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.
NOT A REACH IN MY BOOK
As I briefly mentioned in last night’s edition of The Hurry Up, Ohio State wide receivers coach Zach Smith and newly appointed offensive coordinator Ryan Day were in California on Monday to visit San Marcos Mission Hills four-star wideout Chris Olave.
Once there, they met with his coach and spent a few hours with his family. The visit comes just one week after Day watched from the stands as Olave scored 18 points to lead the Grizzlies to a win on the hardwood.
At that time, I believed the Buckeyes were looking up at UCLA — and maybe even Utah — in the race to land Olave’s pledge. After all, both are closer to home and offer a way onto the field earlier in his career. But after talking with sources close to the prospect this morning, I have switched my 247Sports Crystal Ball prediction to Ohio State.
The Buckeyes already hold commitments from 23 players, which would suggest they only have room to address needs at offensive tackle and defensive end. But with “Best Available Player” — a term most often used in the late rounds of the NFL Draft — entering the college football lexicon thanks to the Early Signing Period, it appears Olave is considered a take for the staff, even with six returning starters and three signees in Kamryn Babb, L’Christian “Blue” Smith and Cameron Brown. He's simply too talented to pass up.
Already tasked with getting to 85 scholarships by the beginning of fall camp or Autumn Semester, whichever comes first, I trust they’ll make the numbers work no matter how many players they sign next month.
In addition to UCLA and Utah, USC is expected to conduct an in-home visit with Olave this week. A decision could come anytime thereafter.
A TWO-HORSE RACE
Ohio State's biggest remaining need for the current recruiting cycle is without a doubt the offensive tackle position. But no matter what Tampa five-star Nicholas Petit-Frere and Maryland four-star Rasheed Walker choose to do in the coming weeks, there is plenty of talent at the position next year that would somewhat ease the string of missing out on one or both.
The Buckeyes already hold a commitment from West Virginia four-star Doug Nester, who is widely considered the top-rated player at offensive tackle in the Class of 2019. Fellow Mountain State four-star Darnell Wright has a ton of interest in the program, as does Mentor four-star Ryan Jacoby, Rhode Island four-star Xavier Truss and Florida four-star Michael Tarquin, who received a visit on Tuesday morning from Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and offensive line coach Greg Studrawa.
“Things are great with the Buckeyes,” Tarquin told Eleven Warriors.
Ohio State offered the 6-foot-5, 290-pound Tarquin — who is considered the 19th-best offensive tackle and No. 157 prospect overall in the Class of 2019 — a scholarship during an unofficial visit in May. He attended games against Oklahoma and UNLV in September and nearly committed to the staff following the blowout win over the Rebels, then returned again for the rain-soaked win over Illinois.
Tarquin held off on a decision because he wanted to make sure he saw what other schools have to offer, which is why he made trips to Clemson, Miami and South Carolina last season and Oklahoma last weekend. But even so, he's more than impressed with what the Buckeyes have to offer.
“The brotherhood, the great coaching, life after football and how they develop guys [stands out],” he said. “They are an NFL factory.”
Tarquin — who also received a visit on Tuesday from Sooners head coach Lincoln Riley — plans to return to campus in April, likely for the spring game. He'll also take a trip to Norman, with Columbia under consideration, as well. He'll make a decision on his future shortly thereafter.
“[Meyer and Studrawa] haven't pushed me,” Tarquin said. “They have just told me to take my time and how they will take me whenever I am ready to commit.”
GAVE 'EM A BOOST
Ohio State overtook Georgia in the 247Sports Composite Team Rankings on Tuesday thanks to Rivals' final update for the 2018 recruiting cycle, which the site unveiled this morning. The Bulldogs placed a nation-high 17 prospects among the Top 250 nationally — including six of the Top 22 — while the Buckeyes finished with 16 to lead all other programs.
NEW & FINAL #Rivals250!— Rivals.com (@Rivals) January 23, 2018
Who moved UP & DOWN the list most?@AdamGorney highlights the Biggest Movers: https://t.co/GPVjEk6CCD
COMPLETE RANKINGS: https://t.co/sRrEW4AgNz
MORE: #Rivals100: https://t.co/K8Kg3ygVLg
New 5-Stars: https://t.co/bUIPjv4HUa pic.twitter.com/wYvMtPGhaa
The new rankings for the Rivals250 are as follows, with their movement in parentheses:
- No. 101 (-8) – TE Jeremy Ruckert
- No. 160 (-14) – OL Matthew Jones
- No. 174 (-9) – WR Kamryn Babb
- No. 231 (-13) – RB Master Teague III
- No. 244 (NR) – OT Max Wray
Wray, who saw his stock drop in 247Sports' rankings, was among the biggest movers with Rivals' updates thanks to his performance at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio earlier this month. There, he got the start at left tackle over Clemson five-star signee and Ohio native Jackson Carman.
“Wray has always been in or around the back end of the Rivals250 and the Ohio State commit earned his way back into the final rankings with a solid showing at the Army Bowl,” recruiting analyst Woody Wommack said. “The converted tight end is still relatively raw but he's added a lot of weight to his frame over the past two years and should only continue to improve with quality coaching at the next level.”
Last week, the aforementioned Smith and assistant coordinator Kerry Coombs were in South Florida, at which time they handed out several offers to underclassmen at powerhouse program St. Thomas Aquinas. Among them, sophomore outside linebacker Devon Betty.
The 6-foot, 190-pound Betty is not yet ranked by any major recruiting sites, bus was named honorable mention all-county after helping Miramar to the state playoffs this season. He transferred to Aquinas just last week.
In addition to Ohio State, Betty also holds offers from Kentucky and Oklahoma.