The Hurry Up: Ohio State Offers Wisconsin Quarterback Commit Graham Mertz While Long Snapper Roen McCullough Accepts Walk-On Offer

By Andrew Lind on January 18, 2018 at 6:50 pm
Liam and Roen McCullough

Liam and Roen McCullough

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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.

MUCH STILL TO BE DETERMINED

As expected, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson were in Texas on Wednesday morning to meet with Cedar Hill Trinity Christian four-star running back Maurice Washington III.

Though the Buckeyes are certainly set at the position for years to come with Jaelen Gill, Brian Snead and Master Teague III already in the fold, the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Washington’s three-touchdown performance at the Under Armour All-America Game earlier this month has the staff at least considering bringing on another running back this cycle. There are concerns about his academics, though, and this visit was just as much about meeting with advisors and coaches as it was about spending time with Washington himself. 

It would appear there are signs of progress on that front, as a source close to Washington told Eleven Warriors he has tentatively scheduled an official visit to Ohio State for next weekend, Jan. 26-28. That visit will be sandwiched between a trip to Arizona State this weekend and Nebraska on Feb. 2-4, which is the last opportunity for prospects to be on a college campus ahead of National Signing Day.

That said, my understanding is this: The Buckeyes really like Washington, but his grades are a huge concern. If they’re in order, the staff will likely push for his pledge that weekend. If the visit comes and goes, though, then it’s clear that’s not the case and he likely ends up with the Cornhuskers. 

Washington has long wanted to play at Ohio State. We’ll soon find out if he put in the work off the field in order to make that happen.

GREAT TIMING

Hoping to take at least one quarterback every recruiting cycle, Ohio State continues to search the country to find its next signal caller. On Wednesday, the staff offered a scholarship to Mission, Kansas, Blue Valley North four-star quarterback Graham Mertz

The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Mertz is considered the seventh-best pro-style quarterback and No. 304 prospect overall in the Class of 2019, as he threw for 3,684 yards and 45 touchdowns to lead the Mustangs to the state title last season. He committed to Wisconsin in October over offers from Kansas, Minnesota and Ole Miss.

The timing of the offer is interesting, as a Badgers fan on Twitter recently posed the question of whether or not Mertz would be the highest-rated quarterback to ever come to Madison

The answer is yes, as Russell Wilson arrived on campus as graduate transfer and wasn’t a member of the team’s recruiting class, while Joel Stave — the program’s career wins leader — was a walk-on. But offers in the last month from Michigan and Ohio State might throw a wrench into those plans.

LONG SNAPPER U

Worthington Kilbourne long snapper Roen McCullough announced on Thursday morning he has committed to Ohio State as a preferred walk-on.

 “Ever since I️ was little, it’s been a dream of mine to be able to play football for such a prestigious school,” McCullough told Eleven Warriors. “It was the only school that felt like a true home to me since I️ grew up eating, sleeping and breathing Buckeye Football. I’ve already made many relationships with the coaches and athletes, strengthening the feeling of being a part of the Buckeye family.”

The 6-foot-2, 235-pound McCullough is the younger brother of current Ohio State long snapper Liam. He is considered a five-star prospect and the fourth-best long snapper in the country by Rubio Long Snapping, which offered the following evaluation:

I have know Roen a long time and he just keeps getting better. Kid is a machine and could be snapping a ball for a long, long time. He has easy D1 size right now and can snap a ball as fast as anyone in his class. His ball just appears in the punter's hands and can crush them. He’s an athletic long snapper that is very strong. Continuing to focus on overall snapping motion and making sure he is always follow through will be huge. Great personality that will dominate a locker room and on the field. Very impressive overall human being. 

So, that being said, Roen appears to be pretty much the spitting image of his older brother on and off the field. Hopefully he’ll continue Liam’s camp check-in tradition, too. 

“I know that I️ have big shoes to fill with the level of skill Liam has on the field and in the classroom, but I️ wouldn’t say I️ feel any pressure,” McCullough said. “[Our] relationship has always been competitive between football and academics, but with Liam’s experience of already having been at Ohio State for a few years ahead of me, I️ look at this situation as an opportunity to learn and get better as a student, athlete, and person in general. I️ want to make my own name for myself.”

With that, the plan is for McCullough to take his brother's scholarship when the fourth-year junior departs Columbus.

In other news, Ohio State and current Los Angeles Rams long snapper Jake McQuaide was invited to the Pro Bowl on Wednesday afternoon. I could easily see both McCulloughs having a similar career. 

ARBITRARY MOVEMENT 

With the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and the Under Armour All-America Game in the rearview mirror, 247Sports unveiled its final rankings for the 2018 recruiting class on Thursday afternoon — and let’s just say it didn’t do Ohio State any favors it hopes to close the gap on Georgia’s top-ranked haul. 

The Buckeyes placed 17 players among the top 247 spots, but 13 of them fell in the rankings. A few others, meanwhile, rightfully received a considerable boost following their performance in one of the aforementioned all-American games. 

The new rankings are as follows, with their movement in parentheses:

  • No. 18 (-4) - TE Jeremy Ruckert 
  • No. 32 (-21) - DT Taron Vincent
  • No. 36 (-14) - WR Kamryn Babb
  • No. 50 (-14) - S Josh Proctor
  • No. 51 (+83) - CB Tyreke Johnson
  • No. 58 (-4) - DE Tyreke Smith
  • No. 59 (-4) - LB Dallas Gant
  • No. 63 (-14) - RB Jaelen Gill
  • No. 69 (-7) - OL Matthew Jones
  • No. 79 (-11) - OT Max Wray
  • No. 81 (+33) - RB Brian Snead
  • No. 92 (+119) - DT Tommy Togiai
  • No. 134 (-16) - LB Teradja Mitchell 
  • No. 139 (-11) - RB Master Teague III
  • No. 204 (-4) - WR L’Christian “Blue” Smith
  • No. 224 (+90) - WR Cameron Brown
  • No. 226 (-8) - LB K’Vaughan Pope

Other notable prospects who saw their stock soar or fall with Thursday’s update include: 

  • No. 9 (-5) - OT Nicholas Petit-Frere
  • No. 47 (+80) - OT Rasheed Walker
  • No. 49 (-29) - OT Jackson Carman
  • No. 55 (-10) - S Jaiden Woodbey
  • No. 60 (-4) - DE Brenton Cox
  • No. 127 (-6) - DE Javontae Jean-Baptiste
  • No. 154 (-6) - DE Tyler Friday
  • No. 173 (-48) - QB Emory Jones

It’s important to keep in mind these are simply 247Sports’ final rankings and not the composite scores. Those will be updated appropriately as ESPN, Rivals and Scout release their final rankings in the coming weeks.

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