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.
THE FINAL PITCH
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, offensive line coach Greg Studrawa and defensive line coach and area recruiter Larry Johnson are in Maryland this evening to conduct an in-home visit with Waldorf North Point four-star offensive tackle Rasheed Walker.
The news was first reported by Rivals' Marc Givler and since confirmed by Eleven Warriors.
This marks the Buckeyes' final chance to impress the 6-foot-6, 300-pound Walker, who took his official visit to Columbus just two weekends ago, before he makes his college decision among Ohio State, Penn State and Virginia Tech on Feb. 7, National Signing Day. Though the Nittany Lions were considered the favorite for much of his recruitment, it was then the Buckeyes made their move to potentially address its biggest remaining need in the Class of 2018.
Meyer and his staff pitched to Walker and his parents the opportunity for early playing time, the ability to get developed into an NFL prospect and — most importantly — life after football, a staple of the Ohio State football program that oftentimes seems to be the difference for the Buckeyes in close recruiting battles.
“I think this trip gave him and his parents more time for one-on-one interaction with the coaches, the chemistry and [talk about] what's after football. Those are important to him,” North Point head coach Thomas Petre told Eleven Warriors shortly after the visit. “As he goes through and plays, what's after that? They were kind of able show him those things and provide him with more concrete examples of internships that have been aligned or how guys are preparing now for the next level to certain steps they take to help these guys prepare for what they're doing in life after football or if football continues.”
Virginia Tech head coach Justin Fuente conducted his in-home visit with Walker last night, but few believe the Hokies have a chance in his recruitment. Instead, it'll be tonight's meeting with Meyer and tomorrow's in-school and in-home visit with Penn State's James Franklin that will either solidify things for the Buckeyes or swing them back in favor of the Nittany Lions.
Sources close to both programs have indicated Meyer and Franklin were jockeying all week to get the last visit heading into the recruiting dead period, which begins on Feb. 5 and remains through signing day. It certainly favors Penn State to get the last face-to-face meeting, but Walker's recruitment very much remains a toss up.
I still believe Ohio State will be Walker's choice next week, but expect the staff to place even more importance on Tampa five-star offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere's official visit this weekend if Meyer, Studrawa and Johnson get the sense he's trending away this evening.
CAN'T BLAME THEM FOR THROWING THEIR HAT IN THE RING
Earlier this month, Ohio State offered a scholarship to Washington D.C. St. John's College three-star cornerback D.J. Brown. He was committed to Virginia at the time, but was admittedly looking around and the Buckeyes positioned themselves for a flip late in the process.
Though turnover at the position is high as the program continues to send defensive backs to the National Football League at an unprecedented clip, former assistant coordinator Kerry Coombs and recently hired defensive assistant Alex Grinch were never quite sold on what Brown brought to the table and never pushed for him to visit campus — though the original idea at the time of the offer was for him to make his first trip to Columbus this coming weekend.
That said, Brown announced on Tuesday afternoon that he was reopening his recruitment and listed a Top 3 of California, Northwestern and Notre Dame.
If Ohio State felt differently about Brown or truly wanted to add to an already stellar haul of five-star Tyreke Johnson and four-star Sevyn Banks, I have no doubt the Buckeyes would be on the list. Instead, it appears the Fighting Irish are on the cusp on landing his pledge next Wednesday.
CADE AND KANE?
Though Meyer is focused on putting the finishing touches on the current recruiting haul, his assistants have been traveling the country looking for the next crop of Buckeyes. On Tuesday night, linebackers coach Bill Davis extended an offer to Nashville Christ Presbyterian Academy three-star linebacker Kane Patterson.
“It really means a lot to me,” Patterson told Eleven Warriors. “It's really exciting for a school like Ohio State to come to the table.”
The 6-foot-1, 212-pound Patterson is considered the 33rd-best outside linebacker and No. 508 prospect overall in the Class of 2019, as he's recorded 208 tackles, 28 tackles for a loss,, 11.5 sacks, three fumble recoveries and one interception in his three-year varsity career with the Lions. He holds more than a dozen offers from programs such as Cincinnati, Duke, Georgia Tech, LSU, North Carolina, Northwestern, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt and Wake Forest.
Kane attended the Buckeyes' loss to Oklahoma last September, but was blown away by the atmosphere and overall experience despite the circumstances. He's maintained contact in the months since with Davis, running backs coach and area recruiter Tony Alford and director of player personnel Mark Pantoni, and plans to return for another visit this spring.
“I'll be back very soon,” Kane said.
IN SEARCH OF THAT CAROLINA BBQ
In yesterday's edition of The Hurry Up, I mentioned how Ohio State offered a scholarship to Charlotte Providence Day School linebacker Osita Ekwonu. Two of his teammates, four-star defensive end Jacolbe Cowan and four-star wide receiver Porter Rooks, also received offers.
The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Cowan is considered the second-best strong-side defensive end and No. 7 prospect overall in the Class of 2020, as he racked up 37 tackles, 11 sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery for the Chargers last season. He holds nearly two dozen offers from programs such as Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Notre Dame, Penn State, South Carolina and Tennessee.
The 6-foot-1, 180-pound Rooks, meanwhile, is considered the third-best wide receiver and No. 10 prospect overall in the Class of 2020, as he hauled in 66 catches for 810 yards and 11 touchdowns during his sophomore campaign. He's also swimming in offers, with an opportunity to play at Auburn being the only difference between the two teammates.