Heat Check: Following a Trio of August Commits, Buckeye Recruiting Prepares for a Month Filled With Key Official Visits

By Andrew Ellis on September 5, 2017 at 1:15 pm
The Buckeyes extended an offer to JUCO DT Antwuan Jackson in August.

Recruiting is all about momentum. Sometimes you're gaining it, sometimes you're losing it. What prospects are trending up with Ohio State? Let's take a look.

Football season is officially upon us and with it brings the season of official visits, which is arguably the most important part of the recruiting cycle. The upcoming weekend will be absolutely huge for the College Football Playoff picture as well as the Buckeyes' efforts for the Class of 2018 and beyond. Eleven Warriors will have an expected visitor list later this week. But rest assured, it's going to be a big one.

Backtracking to the month that was, Ohio State added two more commitments to its top-ranked 2018 class, lost a pledge from a four-star Floridian, and got things rolling for 2019. Urban Meyer currently holds a fairly comfortable lead over a Tom Herman-led Longhorn program that has surged all the way up to No. 2 in the team rankings. 

Virginia linebacker K'Vaughan Pope made the call early in the month, and his addition likely finishes out linebacker recruiting for the class. Four-star wideout L'Christian "Blue" Smith hopped on board on Aug. 27 and Doug Nester – the nation's No. 3 offensive tackle – gave the Buckeyes a nice start for 2019. 

We've been saying for a while that defensive end Andrew Chatfield wasn't likely to stick to his Buckeye commitment, and he officially backed off of his pledge in August. He will likely end up at Florida or Miami. 

Lots of changes bring some new additions to the 11W recruiting board. 

NAME POSITION RANK Prev. Rating Others In the Mix
JACKSON CARMAN OT 1 1 ★★★★★ Clemson•Alabama•USC
KAMRYN BABB WR 2 2 ★★★★ LSU•Michigan•ND
ANTHONY COOK CB 3 3 ★★★★★ Texas•LSU
MICAH PARSONS DE 4 4 ★★★★★ Penn State•Georgia•Nebraska•Bama
TYREKE SMITH DE 5 5 ★★★★ Penn State•Alabama•USC•Oregon
JAYSON OWEH DE 6 6 ★★★★ Penn State•Notre Dame
TOMMY TOGIAI DT 7 7 ★★★★ USC•Washington
RASHEED WALKER OT 9 NA ★★★★ Penn State•Maryland
TYSON CAMPBELL CB 10 8 ★★★★★ Miami•LSU•Clemson•Bama•UF•FSU
NICHOLAS PETIT-FRERE OT 11 NA ★★★★ Florida•Alabama•Notre Dame

*Last month's version can be found HERE. 

The board is now more trench-heavy than ever, and it should come as no surprise given the remaining recruiting needs in the class. Jackson Carman holds steady at the top spot, and while he doesn't seem close to a decision, it would be a shock if he ends up at Clemson or anywhere other than Columbus. 

Max Wray is already in the fold, but he could potentially play guard at the next level. Adding another tackle not named Jackson Carman is still fairly important. Cleveland's Darrian Kinnard is still one to watch, but the Kentucky commit has yet to receive a Buckeye offer. New additions this month include Rasheed Walker at No. 9 and NIcholas Petit-Frere at No. 11, but there's no reason to get too excited about either one; at least not yet. 

We probably haven't talked about Walker enough, and that's likely because he seems bound for Happy Valley. But he hasn't committed yet, and that in itself is a bit of a surprise. Ohio State is likely running No. 2 behind Penn State, but Walker definitely belongs on the board. Petit-Frere seems even more wide open. He did visit Columbus in June, but the Buckeyes are likely behind the likes of Alabama, Florida, and Notre Dame. 

Would it be catastrophic if the Buckeyes ended with just Carman and Wray as potential tackles? Hardly. But adding another would be ideal. 

Ohio State's top wide receiver target underwent surgery in August, but all still appears to be well between the Buckeyes and Kamryn Babb. It's a little bit surprising that the country's No. 9 wideout isn't already part of the class, but we still expect this one to be done the next time he's in Columbus. For now, the No. 2 target on our board continues to focus on bouncing back from the torn ACL. 

Five-star cornerback Anthony Cook holds steady at No. 3 on the board. The Buckeyes want to add another corner, and Cook has been the top target for some time now. He was in Austin this past weekend for an unofficial visit and is planning an official to Ohio State this weekend. If you're a Buckeye fan, then you're probably not too worried about what Cook saw out of the Longhorns this weekend. LSU remains in the hunt but this one should come down to Urban Meyer and Tom Herman. He's set to announce on Oct. 30.

We've still got Tyson Campbell on the board at corner, though he's moved down a few slots since this one seems to be fading away. Right now Alabama and Miami both look more likely than Ohio State, and with the Chatfield decommitment and Nesta Silvera looking like a long shot, it will be a challenge for the Buckeyes to win out at America Heritage. 

The defensive line continues to be the most intriguing unit to follow. The Buckeyes are off to a tremendous start with the nation's No. 1 defensive tackle and No. 2 strong-side defensive end, but we fully expect three or four more to join forces with Taron Vincent and Brenton Cox

Along the edges, it's the same three names and you're really splitting hairs when trying to put together a pecking order. Micah Parsons is the mostly highly rated, but Tyreke Smith has seen his stock steadily rise and Jayson Oweh may have the highest ceiling of the trio. All three of them seem are likely to announce late in the process, and the Buckeyes have a real shot at landing the trio. 

It continues to mostly be an Ohio State vs. Penn State battle for each one, but Notre Dame is in the mix for Oweh and it wouldn't be a surprise if a number of SEC programs and Florida State make a serious run at Parsons. Interestingly, the five-star may also be the best running back in Pennsylvania this year (yes, he really is that good). Smith is considering the Buckeyes, Nittany Lions, USC, and Oregon, but it's safe to assume Ohio State is in the driver's seat right now.

How will the numbers work out? I think it will end up being three or four defensive ends and two interior guys. The most likely options to complement Vincent now seems to be coming down to two players, and one of them is a very familiar name. 

Four-star defensive tackle Tommy Togiai was in Columbus in July and he's set to return for an official visit this weekend. The Buckeyes are probably USC's top competition right now, but this is a kid from Idaho who grew up following and cheering for the Trojans. It won't be easy by any means, but Ohio State is right in the thick of things.

That brings us back to Blinn College and back to a top target from yesteryear. Antwuan Jackson was once again offered by the Buckeyes last week as Ohio State looks to make an impact at Blinn for a second consecutive year. Auburn narrowly beat out Larry Johnson back in 2016, and it may be tough for anyone to do the same in 2018.

Nick Saban didn't wait long to follow suit as the Crimson Tide extended an offer less than 24 hours later. The likely scenario is that the Buckeyes will monitor Jackson this fall all the while waiting to see how things progress with Togiai. Would it be possible to take them both? I'm guessing it would be, but Jackson may be the safer bet right now. 

This weekend should bring some clarity to the situation, however.

Today is Sept. 5, which means we are only four days away from the Buckeyes hosting the Sooners. On a more personal note, I am three days away from taking my 11-year old niece to watch a remake of the thing that frightened me the most as a child—the film adaptation of Stephen King's IT. May the rest of her childhood be just as terrifying as my own once was.

Today is also Freddie Mercury's birthday. He would have been 71 years old. A toast to you, old chap. 

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