The Hurry Up: St. Thomas Aquinas Trio Schedules Visit While Linebacker Target Brandon Smith Commits to Penn State

By Andrew Lind on May 21, 2018 at 6:50 pm
Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith

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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.

SEE YOU ON THE OTHER SIDE

As was widely expected, Mineral, Virginia, Louisa County five-star linebacker Brandon Smith committed to Penn State during a ceremony at his high school on Monday evening.

The 6-foot-5, 224-pound Smith — considered the second-best inside linebacker and No. 30 prospect overall in the Class of 2019 — picked the Nittany Lions over nearly 30 other offers, including Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Texas A&M, USC and Virginia Tech.

Smith had been to Columbus three times in the last year, most recently for an unofficial visit in early April. Head coach Urban Meyer, defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, linebackers coach Bill Davis and defensive line coach/area recruiter Larry Johnson rolled out the red carpet for him and his family that weekend.

“Spending a lot of time with coach Meyer was great,” Smith told Eleven Warriors, noting he had dinner with the staff, watched practice, toured campus and met with an academic advisor. “Knowing how busy he is, it was great to see him spend time with me and my family. He expressed how much value I could add to the program as a student-athlete.”

It wasn’t enough though, as Smith — who initially hoped to return for an official visit this fall — decided to instead end his recruitment well in advance of his senior season. He is one of four prospects with an offer from Ohio State who have committed to Penn State in the last four days, including Connecticut four-star defensive backs Marquis Wilson and Tyler Rudolph and Virginia four-star running back Devyn Ford

With that said, my colleague Andrew Ellis will explain tomorrow how the Nittany Lions could actually challenge the Buckeyes for the top spot in the Big Ten recruiting rankings this cycle.

DOUBLE BOOM?

Ohio State will welcome hundreds of prospects to campus with several one-day camps throughout the month of June, but a talented trio from Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas will seemingly have a weekend all to themselves.

That includes three-star linebacker Derek Wingo, who announced Sunday afternoon he will be on campus for a two-day unofficial visit June 21-22.

“[I’m looking forward to] talking to the coaching staff and being able to finally sit down with them and get to feel what it would be like to be a Buckeye,” Wingo told Eleven Warriors.

The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Wingo is considered the 16th-best outside linebacker and No. 258 prospect overall in the Class of 2020, though he focused most of his attention at quarterback last season and finished the year with 880 all-purpose yards and eight total touchdowns compared to just five tackles on defense. He holds more than a dozen offers, but currently lists the Buckeyes in his Top 3 alongside Georgia and Oklahoma.

“That’s always been my dream school,” Wingo said. “To be coached by the staff of Urban Meyer will prepare you for the next level.”

Ohio State offered Wingo a scholarship back in mid-January, and he’s maintained contact with the aforementioned Davis and assistant wide receivers coach/Broward County native Keenan Bailey ever since. Wide receivers coach Zach Smith also dropped by his school earlier this month to watch him practice.

Wingo will be joined on the trip to Columbus by four-star wide receiver Marcus Rosemy and four-star cornerback Jordan Battle, who will be on his long-anticipated official visit. Both hold an offer from the Buckeyes.

KEEP DRILLING

Ohio State offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson has long recruited the state of Texas exceptionally well, dating back to his days as an assistant at Oklahoma. He went to that well  again on Monday afternoon to offer a scholarship to Dickinson three-star tight end Jalen Wydermyer.

The 6-foot-5, 235-pound Wydermyer is considered the 17th-best tight end and No. 437 prospect overall in the Class of 2019, though he racked up 1,221 all-purpose yards and seven touchdowns while splitting time between quarterback and wide receiver for the Gators last season. He holds nearly two dozen offers from programs such as Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Oregon and Texas A&M.

GREAT NAME FOR A DEFENSIVE LINEMAN

Ohio State running backs coach and area recruiter Tony Alford offered a scholarship on Friday morning to Mount Juliet, Tennessee, four-star defensive end Reggie Grimes II.

“It meant a lot,” Grimes told Eleven Warriors. “Ohio State is one of the schools I’ve wanted to go to ever since they won that national championship.”

The 6-foot-4, 213-pound Grimes is considered the sixth-best weak-side defensive end and No. 64 prospect overall in the Class of 2020, as he recorded 30 tackles to lead the Golden Bears to the regional championship last fall. He now holds a dozen offers from programs such as Georgia Tech, LSU, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia Tech, but I imagine it won’t be long before Alabama throws its hat into the ring, as well.

Grimes is the son of the former Crimson Tide defensive lineman of the same name, but the Volunteers are actually the favorite in his recruitment at this point in time since he father played alongside head coach Jeremy Pruitt in Tuscaloosa.

That said, Alford and linebackers coach Bill Davis have made a strong pitch to Grimes, who plans to visit campus for the first time this summer.

“From what I can tell, they are both competitors. They both want to win,” Grimes said. “[I think they can see] I have pretty good size, speed and I’m a hard worker.”

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