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.
A LESS-TRADITIONAL PATH
Take one look at Cleveland Glenville cornerback Jamel Hamm and you’d think he was one of the most highly sought-after prospects in the state.
Standing 6-foot-4 and 185-pounds, he has great size and the length to be disruptive no matter where he lines up on the defensive side of the ball. But an ankle injury cut short his senior season, and he held only two FBS offers (Kent State and Miami) when National Signing Day rolled around in February.
Hamm received interest from smaller schools like Findlay, Urbana and Walsh, as well, but remained adamant he could play big-time college football. So he’s decided to enroll at Fork Union Military Academy this fall and will push back his recruiting process by another year.
“In my heart, I know I can play at a Big Ten or one of the Power 5 schools,” Hamm told Eleven Warriors. “Last year, I camped all over the world with guys going to the top schools and I matched up really well at those camps.”
Hamm has been to Ohio State multiple times, including several games, one-day camps and for Friday Night Lights last summer. Naturally, that allowed him to grow close to former assistant coordinator Kerry Coombs.
“My relationship with coach Coombs was amazing,” Hamm said. “I think he took a liking to me. He coached me up on a ton of things regarding college life as a student-athlete.”
Coombs’ departure for the NFL’s Tennessee Titans hasn’t diminished the Buckeyes’ interest in Hamm one bit, however. Head coach Urban Meyer, cornerbacks coach Taver Johnson and even program assistant Stacy Elliott have maintained contacted with him in the months since and laid out a plan for him to end up in Columbus next year.
They also invited Hamm back to attend the annual Spring Game this past weekend.
“It went well,” Hamm said. “I had a chance to sit down with coach Johnson and talk a little bit and go around the campus a little. I spent a lot of the day showing my little brother around and answering 100 questions that he kept asking, but overall, it was a great day.”
This fall will mark the first season since 2001 that Ohio State won’t have a Tarblooder on the roster. And although Hamm won’t be able to keep that streak intact, he made it clear which offer he covets most.
“I pray after one off year, I bring the tradition back,” Hamm said.
NOT A BAD RECRUITING RESPONSIBILITY
Following yesterday’s media availability, Ohio State’s coaches headed their separate ways on the recruiting trail. Co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach Alex Grinch was in Scottsdale last night, at which time he offered a scholarship to Saguaro five-star cornerback Kelee Ringo.
“It means so much to me to receive this offer, especially because they are DBU,” Ringo told Eleven Warriors. “Ohio State is a very big school for me, and I have high interest [in the Buckeyes].”
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Ringo is considered the top-rated cornerback and No. 6 prospect overall in the Class of 2020, as he recorded 24 tackles, six pass break ups and one interception to lead the Sabercats to the state championship last season. He holds more than a dozen offers from programs such as Arizona, Arizona State, California, Clemson, Florida State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oregon, USC and Washington.
“Coaches see my speed and my physicality, mainly,” Ringo said.
Ringo hopes to make his first visit to Columbus this summer.
BUSIEST MAN ON THE STAFF?
Just one day after securing a commitment from Georgia four-star athlete Steele Chambers, Ohio State running backs coach Tony Alford shifted his focus to the state of Tennessee. And on Thursday afternoon, he offered a scholarship to Memphis Briarcrest Christian four-star offensive tackle Omari Thomas.
“It means a lot,” Thomas told Eleven Warriors. “I’m just thankful and blessed for the offer.”
The 6-foot-5, 285-pound Thomas is considered the ninth-best offensive tackle and No. 42 prospect overall in the Class of 2020, as he was named first-team all-region after he helped the Saints to the state quarterfinals last fall. He, too, holds more than dozen offers from schools like Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, LSU, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas A&M.
Thomas has never been to campus, but hopes to make his first trip sometime this summer.
“I think the school has a very high motor and is a great environment,” he said.
Speaking of the aforementioned Chambers, it appears his commitment on Wednesday night is already having an impact in Ohio State’s pursuit of North Stafford, Virginia, four-star running back Devyn Ford.
There was a sense the Buckeyes were gaining traction in Ford’s recruitment following an unofficial visit earlier this month, and his official visit on April 27-29 could very well have put the program ahead of Virginia Tech in the race to land his pledge.
But it seems highly unlikely Ohio State will take three running backs this cycle, and if the staff puts Chambers at running back alongside four-star commit Sampson James — rather than linebacker — it would essentially end all hope of Ford playing his college ball in Columbus.
Ford has been very open and transparent about his looming decision, which will take place on his grandmother’s birthday, May 18. He even said James’ commitment last month would have little to no impact on his only college choice.
“It really doesn’t matter because you have to compete everywhere you go and in all aspects of life,” Ford told Eleven Warriors. “But, you know, with another running back coming in, you could also help each other out and learn from one another and grow.”
Chambers’ pledge, however, caught him completely off guard. This, from Rivals:
Ford doesn't mind that Chambers is now a part of Ohio State's 2019 class, but he is surprised that the Ohio State coaches didn't let him know they were taking a commitment from Chambers — listed as an athlete but he has made it well-known he prefers to play running back in college.
Ohio State let Ford know prior to Sampson James’ commitment and that actually helped build trust between Ohio State and Ford. Ford's camp is now questioning whether or not they can trust Ohio State and that plays right into the hands of Virginia Tech and Penn State.
The Hokies seized a lot of momentum during Ford’s official visit last weekend, and he has a trip to State College for an official visit with the Nittany Lions beginning tomorrow. And with that said, it feels less likely than ever he’ll end up in Columbus.