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.
TWO RED FLAGS
When Ohio State offered a scholarship earlier this month to Georgia four-star quarterback Jarren Williams, most pegged him to be the heir apparent to Emory Jones if he were to eventually flip to Alabama. But a lot has changed for the former Kentucky commit in the meantime, and Miami has become the favorite to land his pledge following an official visit two weekends ago.
Nevertheless, the Buckeyes welcomed the 6-foot-2, 206-pound Williams to campus for an official visit for Saturday's game against Illinois. And despite the staff showing him how he'd fit into the offense and explaining in detail the situation with Jones, sources close to the program have told Eleven Warriors they believe it's still an uphill battle in hurricane-force wind.
Yes, Ohio State will have an open quarterback competition this spring with J.T. Barrett's departure. But sitting behind some combination of Dwayne Haskins, Joe Burrow and/or Tate Martell — coupled with the uncertainty surrounding Jones — doesn't make for the most intriguing pitch when Williams will likely see the field much quicker at Miami. And unless Jones flips sooner rather than later, which is still far from a certainty, the staff can't and won't go all-out for Williams like they would if they were currently without a quarterback.
Williams will be at Auburn for the Iron Bowl this coming weekend, after which I anticipate he'll set an announcement date or make his decision known — and all signs point to the Hurricanes being the choice.
FLIPPING PANCAKES WITH A SPATULA
Though Ohio State already holds a commitment from four-star offensive tackle Max Wray, the Buckeyes are actively looking to add at least two more players at the position in the current recruiting cycle.
Fairfield five-star Jackson Carman is undoubtedly the staff's top target, with names like Maryland four-star Rasheed Walker and Florida four-stars William Barnes and Nicholas Petit-Freere also being mentioned from time to time. Another to pay attention to, however, is Chattanooga three-star Walker Culver, who also took an official visit to Columbus and was offered by Ohio State this weekend.
Awesome weekend in Columbus! Thank you @OSUCoachMeyer and the rest of the @OhioStateFB staff for an incredible visit. Honored to say I received an offer from Ohio State Today #GoBucks pic.twitter.com/eM5Eh9O64p
— Walker Culver (@WalkerCulver58) November 20, 2017
The 6-foot-6, 273-pound Culver is considered the 86th-best offensive tackle and No. 927 prospect overall in the Class of 2018, but his versatility and ability to play multiple positions along the offensive line makes him an intriguing option for the Buckeyes moving forward.
Culver committed to Colorado one year ago tomorrow, but programs such as Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Louisville, Mississippi State Missouri, North Carolina and Virginia Tech have tossed their hat in the ring in the meantime, and it's given him a bit to think about. It seems as if the Hokies have gained the most ground thanks to an unofficial visit last month.
All that being said, there's hope in both Blacksburg and Columbus that Culver will hold off on signing his National Letter of Intent until February. That would give Ohio State and Virginia Tech a better chance of flipping him from his pledge if they both miss out on some of their top targets.
Colorado, meanwhile, hopes an official visit in December will prompt him to put pen to paper during the Early Signing Period.
MIGHT I SUGGEST THE ARMY BOWL?
Late last week, I submitted a 247Sports Crystal Ball prediction in favor of Ohio State for Jacksonville Trinity Christian four-star safety Tyreke Johnson, but I wanted to wait to discuss my reasoning until he concluded his official visit to Clemson this weekend.
The 6-foot-1, 191-pound Johnson — considered the fourth-best safety and No. 38 prospect overall in the Class of 2018 — is a former teammate of and extremely close to Buckeyes cornerback Shaun Wade. The two traveled to Columbus together last fall for the Buckeyes' 62-3 win over Nebraska, at which time he was absolutely blown away by the atmosphere during his first visit to campus.
Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia and UCLA have each been considered the favorite — or at least a significant player — in Johnson's recruitment at one time or another as he took a number of unofficial visits in the last year. However, sources close to him told Eleven Warriors last week his official visit for last month's 39-38 win over Penn State changed the tide back in favor of Ohio State.
The only obstacle, it seemed, was the aforementioned official visit to Death Valley this past weekend. The Tigers pulled out all the stops, and had everyone from quarterback commit Trevor Lawrence and defensive end pledge Xavier Thomas to top cornerback targer Brendan “Bookie” Radley-Hiles on campus to recruit Johnson.
It doesn't appear to have worked the way head coach Dabo Swinney and his staff envisioned, though.
“He didn't like it,” that same source said.
That's certainly great news for Ohio State, who already holds commitments from four-star safeties Josh Proctor and Jaiden Woodbey and three-star Marcus Hooker, but plans to move Johnson to cornerback at the next level — where he'd be once again lined up opposite of Wade, just like he was when the two led the Conquerors to three-straight state titles together.
It's unclear at this time when Johnson plans to make a decision, though he does plan to enroll at his college of choice in January. Of course, there's plenty of time for him to change his mind again, but with Ohio State unlikely to land Texas five-star Anthony Cook, the staff is going all out for Johnson — and it's clearly paying off.