The Hurry Up: Top Receivers Remain Interested in Ohio State While Priority Target Talks Upcoming Decision

By Andrew Lind on June 30, 2017 at 6:50 pm
Kearis Jackson
Kearis Jackson

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.


Standing outside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center just two weeks ago, Huber Heights Wayne four-star wide receiver L'Christian “Blue” Smith called Ohio State “the place to be.” He doubled down on that statement following Friday's practice at The Opening Finals.

“When I went up there, it made me feel like, 'This is where it's at,'” Smith told Eleven Warriors. “Ohio State is just one of those schools where if they want you, it's just kind of like, 'They think I can make it. They think I can be a big-time player.'”

Nobody's doubting the athleticism of the 6-foot-6, 210-pound Smith, but the question that continuously surrounds his recruitment is what position he'll play at the next level. He's considered the third-best athlete in the Class of 2018, and some believe his future is at tight end.

It's something Smith — you can tell — has grown tired of. So, it's no surprise he welcomed the opportunity to sit down with Meyer last month in hopes of putting that narrative to rest.

“That's completely settled,” Smith said. “They gave me two plans. One of the plans was if I were to stay this size, [I'll be a] wide receiver. Just like I am now, and how they're recruiting me at wide receiver. But if I was to grow like my brothers — they're 6-foot-9, 6-foot-10 — then I'd be a tight end. It's all about my development.

“Honestly, it doesn't even matter,” he continued. “If they tell me they've got five guys at wide receiver and they want me to play H-Back but I'll still get this amount of passes or this many looks, I'll go.”

So there you have it...

Though he recently narrowed down his list of offers to 10 schools, Smith said Ohio State and Kentucky are the two schools truly vying for his pledge this summer. Making a decision isn't going to be easy, either.

“It's two completely different places,” Smith said, explaining how things are a little more personable and relaxed in Lexington in terms of fan engagement and his relationship with the staff. “Ohio State is more of a business. They are really detailed with what they do and the players that they get.”

Smith grew up a fan of the Buckeyes, but he's continuously reminded the Wildcats were the first to offer him a scholarship during his freshman year.

“They believed in me before anybody else did,” Smith said. “They looked at me and said you're going to be a play maker.' Before I even believed I was going to be a play maker.”

All that said, Smith plans to take one final visit to Kentucky before making his decision during Wayne's nationally televised game against Pine-Richland, Pennsylvania, on ESPN.

“I just told coach [Vince] Marrow we need to have a man-to-man conversation,” Smith said. “We just need to talk about everything. If I do end up going there, what is the plan? He hasn't given me a plan yet. Coach Meyer gave me a plan, so I just want to give each school a fair chance to tell me what they want.”


Fort Valley, Georgia, Peach County four-star wide receiver Kearis Jackson included Ohio State in his Top 8 earlier this week alongside Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU and Michigan.

“Me and Ohio State have a great bond together,” Jackson told Eleven Warriors following Friday's practice at The Opening Finals. “I talk to coach [Zach] Smith, coach [Urban] Meyer and coach [Ryan] Day all the time. I see myself in their type of offense, they put guys in the league and I just feel comfortable talking to the coaches.”

The 6-foot, 203-pound Jackson is considered the 21st-best receiver and No. 98 prospect overall in the Class of 2018, as he hauled in 52 passes for 739 yards and nine scores for the Trojans last season. The Buckeyes offered him a scholarship in early February, and Smith recently stopped by his high school to watch practice during the spring evaluation period.

“I'm a different receiver from everybody else. I'm not all tall and stuff, but I can move,” Jackson said. “I can play the slot and get open. I'm good and finding the zones, sitting there and just working my way around the offense.”

Jackson is close with four-star quarterback commit Emory Jones, and the two talk almost daily.

“He's recruiting me hard,” Jackson said. “He wants me to come play with him.”

Jackson hopes to visit Columbus for the first time in either August or September and make a decision on his future shortly thereafter.

“I'm looking forward to getting up to campus,” he said.


Another wide receiver who continues to get to know Meyer and the staff from afar is Houston Lamar four-star Al'vonte Woodard, who recently included the Buckeyes among his Top 5.

“What's really not to like about Ohio State? I like the way they've been recruiting me,” Woodard told Eleven Warriors. “Coach Smith and I have a great relationship. Coach Meyer texts me every day.”

The 6-foot-1, 193-pound Woodard is considered the 14th-best wideout and No. 74 prospect overall in the Class of 2018, as he caught 42 passes for 909 yards and 15 touchdowns to help the Texans to the third round of the state playoffs last season. He's set to make his college decision on July 15, and Texas is expected to be his choice.

That, of course, hasn't stopped Meyer from putting down the full-court press. He spent a considerable amount of time with Woodard and his teammate, five-star cornerback Anthony Cook, at the Texas Southern satellite camp earlier this month.

“Talking to them in person and actually getting to see them face-to-face, I can tell that they're real,” Woodard said.

Cook is arguably the staff's top defensive target, and pairing him with Woodard isn't too far-fetched of an idea. It's actually something they discuss regularly.

“Playing with Anthony is amazing because he's very competitive in practice. He's one of the top defensive backs [and] I'm one of the top receivers, so it's very competitive,” Woodard said. “We've been talking about [playing together at the next level], but we'll see what happens.”

Woodard plans to take official visits even after his commitment, and I expect Ohio State to be one of them. Cook will attend the game against Oklahoma, so maybe he'll tag along.

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