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.
With his first-ever trip to Columbus on the horizon, Houston St. Pius X four-star wide receiver Jalen "Boobie" Curry included Ohio State in his Top 10 on Saturday evening alongside Arkansas, Auburn, Florida State, LSU, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, TCU, Tennessee and Texas A&M.
GOD is GREAT.... pic.twitter.com/ovbHzQag2k
— J BOOBIE C (@jc5_4lyfee) March 3, 2018
"The tradition and the production of the program [stand out]," Curry told Eleven Warriors last month. "It's consistently a top program in college football every year and also produces some of the best players to the NFL constantly."
The 6-foot-3, 195-pound Curry is considered the 18th-best wide receiver and No. 90 prospect overall in the Class of 2019, as he hauled in 121 receptions for 1,570 yards and 18 touchdowns to lead the Panthers to the state championship game last season. He was once committed to the Seminoles, but backed off that pledge after former head coach Jimbo Fisher took the same position with the Aggies in December.
As mentioned, Curry plans to travel to campus later this week with his teammate and four-star quarterback Grant Gunnell and then return for an official visit later this spring. He doesn't expect to announce his college decision until the Early Signing Period, however.
“When I get up there, I'm looking to really enjoy myself and have a great time,” Curry said.
YOU CAN FIND ME IN ST. LOUIE
St. Louis Parkway North four-star four-star safety Jalani Williams also listed Ohio State in his Top 8 on Friday night alongside Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Missouri, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Penn State.
Glory to God ... TOP 8 pic.twitter.com/7IM0HseSPf
— Jalani Williams (@jalaniw9) March 3, 2018
The 6-foot-2, 170-pound Williams is considered the 18th-best safety and No. 252 prospect overall in the Class of 2019, as he recorded 61 tackles and two interceptions to be named a unanimous first-team all-state selection for the Vikings last season.
Williams — whom the staff offered in late January — has only taken a handful of visits thus far, including stops in Norman and Tuscaloosa. He's eyeing a trip to Columbus later this spring, though.
"I'm just looking for a school with a good coaching staff that I know will be there the whole four years or five years I'm there, education and the school itself," Williams told 247Sports.
THE SKY ISN'T FALLING, IT'S JUST CHANGING COLORS
Ohio State has handed out several offers to lower-ranked prospects over the last few weeks, which has prompted some of our readers to ask if the staff's recruiting strategy has changed — or, depending on their personal beliefs, question their approach altogether.
It's understandable, since we've grown so accustomed to the Buckeyes almost exclusively landing commitments from four- and five-star prospects under head coach Urban Meyer. But it's more so the result of an ever-changing recruiting landscape that has the staff evaluating more prospects and handing out more offers than ever before than a shift of their own doing.
With that said, it's important to remember that not all offers are created equal. Only a handful give the prospect the option to commit on the spot, while others should be viewed solely as a foot in the door in order to build a relationship.
That's usually a conversation that takes place when staff tells the prospect about the offer.
"I think what Urban does a very good job with and what our program is about is straight down the middle," defensive coordinator Greg Schiano told Eleven Warriors during Cotton Bowl media days. "We're going to tell you exactly where we stand and where you stand with us."
Thanks to the rule changes that brought us the Early Signing Period and spring official visits, though, the staff is having those kinds of discussions at an unprecedented rate. Ohio State has extended offers to 163 prospects in the Class of 2019, which is nearly as many as 175 in the entire 2018 recruiting cycle — and we've still got 11 months until the traditional National Signing Day in February.
So why is that?
In talking with coaches and other members of the recruiting industry, I've learned we're likely to have waves of commitments that coincide with three big dates on the recruiting calendar: spring official visits, the Early Signing Period and National Signing Day.
With each wave, the prospect pool shrinks. So it appears the offers going out to lower-ranked prospects are to get ahead of that, in a way. Instead of jumping into their recruitment late in the process, the prospect can build a relationship with the staff with the understanding they may eventually have a spot in the class — it just depends on how things work out with higher-ranked targets in the meantime.
Of course, there are some cases where the prospect's rankings aren't an accurate reflection of their talent and they simply haven't been evaluated properly by the respective recruiting services. Ohio State does an excellent job at identifying prospects whose rankings will certainly be adjusted as they go through the camp circuit or when the recruiting analysts — otherwise known as "starhanderouters" — have a chance to watch their film.
However, there's no denying the recruiting landscape is changing dramatically. I would be remiss if I didn't do my best to explain why, as well as how Ohio State moves forward from here.