The Hurry Up: Grant Gunnell Decommits From Texas A&M After Landing Offer From Ohio State While Commit Doug Nester Discusses Leadership Role

By Andrew Lind on February 14, 2018 at 6:50 pm
Doug Nester

Doug Nester

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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.

JUST A COINCIDENCE?

Just hours after he landed an offer from Ohio State, Houston St. Pius X four-star quarterback Grant Gunnell announced his decommitment from Texas A&M on Tuesday evening.

The 6-foot-6, 212-pound Gunnell — who is considered the second-best pro-style quarterback and No. 50 prospect overall in the Class of 2019 — committed to the Aggies last June over offers from Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Tennessee and UCLA. Rumors of a potential flip have surrounded his recruitment since Texas A&M fired Kevin Sumlin and Arkansas subsequently extended an offer, though.

Gunnell's maternal grandfather, Jim Price, was a member of the Razorbacks' 1964 national championship squad, and both of his parents, Chris and Julie, graduated from the university. His relationship with new head coach Chad Morris dates back to his previous job at SMU.

New Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher has offered several other quarterbacks in the class since taking over in College Station, which is another reason why Gunnell — who 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 — is back on the market.

“After I talked to [Fisher], he went and offered a couple dual-threat [quarterbacks],” Gunnell told SEC Country last month. “It’s kind of messing with my head. I’m not really sure what to think. If he wanted to offer a pro-style [quarterback], that’s different. It’s competition. If he wants a dual-threat, then I’m not the guy to play for you.”

Ohio State, meanwhile, has seemingly reached a crossroads in its search for its quarterback of the future. The Buckeyes have typically targeted dual-threat quarterbacks to run the offense in years past , but there appears to be a shift under offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day toward pocket passers with functional mobility rather than someone who the staff would ask to run the ball a dozen times a game.

That's why Ohio State hasn't completely zeroed in on a dual-threat prospect like Texas four-star Grant Tisdale, who is built in the same mold as former quarterback J.T. Barrett, and has offered a number of pro-style quarterbacks in recent weeks like Gunnell, Iowa four-star Max Duggan, Kansas four-star Graham Mertz and North Carolina four-star Sam Howell.

Naturally, some people have already pointed out the similarities between Gunnell and current Buckeyes quarterback Tate Martell, who also committed to Texas A&M when Ohio State got involved in his recruitment. It's important to remember, though, Martell's grandfather graduated from the university, and those family ties played a rather significant role in him landing in Columbus.

Gunnell has never been to campus, meanwhile. And while that may very well change when juniors can start taking official visits in April, it's simply too early to say whether or not the Buckeyes have a shot in his recruitment.

ANCHORING THE #DYN19STY

I've talked a lot this week about Ohio State's unofficial offensive line Junior Day, and rightfully so, as the position is going to be a very important piece of the Buckeyes' next recruiting class.

The staff is already off to a very strong start at offensive tackle, though, with West Virginia four-star Doug Nester already in the fold. He was among those prospects on campus this past weekend, where he spent time with the coaches and mingled with the other recruits.

“It was really fun,” Nester told Eleven Warriors. “It's cool to see who else they're trying to pick up.”

The 6-foot-6, 295-pound Nester, who is considered the eighth-best offensive tackle and No. 51 prospect overall in the Class of 2019, committed to Ohio State last August over finalists Alabama, Florida, Virginia Tech and West Virginia. And despite picking up several offers in recent months — including national runner-up Georgia — he's kept a low profile on the recruiting front ever since.

That's not typical for highly sought-after recruits in this day and age of social media, and I've fielded several questions about the strength of Nester's pledge as a result. But believe me, he's all-in on the Buckeyes. He just prefers to do all of his work behind the scenes.

“That's how I am with my team, too,” Nester said. “I'm not a very flashy kid at all. I'm glad the spotlight is off me, really. I can just work on my craft and try to be that quiet leader.”

Nester, plans to return to campus again for the Spring Game in April, is just focused on building his relationship with the coaches and players and recruiting on behalf of the Buckeyes.

ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER OFFER

Ohio State continues to hand out offers all over the country in hopes of building relationships with underclassmen. Two of the more recent offers went out to Ferndale, Washington, offensive guard Geirean Hatchett and Largo, Florida, Pinellas Park running back Lawrance Toafili, both from the Class of 2020.

The 6-foot-5, 265-pound Hatchett also holds offers from Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Oregon State, TCU, Washington and Washington State. The Huskies are the overwhelming favorite in his recruitment thanks to proximity, which allowed him to attend five of their games last season. 

The 5-foot-10, 169-pound Toafili, meanwhile,  rushed for 1,691 and 21 touchdowns as a sophomore to lead the Patriots to the state playoffs last season. He also holds offers from Duke, Florida State, Nebraska, UCF, USF and Virginia.

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