The Hurry Up: Linebacker Commit, Walk-on Targets Discuss Visit While Ohio State Appears on Outside Look in for Top Junior

By Andrew Lind on September 17, 2017 at 6:50 pm
Teradja Mitchell

Teradja Mitchell

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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.

HE'LL TAKE WHAT HE CAN GET

Last weekend's game against Oklahoma was one of the biggest recruiting weekends for Ohio State this season, but not every commit or top-rated target was able to make it to campus.

Such was the case for Virginia Beach Bishop Sullivan four-star linebacker Teradja Mitchell, who instead made the nine-hour trip for Saturday's 38-7 win over Army.

“I loved it,” Mitchell told Eleven Warriors.

This marked the first trip to campus for the 6-foot-2, 235-pound Mitchell since he pledged his services to Ohio State in early June.

“This experience was different because I didn't come into this trip expecting to be recruited or taken on a campus tour and getting the usual red-carpet treatment recruits usually get,” Mitchell said. “It was more like taking a brief visit and looking at the new house I'm about to move in. Just enjoying the coaches, players and the fans that I'll be around for the next four years.”

As I've mentioned previously, the Crusaders' schedule doesn't sync with the Buckeyes' — most of their home games are on Saturday or it's a travel day from their out-of-state road game — so Mitchell won't be able to take an official visit during the season. That means he'll miss out on Ohio State's highly anticipated game against Penn State in late October, too.

“I will not be taking my official visit until the first week of December,” he said.

Bishop Sullivan doesn't allow students to graduate early for academic or athletic purposes, either, so Mitchell will enroll in school next summer.

COULDN'T GET ON THE SAME PAGE

There was hope this spring that Loganville, Georgia, Grayson five-star linebacker Owen Pappoe would eventually make a decision similar to Mitchell and spurn long-time favorite Florida State for Ohio State. But after three failed attempts to get him on campus, it looks as if the 6-foot, 207-pounder is moving on without the Buckeyes.

“I’m getting ready to commit after the season,” Pappoe told SEC Country last week. “I’m already down to three schools, so once the season is over I’m going to commit.”

Which three schools? Pappoe — the nation's top-rated linebacker and No. 5 prospect overall for the Class of 2019 — for some reason wouldn't tell. But it's rather easy to assume, given he's regularly visited Clemson, Florida State and Georgia for the past three years.

“Ever since the eighth grade, all three of those schools have recruited me the hardest,” he explained. “I have a good time there all the time. I love everything outside of football — the campus and the people there — and I fit well into their defensive schemes.”

Pappoe, who made two stops apiece in Athens, Tallahasee and Tuscaloosa this spring and summer, hasn't been to Columbus since November.

As mentioned, it's been extremely difficult for the Buckeyes to get him on campus — to no fault of either side, really. One visit in late March was called off when the younger brother of Pappoe's teammate, four-star safety Kenyatta Watson II, got sick and his father turned around their carpool in Tennessee.

The staff will surely give one last hurrah, as there's still plenty of chances — the aforementioned Oct. 28 game against the Nittany Lions, anyone? — to get him on campus. Would it be enough to overcome the already trying distance, though? I doubt it.

WALK-ONS ARE RECRUITS, TOO

The list of visitors for this weekend's game against Army wasn't very long, but included a few notable prospects nonetheless. Among them, Cleveland Heights safety Zaire Webb.

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Webb is not ranked by any major recruiting sites, but holds nearly a dozen offers from schools such as Air Force, Army, Georgetown, Navy and Youngstown State after racking up nearly 3,500 all-purpose yards as a three-year starter on offense for the Tigers. Ohio State and Penn State have also extended a preferred walk-on offer within the last month.

Webb has been to Columbus several times with teammate and four-star defensive end target Tyreke Smith, so he's very familiar with the coaches and visa versa. But this was the first time the staff actively recruited him.

“It was pretty cool,” Webb told Eleven Warriors of the unofficial visit. “I got a chance to actually feel what it's like to be a Buckeye.

Webb was actually on the verge of committing to a school when Ohio State came calling last month. And now with Penn State entering the race, too, he has a rather tough decision ahead.

“It is pretty hard to choose, but my family and I will weigh out all of our options and come to a decision, hopefully by the end of December,” Webb said.

TWO EXPLORERS IN A ROW?

Ohio State also offered a preferred walk-on spot to Hudson wide receiver Greg Mailey the same weekend and Webb, and coincidentally, he and his family were invited to Saturday's game, as well.

“It was awesome,” Mailey told Eleven Warriors. “That was my first Ohio State game I have been to, so it was awesome to experience and get that perspective.”

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Mailey is not ranked, either, but was named first-team all-Suburban League after hauling in 59 receptions for 907 yards and 10 touchdowns for the Explorers last season. He holds academic and athletic scholarship offers from Hillsdale, Davidson, Dayton and Valparaiso.

Ohio State assistant director of player personnel Eron Hodges constantly reaches out to Mailey, and made it a point to invite him to campus for the game.

“I can see why now,” he said.

Mailey — who previously said he'd strongly consider the opportunity, especially because he'd have the opportunity to play alongside former teammate and current Ohio State walk-on linebacker Alex Beck — hasn't given it too much thought recently. He hopes to first lead Hudson (3-1) to the state playoffs.

“I have been very focused on the season and have been just letting the chips fall where they may,” Mailey said. “I will probably wait until the end of the season to make a decision.”

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