The Hurry Up: Running Back Maurice Washington III Re-Emerges As Realistic Target While Ohio State Offers Quarterback Sam Howell

By Andrew Lind on January 15, 2018 at 6:50 pm
Maurice Washington III

Maurice Washington III

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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.

KICKING THE TIRES

After a three-touchdown performance in the Under Armour All-America Game earlier this month that netted him Most Valuable Player honors, Cedar Hill, Texas, Trinity Christian three-star running back Maurice Washington III has seen his stock soar. And despite Ohio State having already signed running backs Brian Snead and Master Teague III and H-Back Jaelen Gill, head coach Urban Meyer is reported set to visit him later this week.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Washington is considered the 18th-best running back and No. 417 prospect overall in the Class of 2018, but would probably be ranked higher if it weren't for an up-and-down prep prep career. He rushed for 1,827 yards and 29 touchdowns as a sophomore at Sunnyvale, California, The King's Academy as a sophomore, but was forced to sit out his entire junior season after his transfer to San Jose Oak Grove was deemed athletically motivated.

Ohio State — and schools all over the country, for that matter — lost track of Washington during that year. He then transferred again last summer to be with family in Texas, where he was eligible to play immediately.

There, Washington rushed for 1,253 yards and 15 touchdowns and hauled in 26 catches for 582 yards and nine scores while playing running back, wide receiver, wildcat quarterback, kick returner and punter while helping the Tigers to the state championship this season. And that — coupled with his 159-yard, three-touchdown performance in Orlando on Jan. 4 — has programs like Nebraska, Ole Miss and Tennessee in hot pursuit.

All that said, Washington has long been fond of Ohio State. The Buckeyes were among the first programs to offer him a scholarship following an unofficial visit for a one-day camp in June 2016 and he told Eleven Warriors shortly thereafter he'd commit to the program if ever given the chance.

It appeared that was the case more than a year later, when — in August 2017 — FloFootball inaccurately reported Washington had pledged his services to the Buckeyes.

“I didn't say that, [the reporter] did,” Washington told Eleven Warriors. “It was just a video of the schools I want to go to. I said the same thing I always say about Ohio State. It's my home, but there's more steps I have to take.”

Most, including myself, had written off Washington's chances of becoming a Buckeye with Gill, Snead and Teague already in the fold. And given the fact that the staff must first address a number of other needs — including offensive tackle and defensive end — it would appear there's simply no room left for him.

But sources close to the program have told Eleven Warriors that's not the case. If Washington's academics are in order, they'll make the numbers work.

Nebraska has been considered the favorite in Washington's recruitment, and he was supposed to take an official visit to Lincoln this weekend. That was placed on hold, though, as the Cornhuskers also hope to clarify things on the academic side before brining him to campus and pushing for his pledge.

One way or the other, this week's meetings with Meyer and Nebraska head coach Scott Frost could go a long way in determining whether he lines up for or against the Buckeyes down the road.

ACCELERATED CALENDAR

With prospects now allowed to take official visits beginning in April of their junior years, Allen, Texas, four-star quarterback Grant Tisdale hopes to use all five and then commit to his school of choice prior to his senior season.

The 6-foot-1, 204-pound Tisdale is considered the fifth-best dual-threat quarterback and No. 216 prospect overall in the Class of 2019, as he threw for more than 2,100 yards and 30 touchdowns and rushed for over 1,000 yards and 15 more scores to lead Allen to its fifth state title in school history this season. He holds more than a dozen offers from programs such as Baylor, Houston, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Oregon, Tennessee and Texas Tech.

Tisdale hoped to attend one of the Buckeyes' Cotton Bowl practices last month, as Allen is roughly 45 minutes north, but was unable to make the short trip. That said, the recruiting dead period meant he wouldn't have been able to speak with the coaches and would have been forced to watch from the stands anyway.

Ohio State offered Tisdale a scholarship last May, and he made his first and only trip north for a one-day camp just one month later. He'll certainly use one of his official visits for a return trip for Columbus, at which time I anticipate the staff will push for his pledge.

ANOTHER OPTION

All that said, Tisdale's commitment is not necessarily a foregone conclusion, as Meyer and Ohio State quarterbacks coach Ryan Day continue to keep tabs on other top signal callers. On Friday afternoon, they offered a scholarship to Monroe, North Carolina, Sun Valley four-star Sam Howell.

The 6-foot-1, 217-pound Howell is considered the fifth-best pro-style quarterback and No. 222 prospect overall in the Class of 2019, as he's thrown for 10,175 yards and 109 touchdowns compared to 33 interceptions in his three-year varsity career with the Spartans. He's also rushed for 2,229 yards and 43 career scores.

Howell, who also camped in Columbus last summer, holds nearly two dozen offers from programs such as Arkansas, Clemson, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, North Carolina, Ole Miss, Pittsburgh, Tennessee and West Virginia.

HOMEGROWN

Ohio State will hold walk-on tryouts this Wednesday at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, giving students their shot at joining the football team next fall. Requirements include being a full-time student, not having classes before noon and holding at least a 3.0 grade-point average.

Others, like Massillon Washington defensive end Ty Keirns, have earned a preferred walk-on offer from the staff for their on-field efforts in high school and are guaranteed a spot on the roster — that is, if they choose to accept over other scholarship or walk-on opportunities.

“I'm just really thankful for the opportunity and think it's a blessing to have this opportunity that most teenagers don't get to say they have,” Keirns told Eleven Warriors.

The 6-foot-5, 240-pound Keirns recorded 40 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss, four pass break ups, 2.5 sacks and one forced fumble to help the Tigers to the state semifinals last season. He holds scholarship offers from programs such as Mount Union, Notre Dame College, Ohio Dominican, Urbana and Walsh, as well as a walk-on opportunity at Toledo.

Keirns is the second senior from Massillon Washington to land a walk-on offer from Ohio State in as many weeks, joining wide receiver Austin Kutscher. Both plan to take a visit to Columbus is the coming weeks before making a final decision on their future.

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