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.
CAUGHT EVERYONE OFF GUARD
When Ohio State lands a verbal commitment, Twitter is typically flooded with #BOOM and .gifs of things exploding from coaches and fans alike. But there was no such excitement on Thursday afternoon when FloFootball's Kolby Paxton reported Cedar Hill, Texas, Trinity Christian three-star running back Maurice Washington III had offered his verbal pledge to the Buckeyes.
— FloFootball (@FloFootball) August 17, 2017
The reason, of course, being that Washington did not make his college decision as inaccurately reported. The tweet has since been deleted, but the story remains.
“I didn't say that, [the reporter] did,” Washington told Eleven Warriors. “It was just a video of the schools I want to go to. I said the same thing I always say about Ohio State. It's my home, but there's more steps I have to take.”
The 6-foot, 175-pound Washington — who is considered the 14th-best running back and No. 335 prospect overall in the Class of 2018 — has long maintained his affinity for Ohio State — the Buckeyes were the first to offer him a scholarship following a three-day visit for a one-day camp in June 2016. But commitments from all-purpose back Jaelen Gill and running backs Brian Snead and Master Teague III essentially ended all hope of him playing in Columbus.
That said, Washington continues to hold out hope that the numbers work out in his favor and that he can commit to Ohio State as an athlete, with his position at the next level to be determined later on. But he also understands how unlikely that is.
“In the interview, [the reporter] asked specifically about Ohio State, but I'm really open and I have schools that I want to build a relationship with,” Washington said. “It wasn't supposed to be like that. It was a video to kinda pump up and get to know our football team. I'm not sure how it got turned into a personal thing.”
And we wonder why people don't trust reporters.
On the field, Washington has seen his share of ups and downs. He rushed for 1,827 yards and 29 touchdowns as a sophomore at Sunnyvale, California, The King's Academy as a sophomore, but was forced to sit out his entire junior season after his transfer to San Jose Oak Grove was deemed athletically motivated.
Washington transferred again this offseason, this time for family reason. He'll be eligible to play immediately after transferring out of the state, and he's hoping that schools take notice once again now that all the distractions are behind him.
THRIVE OR WIND UP DISCOURAGED
Ohio State's quarterbacks room is spilling over with talent, as Heisman hopeful J.T. Barrett enters his fourth season under center while backups Joe Burrow, Dwayne Haskins and Tate Martell — all of whom were considered four-star prospects coming out of high school — wait in the wings. And with the highly touted Emory Jones set to join the fold next season, it'd be easy to wonder if the Buckeyes could go one recruiting cycle without taking a quarterback.
That amount of talent could easily disuade a talented prospect from committing to Ohio State, as well, as he may find playing time earlier in his career elsewhere. As a result, head coach Urban Meyer was asked during his weekly press conference on Monday about his sales pitch to quarterback targets.
“Just to single out the quarterback, why would a cornerback come here,” Meyer replied. “Because there's a chance guys leave early. One of the greatest templates in college football history was in 2014 when you get our number called — the Cardale Jones story — was third-string quarterback, and he's forever pictured all over the walls of the Woody Hayes [Athletic Center].”
Surely that situation is not something Meyer wants to relive, but he knows he could be scraping the bottom of the barrell at any position if something breaks the wrong way — particularly at quarterback. That's why Ohio State will continue to take at least one player at the position every cycle. Whether or not the prospect is turned off by the competition is another story, though.
“It would probably be a good question to ask them,” Meyer said. “The sales pitch is about the same for every position. Come here and be part of a great program.”
A LACK OF COMPASSION
The 6-foot-3, 197-pound Miller — who is considered the top-rated quarterback and No. 47 prospect overall in the Class of 2020 — played at Scottsdale Christian last season, but transferred in January following the death of a family friend who was struck by a vehicle while crossing the street to watch him play a game last September. He has reportedly sought counseling because of reoccurring nightmares in the months since the tragic accident, and the transfer was aimed toward improving his well-being.
However, the AIA — which requires transfers to sit out the first half of the season on a first-move case and the entire season on a second transfer — ruled that his move was athletically motivated.
Miller, who set single-season state records with 3,653 yards passing and 53 touchdown passes, will appeal the AIA's decision. If the appeal is denied, he'll return for the Firebirds' Sept. 28 game against Notre Dame Prep.
As for his recruitment, Miller attended Ohio State's one-day camp in June. He's the only prospect at his position with an offer from the Buckeyes at the moment, and the staff's relationship with his father — who is the general manager at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort, where the team stayed during its last two trips to the Fiesta Bowl — could certainly give them an advantage when it comes time to make a decision on his future.
I anticipate he'll take an unofficial visit this fall and the staff will focus on landing his pledge once the Class of 2019 is situated.