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.
A FASLE NARRATIVE
Shortly after Ohio State four-star quarterback commit Emory Jones received his honorary jersey for the Under Armour All-America Game on Wednesday afternoon, he was asked — one way or another — about the strength of his pledge to the Buckeyes.
"I am sick of [having to talk about Ohio State]," Jones told USA TODAY High School Sports. "I’m committed. I’m still committed. That’s just it."
But no matter how many times the 6-foot-3, 195-pound Jones repeats and reaffirms his commitment, he's constantly asked the same question by both national and local reporters. And he will be against his wishes so long as he insists on taking official visits this fall.
It's honestly a double-edge sword for Jones, as shutting things down entirely would get people off his back about a possible flip to Alabama. But he'd also miss out on all that the recruiting process entails, since he committed ahead of his junior season.
"Some of the visits are just for the experience,” Jones told SEC Country after the event. "Just to go there to say I did. Later in my life, I probably won’t have the chance to go visit different colleges and get the full experience. I didn’t get to visit a lot of places before I committed and I would like the chance to do so."
So long as Jones remains open and honest with the Ohio State coaching staff, there's nothing to worry about — no matter how much some sites, particularly those in the south, want to stir the pot. The Buckeyes aren't recruiting any other quarterbacks, a sign that the staff feels both confident and comfortable with Jones' desire to see other schools.
After all, he needs to be comfortable in his own decision, too. These visits will only confirm Columbus is the place for him.
Besides proximity, there isn't a whole lot Alabama — or Auburn, Florida State and Georgia — has to offer that Ohio State can't. Each program has a crowded depth chart at the position and remains in the hunt for another highly sought-after quarterback in five-star Justin Fields.
That means their main pitch revolves around family, and how far Ohio State is from Jones' by comparison. The distance has never fazed him, though.
"My mom is definitely my best friend, [and] I’m going to miss her, my family and my friends. Everyone I’ve just grown up around since I was a little kid. I’m going to miss that," Jones said. "My grandma is always joking around. She’s always telling me how she wants me to go to a school closer to home so she can make it to all of my games. I know she’s kidding around. My mom told me before I committed to not worry about the distance. She’ll get to the games some way."
And that's exactly why I've never bought into the narrative that Jones is truly interested in the Crimson Tide.
While Jones will join four other future Buckeyes in the Under Armour All-America Game, four-star safety Josh Proctor is one of seven Ohio State commits that will play in the U.S. Army All-American Game just a few days later. He received his honorary jersey on Thursday as part of the American Family Insurance Selection Tour.
— Owasso Athletics (@OwassoAthletics) September 21, 2017
Naturally, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Oklahoma native was also asked about his commitment to Ohio State, especially following his trip to Columbus earlier this month where he watched the home-state Sooners knock off the Buckeyes, 31-16.
“It was great. It was my fifth time being back,” Proctor told the Tulsa World. “I’m comfortable with everybody. It’s just home. [The outcome of the game] hasn’t had any weight in my decision. I knew I was going to get [razzing from classmates] coming back home.”
As I've mentioned before, Proctor's friends, classmates, teachers and coaches have been trying to pressure him into flipping his pledge.
“Every day. In the hall, in the class, it doesn’t stop,” he said, “[but] I'm 100 percent Ohio State. One-hundred percent.”
Oklahoma — and its fans in Owasso — certainly won't give up, though, and will remind Proctor of the score at almost every chance it gets. But one game rarely, if ever, has an impact on a prospect's recruitment, and Proctor remains as solid as he can be.
Not only will proctor be joined by fellow four-star safety commit Jaiden Woodbey on the West Squad, but also by Santa Ana, California, Mater Dei four-star linebacker Solomon Tuliaupupu. Surrounded by his family, he received his Army Bowl jersey on Thursday afternoon, as well.
And before you ask, that's Tuliaupupu's father, Turnbull, in the Ohio State shirt.
— #ArmyBowl (@ArmyAllAmerican) September 21, 2017
Though the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Tuliaupupu has long been considered a USC lean, I've always believed Ohio State is the only program that could pull him out of Southern California. Whether or not the numbers work in the Buckeyes' favor is another story, but neither that nor distance from home is something that would disuade him from choosing to further his academic and athletic career in Columbus.
Tuliaupupu has only been to Columbus once with his uncle, a three-day visit which included the Spring Game.
“When I went out there, they showed me a lot of love,” Tuliaupupu told Eleven Warriors at Nike Football's The Opening Finals in July. “The thing that caught my eye was what happens after football. You make a lot of networking connections. [There are] a lot of ways to be successful after football ends, but at the same time using football to your advantage.”
Linebackers coach Bill Davis returned the favor by attending a satellite camp at Azusa Pacific University hosted by the elder Tuliaupupu in June. He traveled the farthest out of anyone at the small Division II campus, including coaches from Oregon, San Diego State, Stanford, UCLA, UNLV, Utah, Utah State, USC and Washington State.
“We spoke extensively,” Turnbull said. “Very experienced coach. Very personable. Coached up the linebackers. Mingled with all the coaches.”
Tuliaupupu plans to take an official visit this fall, and doesn't anticipate making a decision on his future until the Army Bowl, which takes place on Jan. 6, 2018, in San Antonio. He's put his recruitment on the backburner for the time being, anyway, as he tries to help lead the Monarchs to their first state championship in nearly 20 years.
So when that time comes, would Ohio State accept his potential commitment? Even with three linebackers already in the fold in four-stars Teradja Mitchell, Dallas Gant and K'Vaughan Pope, the staff would absolutely make the room.
GETTING TO KNOW YOU
While Ohio State's win over Army last weekend didn't come anywhere close to producing the same kind of atmosphere as the aforementioned loss to Oklahoma — or the Oct. 28 game against Penn State, at which time most remaining targets will take their official visits — it offered the chance for underclassmen like Greensboro, North Carolina, Dudley four-star wide receiver Michael Wyman to experience a game for the first time
— Michael Wyman (@MikeWyman22) September 17, 2017
“It was real good,” Wyman told Eleven Warriors. “Everyone was nice and the wideouts were on point.”
The 6-foot-4, 195-pound Wyman is considered the 20th-best wide receiver and No. 83 prospect overall in the Class of 2020, as he recorded 21 receptions for 281 yards and three touchdowns as a freshman at Northern Guilford last season. He transferred to Dudley this offseason, and has caught eight passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns in five games with the Panthers this year.
Wyman — who holds an early offer from North Carolina, but has received interest from schools like Alabama, Clemson, Florida Sate, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State and USC — spent most of the afternoon with wide receivers coach Zach Smith and assistant Corey Dennis.
“[They just told me to] continue to work hard and gave a motivational talk about game expectations,” he said. Wyman plans to return for another game this fall and then attend a one-day camp next summer. There, he hopes to land an offer from the Buckeyes.
“I like to compete, watch, learn and take notes with the upper levels,” Wyman said.
Sounds like the type of kid #Zone6 needs.