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.
SPEEDING UP THE PROCESS
In a move most often seen on the hardwood, USC five-star quarterback commit J.T. Daniels announced on Friday he will graduate early and reclassify to the Class of 2018.
The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Daniels has thrown for 12,014 yards and 152 touchdowns compared to 14 interceptions as a three-year starter at Mater Dei in Santa Ana, California. As a junior this season, he led the Monarchs to the state championship.
Daniles was the top-ranked pro-style quarterback in the Class of 2019 prior to reclassifying, and scouts consider him on the same level as five-star seniors Trevor Lawrence and Justin Fields, who signed with Clemson and Georgia last week, respectively. And given that, there was really no need for him to play his senior season.
It'll be interesting to see if this starts a trend among top high school athletes, especially given the amount of injuries we've seen in recent years with Ohio State commits specifically. Wide receiver signee Kamryn Babb missed his entire senior season with a torn ACL, while freshman running back J.K. Dobbins suffered a season-ending ankle injury on the first play of his senior season one year prior, just to name a few.
Surely there are pros and cons to such a move, but if an elite prospect already has a scholarship offer and is physically ready to compete at the next level, why not?
Daniels’ decision only helps the Trojans in their pursuit of his teammate at Mater Dei, five-star wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, who included USC in his Top 3 alongside Notre Dame and Stanford on Christmas Day.
The 6-foot, 191-pound St. Brown — considered the second-best wide receiver and No. 12 prospect overall prospect in the Class of 2018 — told Eleven Warriors this summer he hoped to take an official visit to Ohio State. He’d grown somewhat close to head coach Urban Meyer and wide receivers coach Zach Smith, and looked forward to seeing what the program had to offer.
“Ever since they offered me, we've been building a good relationship,” St. Brown said at Nike Football's The Opening Finals in July.
But that visit never happened as St. Brown focused instead of Mater Dei’s march to the state title. The Buckeyes, meanwhile, landed commitments from Babb and L’Christian “Blue” Smith and flipped Cameron Brown from Nebraska during the Early Signing Period.
The Trojans are widely considered the favorite for St. Brown, but his brothers — Equanimeous and Osiris — play for the Fighting Irish and Cardinal, respectively. We'll see if either one is able to sway his decision, or if he'll make it independently of their influence.
BUSY MONTH AHEAD
With the team fully engaged in Cotton Bowl practices this week, thre's not a whole lot going on in terms of new offers being handed out. And with the college football recruiting calendar dead period in full swing, the staff can't meet with or watch top prospects compete in winter sports.
So with that said, I want to take this chance to make you aware of some key dates on the calendar over the next month or so.
First, the Under Armour All-American Game takes place on Jan. 4 in Orlando. Four-star defensive end targets Jayson Oweh and Tyreke Smith are set to announce their college decisions between Ohio State and Penn State during the game. Signees Brian Snead, Matthew Jones and Sevyn Banks will also be playing in the game.
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl is just two days later, and I'll be in San Antonio all week bringing you coverage of practice, the awards ceremony and the game itself. The Buckeyes will have nine signees playing in the game, including the aforementioned Babb, Dallas Gant, Jaelen Gill, Tyreke Johnson, Josh Proctor, Jeremy Ruckert, Tomy Togiai, Taron Vincent and Max Wray. Should be a fun week.
The dead period ends on Jan. 11, meanwhile, so the staff will surely hit the road to meet with some of their top targets every weeked through Feb. 4, at which time the last quiet period of the cycle beings.
The traditional National Signing Day, last but not least, is Feb. 7. It'll be less hectic than usual, given most prospects have already signed on the dotted line, but remains very important for Ohio State as it looks to address glaring needs at the offensive tackle and defensive end positions.