The Hurry Up: Safety Jalyn Phillips Includes Ohio State Among Top Schools While Wide Receiver Ali Jennings Discusses Interest in Buckeyes

By Andrew Lind on March 27, 2018 at 6:50 pm
Ali Jennings
Ali Jennings

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.


Though Ohio State’s 15 spring practices are — first and foremost — an opportunity for the team to get better and players to solidify their spot on the depth chart, each one also gives the staff a chance to host prospects for unofficial visits.

On Monday, the Springfield trio of four-star Moses Douglass, three-star defensive tackle Isaiah Gibson and two-star wide receiver Michael Brown-Stephens made their way to campus.

“It was good,” Gibson told Eleven Warriors. “[We] watched practice and talked to a couple coaches.”

The 6-foot-4, 263-pound Gibson — who is considered the 55th-best defensive tackle and No. 797 prospect overall in the Class of 2019 — has been a regular visitor over the last two years. He’s attended five games, the Spring Game, Friday Night Lights and a one-day camp in that span.

As mentioned, Gibson and his teammates watched practice and spent some one-on-one time with head coach Urban Meyer, defensive line coach Larry Johnson and program assistant Stacy Elliott.

“[They] said it’s good to see me and asked how have I been,” Gibson said.

After landing three of the nation’s best defensive tackles last cycle, the position isn’t a big priority for Ohio State in 2019. But as one of the top in-state prospects, Gibson is certainly hopeful the Buckeyes offer him a scholarship.

Maybe a return trip this summer will do the trick.

As for Douglass, he's quickly becoming one of the country's most sought-after recruits. I'll have more on him in the coming days, though, as the trio is currently on an unofficial visit to West Virginia.


Along those same lines, Clayton Northmont three-star linebacker Gabe Newburg told Eleven Warriors he’ll be in Columbus this Friday. He’ll be joined by his teammate, three-star linebacker Jestin Jacobs.

“I’m interested to see how coach Johnson’s practices are,” Newburg said.

The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Newburg is considered the 53rd-best weak-side defensive end and No. 798 prospect overall in the Class of 2019, as he recorded 58 tackles, 10.5 tackles for a loss, 6.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery to lead the Thunderbolts to the state playoffs last season. He holds nearly a dozen offers from programs such as Bowling Green, Cincinnati, Harvard, Iowa, Michigan State, Ohio and Toledo.

Newburg has been on Ohio State’s radar for several months, as well, as Meyer and Smith dropped by his high school back in January. This will be his first time on campus, though.

“[They were] very impressed with my size,” Newburg said.

Both Newburg and Jacobs picked up an offer from the Spartans earlier this month, and they’re actually on a visit to East Lansing as we speak. If the Buckeyes don’t eventually offer, I get the sense they’ll be lined up on the opposite sideline come October 2019.

Jacobs, who attended a one-day camp last June, recently discussed the upcoming visit with Eleven Warriors. You can read that here.


Though he’s still awaiting an offer from Ohio State, Lawrenceville, Georgia, Archer four-star safety Jalyn Phillips included the Buckeyes in his Top 10 on Sunday evening alongside Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Tennessee and USC.

The Bulldogs and Tigers haven't offered either.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Phillips is considered the 29th-best safety and No. 190 prospect overall in the Class of 2019, as he recorded 12 tackles, two pass break ups, one interception and one punt block to help the Tigers to the third round of the state playoffs last season — teams simply avoided throwing to his side of the field.

If you’ll recall, running back Master Teague III listed Ohio State among his Top 12 choices long before he landed an offer from the staff. Both sides had strong interest in one another, it was just a matter of Teague proving he was worthy of the offer during a one-day camp last June.

Phillips appears to be in a similar situation, though the Buckeyes already offered his teammate — four-star cornerback Andrew Booth — last summer. Unlike Booth, he’s has been to campus before, but I expect that to change sooner rather than later.


Much to my delight, Ohio State has a very strong presence right now in the commonwealth of Virginia. The Buckeyes landed a pair of four-star linebackers last cycle in Teradja Mitchell (Virginia Beach) and K’Vaughan Pope (Dinwiddie) and were recently listed among the finalists for Norfolk four-star cornerback Sheridan Jones.

Wide receivers coach and area recruiter Zach Smith has played a large role in Ohio State’s efforts in the 757 and 804, and that diligence may have uncovered one of the nation’s most underrated wide receivers in Highland Springs’ Ali Jennings.

“Coach Smith is a great guy,” Jennings said. “They want to see me in person and get to know me more, as I would like to build with them more. They like my film, so hopefully I can make a great impression on the entire staff. Ohio State is some big-time football, and I want to be a big-time player at the next level.”

The 6-foot-2, 186-pound Jennings is not yet ranked by any major recruiting sites, but was named second-team all-state as a junior after he hauled in 47 passes for 709 yards and 13 touchdowns at Hermitage last season. He transferred schools this offseason.

“I’m a bigger receiver that can stretch the field,” Jennings said. “I watch a lot of [Houston Texas wide receiver] DeAndre Hopkins’ film to bring that physicality to the game every play. I look at myself as a sure-handed player and I pride myself in blocking. I’m a team guy. Even if I don’t get thrown to, I still have other responsibilities. I let the game come to me.”

Air Force, Army West Point and Navy have already extended scholarship offers to Jennings, while schools like Clemson, Duke, Georgia Tech, Harvard, Maryland, Michigan State, Princeton, South Carolina, Temple, Tennessee, Virginia and Virginia Tech have all shown significant interest, as well. He is the younger brother of Tigers defensive back K’Von Wallace, so they’ll certainly have a leg-up in his recruitment if they offer.

That said, Jennings is set to take an unofficial visit to Ohio State in the coming weeks. He’s hoping the Buckeyes are impressed with his abilities on and off the field — where he holds a 3.9 grade-point average — and offer him a scholarship.

“Come on, it’s Ohio State,” Jennings said. “Coach Meyer and those guys are the top in the nation. It’ll be a true honor to have a chance to play there and get an education from ‘The’ Ohio State.”

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