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.
WAITED LONG ENOUGH
Though most of Ohio State's 17 commitments from the Class of 2018 began their senior season last weekend, five-star tight end pledge Jeremy Ruckert's first game takes place this Friday when Lindenhurst travels to Northport. He has a lengthy list of goals for the season, too, which includes helping the Bulldogs reach their first Long Island championship game since 2014.
“I want to win best receiver in the county award, best linebacker and best defensive player, and ultimately win the Hansen Award [for most outstanding high school football player in Suffolk County],” Ruckert told Newsday. “If you don't set goals for yourself to be the best at every position and everything you do on the field, you're not going to do everything you can to reach those goals.”
The 6-foot-6, 238-pounder Ruckert — who is considered the top-ranked tight end and No. 22 prospect overall in the Class of 2018 — has recorded 110 receptions for 1,659 yards and 12 touchdowns in his two-year varsity career with the Bulldogs. And though it would be easy to look forward to making the move to Columbus, he remains focused on the task at hand.
“When I get [to Ohio State], they're going to do their best to put the weight on me and get me more physical to play tight end at the next level,” Ruckert said, “But the main focus for me right now is be the best Bulldog I can be and have the best senior year I can.”
Ruckert plans to play basketball and baseball for Lindenhurst this year, which means he won't enroll early.
RIGHTING THE SHIP
Just two weeks after his transfer hardship was denied, Scottsdale Chaparral four-star quarterback Jack Miller won his appeal with the Arizona Interscholastic Association's Executive Board. That means he'll be eligible to play in the Firebirds' game next Friday against Valencia, California.
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Miller — who is considered the top-rated quarterback and No. 47 prospect overall in the Class of 2020 — set state records with 3,653 yards passing and 53 touchdown passes 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 basis and the entire season on a second transfer — ruled that his move was athletically motivated.
Miller missed Chaparral's first two games because of the initial ruling, during which the Firebirds went 1-1.
"He's ready to go to work," Miller's father, Jack Sr., told Eleven Warriors.
The Ohio State staff is certainly happy to hear the results of the appeal, as Miller is the only sophomore quarterback in the country with an offer from the Buckeyes. He attended a one-day camp in June, and their relationship with Jack Sr. — 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 give them an advantage when it comes time for the younger Miller to make a decision on his future.
It's expected he'll take an unofficial visit for a game this fall, at which time the quarterback situation could become a bit clearer. Ole Miss is the only other team that has been connected to Miller, meanwhile, as his mom is from Jackson, his sister attends school there and he camped in Oxford last summer.
NO SURPRISE HERE
Most prognosticators believe Alabama and Ohio State are on a collision course to meet in Atlanta this winter for the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship. But first, the two programs will go head-to-head to land one of the country's (soon-to-be) top junior college prospects.
In fact, just one day after the Buckeyes offered a scholarship to former Auburn and current Blinn College defensive tackle Antwuan Jackson, the Crimson Tide followed suit.
Blessed to receive an offer from the University of Alabama pic.twitter.com/lw33gxDtzx— Antwuan Jackson (@Hercules__52) August 30, 2017
As mentioned yesterday, the 6-foot-3, 305-pound Jackson — who was considered the seventh-best defensive tackle and No. 50 prospect overall in the Class of 2016 — picked Auburn over finalists Florida, Georgia and Ohio State. But following a freshman season in which he was forced to redshirt, Jackson announced his intentions to transfer from the program.
The Tigers restricted him from transferring within the SEC or to Clemson, Georgia Southern, Mercer and Ohio State, so he landed a Blinn after he appeal to overturn the ruling was denied. He'll now be able to sign with whatever team he chooses this December.
The Buckeyes have been the team most often linked to Jackson thanks to his relationship with defensive line coach Larry Johnson. The two forged a strong bond, which is why many believe Ohio State was the runner-up the first time around.
However, Alabama's offer certainly makes things interesting. Jackson has been to Columbus three times, all of which were more recent that his two trips to Tuscaloosa. But that said, you can never discount an offer from arguably the best team in the country over the last decade.
Jackson doesn't have a timetable to make a decision, and Alabama's offer makes it even more likely he'll take official visits before pulling the trigger.