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.
KEEPING WITH THE STATUS QUO
One of college football’s worst-kept secrets became official this morning when Ohio State introduced Temple defensive coordinator Taver Johnson as its new cornerbacks coach.
Johnson replaces former assistant coordinator Kerry Coombs — who left the program last month to become the secondary coach of the NFL’s Tennessee Titans — and becomes the second defensive coordinator to leave his post to join the Buckeyes this offseason. Despite his familiarity with the program as an assistant under Jim Tressel, he has some pretty big shoes to fill, especially when it comes to recruiting.
I said as much when Coombs’ departure was first reported, no matter who Ohio State hired.
Off the field, Coombs has been arguably Ohio State’s most important assistant. His excitable demeanor resonates with top recruits, and he’s made last relationships in his designated recruiting areas of Atlanta, Cincinnati and Detroit — where he’s helped steal a number of top recruits away from Michigan and Michigan State — because of that.
But once again, head coach Urban Meyer expects his assistants to make a significant impact on the recruiting trail.
“You can't coach here at Ohio State unless you're an elite recruiter. Just can't. That's nonexistence,” he said during his National Signing Day press conference last week. “Recruiting is the name of the game and our coaches all did a very good job and very proud of them.
During his previous tenure, Johnson — a Cincinnati native who played and coached at Wittenberg University in Springfield — focused most of his recruiting efforts in Northeast Ohio. He was instrumental in the Buckeyes landing players like Akron cornerback Doran Grant and Bedford safety Tyvis Powell.
His connections throughout the state have only grown stronger, as Ohio has been one of his recruiting territories during stops at Arkansas, Purdue and Temple. In fact, Johnson was just in the Buckeye State recruiting on behalf of the Owls late last month, and said, “There's no place like home.”
Personally, I don't think Ohio State could have done any better with this hire.
Johnson is a stellar coach who is well respected throughout the state and did very well with far less talent than the Buckeyes currently have. He doesn't have the same demeanor as Coombs — I mean, who else do you know that has Red Bull pumping through their veins — but I believe he'll be able to sustain the program's current level of success on and off the field.
IN A GREAT SPOT
Though Ohio State arguably signed the best offensive tackle in the country last week in Tampa five-star Nicholas Petit-Frere, it's clear the position will remain a priority for the foreseeable future.
The Buckeyes hosted several offensive lineman over the weekend for what essentially amounted to a Junior Day, including Mentor four-star tackle Ryan Jacoby.
“It was an incredible trip. I loved it,” Jacoby told Eleven Warriors. “We saw the dorms and players, and it was great to see and talk with coach [Urban] Meyer and [Greg] Stud[rawa]. It was great.”
This marked the first time on campus for the 6-foot-5, 270-pound Jacoby — who considered the 29th-best offensive tackle and No. 237 prospect overall in the Class of 2019 — since Ohio State offered him a scholarship last month. He attended several games over the last two seasons, however, so he's quite familiar with the staff, facilities and what the program has to offer.
“Most of my questions are answered,” Jacoby said, noting he got a lot more one-on-one time with the the staff than what occurs during game-day visits. “Now it's just builiding great relationships with the coaches.”
The trip to Columbus was special for Jacoby's parents, too, as it was their first time meeting coaches from any program recruiting their son.
“They really liked everything there and loved the coaches,” Jacoby said.
Jacoby, who was named first-team all-Ohio after leading the Cardinals to the Division I state championship game last season, also holds offers from Michigan, Michigan State, Oregon, Penn State, Purdue and West Virginia. But much like his teammate Noah Potter, there's no doubt who is leading his recruitment at this point in time.
WORKING HIS WAY INTO THE PICTURE
Cincinnati Archbishop Moeller three-star offensive guard Zach Carpenter was also among the handful of linemen in attendance on Saturday, which marked his first time on campus since last winter.
“I had a good visit and got to learn more about coach Stud,” Carpenter said.
The 6-foot-5, 310-pound Carpenter is considered the 16th-best offensive guard and No. 441 prospect overall in the Class of 2019, as he was named first-team all-state and the Anthony Muñoz Foundation Division I Offensive Lineman of the Year after he helped the Fighting Crusaders to the state playoffs last season. He holds more than a dozen offers from programs such as Cincinnati, Kentucky, Minnesota, Northwestern, Pittsburgh, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Virginia and West Virginia.
Like most in-state kids who grew up rooting for Ohio State, Carpenter — who was named he first junior captain in Moeller's extremely rich football history — would love nothing more than to land an offer from the Buckeyes. It appears he's well on his way, too.
“[Studrawa] texted me after I left and said he wants me to come to a spring practice,” Carpenter said.
IN NEED OF A GRANT
After all of the drama that unfolded with former quarterback commit Emory Jones, Ohio State is currently evaluating a number of different players and taking its time in finding its next signal caller.
Though Allen four-star quarterback Grant Tisdale is widely believed to be the staff's top target, but that didn't stop them from offering a scholarship to another Texas gunslinger on Tuesday afternoon in Houston St. Pius X four-star quarterback Grant Gunnell
The 6-foot-6, 212-pound Gunnell is considered the second-best pro-style quarterback and No. 50 prospect overall in the Class of 2019, as he threw for 4,936 yards and 61 touchdowns and rushed for 390 yards and eight more scores to lead the Panthers to the state championship last season — where they lost by only one point. He committed to Texas A&M last June over offers from Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Tennessee and UCLA, among others.
Gunnell is the teammate of four-star wide receiver Jalen “Boobie” Curry, whom the Buckeyes offered earlier this month. And though he seems to be a solid pledge to the Aggies, I wouldn't be surprised if they both took an official visit together this spring or fall.