The Hurry Up: Top in-State Defensive Tackle Talks Recent Visit While Ohio State Makes Cut for Tampa Corner

By Andrew Lind on September 18, 2017 at 6:50 pm
Jowon Briggs

Jowon Briggs

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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.

LOTS OF WORK TO DO

Cincinnati Walnut Hills four-star defensive tackle Jowon Briggs had never been to a college football game before he attended Ohio State's 31-16 loss to Oklahoma earlier this month. And even though the result wasn't favorable for the Buckeyes, the overall experience made quite the impression.

“It was intense,” Briggs told Eleven Warriors. “The atmosphere in specific.”

The 6-foot-2, 275-pound Briggs — who is considered the sixth-best defensive tackle and No. 68 prospect overall in the Class of 2019 — has been to campus numerous times since he landed an offer from the staff last July. He maintains regular contact with defensive line coach Larry Johnson, too.

“[We] talk a bit through texts,” Briggs said.

In addition to Ohio State, Briggs holds more than a dozen offers from programs such as Alabama, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Penn State and Wisconsin. And while he'll admi the Buckeyes are recruiting him the hardest at this point in time, it's widely assumed that the Fighting Irish will be the biggest threat to their chances.

Briggs is nowhere close to making a decision on his future, and he plans to take trips to Ann Arbor, South Bend and State College later this fall. The staff hopes to get him back on campus for the Oct. 28 game against the Nittany Lions, too.

TAMPA TIES

Ohio State already has one Johnnie Dixon on the roster, but there's a chance another could soon follow in his footsteps, as Tampa Wharton four-star cornerback John Dixon included the Buckeyes in his Top 9 on Monday afternoon alongside Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Oregon, South Carolina, South Florida and Tennessee.

“They show a lot of interest in me, plus I like the school and the coaching staff,” Dixon told Eleven Warriors.

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Dixon is considered the 24th-best cornerback and No. 276 prospect overall in the Class of 2019, as he recorded 80 tackles, two interceptions and two pass break ups for the Wildcats last season. Ohio Stae defensive coordinator Greg Schiano offered him a scholarship during a satellite camp in Tampa back in June.

Schiano, head coach Urban Meyer and director of player development Mark Pantoni have kept in touch with Dixon in the months since, and have invited him to attend the aforementioned game against Penn State later this season.

“They see me as one of he top corners in my class and one of their top recruits,” Dixon said.

ANOTHER TECHNICIAN

Ohio State assistant coordinator Kerry Coombs continues to make the stae of Michigan — and specifically the Detroit Cass Tech program — one of his top priorities on the recruiting trail. But one Technician hoping to hear from the energetic coach sooner rather than later is safety Ormondell Dingle.

“Man, the Buckeyes have always been my favorite,” Dingle told Eleven Warriors. “I love the way they play football and how they go about their business. Also, their sports medicine [program] is great and that's what I want to major in.”

The 6-foot-2, 189-pound Dingle is not yet ranked by any major recruiting sites because he broke his arm in the first game of his sophomore season and that sidelined him through Cass Tech's run to the state title. But he had a stellar camp circuit this spring and netted offers from Central Michigan, Chatanooga, Syrcause, Temple and Washington State as a result.

Much like his classmates in four-star running back Jaren Mangham and three-star cornerback Xavier Goldsmith, Dingle hopes to eventually land an offer from the Buckeyes, too.

“It would mean so much to have the opportunity to play for my dream school,” Dingle said. “I'm very smart on the field and I work hard. I'm also very versatile and I can play multiple positions.”

EXPLAINING MY PREDICTIONS

About the same time as last night's edition of The Hurry Up published, I made a few changes to my 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions. Most of them centered around a pair of highly sought-after and oft-criticized prospects: five-star offensive tackle Jackson Carman and five-star defensive end Micah Parsons.

As you may have expected, a mix of intel and my gut tell me neither will end up at Ohio State — and it has little to do with their public advocacy for a change at the quarterback position for the Buckeyes.

In fact, when it comes to Carman, he's gone out of his way several times over the last six months to show that he's not a sure thing for Ohio State, despite his proximity. After making claims that he'd already be committed to Ohio State if the school weren't in Ohio, he called Clemson his leader. He recently raved about his summer trip to USC, too.

At least to me, it seems as if Carman wants to be nowhere close to home. And I don't think you continue to get frustrated with everyone assuming you're going to be a Buckeye if you're actually interested in that becoming a reality down the road.
Simply put, I no longer think he's just playing the recruiting game.

So why do I think Carman is going to pick the Trojans? Well, for one, sources close to him tell Eleven Warriors that he continues to tell family, friends and teammates he's going to USC. Los Angeles certainly isn't close to Fairfield, Ohio, and the laid-back attitude there seems to fit Carmen well.

Now a lot can change in the next three months, as Carman wants to announce his decision in December. But unless a drastic turn of events occurs between now and then, I think the staff will be content with letting him go.

So where do the Buckeyes go from there? One name that continues to be thrown around is Tampa Berkeley Prep four-star Nicholas Petit-Frere, as Schiano has strong ties to his high school. He's a quiet kid, but has shown interest in Ohio State. If the staff can get him on campus for a game this fall, I think they make a push in his recruitment.

Additionally, I kept my Crystal Ball prediction on Cleveland St. Ignatius four-star Darian Kinnard, even in the days leading up to his pledge to Kentucky. If Ohio State offers, it's something he's bound to entertain. And even without Carman, landing Tennessee four-star tackle Max Wray, New York four-star guard Matthew Jones, Petit-Frere and Kinnard would make for one of the nation's best offensive line hauls.

Parsons, meanwhile, had a great visit to Penn State this weekend, and sources close to the Nittany Lions' program tell me he was “humbled” by the events on social media over the last week-plus. Now, there's an overwhelming feeling that Penn State now sits in the driver's seat in his recruitment.

It's funny, though, as I was told a week ago the Nittany Lions were pretty much moving on altogether. That's the nature of the recruiting business, though. It's almost like a marriage that's going through some rough patches. All Parsons and the Penn State staff needed was a bit of separation to realize how much they really wanted and needed one another.

Now, James Franklin and the rest of his staff must decide — with only one spot open along the defensive line in its current recruiting class — whether it wants to go all-out for Parsons, Tyreke Smith or Jayson Oweh. And Ohio State will certainly feel the impact, which is why my Crystal Ball predictions remain with the Buckeyes for Smith and Oweh (and you'll see several switched for the latter in the coming days).

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