The Hurry Up: Ohio State Visits Quarterback Pledge Emory Jones While Contingency Target Jarren Williams Commits to Miami

By Andrew Lind on December 6, 2017 at 6:50 pm
Jarren Williams

Jarren Williams

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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.

THEIR TOP PRIORITY

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day were in Georgia on Tuesday night to meet with four-star quarterback commit Emory Jones, obviously doing everything they can to hold onto his pledge. And though he didn’t publicly reaffirm his commitment, it appears the visit went well.

The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Jones took to social media to share some thoughts on the Buckeyes’ newest commitment, four-star defensive back Tyreke Johnson.

I must caution you to not get too excited and assume these string of tweets indicate Jones will stay committed to Ohio State because he’s been pretty pro-Buckeye on social media despite several trips to Alabama and Auburn this fall. The overwhelming sentiment remains that he’ll end up with the Crimson Tide when things are all said and done — and it appears that’s not something to which he's taken to kindly. 

“I mean, I’m committed to Ohio State,” Jones told SEC Country following Heard County’s loss in the state semifinals on Friday. “I’ve been committed to them for like two years. I think I would have decommitted by now if I wasn’t going there. I still talk to Coach [Urban] Meyer and the staff all of the time. So, I don’t know why people think that.”

Either way, I believe we’ll have a resolution to the situation by the end of the weekend. Both programs want to take a quarterback this cycle, so they’re surely pushing for a final decision to come soon, especially since Jones is set to sign during the Early Signing Period on Dec. 20-22. 

If it comes by Sunday, for example, the Buckeyes will either be set at quarterback or will have a week to set up an official visit with prospects like Texas three-star Matthew Baldwin and secure his pledge. Same goes for the Crimson Tide, who have reportedly also been reaching out to other quarterbacks — which makes it clear they’re not entirely convinced they’ll be able to flip Jones.

Now I don’t want to give you false hope, and I’m going against my own advice and reading too far into things, but this is the first time in the last month where a part of me feels as if Jones will still sign with Ohio State. In fact, I’d change my 247Sports Crystal Ball prediction from Alabama to “Cloudy” if I could. 

The next few days will be key, and the Buckeyes will have to withstand an in-home visit from Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban. And we should find out sooner rather than later if they could.

SAW THIS COMING FROM A MILE AWAY

As has been expected since he took an official visit to Miami early last month and decommitted from Kentucky one day later, Lawrenceville, Georgia, Central Gwinnett four-star quarterback Jarren Williams pledged his services to the Hurricanes on Wednesday afternoon.

The 6-foot-2, 206-pound Williams — who is considered the seventh-best dual-threat quarterback and No. 113 prospect overall in the Class of 2018 — was widely considered Ohio State's top contingency plan in case the aforementioned Jones eventually flips his pledge. The Buckeyes offered him a scholarship in early November, with hopes of getting him on campus for an official visit.

Miami got to him first, though, and he silently committed after watching the Hurricanes rout Notre Dame. Wednesday's announcement was just about making that information available to the public.

Williams attended Ohio State's win over Illinois one week later, but it was rather obvious by then — given the lack of another quarterback in Miami's class — where he was heading.

In the grand scheme of things, Williams' decision doesn't impact Ohio State in the way it once would have been perceived. Jones remains the staff's top priority, and holding onto his commitment would render their pursuit of Williams moot.

IS THE TIDE TURNING?

Stop me if you've heard this before: A top-rated prospect who hasn't been connected to Ohio State at all in the past takes to social media to declare his late interest in the Buckeyes.

Every time it happens, Ohio State fans flood his mentions with .gifs of Meyer pointing at the camera ahead of the 2012 Penn State game or a group of players raising their arms for Quick Cals. All too familiar, huh?

Well, that's exactly what happened on Tuesday afternoon when Baltimore St. Frances Academy five-star defensive end Eyabi Anoma tweeted the following:

The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Anoma is considered the second-best weak-side defensive end and No. 7 prospect overall in the Class of 2018, and holds more than a dozen offers from programs such as Alabama, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Penn State, Texas, UCLA and USC. A glaring absence, of course, is Ohio State.

But why?

Well, there was some early contact between the two sides, but the Buckeyes instead focused on five-star defensive ends Brenton Cox and Micah Parsons and four-stars Andrew Chatfield, Jayson Oweh and Tyreke Smith instead.

Anoma, meanwhile, was most often linked with the home-state Terrapins until the Crimson Tide offered this spring. He's made three trips to Tuscaloosa since, and it feels like only a matter of time before he makes the call.

So if that's the case, then why tweet anything about Ohio State? Well, for starters, defensive line coach Larry Johnson has a long history of recruiting the state of Maryland, and there's been a bit of renewed interest as of late given uncertainty surrounding Cox's pledge — and his decommitment just minutes ago — and the lack of confidence in the staff being able to land both Oweh and Smith next month.

Defensive end is a position of great need this cycle, with Tyquan Lewis and Jalyn Holmes heading to the NFL — and Sam Hubbard likely to follow. There's a good chance a top prospect will see the field early in Columbus; just ask fellow Marylander Chase Young.

Anoma was on campus for an unofficial visit this summer, but without a scholarship offer or official visit this fall, it all feels like too little too late for the Buckeyes to even try.

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