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.
Ohio State walk-on-turned-scholarship linebacker Zach Turnure might only see the field on special teams, but head coach Urban Meyer called him one of the most productive players on the team during his weekly press conference on Monday afternoon.
“Even when he's not making a tackle, he's usually creating enough chaos that someone else makes it,” Meyer said. “He's a stud. I love that kid.”
Turnure was an All-American lacrosse player at Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis, but realized football was his calling soon after he arrived on campus in 2014. And though he's now preparing to play his final game in Ohio Stadium, Turnure's impact on the Buckeyes' program might reach well into the future.
Enter Christian Brothers College four-star wide receiver Kamryn Babb, Ohio State's top target at the position for the current recruiting cycle, who — like Turnure in 2013 — was named a team captain for the Cadets this season. The two have grown close over the years, and Turnure has helped Babb gain quite a bit of insight into the Buckeyes' program as a result.
“I always make sure to shoot him a text like, 'Hey, man, any questions you may have or anything you need to know about the program, I'd love to fill you in,'” Turnure told Eleven Warriors. “I never really try to persuade them or anything, I just try to be a guiding hand because I know how hard it can be during the recruiting process. They already have people in their ear enough.”
Babb, the ninth-best wide receiver in the Class of 2018, was only in eighth grade when Turnure was a senior. Same goes for Nebraska four-star commit Cameron Brown, whom Ohio State has offered and hosted for an unofficial visit last weekend. But they've forged a strong bond as alumni of one of the top academic and athletic programs in the state of Missouri.
“It's just really cool seeing those guys because the brotherhood we have at our high school is so similar to what they cherish here,” Turnure said. “It's awesome. They're great guys.”
If Babb — or even Brown — eventually does choose the Buckeyes, as many expect to happen in the coming months, just know Turnure's advice and testimony of what goes on in the Woody Hayes Athletic Center played a rather large role in that decision.
BACK TO THE WPIAL
Ohio State had a lot of interest early in the current recruiting process in Gibsonia, Pennsylvania, Pine-Richland four-star quarterback Phil Jurkovec, but set its sights on Emory Jones after Jurkovec committed to Notre Dame in May 2016.
Despite his decision and eventually Jones’ pledge, the staff has kept tabs on him and the Rams’ offense in the meantime. That’s how Jurkovec’s teammate, three-star offensive tackle Andrew Kristofic, landed an offer from the Buckeyes on Monday night.
Thankful and excited to receive an offer from THE Ohio State University pic.twitter.com/GKXEDt704g
— Andrew Kristofic (@AKristofic21) November 14, 2017
“It's a huge deal,” Kristofic told Eleven Warriors. “Like coach Meyer told me, I've earned a scholarship to one of the best, if not the best school in the country.”
The 6-foot-5, 255-pound Kristofic is considered the 60th-best offensive tackle and No. 588 prospect overall in the Class of 2019, as he helped Pine-Richland reach the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League Class 6A Championship Game this season. The Rams play Pittsburgh Central Catholic this Saturday at Heinz Field.
Kristofic — who holds offers from nearly a dozen programs such as Michigan State, Northwestern, Pittsburgh, Wisconsin and West Virginia — has been to campus twice before, most recently for the 39-38 win over Penn State.
“It was a great game,” Kristofic said. “Awesome environment and atmosphere.”
He also attended a one-day camp in June, where he met Meyer and offensive line coach Greg Studrawa, whom he calls at least once a week.
“He's a great coach,” Kristofic said. “The biggest thing [I've learned from him] is attitude and the way to go about things at a school like Ohio State.”
Because of that, the Buckeyes are among the early leaders in Kristofic’s recruitment. He hopes to make it back to campus again soon.
A NATIVE OHIOAN
Hoping to add at least one more defensive end alongside five-star Brenton Cox, Ohio State will host Avon, Connecticut, Old Farms three-star Casey Rogers for an official visit during the second weekend in December.
— Casey Rogers (@caseyrogers99) November 15, 2017
“[I’m looking forward to] just being on campus,” Rogers told Eleven Warriors. “I love Ohio, so it’s always great to be there.”
The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Rogers is considered the 57th-best defensive end and No. 1,210 prospect overall in the Class of 2018, though he actually graduated high school earlier this year. But more on that in a second.
Rogers was an extremely talented lacrosse player at Syracuse Westhill and was committed to play for his father — an assistant coach — at Syracuse. But with few offers to play football at the next level, he decided to take a post-graduate year at Avon Old Farms.
“I’ve played both football and lacrosse my whole life,” Rogers said, “but football gives me a feeling no other sport does.”
Rogers only holds an offer from Western Michigan right now, but schools like Alabama, Boston College, Colorado, Connecticut, Penn State, Syracuse and West Virginia have all shown late interest. He’ll take an official visit to Tuscaloosa the weekend after he’s in Columbus.
Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson and director of player personnel Mark Pantoni are leading the staff’s pursuit of Rogers. They first met when he attended Friday Night Lights in late July and have maintained contact since.
“They have been saying how every game I play I am improving and that they are excited to have me on campus,” Rogers said.
Rogers will undoubtedly be compared to his favorite player, current Buckeyes defensive end Sam Hubbard, who also played lacrosse in high school and turned down a scholarship to Notre Dame before choosing to play football at Ohio State. There’s a great chance he follows in Hubbard’s footsteps, too, if the Buckeyes miss out on four-star defensive ends Jayson Oweh and/or Tyreke Smith.
“Ohio State is a special place,” Rogers said. “I was born in Columbus, and Ohio State is definitely a dream school for me.”