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.
ABSOLUTELY STACKED ON DEFENSE
USA Today Sports announced this week its 2017 American Family Insurance All-USA preseason football teams, with the players being hand selected by long-time sports writer Jim Halley.
2017 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Preseason Football Team: Defense https://t.co/TxRkPOlzwG
— USA TODAY HSS (@usatodayhss) August 10, 2017
Forty-eight prospects — 23 on offense, 23 on defense and two specialists — from all over the country were listed based on past performances and coaching recommendations, including the following Ohio State commits:
- Five-star defensive end Brenton Cox
- Five-star defensive tackle Taron Vincent
- Four-star linebacker Dallas Gant
- Four-star linebacker Teradja Mitchell
- Four-star safety Jaiden Woodbey
Former defensive end pledge Andrew Chatfield was listed, as well, but he reopened his recruitment earlier in the week. It's somewhat of a surprise that not a single commit nor notable target on the offensive side of the ball from the Class of 2018 made the list, but surely motivation for players like four-star quarterback Emory Jones and running backs Jaelen Gill, Brian Snead and Master Teague III.
Some notable targets to also make the list include:
- USC five-star linebacker commit Palaie Gaoteote
- Houston five-star cornerback Anthony Cook
- Fairfield five-star offensive tackle Jackson Carman
- Atlanta five-star offensive guard Jamaree Salyer
- Pennsylvania five-star defensive end Micah Parsons
- Olentangy Orange five-star defensive end Zach Harrison (2019)
- Florida five-star cornerback Tyson Campbell
- California four-star linebacker Solomon Tuliaupupu
- Indianapolis four-star wide receiver David Bell (2019)
Last year, Ohio State quarterback commit Tate Martell and cornerback pledge Shaun Wade were named the publications offensive and defensive players of the year — marking the first time since USC in 2012 that one school swept the awards.
FUTURE MICHIGAN MAN?
For most of the current recruiting cycle, it's seemed as if Ohio State was poised to take a pair of tight ends. But following New York four-star Jeremy Ruckert's commitment in mid-July, that's no longer the case.
And why would it? The staff landed its top target at the position and a potential pledge from Huber Heights four-star wide receiver L'Christian “Blue” Smith could give them a bit of versatility on the outside, as well.
The writing was on the wall, then, when it came to Missouri City, Texas, Ridge Point four-star tight end Mustapha Muhammad, who did not include the Buckeyes in his Top 5 early Thursday morning.
— ustapha (@MustaphaM_) August 10, 2017
The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Muhammad is considered the fifth-best tight end and No. 111 prospect overall in the Class of 2018, though he recorded only 29 receptions for 430 yards and four touchdowns in the Panthers' run-heavy offense last season. Ohio State offered him a scholarship more than a year ago and he made his first and only trip to Columbus for the Buckeyes' double-overtime win over the Wolverines in November.
Muhammad subsequently listed Ohio State in his Top 10 in late May alongside Clemson, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA and USC, and said the staff's pursuit of Ruckert had no impact on his recruitment.
“If they want two tight ends, that's cool with me,” Muhammad told Eleven Warriors. “I'm going somewhere I know I can compete and earn playing time, regardless of who is there already.”
Unfortunately for Ohio State, it looks as if Michigan is in the lead for his services. He'll take all five official visits to each finalist before making a decision.
WON'T BE THE LAST WE SEE OF YOU
There was also a moment in time when Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller four-star defensive tackle Aeneas Hawkins was practically a shoe-in to be included in Ohio State's 2018 recruiting class. He wanted to commit to the staff during a visit in early April, but that visited passed and the two sides began to drift apart.
On Thursday, Hawkins announced his commitment to Penn State over finalist Cincinnati.
— Aeneas Hawkins (@AeneasHawkins) August 10, 2017
The 6-foot-3, 265-pound Hawkins is considered the 23rd-best defensive tackle and No. 284 prospect overall in the Class of 2018, but found himself without a spot in the class after Ohio State landed a commitment from the aforementioned Vincent.
Hawkins visited Penn State several times over the last few months, meanwhile, most recently for the Lasch Bash recruiting event in late July. The 247Sports Crystal Ball swung in the Nittany Lions' favor shortly thereafter, despite his father having played for the Bearcats.
Side note: That's probably my favorite commitment video ever. Very well done, Aeneas.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
It may seem as if I've written a lot about prospects committing elsewhere or not including Ohio State among their top schools in recent weeks. But, quite frankly, that's where we are in terms of Ohio State's Class of 2018.
The Buckeyes currently hold commitments from 16 players and sit atop the 247Sports Composite Team Rankings, so it's hard to argue with the staff's approach this cycle. And with limited spots remaining and top targets rather obvious, we're in a bit of a holding pattern until they each make their respective decisions.
I expect the call to finish with Carman, Cook, Parsons, Blue and Tyreke Smith, Kamryn Babb and Jayson Oweh at minimum and then the staff to chase Tuliaupupu and a second defensive tackle like Tommy Togiai through National Signing Day.
WAITING IN THE WINGS
247Sports released its initial rankings for the Class of 2020 on Thursday morning, which seems so far away. But it should really come as no surprise, given Ohio State's knack for identifying elite talent early on in the process, that the list is filled with players who are already on the Buckeyes' radar.
— 247Sports (@247Sports) August 10, 2017
Among them, the following players hold an offer from Ohio State:
- No. 1 – Maryland four-star defensive end Bryan Bresee
- No. 11 – Georgia four-star defensive tackle Myles Hinton
- No. 18 – Georgia four-star athlete Arik Gilbert
- No. 22 – Florida four-star linebacker Jaylen Harrell
- No. 23 – Louisiana four-star wide receiver Jacobi Bellazin
- No. 25 – Michigan four-star offensive guard Justin Rogers
- No. 26 – Tennessee four-star offensive tackle Bryn Tucker
- No. 27 – Georgia four-star athlete Tank Bigsby
- No. 40 – Texas four-star running back Zachary Evans
- No. 47- Arizona four-star quaterback Jack Miller
- No. 49 – Georgia four-star quarterback Harrison Bailey
- No. 58 – Georgia four-star linebacker Kevin Swint
- No. 70 – Texas four-star cornerback Dwight McGlothern Jr.
- No. 98 – Tennessee four-star offensive tackle Jake Wray
Other notable names with interest in Ohio State and/or visa versa include:
- No. 9 – Maryland four-star running back Marshawn Lloyd
- No. 34 – Virginia Beach four-star cornerback Sheridan Jones
- No. 89 – Arizona four-star running back Darvon Hubbard
- No. 93 – Dublin Coffman four-star athlete Michael Drennan II
Thought it's still too early to gauge where Ohio State truly stand with each prospect, a few names stand out. The Buckeyes are, in fact, the 247Sports Crystal Ball leader for Breese, who visited campus most recently for a one-day camp in June. The same goes for Wray, who is the younger brother of current offensive tackle commit Max Wray.