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.
TOUGH ROAD AHEAD
First reported yesterday as a “significant knee injury,” St. Louis Christian Brothers College four-star wide receiver Kamryn Babb has since confirmed he suffered a torn ACL during practice late last week.
“We were doing normal drills against the defensive backs,” Babb told local television station KSDK-TV on Monday evening. “Perfect ball, just went up and got it and just came down wrong. Heard a pop.”
The 6-foot-1, 189-pound Babb went to the doctor for an MRI, at which time he found out about the severity of the injury. He'll likely be sidelined for the entirety of his senior season, marking the second-consecutive year he'll miss a notable amount of time — Babb suffered an undisclosed injury that cost him five games as a junior, as well.
The loss of one of the nation's premier athletes will certainly be difficult for Christian Brothers College to overcome, but Babb will surely do everything he can to help the Cadets in their pursuit of a state title. In fact, he attended practice on Monday afternoon and was seen helping out his fellow receivers in drills.
Not even taking into account his athletic abilities, it's rather obvious why he's among the most coveted players in the country.
“[I'll help out by] just being that upbeat person I am,” Babb said. “whether it's celebrating after they score, helping receivers with something they need to work on or if there's anything I can do for anyone on the team, whether it's talking to them on the sideline or giving them a positive influence. Just when things aren't going well, just being there for the team.”
Babb expects to have surgery in the coming weeks, and rehab will undoubtedly be challenging. But as we've seen with then-Ohio State commits Nick Bosa and Trevon Grimes, he could and likely will be back to full strength by the time he'd arrive on campus next summer — that is, if he commits to the Buckeyes as expected.
“Just taking it one day at a time is the biggest thing for me. And, of course, leaving it all up to God,” Babb said. “It all happened for a reason, so I'm leaving it all up to the man above. Just taking it one day at a time. I've got great teammates beside me, great family and mentors and talking to them every day. Just look at it as a blessing more than just something that happened that shouldn't happen.”
JUST ANOTHER NAME ON THE LIST
Though he visited campus for the first and only time in mid-June, Concord, North Carolina, four-star defensive tackle Rick Sandidge did not include Ohio State in his Top 7 on Monday night. He instead listed Florida, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Penn State, South Carolina and Virginia Tech.
The 6-foot-5, 273-pound Sandidge is considered the 11th-best defensive tackle and No. 134 prospect overall in the Class of 2018, as he recorded 41 tackles, four sacks and one blocked field goal for the Spiders last season. The Buckeyes offered him a scholarship last August, but focused most of their efforts in the meantime on landing five-star defensive tackle Taron Vincent.
PENN STATE HAS QUITE THE HAUL
Though he had a long-standing relationship with Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson, Owings Mills, Maryland, McDonogh School four-star defensive tackle P.J. Mustipher committed to Penn State on Monday night.
The 6-foot-5, 290-pound Mustipher is considered the sixth-best defensive tackle and No. 98 prospect overall in the Class of 2018, as he recorded 47 tackles, 15 sacks, four pass break ups and four forced fumbles for the Eagles last season en route to being named to the Baltimore Sun's All-Metro first-team defense.
The Buckeyes offered Mustipher a scholarship almost a year and a half ago, and we're presumed to be one the favorites to land his pledge thanks to the aforementioned connection with Johnson, who recruited his older brother, Sam, when he was the defensive line coach at Penn State. He visited campus three times, the first time with Sam — whom Ohio State was recruiting but ultimately signed with Notre Dame — for the 2012 Michigan game and most recently for a spring practice in April.
With the aforementioned Vincent in the fold, however, the Buckeyes never really made a push for Mustipher. He made several trips to Happy Valley this spring and summer, meanwhile, which swung his recruitment in favor of the Nittany Lions.
On Tuesday afternoon — a little over three months after he included Ohio State in his Top 10 alongside Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Rice, Texas, Texas A&M and UCLA — Houston Dekaney four-star tight end Malcolm Epps committed to the in-state Longhorns.
The 6-foot-6, 218-pound Epps is considered the seventh-best tight end and No. 180 prospect overall in the Class of 2018, but was never made a priority following his offer more than a year and a half ago. He was committed to the Crimson Tide at that point in time, and the staff was instead focused on landing a commitment from New York four-star Jeremy Ruckert.
Texas, meanwhile, made a significant push under new head coach Tom Herman to keep the one of the state's top players home. The Longhorns, with 17 total commits, now sit second in the 247Sports Composite Team Rankings.