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.
Lindenhurst, New York, four-star tight end Jeremy Ruckert is one of Ohio State's biggest targets, both literally and figuratively. The staff didn't take a tight end in this year's recruiting cycle, so the position is one of great need in 2018. And at 6-foot-6 and 238 pounds, he stood head and shoulders above the other prospects at Thursday's practice for The Opening Finals.
Ruckert recently narrowed down his top schools to Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Wisconsin, and hopes to make a decision sometime before his senior season begins.
“Right now, I'm really just focusing on those four schools,” Ruckert told Eleven Warriors. “As I near a decision, I want to learn as much as I can about those schools because I'm going to spending my next four years there. I want to make sure I leave no regret, no doubt of the school I want to go to.
“I'm not going to rush it,” he continued. “Right now I'm focused on this camp, going against the best players in the country. Everywhere I've camped, I've been one of the best players there. Now everybody's at my level.”
The top-rated tight has been to Columbus numerous times over the last year, but not since Ohio State's Junior Day in late January. Head coach Urban Meyer has taken extra measures to make sure the Buckeyes don't fall behind in his recruitment, though.
“Coach Meyer texts me every day. He texted me this morning,” Ruckert said. “He doesn't just text me, either. He texts my family and my girlfriend and sends letters to my girlfriend's mom. He really goes the extra mile to make sure my parents and my family after comfortable being with him the next four years, which is the most important thing.”
Ruckert is extremely familiar with his other finalists, as well. He's made trips to Ann Arbor, Madison and South Bend this fall, and appreciates the academic and on-field accomplishments each brings to the table. But when it comes time to make a final decision, Ruckert said life after football will play the largest role.
“Whatever we do wherever I go, there's going to be national attention. We're going to be all over TV. They're going to develop you to be the best player you can be,” he said. “But the biggest thing is after football. You can't play your whole life — the average career in the NFL is 3 1/2 years, so you're about 27 or 28 when you're done. Then you have to start over again. Whatever school I want go to I want to make sure I'm comfortable with having an out after football and being successful.”
Once he finally does commit to a program, Ruckert plans to shut down his recruitment entirely.
“The way I was raised, once I make a commitment, that's going to be it,” he said. “I'm not going to take any visits to other schools. Once I feel comfortable enough to commit to a school, that's going to be the school I push for. I'm going to start recruiting other guys. Where I'm from, the way I was raised by my dad and my mom, once I'm committed I have to finish it.”
WON'T BE LONG (OR WILL IT?)
Just two weeks after he visited Ohio State, St. Louis Christian Brothers College four-star wide receiver Kamryn Babb showed why he's widely considered the top-rated wide receiver in the country. As mentioned in my notebook from today's practice, he was explosive and crisp in his route-running during individual drills and very receptive and attentive to coaching from NFL Hall of Famer Jerry Rice.
“Getting to play with some of the best athletes in the world has been a blessing, and I'm just taking it all in and enjoying it,” Babb told Eleven Warriors.
The Buckeyes have long been considered the favorite to land the 6-foot-1, 189-pound Babb, but the recent trip to Columbus was significant because he'd only ever previously seen the football side of the program during camp and game-day visits.
“I just stayed away from all the football things and focused more on academics,” Babb said. “I got a tour of the campus and just seeing what they can provide for me with life after football.”
Babb spent most of the weekend with Meyer and wide receivers coach Zach Smith, and he said their relationship is great. He also chats regularly with current players who impress upon him the values of the program both on and off the field.
Though he recently narrowed down his more than 30 scholarship offers to Alabama, LSU, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Ole Miss and USC, Babb isn't sure when he'll make a decision.
“I don't know about this summer, but it's coming up,” he said. “Just want to take my time with it. I've still got to take visits. I don't know how many officials or anything like that. I've still got a lot more time to decide, so it's just going over everything with my family and mentors.”
The biggest factor, Babb said, is feeling comfortable with the school and his decision.
“You only play a certain amount of games there, so being comfortable and feeling like home and what they can provide for me with life after football is a big thing,” he said. “It's not a four-year decision, it's a 40-year decision, so I'm just taking my time with it.”
Babb plans to return to Columbus for Friday Night Lights, and I wouldn't be all that surprised if he makes the call that evening.
NOT READY TO MAKE THAT CALL JUST YET
Late Wednesday night, a 247Sports Crystal Ball prediction was placed in favor of Ohio State for Anaheim Mater Dei five-star wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. It seemingly came out of nowhere given he's never been to campus, but St. Brown admitted after Thursday's practice at The Opening Finals that he does have a significant interest in the Buckeyes.
“I've been talking to coach Smith and coach Meyer. He texts me a lot,” St. Brown told Eleven Warriors. “Ever since they offered me, we've been building a good relationship.”
The 6-foot, 191-pound St. Brown hopes to make his first trip to Columbus this fall, though distance will make that pretty difficult.
“I'm going to try to take an official visit if I can squeeze some time in with our busy schedule,” St. Brown said. “I would definitely like to take an official visit because I've never been up there.”
Until then, Notre Dame, Stanford and USC remain the favorites in his recruitment. Keep in mind, too, that he's the younger brother of Fighting Irish wide receiver Equanimeous and Cardinal wide receiver Osiris.
“It would be great to go play with either one of my brothers, but at the end of the day, I'm going to do what's best for me and they understand that,” St. Brown said.