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
Hoping to address a glaring need at the offensive tackle position, Ohio State welcomed Tampa, Florida, Berkeley Prep five-star Nicholas Petit-Frere to campus this weekend for an official visit.
While the 6-foot-6, 272-pound Petit-Frere keeps things rather close to the vest and hasn’t shown signs of leaning toward one school over another, sources within the Ohio State football program have told Eleven Warriors they feel good about their chances following the two-day visit.
While on campus, the staff pitched to him and his mother, Loris, the Buckeyes’ lack of depth at the position, opportunities in life after football and — most importantly — academics. What the university can provide him in the classroom will be key if Petit-Frere is going to leave the state of Florida for college, which is why Notre Dame keeps finding itself in the picture despite the recent departure of its offensive line coach.
That said, Ohio State also finds itself in a somewhat similar situation and focused heavily on a future without defensive coordinator and area recruiter Greg Schiano.
As I’ve detailed at length, Schiano’s sons attended Berkeley Prep while he was the head coach of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and his strong ties at the school are what opened the door for the Buckeyes into Petit-Frere’s recruitment in the first place. His name has been thrown around for various positions at the next level in recent weeks, including a report this morning that has him pegged to be the New England Patriots’ next defensive coordinator.
If that comes to fruition, it would surely kill Ohio State’s chances, right?
Schiano has not been shy about his desire to find a college head coaching job or a prominent coordinator job in the NFL, which means his days in Columbus are limited no matter if he accepts this specific job or not. Whether it happens in the next few days or next offseason, that’s the reality of the situation.
The sign of a strong, healthy program is assistants moving on to bigger and better jobs, and Schiano did his best to explain that to Petit-Frere and his mother this weekend. If the talented prospect ends up with the Buckeyes, Schiano’s endorsement of what the program and university offers on and off the field will have played a major role.
I won’t be surprised if Ohio State is Petit-Frere’s choice on Wednesday morning, but I still believe Florida is the team to beat (by a small margin). The Gators offer a similar path to playing time, strong academics and something the Buckeyes can’t — proximity to home.
We’re about to find out how much that truly matters.
ALWAYS A LONG SHOT
Santa Ana, California, Mater Dei five-star linebacker Solomon Tuliaupupu told Eleven Warriors during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl last month he hoped to take an official visit to Ohio State before making his college decision.
The final weekend for that to happen has now passed, so then it should come as no surprise the 6-foot-2, 220-pounder narrowed down his list of scholarship offers to Notre Dame, UCLA and USC on Sunday night.
The Buckeyes made quite the impression of Tuliaupupu during his first and only trip to Columbus for the Spring Game, but were unlikely to land his commitment without a return trip with his parents.
“I want my dad to see everything,” Tuliaupupu said, explaining how it was his coach who accompanied to campus in April. “I want him to keep me level-headed about everything. Make sure I really take it in and make sure I make the right decision.”
Ohio State signed three linebackers last month in four-stars Dallas Gant, Teradja Mitchell and K’Vaughan Pope, but Tuliaupupu is one of the nation’s premier talents and the Buckeyes would have found room in the class if he wanted to be in Columbus.
But alas, USC has long been considered the favorite in his recruitment thanks to proximity and the program’s long history with players of Polynesian ancestry. I’d be surprised if the Trojans weren’t his pick on Wednesday.
FITS THE BILL
On Friday, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer was in Rhode Island to see Warwick Bishop Hendricken four-star offensive tackle Xavier Truss. And though the Hawks are among the state's best football programs — with 14 championships to their name — it's pretty newsworthy when a coach of Meyer's stature stops by for a visit.
Rhode Island's paper of record, The Providence Journal, sent reporter John Gillooly to the school that afternoon to speak with the Buckeyes' head coach. Given a few minutes, he asked Meyer what he looks for in prospects on the recruiting trail.
"Over the years, I found out that the best players all share a common denominator, a common characteristic, and that's they're the most competitive people that you meet,” Meyer said. “I've seen very athletic, tall guys that can jump high, run fast, yet they're not very competitive and they don't make it. I see the New England Patriots are the perfect example. Maybe they're not the tallest or fastest, but they're the most competitive people on the field. That's what we look for. I want to see them play their best in rivalry games or championship games. When the game's on the line, that's when they play their best."
Sunday's Super Bowl result nonwithstanding, of course.
Ohio State offered a scholarship to Truss last month, shortly after his strong performance at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl National Combine. He also holds offers from programs such as Florida, Florida State, Maryland, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, Syracuse and Virginia Tech.
THE CUPBOARD IS STOCKED
Ohio State continues to strengthen its preferred walk-on program this offseason, having added more than a dozen in-state prospects — and one out-of-state player — to the roster. On Monday evening, it was Mason defensive tackle Garrison Glover became the latest recruit to accept the opportunity and pledged his services to the Buckeyes.
“From an academic standpoint, Ohio State had all to offer. I've always wanted to major in architecture and interior design,” Glover told Eleven Warriors. “On top of that, the Ohio State staff made me feel welcomed. They were prepared and straightforward and were excited to see me. I honestly felt more blended in there than any other school. They said that they see me making an impact on the team and having a bright future on their football team.”
The 6-foot-5, 270-pound Glover recorded 21 tackles this season to help the Comets to the second-round of the state playoffs. He chose the walk-on offer with the Buckeyes over scholarship offers from Ashland, Kentucky Wesleyan and Urbana.
I asked Glover last month what he thought about his play stood out to assistant director of player personnel Eron Hodges, who extended the opportunity.
“I feel like I've showed a great display of agility on film, especially when it comes to my build,” he said. “There's plays of me where I'd come off the ball moving my feet well while getting through the lineman, pushing them out of the way easily and taking up a lot of space.”
Glover, as mentioned above, becomes the 14th senior to accept a walk-on offer from Ohio State this recruiting cycle. He'll join a former teammate in defensive tackle Zaid Hamdan; Dublin Jerome athlete Robert Cope and linebacker Cade Kacherski; Big Walnut linebacker Abe Myers; Piqua linebacker Ben Schmiesing; Berlin Center Western Reserve linebacker Jack Cappabianca; Bedford wide receiver Davion Johnson; Worthington Kilbourne long snapper Roen McCullough; Massillon Washington wide receiver Austin Kutscher; Cincinnati Summit Country Day School wide receiver Xavier Johnson; Lyndhurst Brush cornerback Lloyd McFarquhar; and Arizona wide receiver Luke Donovan on campus this summer.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
Petit-Frere is set to announce his college decision during the 10 o'clock hour of ESPNU's National Signing Day coverage. Shortly thereafter, Meyer will be made available to the media — approximately 10:30 a.m. — to discuss the remainder of Ohio State's recruiting class.
The timing is not a coincidence and would allow Meyer to talk about Petit-Frere if he ultimately chooses the Buckeyes. Just try not to read into that too much at this time though, as I stated above, Florida, Notre Dame and Ohio State all feel confident about their chances to land his pledge.
The nine players who enrolled in classes in January will also meet with the media for the first time since they put pen to paper during the Early Signing Period in December, so stay tuned to Eleven Warriors dot com for wall-to-wall coverage of that, as well as our typical signing day coverage.