The Hurry Up: Ohio State Offers UCLA Defensive End Commit Abdul-Malik McClain While Three Commits Are Named Butkus Award Semifinalists

By Andrew Lind on October 31, 2017 at 6:50 pm
Dallas Gant
Dallas Gant

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.


Already holding a commitment from five-star defensive end Brenton Cox, Ohio State put itself in a great position this summer to also add five-star Micah Parsons and four-stars Jayson Oweh and Tyreke Smith. But as we all know, things change rather quickly on the recruiting trail.

Smith is trending toward Penn State, while the staff has moved on from Parsons altogether. Now, it looks as if Oweh is the only prospect for which the Buckeyes have a shot.

With defensive end still a position of great need in this cycle, Ohio State has started looking around for potential additions late in the cycle. That includes San Juan Capistrano, California, JSerra Catholic four-star defensive end Abdul-Malik McClain, to whom the staff offered a scholarship late Monday evening.

The 6-foot-4, 230-pound McClain is considered the 15th-best weak-side defensive end and No. 270 prospect overall in the Class of 2018, as he's recorded 34 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, 12 sacks, 11 quarterback hurries, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery for the Lions this fall. He committed to UCLA in July over more than a dozen offers from programs such as Arizona State, Notre Dame, Oregon State, South Carolina, Utah and Washington.

Ohio State isn't the only school hoping to take advantage of the Bruins' struggles this season, though, as Oklahoma and USC also offered this month. Head coach Jim Mora is on the hot seat after a 4-4 start, and the Buckeyes, Sooners and Trojans would love to swoop in and take one of the West's top prospects if he's ultimately relieved of his duties.  


Reactions from Ohio State’s thrilling win over Penn State continue to pour in, with Huntington, West Virginia, four-star offensive tackle Darnell Wright among the latest to share his experience on campus. 

“I had a good time,” Wright told Eleven Warriors. “Always good to see the coaches and players again.”

The 6-foot-6, 290-pound Wright is considered the 11th-best offensive tackle and No. 84 prospect overall in the Class of 2019. In addition to Ohio State, holds more than a dozen offers from programs such as Florida, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan State, Nebraska, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia Tech and West Virginia.

Saturday's trip marked Wright's third visit to campus, the last time on campus being the loss to Oklahoma. Offensive line coach Greg Studrawa offered him a scholarship during a one-day camp in June, and the two have grown particularly close in the months since. 

“We have a good relationship,” Wright said. “He is a great coach.”

Ohio State already holds a commitment from fellow West Virginian Doug Nester and remains in hot pursuit of other highly sought-after offensive tackles Michael Tarquin, Quinn Carroll, John Olmstead, so I don’t anticipate the staff will push for Wright’s pledge anytime soon. That’s fine with him because he’d like to see a few more schools before making a decision, anyway.


Brownsburg, Indiana, three-star wide receiver Bryce Kirtz was also set to attend Saturday’s game, but had to turn around halfway to Columbus after his father fell ill. He rescheduled, though, so he’ll be back on campus when Ohio State hosts Michigan State in two weekends.

“I’m just curious to see the atmosphere and if fans still come out, even though the weather won’t be the best,” Kirtz told Eleven Warriors. 

The 6-foot, 180-pound Kirtz is considered the fifth-best player in Indiana and No. 370 prospect overall in the Class of 2019, as he’s hauled in 102 receptions for 1,664 and 25 touchdowns in his three-year career with the Bulldogs. He camped with the Buckeyes this summer, and has maintained contact with wide receivers coach Zach Smith in the months since.

“We just talk about how my season is going and we’re just getting closer,” Kirtz said.

Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Indiana, Northern Illinois, Purdue and Syracuse have all extended an offer, but Kirtz would love nothing more than to land one from Ohio State, too.

“It would be crazy honestly,” Kirtz said. “It would mean a lot.” 


On the same day that Ohio State’s Jerome Baker was named a semifinalist for the Butkus Award, which honors the nation’s best linebacker, three commits were also included on the list at the high school level.

Four-star linebacker commits Dallas Gant, Teradja Mitchell and K’Vaughan Pope were joined by five-star USC commit Palaie Gaoteote and four-star target Solomon Tuliaupupu among the 16 semifinalists.

Alabama linebacker Dylan Moses beat out Ohio State’s Baron Browning and a host of other talented prospects to win the award last season. This year's winner will be announced in early December.

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