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.
SURVIVED THE FIRST WAVE. WILL THERE BE ANOTHER?
In last night's edition of The Hurry Up, we discussed Ohio State four-star safety commit Josh Proctor's official visit to Oklahoma for Saturday's game against Iowa State. And with the Sooners rolling out the red carpet, it had the potential to be a recruitment-altering visit.
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.
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.
And in spite of all of that, Ohio State able to hold on to Proctor's pledge.
From Rivals' Marc Givler, who was in Owasso on Friday night:
"I'm still solid (to Ohio State)," Proctor said. "(Oklahoma is) after me, but I'm locked in."
Much of the credit should go to defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, who played a key role in Proctor’s decision to commit to the Buckeyes during the aforementioned Spring Game visit.
The two talk quite frequently and Schiano continues to impress upon Proctor how he can be a game-changing player at the next level, as evidenced by his two interception returns for a touchdown and 89-yard kick return for a score earlier this season.
Proctor already took his official visit — for Ohio State's game against Oklahoma, no less — but he plans to return, unofficially, for the highly anticipated matchup with Penn State on Oct. 28. As I also mentioned yesterday, the more time that passes after his trip to Norman, the chances of him flipping significantly decrease as a result.
The Sooners surely won't give up their pursuit, as the opportunity to play close to home is always enticing. But it just feels as if they missed their chance last weekend, and Proctor's upcoming visit will seal the deal entirely for the Buckeyes.
FOLLOWING IN HIS UNCLE'S FOOTSTEPS (SORT OF)?
Meanwhile, Ohio State welcomed North Palm Beach, Florida, The Benjamin School four-star cornerback Kaiir Elam for an unofficial visit for Saturday's 62-14 win over Maryland. It was his second trip to Columbus, but first since the staff offered him a scholarship in mid-May.
“I enjoyed myself Saturday,” Elam told Eleven Warriors. “Definitely the atmosphere and the amount of people [stood out].”
The 6-foot-1, 177-pound Elam is considered the fifth-best cornerback and No. 82 prospect overall in the Class of 2019, as he hauled in 39 catches for 570 yards and five touchdowns on offense and made three interceptions on defense for the Buccaneers last season. He also holds offers from nearly two dozen other programs, including Florida, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Stanford and Tennessee.
As mentioned, Elam's first trip to campus was for the Rutgers game last season. He didn't get to meet with the staff then, but spent a considerable amount of time on Saturday with head coach Urban Meyer and assistant coordinator Kerry Coombs.
“[Coombs] said he loved that I could make it up,” Elam said. “He told me to watch his corners in the game and look at all the press-man they play. He also said he loved my length and how I was shaped for his type of corner.”
As for the targeting calls on cornerbacks Denzel Ward and Damon Arnette?
“I think that wasn't the right call,” Elam said. “Ward was obviously to the side and he led with his shoulder.”
Elam — whose uncle, Matt, played for Meyer at Florida — hasn't thought about which schools stand out to him at this moment in his recruitment. He's too focused on his junior season, after which he'll unveil a list of top schools.
“Ohio State is definitely up there, though,” Elam said.
REGIONAL BATTLE HEATS UP
Meyer and Coombs were also busy on Monday night, at which time they offered a scholarship to Grand Rapids, Michigan, East Kentwood four-star defensive tackle Mazi Smith.
Recently offered by ohio statelove there coaching staff and the way their players play pic.twitter.com/WV26oW67Vx
— Mazi (@mazismith) October 10, 2017
The 6-foot-3, 290-pound Smith is considered the seventh-best defensive tackle and No. 147 prospect overall in the Class of 2019. He holds offers from nearly 20 schools, but most notably Alabama, Michigan, Michigan, Notre Dame and Penn State.
Smith took an unofficial visit to Columbus back in late July and hopes to return to campus for the Buckeyes' game against Penn State in a little over two weeks.
Though Franklin, Tennessee, has struggled through a 1-7 season, Ohio State four-star offensive tackle commit Max Wray continues to be a bright spot for the Rebels.
His efforts were recognized on Tuesday afternoon, when he was presented with his honorary U.S. Army All-American Bowl jersey as part of the American Family Insurance selection tour.
“It’s been a rough year,” Wray told Eleven Warriors, noting he’d never lost two games in a row before this season. “Today was fun though.”
— #ArmyBowl (@ArmyAllAmerican) October 10, 2017
The 6-foot-7, 289-pound Wray is one of seven future Buckeyes who will play in the Army Bowl, which will take place on Jan. 6, 2018, in San Antonio.
He'll be joined by five-star defensive tackle Taron Vincent, five-star tight end Jeremy Ruckert, five-star running back Jaelen Gill and four-star linebacker Dallas Gant on the East squad, while four-star safety Jaiden Woodbey and the above-mentioned Proctor will represent the West.