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.
THAT DIDN'T TAKE LONG
A little over an hour after last night's edition of The Hurry Up was published, Murfreesboro, Tennessee, Blackman four-star cornerback Adonis Otey announced on Twitter he had received an offer from Ohio State.
— Adonis Otey (@d1dizzle) February 28, 2018
"It means a lot because I have an old teammate that plays there and they have a great tradition of sending defensive backs to the league," Otey told Eleven Warriors.
As I mentioned, the 6-foot, 175-pound Otey is the former teammate of Buckeyes running back Master Teague III and current teammate of four-star wide receiver target Trey Knox. He's considered the 28th-best cornerback and No. 310 prospect overall in the Class of 2019, as he recorded 22 tackles and a handful of pass break ups for the Blaze last season.
A one-time Tennessee commit, Otey holds more than a dozen offers from programs such as Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, LSU, Michigan, Oklahoma, Ole Miss and South Carolina. He's never been to campus, but running backs coach and area recruiter Tony Alford has invited him to attend the Spring Game in April, at which time he hopes to meet with new cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson.
Until (or rather unless) new Volunteers head coach Jeremy Pruitt can get his once-storied program back on track, prospects in Tennessee will remain ripe for the picking.
That's why — in addition to Otey — the Buckeyes have offers out to some of the state's top prospects, including Oakland four-star cornerback Woodi Washington; Siegel four-star defensive end Joseph Anderson; Thompson's Station Independence four-star wide receivers T.J. Sheffield and Kendrell Scurry; Nashville Franklin Roads four-star wide receiver Lance Wilhoite; and Nashville Davidson Academy four-star defensive end Ani Izuchukwu, among others.
Otey isn’t the only prospect who could potentially be reunited with a former teammate in Columbus, as Orlando Jones three-star hybrid linebacker/safety Marcus Tillman Jr. — who shared a defensive backfield with Ohio State cornerback Sevyn Banks last season — is set to visit campus this spring.
— MJ (@MarcusTillmanJr) February 28, 2018
The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Tillman is considered the 37th-best outside linebacker and No. 558 prospect overall in the Class of 2019. A one-time Florida commit, he also holds more than a dozen other offers from programs such as Clemson, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia Tech.
When Tillman decommitted from the Gators earlier this month, he actually told the Orlando Sentinel the Buckeyes lead for his services.
“Ohio State is coming at me real hard. The coaches, they talk to me almost every day,” Tillman said. “Ohio State is probably the leader right now. They show a lot of love and when I look at the depth chart for when I get up there I know I can play right away, and they said they’re gonna use me.”
Tillman has been on campus once before, as he attended Ohio State’s 39-38 win over Penn State in late October. It’s likely his return will be an official capacity for the Spring Game on April 14 — and I wouldn't be surprised if a decision came shortly thereafter.
NOT SOMETHING TO FALL BACK ON
While he was officially introduced as co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach this afternoon, Alex Grinch has recruiting on behalf of Ohio State for nearly two months. And, as should be expected with a national brand like the Buckeyes', he's finding it easier to connect with prospects than he did at his last stop at Washington State.
"I think the initial conversation is certainly different," Grinch said. "The initial phone call and getting guys to call you is a little bit easier than some of my past stops. In the end, it's about making sure you get the right student-athlete to bring into your program, and there's more to it than just that initial reaction. But there's a brand attached to Ohio State — and that's putting it mildly — and it's a rare opportunity to have that brand on your Nike pullover or polo. You also know there's a responsibility that comes with it, too."
Grinch, a Grove City native who won three national championships as a player at Mount Union, grew up a fan of the Buckeyes. His wife, Rebecca, is from Alliance, too. But he doesn't feel his knowledge of the program or ties to the state give him a distinct advantage on the recruiting trail.
"I think my excitement about the university or Columbus or this state, does that translate to [my ability to] recruit? I think it's tough to gauge that," Grinch said. "I think, in a lot of ways, the university — from a sales standpoint — you kind of present what's there. It's a pretty good product. And from a football standpoint, it's a pretty good product.
"I think this place has done very, very well without me, so anything I can do to add to that is certainly my motivation. But from a recruiting standpoint, that won't be what guys circle when they sign on the dotted line at Ohio State."
IT WAS PERFECT AS IS
Much to my dismay, Nike Football announced on Wednesday afternoon The Opening Finals will no longer take place at the apparel company's headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. Instead, the event has a new home at The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas — the state-of-the-art indoor practice facility of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys.
#TheOpening Finals has a new home.
— The Opening (@TheOpening) February 28, 2018
Ohio State led the nation with a total of 10 signees invited to last year's event, though a number of them did not commit until weeks or months later. Each one was selected through film evaluation and/or in-person evaluation during one of The Opening Regional events from across the country — including one at the Cleveland Browns' practice facility in Berea last spring.
This year's Midwest regional will be held at Massillon Washington on May 5. Eleven Warriors will, of course, be in attendance and provided a full list of prospects expected participate in the week leading up to the event.
The Opening Finals, meanwhile, is tentatively scheduled for June 30 through July 3. And while I'm saddened I won't be returning to Oregon, I'm looking forward to bringing you the same great coverage you've come to expect from North Texas instead.