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.
SIGN OF THINGS TO COME?
Ohio State and Clemson have long been considered the favorites to land Fairfield five-star offensive tackle Jackson Carman. But following an unofficial visit to USC last month, it now looks as if the Trojans find themselves squarely in the thick of his recruitment.
“It was amazing out there,” Carman told Eleven Warriors at The Opening Finals in Beaverton, Oregon, earlier this week. “It was beautiful, the people were beautiful, campus was beautiful and it was a great environment. I liked talking with coach [Clay] Helton. He's a genuine guy. I liked the players, too. They were good people to be around.”
He'll surely get back to Los Angeles for an official visit this fall. But first, the 6-foot-6, 290-pound Carman has a choice to make — one that could potentially lead to him becoming the first consensus top-rated Ohioan to leave the state in over a decade. Both the Buckeyes and Tigers host their annual summer recruiting spectacular on July 21, and he plans to just show up unannounced at one or the other.
“I just think I feel more comfortable at Clemson, in a sense. I don't feel like there's as much pressure on me at Clemson,” Carman said at The Opening Cleveland Regional in April. “Like when I go to Ohio State, people automatically assume I'm a Buckeye. I don't necessarily take too kind to that because I'm just making sure the people around me aren't dictating or influencing my decision.”
Carman doesn't plan to make a decision on his future until after he takes all five of his official visits, but you can already start to feel the pressure mounting for the Buckeyes. You can bet head coach Urban Meyer and offensive line coach Greg Studrawa are doing all they can to keep him from going to Death Valley for All In Weekend.
“They text me every day,” he said.
THE WAITING GAME
Dinwiddie, Virginia, four-star linebacker K'Vaughan Pope told Eleven Warriors at The Opening Finals he planned to commit to Ohio State sometime this week. He faxed over his final junior transcripts and was waiting for linebackers coach Bill Davis to give him the green light.
But on Wednesday afternoon, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound Pope announced on Twitter he would be pushing his decision back for the foreseeable future and would take a look at other schools in the process.
after talking with my family & coach, i feel it's best to hold off on my decision until i've had the chance to visit a few more schools— THE POPE (@Pop3Bad_81) July 5, 2017
Pope wants to commit, plain and simple. The Buckeyes sit alone at the top of his offer list. But the staff reportedly wants Pope to retake the SAT in August — though you don't necessarily need to take anything other than the ACT to get into Ohio State.
All that said, it's easy to read between the lines in this situation.
Knowing Pope has no problem waiting to join the class, the staff most likley doesn't want to accept his commitment just yet given it already holds pledges from four-star linebackers Teradja Mitchell and Dallas Gant and remains in heavy pursuit of California four-star Solomon Tuliaupupu.
They could potentially take as many as four linebackers in the class if the numbers shake out right in terms of NFL departures this winter, but why risk losing out on Tuliaupupu this early when he still has significant interest in the Buckeyes?
I think the staff could afford to accept Pope's commitment without it hurting their chances with Tuliaupupu, but it sure speaks to the high level at which Ohio State is recruiting if the staff really is slow-playing the sixth-best inside linebacker in the country.
SPEAKING OF TULIAUPUPU
I caught up with the Mater Dei four-star linebacker following Team Vapor Speed's loss in the championship round of The Opening's 7-versus-7 tournament. He couldn't stop gushing about his first trip to Ohio State for the Spring Game in mid-April.
“When I went out there, they showed me a lot of love,” Tuliaupupu told Eleven Warriors. “The thing that caught my eye was what happens after football. You make a lot of networking connections. [There are] a lot of ways to be successful after football ends, but at the same time using football to your advantage.”
The 6-foot-3, 230-pound Tuliaupupu hopes to major in marketing in college. It's something he and defensive coordinator Greg Schiano talk about regularly.
“Coach Schiano says, 'What's up? How's life been?' Family kind of stuff. Nothing really football-related,” Tuliaupupu said. “Coach Billy Davis and I talk NFL schemes, what he wants me to play, how he sees me fitting into Ohio State's defense.”
Tuliaupupu was supposed to be on campus for Ohio State's one-day camp a few weeks back, but his schedule didn't allow for that to happen. He plans to take an official visit this fall, though.
“I want to interview a few players, see how they're living — one of the seniors instead of the incoming freshman,” Tuliaupupu said. “Find out how it is after [the recruiting process] is all done.”
As mentioned, Tuliaupupu played for Vapor Speed this past weekend, a team which included eight Ohio State commits and several top targets. The aforementioned Mitchell was in his ear the whole time.
“Teradja is a great guy. He's fun to be around and a great teammate,” Tuliaupupu said. “We talk about it [playing together], clown around and talk like, 'You're going here.' Just a bunch of that stuff like that.”
Tuliaupupu has no timetable for a decision, and schools like Alabama, Georgia, Oregon and USC will vie for the other four visits this fall.
“I want to try to wait, take my time, don't leave any stone unturned and, of course, talk to my family before I make any decision like that,” Tuliaupupu said.
SOLID AS A ROCK
In the days after Ohio State landed a commitment from Fort Lauderdale American Heritage four-star defensive end Andrew Chatfield in early June, a number of 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions — including my own — were placed in favor of the Buckeyes for his teammate and current Miami commit Nesta Silvera.
Defensive line coach Larry Johnson offered the four-star defensive tackle a scholarship the same day as Chatfield. And given the program's desire to pair someone with five-star Taron Vincent along the interior of the line, it seemed like only a matter of time before Silvera flipped his pledge.
When asked at The Opening about his commitment to the Hurricanes, Silvera quickly dismissed those rumors.
“I'm not really worried about what they [Chatfield and four-star cornerback target Tyson Campbell] do, because I can stand on my own two feet. But it would be cool because Drew is like my brother,” Silvera said. “Playing with him, that was our plan at first, but things change. I'm still committed.”
Nevertheless, the 6-foot-2, 308-pound Silvera hopes to make it to campus for the first time for Friday Night Lights later this month. If not, he'll definitely take an official visit with Chatfield and Campbell in the fall.
“I like coach LJ. I talk to him probably once or twice a week [and] he talks to my mom, as well,” Silvera said. “My mom thinks highly of him.”
Of course, things change on the recruiting trail all the time. We'll see how things go if and when Silvera makes the trek to Ohio. But until then, he's not focused on anything other than getting better at his game — which I was extremely impressed with this week — and enjoying what time he has left with Chatfield, Campbell, five-star cornerback Patrick Surtian II and four-star wide receiver Anthony Schwartz.
“Four of my teammates are out here, so it's cool having that experience with people that I've grown up with,” Silvera said. “We've played together since we were kids.”