The Hurry Up: Five-Star Defensive End Sets Official Visit While Current Running Back Discusses Decision to Walk On

By Andrew Lind on August 18, 2017 at 6:50 pm
Jordan Leasure

Jordan Leasure

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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.

SEE YOU SOON

Though Ohio State has had no problems getting Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, five-star defensive end Micah Parsons to campus over the last year, he told Rivals' Adam Friedman he will take an official visit to Ohio State this fall.

“I only have two official visits planned so far, and I'm trying to figure out the rest,” Parsons said. “I'll be at Nebraska for the Wisconsin game and Ohio State for the Penn State game. We haven't decided on the final three visits yet. We need to look at dates and who they are playing. We play a lot of Saturday games this year, so it's a little hard.”

The 6-foot-3, 235-pound Parsons — a former Penn State commit who is considered the top-rated weak-side defensive end and No. 5 prospect overall in the Class of 2018 — has been to Columbus five times since the Buckeyes offered last fall, most recently for Friday Night Lights in July. He's very close with defensive line coach Larry Johnson and a number of current pledges, including five-star all-purpose back Jaelen Gill, who has essentially escorted him along the sidelines on game days.

The Cornhuskers, meanwhile, have made a push since he took an unofficial visit for their midsummer recruiting extravaganza in late June. There's seemingly been a shift in culture under head coach Mike Riley, and Parsons' growing relationship with safety commit Brendan “Bookie” Radley-Hiles has made Lincoln an attractive oasis among a sea of corn.

Teams like Alabama, Florida State, Miami and Penn State will all vie for the three other official visits, but it's becoming increasingly clear Ohio State and Nebraska have taken a lead in his recruitment. One thing to keep in mind, too, is that the general feeling surrounding Parsons was that he'd either end up with the Buckeyes or re-up with the Nittany Lions. But with that, sources close to the Penn State program have told Eleven Warriors the Nittany Lions have only one spot along the defensive line open for the current recruiting cycle.

Surely they'd like to be in a position where they could land Parsons, New Jersey four-star Jayson Oweh and Cleveland Heights four-star Tyreke Smith, as Ohio State is. But maybe Parsons' indecisiveness on another trip to Happy Valley signifies they've either placed focus elsewhere or given up hope that he'll recommit?

Anyway, Parsons doesn't anticipate that he'll make a decision on his future until he takes all five official visits, though I still expect him to end up with the Buckeyes when it's all said and done. Same with Oweh and Smith. Once that happens, he hopes to enroll early — and he'll find out if that's possible in the coming weeks.

CAN'T LOSE YOUR SPOT DUE TO INJURY

Despite the fact he's expected to miss his entire senior season with a torn ACL, St. Louis Christian Brothers College four-star wide receiver Kamryn Babb — Ohio State's top target at the position — was recently named the No. 1 player in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Super 30, a countdown of the area's top senior college football prospects.

At 6-foot-1 and 197 pounds, Babb could have been sculpted by Michelangelo. With the ball in his hands he's a Bugatti roaring down the open highway. Babb ran the third leg on CBC's school record and state championship 400-meter relay in the spring. He's the defending state long jump champion, too.

This combination of size, power, speed and pure athleticism made Babb one of the most sought-after recruits in the country.

I couldn't have said it better myself, to be honest. When healthy, he's a man among boys.

Of course, Babb could easily be frustrated with missing time for the second-consecutive season. But he's remained upbeat and involved in practices leading up to the Cadets' season opener against Miller Career this evening.

“I'm focused on getting healthy and helping the team in a positive way. Just being there for them,” Babb said. “Just encouraging the whole team. I know a lot of guys think I'm a big part of the team, which I am, but I never did it by myself. I had a whole group of guys behind me.”

Babb doesn't have a timetable for surgery, nor has he made public plans to make a decision on his future any time soon. But it's clear the two-time team captain, injury aside, will still make an impact for Christian Brothers this season — one which could bookend his high school career with state titles.

THE TREND CONTINUES

As we witnessed with first-round NFL Draft pick Malik Hooker a season ago, Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano loves to have dynamic athletes roaming his secondary. Players who can not only lock down opposing receivers, but are shifty and know how to score when they get the ball in their hands.

So, then, it should come as no suprise that four-star safety commit Josh Proctor did this last night:

I just can't get over that stiff arm, and I've probably watched a hundred times since.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Proctor — who is considered the ninth-best safety in the country and No. 95 prospect overall in the Class of 2018 — plays both ways for Owasso, Oklahoma. In Thursday's scrimmage against Edmond Santa Fe, he caught three touchdowns passes from 49, 60 and two yards out, respectively.

Here's a look at the first:

That ability to both outrun and outmaneuver is a big reason the Buckeyes finished last season with a nation-high seven interception returns for a touchdown last season.

ON THE DOCKET TONIGHT

While Proctor's impressive performance came in a scrimmage, Ohio State commits Emory Jones, Master Teague III and Max Wray will officially kick off their senior seasons this evening.

Jones, who suffered a shoulder injury last October that sidelined him for the remainder of the season, will be under center for Franklin, Georgia, Heard County as it takes on South Atlanta at 7:30 p.m. ET. The Braves start the season ranked ninth in the Class AA Preseason Georgia Sports Writers Association High School Football Poll.

Teague, meanwhile, will lead Blackman, Tennessee, against Hendersonville at 8 p.m. ET. He and Ohio State wide receiver target Trey Knox will look to lead the Blaze to at least their second-consecutive state quarterfinal appearance. You can watch the game via live stream at this link.

Wray, last but not least, will be in the trenches for Franklin, Tennessee, tonight as it takes on Brentwood. Playing in Class 6A, the Rebels could potentially meet the Blaze in the state playoffs this fall.

We'll have a complete recap on Sunday as part of the first Supreme '18 Tracker of the season.

I WOULD HAVE, TOO

Over the last week or so, I've shared the stories of in-state prospects who've landed walk-on offers from Ohio State. And while each has said they'd consider it, only a select few will pass up the opportunity to attend a smaller school for free to live out their life-long dream of playing for the Buckeyes.

One such player who made that decision is sophomore running back and Amanda native Jordan Leasure.

“[It's] just Ohio State,” Leasure told reporters gathered at Friday's media availability when asked about his decision to walk on despite holding academic or athletic scholarships elsewhere. “That's kind of a weird answer, but I had a couple other offers for walk-on and I knew that if I came here and I got a degree and I have on my resume that I played for Ohio State, if I played my tail off and got some references from the coaches, that has a lot of weight to it. I was kind of thinking long-term, this is a step toward what I want to do for the rest of my life. I'm so glad I made this decision.”

Each situation is different, of course. Some prospects can't afford the financial burden that comes with walking on. But in Leasure's case, it was a well-thought-out plan that came with his family's blessing.

“You have to sit down with your family, close friends and say, 'This is what I have. This is the pros and cons of everything,'" he said. 

Though he doesn't have the financial backing of a scholarship, Leasure is just as much a part of the team as Heisman hopeful quarterback J.T. Barrett or former five-star recruit Jeffrey Okudah, to name a few. He gets all the same gear, academic and coaching advice and so on.

“I feel like I can go up to any guy [on the team] and talk to them," Leasure said. "I can go up to any coach and ask them for help.”

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