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.
Ohio State was supposed to host Virginia four-star running back Devyn Ford for an official visit this coming weekend, but — as mentioned in last night’s edition of The Hurry Up — he cancelled the trip after Georgia four-star athlete Steele Chambers pledged his services to the Buckeyes last week.
With Indiana four-star Sampson James already in the fold and Chambers planning to play running back at the next level, Ford was seemingly left on the outside looking in as he moved closer to a May 18 decision among Ohio State, Penn State and Virginia Tech. The Buckeye are, after all, only expected to take two players at the position this cycle.
Bradenton, Florida, IMG Academy four-star running back Noah Cain, meanwhile, isn’t deterred by a potential logjam at his position. Ohio State remains among his top schools, and he believes the Buckeyes would still have a spot for him in the class if he wants to commit down the road.
“Nah, not at all,” Cain told Eleven Warriors when asked if the competition awaiting him in Columbus has changed his thoughts on Ohio State. “I’m not worried about those guys. I know my skill level and worth.”
Ford’s biggest gripe with the Buckeyes was the fact that Chambers’ announcement caught him completely off guard. By contrast, running backs coach Tony Alford kept Cain — the second-best running back and No. 51 prospect overall in the Class of 2019 — completely in the loop.
“Coach Alford lets me know everything that’s going on,” he said. “That’s why I have a strong relationship with them.”
Cain has been to campus numerous times, mostly recently for a two-day visit with his father last month to watch spring practice. Alford has always been up front with him about where the staff believes he fits into the program.
That said, Cain is still months away from a decision. He plans to unveil a list of top schools in the late spring or early summer and announce his college choice from nearly 30 offers — including Clemson, Florida, Florida state, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Oklahoma, Penn State and Texas — during the Early Signing Period in December.
LOADING UP ON TENNESSEE TACKLES
Speaking of Alford, he’s been in Tennessee this week evaluating prospects and meet with coaches in all corners of the state. And on Monday night, he offered a scholarship to Memphis Freedom Prep Academy four-star offensive tackle Chris Morris.
— Chris Morris (@ChrisMo75901) April 23, 2018
“It means a lot,” Morris told Eleven Warriors. “Ohio State is a great university and outstanding football program.”
The 6-foot-4, 267-pound Morris is considered the 28th-best offensive tackle and No. 222 prospect overall in the Class of 2020. He holds more than a dozen offers from programs such as Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State and Texas.
Morris has never been to campus, but he'll make his first trip for a one-day camp on June 8.
“I can’t wait to see the campus in person,” he said.
SPEAK IT INTO EXISTENCE
On Monday morning — just a few days after he included Ohio State among his top schools — Ocala, Florida, Vanguard four-star wide receiver Leonard Manuel finally landed an offer from the Buckeyes.
— DANGER (@Begreatliltone2) April 23, 2018
But wait, isn’t that out of order?
Well, the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Manuel — who is considered the second-best wideout and No. 13 prospect overall in the Class of 2020 — has built a strong relationship with wide receivers coach Zach Smith over the last few years since Smith’s main recruiting responsibilities includes South Florida.
“We’re really close,” Manuel told Eleven Warriors last week. “We used to just talk about football, but now it’s stuff like school, my family and how I’m living. We kind of just kick it like we’ve been knowing each other for a long time.”
Manuel, as mentioned, listed Ohio State in his Top 11 on Wednesday alongside Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Nebraska, Penn State, Tennessee and Texas. He’d actually decommitted from the Hurricanes earlier that day.
“I needed to open things up, weigh my options out and see other schools,” Manuel said.
Given the fact that he was also once committed to the Volunteers, Smith previously told Manuel he had an offer waiting for him the first time he visited campus. The Buckeyes just wanted to make sure he was serious about his interest in the program.
Manuel is currently in the process of planning a trip to Columbus, and that was apparently enough to make the offer official.
BY THE WAYSIDE
Last fall, Ohio State was the undisputed leader for Belleview, Florida, four-star offensive tackle Michael Tarquin.
The 6-foot-5, 290-pounder attended games against Oklahoma and UNLV in September and nearly committed to the staff following the blowout win over the Rebels, then returned again for the rain-soaked win over Illinois in November.
Tarquin — the 27th-best offensive tackle and No. 274 prospect overall in the Class of 2019 — held off on a decision, though, because he wanted to see what other schools had to offer.
Miami was the sleeping giant, so to speak, in his recruitment. And the moment the Hurricanes turned up the heat, things swung drastically in their favor.
On Saturday, Tarquin announced his commitment to the program.
— Michael Tarquin (@Mike_Tarquin70) April 21, 2018
:shamrock::shamrock:100% COMMITTED:shamrock::shamrock: pic.twitter.com/sj2i93blD1
— Andrew Kristofic (@AKristofic21) April 23, 2018
Similarly, Gibsonia, Pennsylvania, Pine-Richland three-star offensive tackle Andrew Kristofic committed to Notre Dame on Monday evening.
Ohio State offered the 6-foot-6, 265-pound Kristofic back in November, and he took several trips to campus in the months since. His most recent visit came just days before the Spring Game earlier this month.
The Buckeyes never made Kristofic a top priority, however, while the Fighting Irish pitched early playing time and the chance to once again play alongside his former teammate, quarterback Phil Jurkovec.