Round Two: Buckeyes Looking to Top the Seminoles For Yet Another 2018 Five-Star

By Andrew Ellis on April 29, 2017 at 8:10 am
Another five-star appears to be down to the Buckeyes and Seminoles.

A recruiting rematch is set to unfold between Urban Meyer and Jimbo Fisher.

It's certainly not uncommon for two of the country's premier programs to see a lot of one another on the recruiting trail, and Ohio State and Florida State have been exchanging blows fairly regularly over the past several months.

Jimbo Fisher got the best of the Buckeyes on signing day when five-star defensive tackle Marvin Wilson sided with the Noles over Ohio State and LSU. The nation's top player at the position had gone back and forth between the three programs before ultimately finding a new home in Tallahassee.

It only took a few months for the Buckeyes to rebound, however.

The recruitment of five-star defensive tackle Taron Vincent culminated earlier this month when the IMG Academy product sided with the Buckeyes over the Seminoles. Long thought to be the favorite, Ohio State had to hold off the ACC power as the 6-foot-2, 285-pounder found himself on the Noles' campus multiple times in the months leading up to the pledge.

As it pertains to the 2018 class, round two of Meyer versus Fisher could be culminating in the month of May.

On Feb. 1st, when the bulk of the 2017 class was putting pen to paper, five-star 2018 linebacker Teradja Mitchell was thought to be a Florida State lean. The Seminoles have had some major success when recruiting the East Coast, especially the state of Virginia. Mitchell had already made multiple trips to the Sunshine State, so it was't a total surprise that his crystal ball was 100 percent in favor of the garnet and gold.

A lot has changed since February. 

The last two months have seen the country's No. 2 inside linebacker go from Seminole lock to a player who may very well be leaning toward the Buckeyes. He was in Columbus for the Michigan game and returned this spring. Following the April visit, Ohio State has surged and now finds itself as the favorite, per the 247Sports crystal ball.

One positive sign for the Buckeyes lies in the fact that the five-star hasn't taken any visits since the Ohio State trip. He unveiled his top schools back in February, and while programs like LSU, Georgia, and USC were included on the list, none of them looked to be much of a threat.

The 6-foot-2, 232-pounder had talked about a visit to Clemson, and that was a concern given how Dabo Swinney has been recruiting. Those plans never came to fruition, however, which was likely a welcome sight for the Ohio State staff.

If you've been following linebacker recruiting at all, there's another fairly positive sign that you may have picked up on. The Buckeyes extended an offer to Georgia's Michael Harris in March, and they instantly became the heavy favorite for the inside linebacker. Harris is a former Ohio resident and still has family in the area. He had been planning a spring visit to his dream school, and the commitment chatter was hot and heavy.

In the last month or so – ever since the Mitchell situation has heated up – it seems as though things have quieted down between Ohio State and Harris. It could just be a coincidence, but both players project as middle linebackers, and the staff may only be looking for one interior guy for 2018.

Entering a pivotal month of May, the Buckeyes are far from being out of the woods.

There was some speculation that Mitchell could announce a commitment shortly after his latest trip to Columbus. That clearly would have been good news in the midst of Ohio State's surge to the top of his list. 

Alas, it looks like Jimbo Fisher and the Seminoles are going to get another shot. Right now the plan is for Mitchell to get back to Tallahassee the weekend of May 11th, and a decision could come anytime thereafter. 

The recruitment is somewhat reminiscent of a few current Buckeye pledges. Brenton Cox was long thought to be headed to Athens, but Ohio State was able to land the edge rusher earlier this week. The commitment came fresh off of a trip to Georgia, which was a visit that many felt could put the Bulldogs back on top.

Another similarity may be drawn to the recruitment of the aforementioned Taron Vincent, but that actually may not bode well for the Buckeyes. Ohio State was long thought to be the favorite, then Florida State made a push, but then a visit to Columbus ultimately gave Ohio State the win for Vincent. Mitchell's situation has a similar feel to it, but perhaps with a bit of a role reversal as FSU – the longtime presumed favorite – is getting what is expected to be the last visit.

Both the Ohio State and Florida State coaching staffs were in Virginia Beach this week checking on their top linebacker target. It will be interesting to see if Larry Johnson or another staff member also touches base following the upcoming trip to the Sunshine State. Johnson was at Stockbridge High earlier this week where he checked in on Cox after the Georgia visit, and that certainly worked out well for the good guys.

Mitchell is expected to announce before the summer, and May will be a big month as the Buckeyes look to get the best of the Seminoles once again.

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