The Hurry Up: Four-Star Defensive End Ani Izuchukwu Includes Ohio State in Top 3 While Tennessee Linebacker Kane Patterson Recaps Recent Visit

By Andrew Lind on September 25, 2017 at 6:50 pm
Kane Patterson

Kane Patrerson

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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.

CHAMPIONS ON THE FIELD, TOO

Ohio State has put quite the emphasis on recruiting in the state of Tennessee lately, landing commitments from Franklin four-star offensive tackle Max Wray and Murfressboro Blackman three-star running back Master Teague III this spring.

With Teague's teammate, four-star wide receiver Trey Knox, considered a heavy Buckeye lean, as well, that trend looks as if it will only continue into the future.

Another prospect from the Volunteer State to keep in mind is Nashville Davidson Academy four-star defensive end Ani Izuchukwu, who included Ohio State in his Top 3 this weekend alongside Alabama and South Carolina. It's important to note these aren't his final schools, but a list of those in contact most often.

“Those three schools [are going to be there until the end] because they talk to me often and want me down to their campus, especially Ohio State,” Izuchukwu told Eleven Warriors. “We're building a relationship, and that's awesome.”

The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Izuchukwu — a native Nigerian — is considered the 12th-best weak-side defensive end and No. 176 prospect overall in the Class of 2019, though he missed most of his sophomore season with a shoulder injury. He also holds offers from programs such as Clemson, LSU, Michigan, Ole Miss and Tennessee, and anticipates they'll pursue him harder once the season ends.

Head coach Urban Meyer, defensive line coach Larry Johnson and running backs coach/area recruiter Tony Alford aren't waiting, though, and have been Izuchukwu's primary recruiters since the Buckeyes offered him a scholarship in April.

“They are really good people and ask a lot about health and how my season is going,” he said.

Izuchukwu plans to visit campus for the second time next month, likely for the Oct. 28 game against Penn State. He also attended a one-day camp in June.

“[I'm] so excited man,” he said.

WHY NOT RAID THE WHOLE STATE?

Along those same lines, Ohio State hosted Nashville Christ Presbyterian Academy three-star linebacker Kane Patterson for an unofficial visit for the game against Oklahoma earlier this month.

“It was awesome,” Patterson told Eleven Warriors. “I loved the atmosphere and the coaches.”

The 6-foot-1, 200-pound Patterson is considered the 33rd-best outside linebacker an No. 452 prospect overall in the Class of 2019, as he recorded 108 tackles, 18 tackles for a loss and seven sacks for the Lions during his sophomore season. He holds nearly a dozen offers from programs such as Cincinnati Duke, Georgia Tech, Louisville, LSU, North Carolina, Ole Miss and Vanderbilt, but thinks he can land one from Ohio State in the near future.

“I think it's just going to be a relationship-built offer,” Patterson said. “We talk a lot, and I just think it's gonna be based on how I play the rest of the season.”

On his first-ever trip to Columbus, Patterson spent a significant amount of time with Alford, linebackers coach Bill Davis and director of player development Mark Pantoni. The conversation barely touched on the game of football itself.

“[It revolved around] how life after football is more important to them than your time there,” Patterson said. “I really liked all of them and what they're about.”

Patterson's schedule won't allow for him to take another visit this fall, but he plans to return sooner rather than later.  

FAITH FIRST

When the aforementioned Teague committed to Ohio State just two days after he landed an offer at a one-day camp in June, it wasn't just his relationships with the staff or the program's on-field success that swayed his decision. No, a lot of it had to do with the opportunities to continue his faith in college through programs such as Athletes in Action, a Christian ministry on campus.

“Coach Meyer really stresses having responsible and healthy behaviors, attitudes and character development, and that is in line with my faith,” Teague told Eleven Warriors shortly after his decision.

Meyer was asked by The Athletic's Ari Wasserman during Monday afternoon's press conference to elaborate on those kinds of programs after having spent time with Teague in Tennessee.

“That's a very important part of my life, and I'm proud to share that with our players,” Meyer said. “Certainly, there's no obligation or mandate for any of that, but we certainly make it user-friendly around here.”

Meyer noted how Ohio State tries to better its players through everything from Real Life Wednesdays to nutritional and spiritual programs. The key is making it available for them to pursue such opportunities.

“The big 'R' word is the keyword here: Respect,” Meyer said. “Respect and make it available to them.”

TERROR SQUAD 

For the second time in under a week, Ohio State landed a commitment from a preferred walk-on. This time it was Piqua two-star linebacker Ben Schmiesing who pledged his services to the Buckeyes on Monday afternoon.

The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Schmiesing is considered the 116th-best player in the state and No. 199 outside linebacker overall in the Class of 2018, as he racked up 65 tackles, four interceptions, two forced fumbles, two defensive touchdowns and one fumble recovery for the Indians last season. He also pitched in 806 yards and 10 touchdowns rushing and 294 yards receiving with three touchdowns.

Schmeising held scholarship offers from Dayton, Davidson and Ohio Dominican, but knew from he time he was extended the walk-on opportunity last month that Columbus was where he wanted to be.

"After taking multiple visits to Ohio State, it reassured what I already thought about Ohio State being able to provide the best opportunities for me after the four years there, as well as being able to provide the best experience possible when it comes to the football aspect of it," Schmeising told Eleven Warriors. "I did wait a little bit to see what they [other schools like Penn and Harvard] had to say, but after taking the visits and looking deeper into what Ohio State had to offer, it was clear to me that was 100 percent the right place for me for a variety of reasons."

Schmeising joins Big Walnut two-star linebacker Abe Myers as the only two prospects to have accepted their preferred walk-on offer thus far.

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