The Hurry Up: Ohio State Hosts Several Offensive Linemen for Junior Day While Buckeyes' Defense Helps Michigan on Recruiting Trail

By Andrew Lind on February 11, 2018 at 6:50 pm
Paris Johnson Jr.

Paris Johnson Jr.

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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.

BIG MEN ON CAMPUS

After signing only three offensive lineman in the last recruiting cycle, the position will remain a top priority for Ohio State moving forward.

So with that, the Buckeyes invited several prospects like Cincinnati Anderson four-star offensive guard Zeke Correll, Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller three-star offensive guard Zach Carpenter and Mentor four-star offensive tackle Ryan Jacoby to campus for “Junior Day” for the unit this weekend.

Though he's only a sophomore, Cincinnati St. Xavier four-star offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr. was also in attendance.

“The visit was great,” Johnson told Eleven Warriors. “We talked about Real Life Wednesdays, checked out the weight and dorm rooms and had a cool photo shoot at the end.”

The 6-foot-7, 275-pound Johnson is considered the 16th-best offensive tackle and No. 111 prospect overall in the Class of 2020, as he helped the Bombers to the state quarterfinals last season. He possesses the size, strength and overall athleticism sought by college coaches, and already holds nearly 20 offers from programs like Clemson, Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Penn State and Stanford.

This marked the second trip to campus for Johnson since Ohio State extended an offer in early December., but this visit allowed him and his mother, Monica, to go a little more in-depth with offensive line coach Greg Studrawa and the rest of the staff.

“My mother loved the visit. The photo shoot was one of her favorite moments. She really likes the opportunities of Real Life Wednesdays,” Johnson said. “Having the opportunity to talk to the strength coaches — who I believe are just as important as the head coach — and position coach was great.”

Speaking of the photo shoot, the Buckeyes have started take photos of top recruits in full uniform during visits — as seen above. In years past, players would just put on a jersey with their high school number and take cell phone photos. Starting running back Mike Weber recently took to Instagram and Snapchat to share his jealousy, noting the staff didn't go to those lengths when he was being recruited.

It seems insignificant, sure, but doing so will allow prospects to truly envision themselves in an Ohio State uniform. A while that was a great experience for Johnson, he's not ready to commit to the Buckeyes just yet. He may even hold off on a decision until National Signing Day

“As of right now, I am still weighing all of my opportunities,” Johnson said, “but Ohio State is on my top list.”

THAT'S CONVENIENT

Mentor four-star defensive end Noah Potter has been on campus more times than he can count in the last year, as he regularly makes the trip to Columbus to see his older brother, Micah, play on the Ohio State basketball team.

Before Saturday night's game against Iowa, though, he stopped by the Woody Hayes Athletic Center just to say hello to the Buckeyes' coaching staff. It turned into a long conversation with head coach Urban Meyer.

"He wants me to spend a whole day with Nick [Bosa] and Chase [Young] to see how they work and how they eat and stuff," Potter told Eleven Warriors.

The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Potter is considered the 20th-best strong-side defensive end and No. 232 prospect overall in the Class of 2019, as recorded 68 tackles, 32 quarterback hurries, 10 sacks, eight tackles for a loss, five pass deflections and one forced fumble to lead the Cardinals to the state championship game last season. He holds more than a dozen offers from programs such as Cincinnati, Duke, Kentucky, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Oregon and Penn State, and has quickly become one of the staff's top targets since Ohio State extended an offer in late October.

Meyer, you may recall, once told Potter he was going to put a dead horse in his driveway and put screws in his tires so he couldn't leave the state. There's an open invitation to visit the facilities any time he'd like and attend every home game for the rest of his high school career, as well.

That said, Potter hopes to make a decision on his future this summer, which means he may very well be a Buckeye by the time the season opener against Oregon State arrives.

MOVING ON UP

Ohio State also welcomed Strongsville three-star offensive tackle John “J.D.” Duplain to campus on Saturday, which marked his first time in Columbus in a recruiting capacity. A life-long fan of the Buckeyes, he attended a game several years ago.

“It was amazing,” Duplain told Eleven Warriors. “[It was] really cool to meet the coaches and get to learn about the culture there, too.”

The 6-foot-5, 290-pound Duplain is considered the 87th-best offensive tackle and No. 998 prospect in the Class of 2019, but — take my word for it — he's going to quickly climb in the rankings over the next year. He's only played the position for one season after transitioning from defensive end following a coaching changes, yet already holds offers from Bowling Green, Kent State, Temple and Toledo.

“It seemed like they really like my highlights and how I play. They like the toughness I play with and that I keep my feet moving through contact,” Duplain said. “[I'm focused on] just getting the experience and learning the little technique things to make me better.”

Duplain, who is also a star pitcher for the Lake Erie Warhawks travel baseball team and has an 86 mile per hour fastball, plans to return for a spring practice or the Spring Game in April. He hopes to continue to build a strong relationship with Studrawa and the rest of the staff in the meantime.

“It would mean a lot to me [if they offered],” Duplain said. “I really liked what they were saying about their program, especially the academics and the opportunities they provide the athletes to succeed.”

NEW NAME AT A FAMILIAR SCHOOL

Things may not have worked out between Ohio State and Dayton Dunbar three-star running back Tavion Thomas last cycle, but that certainly won't impact the Buckeyes' pursuit of his former teammate, three-star offensive tackle Jonathan Allen, whom the staff also invited to campus this weekend.

“It went great, actually,” Allen told Eleven Warriors. “I was happy to talk to the coaches and get an insight on how they are about grades first, then sports. That really caught my attention. And it was great to put on Ohio State clothing and take pictures.”

The 6-foot-6 and 315-pound Allen is considered the 49th-best offensive tackle and No. 434 prospect overall in the Class of 2019, but will surely be among the most sought-after linemen in the Midwest this cycle. He has, after all, only played one season of organized football, yet was named first-team all-district as a junior and already holds offers from Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Ohio, Toledo, Michigan State and Wisconsin.

As evidenced by the amount of talent on campus this weekend, this year's class is very deep. But with another strong year for the Wolverines, Allen could certainly position himself to land an offer from the Buckeyes late in the process.

WAIT... WHAT?

According to Sports Illustrated college football writer Bruce Feldman, Ohio State is currently helping Michigan in its pursuit of Rice offensive tackle graduate transfer Calvin Anderson.

The 6-foot-5, 300-pound Anderson — a three-year starter for the Owls — announced his intentions to leave the program in early January, and has since picked up offers from Auburn, Michigan, Oklahoma, Texas and TCU. He's taking visits right now with hopes of deciding on a new school by late March.

On thing helping the Wolverines, though, is the fact that he'd face the Buckeyes' vaunted defensive line in the season-ending rivalry game.

“In the Big Ten, they have bigger defensive linemen, and for me to be able to display that run-blocking ability is gonna be a big benefit of going to Michigan,” Anderson told Feldman. “In the Big 12, you’d have really good edge rushers that I’d play against. I’m comparing styles of offenses.”

If Michigan lands Anderson, it'll see an upgrade at two of the most important positions on the offensive side of the ball — so long as Ole Miss quarterback transfer Shea Patterson's appeal to play immediately is approved. Time will tell if a decision to play against what is arguably the nation's best defensive line pays off for him, though.

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