The Hurry Up: Five-Star Receiver Jordan Whittington Includes Ohio State Among Top Schools While Tight End Commit Jeremy Ruckert Earns Gatorade Player of the Year Honors

By Andrew Lind on December 11, 2017 at 6:50 pm
Jeremy Ruckert

Jeremy Ruckert

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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.

NEVER REALLY OUT OF IT

This summer, Cuero, Texas five-star wide receiver Jordan Whittington listed a Top 4 of Florida, Texas, Texas A&M and UCLA. But with three of those programs recently going through coaching changes, Ohio State and Oklahoma now find themselves back in the running, as he announced a revised list of top schools on Sunday afternoon.

“[Wide receivers coach Zach Smith] has stayed consistent,” Whittington told Eleven Warriors. “I like him a lot.”

The 6-foot-1, 198-pound Whittington is considered the seventh-best wideout and No. 26 prospect overall in the Class of 2019, as he’s hauled in 110 receptions for 2,113 yards and 28 touchdowns in his two-year varsity career with the Gobblers — which has to be my favorite mascot of all time. He’s also being recruited by some schools as a cornerback, where’s he’s recorded 41 tackles, nine interceptions and two pass break ups. 

Whittington has never been to Columbus, but has eyed a trip since the Buckeyes offered him a scholarship in September 2016. 

“[The offer] means a lot, especially coming from The Ohio State,” he said at the time. “And being this young, it's truly a blessing to get offered by one of my favorite schools this early.”

Distance has clearly played a factor in Whittington’s recruitment so far, and it’s certainly not easy to make such a trip on your own dime as an underclassmen. But with recent legislation allowing for official visits to take place as soon as April of a prospect’s junior year, and the Buckeyes will have to make that happen next spring if they stand a chance to land his pledge. 

All that said, the Longhorns have been the overwhelming favorite in Whittington’s recruitment for a while. He was originally set to commit on Oct. 1, but pushed it back and hasn’t picked another decision date. 

QUENCHING YOUR THIRST FOR TIGHT END TOUCHDOWNS

Ohio State five-star tight end commit Jeremy Ruckert was named the 2018 New York player of the year by Gatorade on Monday morning.

The 6-foot-6, 240-pound Ruckert, who committed to the Buckeyes in July, finished his senior season with 1,094 receiving yards and 13 touchdowns and led Lindenhurst to the Long Island Championship. He also added 61 tackles, 13 sacks and two interceptions on defense for the Bulldogs.

The award, which recognizes athletic excellence, standards in academic achievement and exemplary character demonstrated on and off the field, is given out to one player per sport in every state.

Four-star defensive tackle target Tommy Togiai was named the winner in Idaho, as he recorded 93 tackles, 11 sacks, two forced fumbles and one interception to lead Pocatello Highland to the state title this season. The 6-foot-3, 290-pounder is set to choose between Ohio State and Washington during the Early Signing Period next week.

Trotwood-Madison two-star all-purpose back Raveion Hargrove, meanwhile, was named Ohio's Gatorade Player of the Year. He racked up 2,127 yards and 29 touchdowns on the ground to help the Rams win the state championship earlier this month. He was previously committed to Bowling Green, but reopened his recruitment in October.

Ohio State quarterback Tate Martell (Nevada) and cornerback Shaun Wade (Florida) won the award last year. As a way to celebrate their accomplishments, Gatorade officially sponsored and donated several of its products to the Bishop Gorman and Trinity Christian football programs this season.

TOGETHER AGAIN

Ohio State has made a significant push in Maryland in recent years, notably signing Potomac four-star quarterback Dwayne Haskins in 2016 and Hyattsville DeMatha five-star defensive end Chase Young in 2017.

While it's unlikely the Buckeyes will extend that streak to three years — as Waldorf four-star offensive tackle Rasheed Walker is trending toward Penn State — the staff hopes to remain a significant presence in the area for years to come.

Defensive line coach Larry Johnson was in the state known for crabcakes and football on Monday afternoon, at which time he offered a scholarship to Young's former teammate at DeMatha, four-star wide receiver DeMarcco Hellams.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Hellams is considered the 18th-best receiver and No. 110 prospect overall in the Class of 2019, as he recorded 15 receptions for 266 yards and one touchdown for the Stags this season. He holds nearly two dozen offers from programs such as Clemson, Maryland, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina, Notre Dame, Penn State, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin.

Several schools are recruiting Hellams for the defensive side of the ball, as he has the idea size for an elite safety and the frame to be molded into an outside linebacker. It remains to be seen how the Buckeyes view him, but having Young in their back pocket surely gives them a leg up moving forward.

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