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.
Ohio State five-star running back commit Jaelen Gill — who missed nearly all of his junior season with a fractured fibula — returned to the high school football field for the first time in nearly a year for a scrimmage on Wednesday morning.
Scrimmage tomorrow @ central crossing at 9:30... Come out— J-A-E- (@jaelengill21) August 8, 2017
In last year's preseason scrimmage against Central Crossing, the 6-foot-1, 182-pound Gill racked up almost 250 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns on only five touches. He was just as elusive this morning, scoring four touchdowns — though a pair were called back due to penalties — in live 11-versus-11 and two interceptions as a defensive back in 7-versus-7 play.
Gill, of course, showed no ill-effects from the injury on the camp circuit this spring and at Nike Football's The Opening Finals last month. But getting back onto the field in a helmet and pads is a different story altogether.
You can bet he's excited to remind opponents of his explosive, game-breaking ability when Westerville South kicks off its season against Pickerington North on Aug. 17.
BEST OF THE BEST
After speaking with a variety of sources at the high school and college levels, ESPN unveiled its rankings for which assistant coaches have been most important to their respective program's recruiting efforts. Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano and running backs coach Tony Alford are among the nation's best, coming it at No. 1 and No. 3 overall.
Schiano — who focuses a lot of his attention on the New York metropolitan area — was credited with helping the Buckeyes secure the services of four-star offensive guard Matthew Jones, who ESPN ranks as the 19th-best player in the country for the Class of 2018.
Schiano has been a big part of Ohio State's No. 1-ranked recruiting class. A former head coach, Schiano has caught the attention of quite a few prospects, including ESPN 300 tight end Jeremy Ruckert and ESPN 300 defensive backs Jaiden Woodbey and Josh Proctor. Schiano helped land Marcus Hooker, as well as Jones. Ruckert said that the defensive coordinator had a huge role in his recruitment and that his family loved Schiano, especially his father. Schiano has had a hand in landing three Top 100 prospects within the ESPN300, and a source said he has been an instrumental part in this class overall.
Alford helped to land Gill, an athletic running back who will fit right in with what Ohio State does on offense. He also managed to secure a commitment from ESPN300 defensive back Sevyn Banks, as well as ESPN300 running backs Brian Snead and Master Teague. Alford has helped to restock the running back and H-back position for Ohio State, compiling a ton of talent in one class. Landing two ESPN300 prospects in Florida and one four-star in Tennessee is a big deal in itself, but the type of talent he has secured is also impressive.
Other notable names to make the list include Penn State wide receivers coach Josh Gattis (No. 2) and running backs coach Charles Huff (No. 5). Former Ohio State grad assistant and current Texas wide receivers coach Drew Mehringer comes in at No. 8 overall.
SOME FINAL WORDS
When Fort Lauderdale American Heritage four-star defensive end Andrew Chatfield decommitted from Ohio State on Monday evening, the first thought on everyone's mind was whether the staff pushed him out or if he made the decision on his own. But in order to answer that question, we must first go back to when he pledged his services to the Buckeyes in early June.
The 6-foot-2, 221-pound Chatfield once called Ohio State his dream school, so it was no surprise that he jumped on the offer a little over a week after it was extended. It was a win-win for both sides. The Buckeyes landed a really good prospect from one of the best high school football programs in the country and Chatfield latched onto an elite program as he awaited an offer from one of the Sunshine State's traditional powers.
But once Florida came calling, it was rather apparent Chatfield was going to open things back up — or even flip his pledge. Though he said all the right things over the next two weeks when asked about his commitment to the Buckeyes, his constant pro-Gator social media post were surely a sign of things to come.
Whether or not Chatfield — who maintains he's still considering Ohio State — used his pledge to attract the attention of Florida, Florida State and/or Miami, we'll never know. But one thing I know for certain is the staff's feelings toward Chatfield changed significantly with every one of the aforementioned tweets he sent (and then subsequently deleted).
With the Buckeyes holding a commitment from five-star defensive end Brenton Cox and remaining among the favorites for a trio of very talented prospects in five-star Micah Parsons and four-stars Tyreke Smith and Jayson Oweh, Chatfield became expendable.
Several sources close to the program have told Eleven Warriors the sentiment toward his recruitment turned into, “If he wants to stay, we'd love to have him. But if he wants to go, that works, too.” His departure, no matter how contentious or amicable, actually makes it easier for the staff to fit Parsons, Smith and Oweh into the class.
Perhaps an unintended consequence of Chatfield's decision, though, is that it may end all hope of the staff landing commitments from his teammates five-star cornerbacks Tyson Campbell and Patrick Surtain Jr. and/or Miami four-star defensive tackle commit Nesta Silvera, who all planned to take an official visit with him this fall.