The Hurry Up: Safety Commit Josh Proctor Visits Oklahoma While Running Back Pledge Master Teague III Begins Rehab

By Andrew Lind on October 9, 2017 at 6:50 pm
Woodi Washington

Woodi Washington

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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.

A SIGN OF THINGS TO COME?

Ohio State four-star safety commit Josh Proctor said earlier this summer his recruitment was entirely shut down, but he unexpectedly showed up at Oklahoma’s game against Iowa State on Saturday afternoon.

It’s no secret the Sooners have pushed for a flip ever since the 6-foot-2, 190-pound Owasso native picked the Buckeyes seemingly out of the blue during the Spring Game back in April, but Proctor has publicly remained firm in his pledge ever since — even in the face of friends, teammates and teachers advocating for him to stay closer to home for college. 

No matter how much Proctor continues to say all the right things when it comes to his commitment, such pressure will certainly weigh on any prospect. And when that happens, there’s bound to be second guessing.

“Am I making the right move?”

“Should I take another visit to make sure?”

That’s natural. After all, these are 17-year-olds making a life altering decision. And in Proctor’s case, that involves moving halfway across the country. 

The Ohio State staff understands this as well as any program in the country, given its national recruiting approach, which is why they fully expected Proctor to stop by Norman at least one time this fall. Sources close to the program told Eleven Warriors they didn’t anticipate or find out in advance it would be this weekend, though. 

That’s certainly cause for concern, though the fact that a decommitment or flip did not happen is good news. Oklahoma went all-out to make it happen this weekend — result aside, though I don’t think one game truly impacts a recruit’s thinking — and the more time that passes significantly decreases the chances of that happening.

I don’t expect the Sooners to give up on their pursuit any time soon, as the opportunity to play close to home is always enticing. They'll surely push for a flip through National Signing Day. But Proctor fell in love with Ohio State for several reasons, and I don't think he’s going to change his mind easily.

ON THE MEND

Just under two weeks after he had surgery to repair a peroneal tendon subluxation — a condition in which the tendon snaps out of place — in his left ankle, Ohio State three-star running back Master Teague III had his cast removed on Monday morning.

“The splint is off and now the rehab begins,” Teague's father, Corey, told Eleven Warriors. “Everything looked great.”

The 5-foot-11, 210-pound Teague suffered the injury in Mufreesboro, Tennessee, Blackman’s rain-soaked win over Coffee County in early September and attempted to play through the pain. He and his family decided to have the surgery a few weeks later, however, but only after Teague rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns in a 42-24 loss to top-ranked Oakland on Sept. 22.

Teague — who rushed for 711 yards and 10 touchdowns in a little over four games this year — will be in a walking boot for several more weeks, and there's hope he could return this season if the Blaze advance deep in the playoffs. If not, he will be fully recovered by the time he steps on campus this January.

MIGHT AS WELL PUT A SATELLITE CAMPUS IN NASHVILLE

Four-star cornerback Woodi Washington had a significant impact on Blackman's aforementioned loss to Oakland, as he intercepted a pair of fourth-quarter passes to seal the game. Ohio State offered him a scholarship shortly thereafter and he made his first trip to campus for Saturday's 62-14 win over Maryland.

“The atmosphere and the way the coaches coach up the players [stood out],” Washington told Eleven Warriors. “Also, the intensity of the players on the field.”

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Washington is considered the 31st-best cornerback and No. 296 prospect overall in the Class of 2019, as he's recorded 15 tackles and two interceptions for the Patriots this season. Alabama, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, LSU, Oregon and Vanderbilt have also offered since that game.

Washington — who made the trip to Columbus with four-star defensive end Ani Izuchukwu and four-star wide receiver Lance Wilhoite — spent a considerable amount of time on Saturday afternoon with head coach Urban Meyer, assistant coordinator Kerry Coombs and running backs coach/area recruiter Tony Alford. It made him feel like a real priority for the staff.

“It's amazing [and] very exciting because they are a top program,” Washington said.

As anyone who's getting a lot of newfound interest, Washington is just interested in building upon those relationships moving forward. As things stand right now, though, the Buckeyes are in a great spot.

“Ohio State is one of my top schools,” he said.

WHAT'S EVERYONE WAITING FOR?

Reynoldsburg three-star linebacker Dezman Cooper and his father, Sam, also made the short trip to campus on Saturday afternoon.

“It was great,” Cooper told Eleven Warriors. “I loved the atmosphere and the team played well. I also got to go into the locker room afterward.”

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Cooper is considered the 20th-best prospect in the state and No. 38 outside linebacker in the country, as he's recorded 48 total tackles (27 solo), two sacks, one pass break up and one block punt for the Raiders this season. He holds an offer from Miami (Ohio), but offensive coordinator/area recruiter Kevin Wilson has been keeping tabs on Cooper this season. Linebackers coach Bill Davis recently began to reach out him, as well.

“He just says to keep grinding and playing hard,” Cooper said.

Cooper — who is the nephew of former Ohio State linebacker Joe Cooper (1998-2001) — has the size and speed of a protypical outside linebacker, but doesn't have the offers to reflect that at this point in his recruitment. Schools like Cincinnati, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Virginia and West Virginia have all shown interest, but Cooper acknowledged the process can be a little frustrating because it's not always sincere.

Personally, I feel a lot of it has to do with teams not taking the time to watch him play in person and only through highlight tapes.

“I feel like I am doing really well,” Cooper said. “Every team either runs away from me or tries to keep me out of the box.”

Cooper is set to visit Indiana this weekend, with trips to Cincinnati and Purdue to round out the month. I anticipate his list of offers will start to grow sooner rather than later as a result.

A LONG TIME COMING

There was a point in time where it seemed as if IMG Academy four-star cornerback Houston Griffith was destined to end up at Ohio State. But with the Buckeyes already holding commitments from four defensive backs and focused on rounding out said haul with Texas five-star Anthony Cook, Griffith committed to Florida State on Sunday afternoon.

The 6-foot-1, 192-pound Griffith is considered the 10th-best cornerback and No. 61 prospect overall in the Class of 2018, as he recorded 15 tackles and seven pass breakups to help the Ascenders to their second-consecutive undefeated season last year. He included Ohio State in his Top 7 back in June alongside Alabama, Florida State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Penn State and Texas, but the Seminoles' knack for sending defensive backs to the National Football League helped them secure his pledge.

Had the staff made a push this spring, I believe Griffith would have committed to the Buckeyes on the spot. Instead, Ohio State landed commitments from Florida four-star cornerback Sevyn Banks and Pennsylvania four-star Marcus Hooker — who, like Griffith, is expected to make a move to safety at the next level.

Griffith will join his IMG Academy teammate and four-star center Verdis Brown, who was also once considered a shoo-in to Ohio State's recruiting class, at Florida State.

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