleven Warriors he'll make his fourth trip to Columbus in the last six months for Saturday's Spring Game.
No word yet whether he'll bring his dog, Brutus, with him.
Parsons, the top-rated weak-side defensive end and No. 3 prospect overall in the Class of 2018, has been committed to the Nittany Lions since Feb. 2016. His recruitment is far from over, though, as he currently lists Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State and USC as his Top 6 despite his pledge.
Parsons is good friends with Ohio State running back commit Jaelen Gill, who has not been shy about his desire to flip him. The two will undoubtedly be seen together on Saturday, and the speculation will only continue to grow with every trip he makes to Columbus this year.
Will Parsons have a change of heart this weekend? Doubtful. But at some point, a final decision will have to come. Parsons will continue to enjoy the recruiting process — as I think every recruit should — until then.
SIDE NOTE: We'll have a complete list of Spring Game attendees later in the week.
Huber Heights Wayne four-star athlete L'Christian “Blue” Smith took to Twitter last week to vent some frustrations. Standing 6-foot-5, 205-pounds, he has the ideal frame for a go-to wide receiver, but some feel he'd be best served to play tight end at the next level — and he's adamant about playing out wide.
“I think I look like a wide receiver [and] I think play like a wide receiver,” Smith told Eleven Warriors during Nike Football's The Opening Cleveland Regional on Sunday afternoon. “I just ask why my name, out of all the 6-foot-5 wide receivers, why my name keeps coming up going to tight end. It's just kind of hit me there because I've been working my whole life to be a great wide receiver. It's just kind of one of those things, but it's all about proving people wrong.”
Smith acknowledged his size plays a role in that line of thinking. But he added most colleges, including Ohio State, are only recruiting him at wide receiver.
“They just want me,” Smith said. “[Coach Urban Meyer and Zach Smith are] bringing me in their offices, talking to me personally without my dad and the other coaches. Just one-on-one, kind of sit down and show me who's leaving, who they're missing and where they need me at. Stuff like that. Just seeing that stuff proves to me they really want me at the school.”
Kentucky, meanwhile, has emerged as the perceived front-runner in his recruitment. Their fans — as well as Smith's high school teammate, Alex Reigelsperger, a Wildcat commit — wasted no time in replying to the so-called slight, clamoring for him to join Big Blue Nation.
Smith, or course, appreciated them coming to his defense. And that's part of the reason they have a realistic shot at landing the third-best player in the state of Ohio.
“The people down there. When I go down there, everyone in the facility — it doesn't matter if they know me — they see me walking and they're stopping whatever they're doing to see how I'm doing, if I need anything,” he said. “It just feels like another home down there. I go down there and I feel comfortable. I got a lot of family down there. [Former Wayne teammate] Tobias [Gilliam] is down there, Alex is committed now and coach [Vince] Marrow, I talk to coach Marrow every day. He's a super recruiter. He knows what he's doing. It's just the people pretty much, the community down there.”
Smith has been to campus numerous times, and will return for the Spring Game on Saturday. He plans to narrow his list of 13 offers down sometime in June and make a final decision in September.
“[I'm looking for] just kind of that home feel,” Smith said. “I'm a momma's boy, so leaving my mom is going to be kind of hard. I just want to go somewhere where I know I'm being taken care of, I'm being protect protected and I'm pushed to my fullest potential.”
FAITH OR FUTURE?
Toledo St. John's Jesuit four-star linebacker Dallas Gant included Ohio State in his Top 5 last week alongside Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Penn State. And with a decision date set for his birthday, May 16, the 6-foot-3, 225-pounder talked about his favorites during Sunday's Cleveland Regional.
“Notre Dame is similar to my school in the aspect of religion and great tradition. I know they haven't the best year there, but that's all right. They're going to turn it around,” Gant told Eleven Warriors. “Ohio State is very comfortable. They tend to their players, they [have] great NFL players and they just make the place successful.”
Gant, the top-rated linebacker in the state of Ohio, has been a regular in Columbus since former defensive coordinator Luke Fickell offered him a scholarship following a one-day camp last June. And even though Fickell's departure for Cincinnati created some uncertainty surrounding his recruitment, new linebackers coach Bill Davis has made a seamless transition — and quite possibly even improved upon that relationship.
“I talk to coach Davis pretty often. We text a lot, call a lot. We talk about football and talk about things that aren't football,” Gant said. “When I go down there, I spend most of my time with him, so it's grown to be really good. I know coach Fickell leaving hurt at first to a lot of people, but coach Davis came in right away, got right to work and he's doing a great job.”
Gant plans to return to campus soon — maybe even this weekend.
“[I] just want to get a [better] feel for the place,” Gant said. “Talk to the coaches more and build more relationships.”
TAKE IT WITH A GRAIN OF SALT
Tampa, Florida, Jefferson three-star athlete Jermaine Eskridge announced on Twitter this morning he'll be making his college decision Saturday, the same day he's set to visit Ohio State.
I will be committing on Saturday and shutting down my recruitment and focusing on school!!
— EJ1 (@Iam_Jermaine4) April 10, 2017
While I would typically tell you to get your #BOOM.gifs ready, I must first remind you of how his recruitment has gone thus far.
Though he'd never been on campus, the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Eskridge included Ohio State in his Top 3 alongside Alabama and Miami (FL) last summer. He then added Florida and Oregon back into the mix the following day at his mother's insistence.
Eskridge, a one-time Kentucky commit, was scheduled to take an unofficial visit to Columbus one week later, but called off the trip at the last minute and instead pledged his services to South Florida out of the blue.
A month went by before Eskridge reopened his recruitment, claiming he made an emotional decision based on the fact that several other local recruits pledged their services to the Bulls that week. He then went off the radar during the football season, but narrowed his more than 50 offers to Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Ohio State, Oregon and Penn State last month.
Now, here we are.
Eskridge told Eleven Warriors on Monday he's excited for his visit, but I certainly don't expect him to commit to Ohio State. Why? Well, for starters, the Buckeyes remain among the favorites for several higher-rated wideouts who are also better fits within the offensive scheme.
But, then again, this business has already taught me to not be surprised by anything that happens on the recruiting trail.