11W Recruiting Mailbag: Discussing Spring Game Commitments, Looming Decisions and Quarterback Recruiting

By Andrew Lind on April 5, 2018 at 10:10 am
Garrett Wilson
Garrett Wilson

The 11W Recruiting Mailbag is your one-stop shop for all things Ohio State recruiting. You have questions. We have answers.

Do you think we'll get some commitments during the Spring Game like last year? - Daniel

I will be thoroughly surprised if there aren’t several commitments that come during or directly result from the Spring Game. However, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly who that may be.

Last year, all eyes were on eventual Penn State four-star center signee Fredrick “Juice” Scruggs and Pittsburgh three-star offensive guard signee Jake Kradel. Things were trending heavily in favor of Ohio State in both of their respective recruitments, and we got the sense either one would pull the trigger if the Buckeyes pushed for it that weekend.

Instead, it was four-star offensive tackle Max Wray who got the day started with a commitment — though he was at home in Tennessee. That was followed by a surprise pledge from Oklahoma four-star safety Josh Proctor, who admitted later on that he wasn’t even planning to make a decision that weekend.

Georgia five-star defensive end Brenton Cox was back on campus for the Spring Game, which served as his final visit before his committed just one week later. It gave the Buckeyes the push they needed to secure his pledge, though — as we all know — he (more or less) flipped back to the home-state Bulldogs right before the Early Signing Period.

Florida four-star cornerback Sevyn Banks was also blown away by his first trip to campus for the Spring Game, and that was pretty much all he needed to see before he committed to Ohio State out of the blue in late April.

This year, the Buckeyes once again have a stacked visitor list that includes Texas four-star wide receivers Jalen “Boobie” Curry and Garrett Wilson; Florida four-star cornerback Jordan Battle; Georgia four-star center Harry Miller; Mentor four-star defensive end Noah Potter; and New Jersey four-star athlete “Rocket” Ronnie Hickman. Arizona four-star quarterback Jack Miller and Florida safety Lejond Cavazos are among the few notable underclassmen set to attend, as well.

Wilson, as I’ve mentioned below, will make his decision following an official visit to Texas on April 20-22. But any of the other prospects I’ve listed could very well pull the trigger next weekend.

Do I think they all will? No, of course not. But I certainly think the narrative about Ohio State’s recruiting class getting off to a slow start will be a thing of the past by the end of April — and I predict at least four commitments within that time frame.

You currently have a 247Sports Crystal Ball prediction in favor of Ohio State for Wilson. Do you still feel confident with that prediction? - Buckeye Tyger

I made that prediction the moment Ohio State offered Wilson a scholarship in early December, and it will remain on the Buckeyes through his looming decision.

Though last weekend’s trip to campus was his first in an official capacity as a recruit, Wilson is beyond familiar with the Ohio State football program. He grew up in Dublin and attended numerous games as a fan, but moved to Texas when he was in sixth grade.

Having the ability to spend time with family and friends who remained in the area and the opportunity to get more familiar with the coaching staff and see everything the football program has to offer surely rekindled his love for the Buckeyes.

Yes, Texas has the advantage of proximity. The Longhorns have also made quite the push with in-state prospects under head coach Tom Herman, but the sentimentality of coming home and suiting up for your childhood favorite team will be too difficult for them to overcome.

Wilson, as mentioned, as a pair of official visits remaining — and Texas does have the advantage of the final in-person meeting. But I feel confident last weekend’s visit paired with what should be another heavily attended Spring Game will solidify things for Ohio State.

If Meyer said arm strength isn’t in the Top 5 attributes for our quarterback recruits, then why do we seem to be recruiting prototypical quarterbacks? -Knarcisi

I think the answer is much more simple than we were initially led to believe.

Sure, we can see that Ohio State is going to open things up a little bit more on offense if Dwayne Haskins wins the starting job this fall. He has a stronger arm than former quarterback J.T. Barrett, and the Buckeyes would be foolish to not use that to their advantage rather than give him a dozen designed runs. But that one factor doesn’t necessarily indicate that head coach Urban Meyer and offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Ryan Day are looking solely for a prototypical, gunslinging quarterback in this year’s recruiting class.

"We're looking for competitors," Day said during his recent media availability. "Guys who are leaders, tough, football IQ and decision makers. If you hit those categories and you have enough talent, then we're gonna find the right plays that fit you. We're not looking for a certain type of quarterback."

This year’s crop of quarterback recruits isn’t deep at all. There’s not a single five-star signal caller in the entire class and only five quarterbacks — pro-style or dual-threat — are ranked among the Top 100 nationally.

"There's not a lot of depth at quarterback this year in the recruiting world," Meyer said. "We're just working as hard as we can to get them here. We've had a bunch visit, so now we have to find the right marriage for them and us."

Ohio State has offers out right now to a dozen quarterbacks, but it’s Texas four-star Grant Gunnell and North Carolina four-star Sam Howell who are most often linked to the Buckeyes… and it’s not because they’re pro-style quarterbacks, either. It’s because they’re simply the best of the bunch.

That said, Ohio State has made a significant push in both Gunnell and Howell’s respective recruitments following unofficial visits this spring. With both planning to commit later this spring or into the summer, an official visit will be key. I currently have my Crystal Ball in favor of the Buckeyes for the former, but could see either ending up in the class if the staff goes all in for their pledge.

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