The Hurry Up: Five-Star Offensive Guard Eyes Visit While Ohio State and Texas Battle for Elite Cornerback

By Andrew Lind on July 4, 2017 at 6:50 pm
Anthony Cook

Anthony Cook

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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.

CHERRY ON TOP OF A PLATE FULL OF PANCAKES

Ohio State is in the process of building a massive haul along the offensive line for 2018, with four-star tackle Max Wray and four-star center/guard Matthew Jones already in the fold and five-star tackle Jackson Carman among the staff's top priorities. A prospect who could potentially push that group from really, really good to great is Atlanta Pace Academy five-star guard Jamaree Salyer, who hopes to get back to campus soon.

“I'm just very interested to see how the season will go,” Salyer told Eleven Warriors when asked about his interest in the Buckeyes. “I have to get back sometime — maybe for Friday Night Lights. Trying to create a relationship with the staff.”

The 6-foot-4, 342-pound Salyer is considered the top-rated offensive guard and No. 9 prospect nationally. He made his first and only visit to Columbus for the thrilling double-overtime win over Michigan in November.

“[It was] obviously a really wild game. I had a great time,” Salyer said. “Just being able to see how the atmosphere was, it was definitely the loudest stadium I've ever been in. I just had a great time.”

This weekend at The Opening Finals in Beaverton, Oregon, not only provided Salyer with the opportunity to compete against some of the country's best prospects, but a chance to get to know several different Ohio State commits and targets. They were all pretty locked in on their team and individual competitions, though, so they weren't recruiting him too hard.

“They've signed some great guys with right attitudes,” Salyer said.

The same could be said for Ohio State offensive line coach Greg Studrawa, who has taken a more relaxed approach when it comes to the Buckeyes' pursuit of Salyer.

“Coach [Urban] Meyer he's a little more forceful with his recruiting while coach Stud is just like, 'Figure it out, but I feel like you'll come home to us,'” Salyer said.

Salyer, who doesn't plan to make a decision on his future until he takes all five official visits, will choose between offers from Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Stanford. As for what will be the deciding factor?

“Just being comfortable with the school,” he said. “Being there with my parents and having them be comfortable with the school.”

SPEAKS FOR ITSELF

Houston Lamar five-star cornerback Anthony Cook, meanwhile, got up close and personal with several Ohio State pledges on Team Vapor Speed. And though the team — which featured safety commits Jaiden Woodbey and Josh Proctor, cornerback commit Sevyn Banks and linebacker commit Teradja Mitchell — lost in the championship round of the 7-versus-7 tournament, it was an opportunity Cook relished.

The 6-foot, 168-pound Cook is considered the second-best cornerback and No. 8 prospect overall in the Class of 2018, and he's arguably the staff's top remaining priority. He visited Columbus for the first time with his family for the Spring Game in mid-April, and couldn't stop gushing when asked what stood out about the Buckeyes.

“Three defensive backs in the first round. That's enough for me,” Cook said. “If you can put my position in the league, that's always attractive. I know if I go to Ohio State, I will be developed, I'll be challenged every day in practice because they have some of the best receivers and [the cornerbacks are] on a high pedestal, so scouts and stuff are looking at them.”

The Buckeyes co-hosted a satellite camp at Texas Southern in Houston last month, which was certainly geared toward spending time with Cook and his teammate, four-star wide receiver Al'vonte Woodard. In fact, Meyer and coaches from Texas never left his side the whole afternoon.

“I feel like we have a pretty good relationship. We talk like every other day, if not every day,” Cook said of Meyer. “I talk to coach [Kerry] Coombs also every day. I like how he's always fired up. I love that. I might not say much, but I'm always fired up.”

That was evident on Saturday night, as Cook and California five-star wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown got into a little scuffle during one-on-one drills at The Opening Finals. There was a bit of pushing and shoving — and Cook had his shirt ripped — but cooler heads ultimately prevailed.

“I was just letting the receiver know that I'm here and I'm not backing down,” Cook said. “Things did get a little heated, but that's competition. That's what I live for.”

Most prognosticators assume Cook's recruitment will come down to Ohio State and Texas — marking the first real battle between Meyer and his former protégé Tom Herman — but he says not so fast. Clemson, LSU and Notre Dame are also in the mix for his pledge.

“Whatever school I can come in and have a chance to play right away,” Cook said. “Somewhere I can get developed and they have to put my position in the league. All of those schools have that, so it will be tough. I'll just pray and hopefully I'll make the right decision.”

B1G BATTLE LOOMS

When Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, five-star defensive end Micah Parsons decommitted from Penn State in late April, most assumed it would only be a matter of time before he pledged his services to Ohio State. The speculation was fueled by the fact that he'd been to Columbus four times in the previous six months, but Parsons didn't reopen his recruitment just to shut it back down shortly thereafter.

“A lot of people didn't like [me taking visits while committed], so we decided just to slow it down, step back from my commitment and see what [the recruiting process is] all about,” Parsons told Eleven Warriors. “Then you'll really see who's there for you and who really wants you if you wait 'til the end.”

The 6-foot-3, 235-pound Parsons is considered the top-rated weak-side defensive end and No. 4 prospect overall in the Class of 2018, as he's recorded 190 tackles, 47 tackles for a loss and 32 sacks through his first two high school seasons. He recently listed the Buckeyes in his Top 9 alongside Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, Nebraska and Penn State, and doesn't plan to make a decision on his future again until after he takes all of his official visits this fall.

“Everything's up for grabs right now,” Parsons said. “I'm just taking the process slow and just taking in all the information, the depth chart and academics.”

Ohio State stands out, of course, thanks to his relationship with defensive line coach Larry Johnson. The two talk almost daily, and adding a talent like Parsons to a group that already includes five-star defensive end Brenton Cox and four-star hybrid Andrew Chatfield is downright scary.

“Me and coach J are cool,” Parsons said. “That's what me and [fellow Ohio State defensive end target] Tyreke Smith were talking about yesterday. How much he knows about the game. Twenty-plus years, you can't teach that to nobody else. He knows the development, teaching you hand movement and the hips and everything all around. Me and coach J, he's got it down.”

Parsons plans to visit Alabama and Miami in the coming weeks before returning to Ohio State for Friday Night Lights. He's been to Penn State three times since his decommitment, though, and I wouldn't count the Nittany Lions out just yet.

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