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 BACKUP PLAN FOR THE BACKUP PLAN
With plenty of uncertainty surrounding Ohio State four-star quarterback commit Emory Jones, head coach Urban Meyer was asked during his weekly press conference on Monday morning if there will come a time where the Buckeyes would move on from the talented signal caller to make sure they have at least one quarterback in the 2018 recruiting class.
“You have to have one every year,” Meyer said, reiterating something he's said numerous times since Jones took his first visit to Alabama this spring. “That's setting yourself up for disaster if something goes on down the road. So you always have to have a Plan A, B, C and D, and we do.”
It should go without saying Jones is Plan A, and the Buckeyes would love nothing more than for him to reaffirm a pledge he made a little over 15 months ago. But if he does eventually reopen his recruitment or flip his pledge to the Crimson Tide, several names are waiting in the wings.
Ohio State is set to host former Kentucky four-star quarterback commit Jarren Williams for an official visit this weekend, received a visit last weekend from Tennessee four-star pledge Adrian Martinez and just offered a scholarship to Colorado State three-star commit Matthew Baldwin.
There’s your Plans B, C and D, though the last two may be interchangeable — but more on them in a minute.
It's getting to the point where Ohio State is going to have to make a decision one way or another, especially with the early signing period making it more difficult to flip prospects later in the process. Would they cut ties to with Jones and move forward with another quarterback? Or would they bring on another, regardless of what Jones does?
“[It's] possible,” Meyer said. “[Director of player personnel] Mark [Pantoni] keeps wanting to talk to me about it — and I said, 'Give me some time.' But we don't have much time. The other thing you're going to see is the guy you keep on the back burner and try to flip him at the end, he signs on Dec. 20, and you don't have those guys either. It's going to be an interesting year.”
You said it, Urban.
OUT OF NOWHERE
On Sunday — just one day after he took an unofficial visit to Ohio State for this weekend's 48-3 win over Michigan State — Austin, Texas, Lake Travis three-star quarterback Matthew Baldwin announced he had received a scholarship offer from the Buckeyes.
— Matthew Baldwin (@matthewb_12) November 13, 2017
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Baldwin is considered the 41st-best pro-style quarterback and No. 1,460 prospect overall in the Class of 2018, but he's thrown for nearly 3,000 yards and 28 touchdowns compared to just four interceptions in his first year as a starter for the Cavaliers. He committed to Colorado State in July over double-digit offers from programs such as Brown, Columbia, Dartmouth, Davidson, Texas State and UTSA.
Baldwin, who is well aware of Ohio State's quarterback situation, has indicated Jones' pledge won't impact his potential commitment — even if that means the Buckeyes bring on two quarterbacks this cycle. Sources close to the program tell Eleven Warriors quarterbacks coach Ryan Day is extremely high on him, and the plan is to have him back on campus for an official visit in December.
As mentioned, Ohio State also welcomed Tennessee four-star quarterback commit Adrian Martinez for an official visit on the same weekend the Volunteers fired head coach Butch Jones.
It was his first time on campus, and he couldn’t have come away more impressed by what the Buckeyes have to offer.
“It was great,” Martinez told Eleven Warriors. “I enjoyed being a part of the game-day atmosphere and [seeing] what a player goes through leading up to a game at Ohio State.”
The 6-foot-2, 198-pound Martinez — a native of Fresno, California — is considered the seventh-best dual-threat quarterback and No. 155 prospect overall in the Class of 2018, as he’s thrown for more than 4,000 yards and 39 touchdowns and rushed for nearly 2,500 yards and 14 scores in his varsity career at Clovis West. He committed to Tennessee in May over two dozen other offers from programs such as Alabama, Arizona State, Georgia, Miami, Oklahoma, Oregon and Washington State.
Martinez missed his entire senior season rehabbing a surgically repaired labrum in his throwing shoulder, but still has several school chasing after him. And with the Volunteers’ program in the SEC cellar, he’s certainly listening.
“I want to compete for national championships and play at the highest level,” Martinez said. “Given the uncertainty at Tennessee, I wanted to see what Ohio State has to offer. I wanted to experience exactly what it was like.”
Martinez remains committed to Tennessee for the time being, but wants to see how things unfold with the Volunteers coaching search and how it impacts current assistants, specifically quarterbacks coach Mike Canales. I’m the meantime, he’s focused on building a relationship with Meyer and Day.
“I'm just going to see how things play out from here and continue to develop my relationship with the Ohio State staff,” Martinez said, noting he doesn't have a timetable to make a final decision on his future.
He's set to graduate early and sign with the school of his choosing on Dec. 20, though, time is certainly running out.
THE ANNUAL BUCKEYE SHOWCASE
On Monday, Ohio State four-star linebacker commit Dallas Gant became the latest pledge to be presented with his honorary jersey for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
— SJJ Athletics (@SJJTitanSports) November 13, 2017
“Amazing players have played in this game and been part of this,” Gant told The Toledo Blade. “It was incredible moment. I never expected this.”
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Gant is one of seven future Buckeyes set to play in the game, which takes place on Jan. 6, 2018. He'll be joined in San Antonio by five-star defensive tackle Taron Vincent, five-star tight end Jeremy Ruckert, five-star running back Jaelen Gill, four-star offensive guard Max Wray on the East squad, while four-star safeties Josh Proctor and Jaiden Woodbey will represent the West.
Gant was back on campus last weekend, and he'll return for his official visit the weekend of Dec. 9. He's set to sign with Ohio State during the early signing period and enroll in classes in January.