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.
There’s no doubt Fort Wayne, Indiana, three-star athlete Craig Young is one of the most impressive prospects in the Midwest, but programs are seemingly torn on what position he’ll play at the next level.
That includes Ohio State, which put him through drills as defensive end, linebacker and safety during Tuesday’s one-day camp.
“I thought I was just going to work out as a safety,” Young told reporters gathered at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. “Coach [Urban] Meyer pulled me aside and said, ‘I want you to work [at linebacker and defensive end]. It was all fun.”
The 6-foot-4, 212-pound Young is listed as a wide receiver by most recruiting sites, but he’s not really among the Buckeyes’ top targets at the position. There was the belief the staff could move him to tight end because of his size, but he may honestly be better suited for the defensive side of the ball.
Young started the morning with defensive coordinator Greg Schiano, co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach Alex Grinch and cornerbacks Taver Johnson, and displayed the ball skills that make him so dangerous on offense. But he also towered over the other defensive backs in attendance, which is why Davis pulled him over to work out with the linebackers after only a few repetitions.
“Working with these coaching is a blessing,” Young said. “This is probably the only program in the country that’s got NFL coaches on their staff. Working with them is good for me. I was excited and I learned a lot.”
After lunch, Young spend one-on-one time with defensive line coach Larry Johnson before Meyer brought him into his office for a chat.
“He just kept it real with me,” Young said. “He said, ‘You need to bust your butt in the classroom, and if you don’t, we’re pulling [this opportunity] away.’ He wasn’t giving me a big head. He was just telling me straight up, and that’s what I like about Ohio State. It was a great meeting. We talked about football and he asked about my family. I asked him questions, he asked me questions. We had a great conversation today.”
Young — who one month ago today listed a Top 5 of Indiana, Iowa, Michigan State, Ohio State and Purdue — has some experience on defense, as he racked up 27 tackles, three interceptions, 2.5 tackles for a loss and 1.5 sacks while playing outside linebacker for the Generals last season. And he has seemingly embraced the fact that he may never play on offense if he ultimately comes to Columbus, as is widely expected following today’s performance.
“I mean, anything to help my school and help my team win, that’s the main priority,” he said. “I won’t be hurt if I didn’t play on the offensive side of the ball. I can really be a dawg on the defensive side of the ball because everything came naturally today and I feel really good about it.”
Young is close with Ohio State wide receiver Austin Mack, who is also a Fort Wayne native. The two talk regularly, and is a big reason why the Buckeyes were a dream school for Young, even before the staff offered him a scholarship back in January.
“He tells me the coaches are real, that they don’t sugarcoat anything,” Young said. “It’s a winning program. You can’t fail here if you come and bust your butt. They’re going to be on you, and that’s what I want.”
There’s no doubt Ohio State is in a great position as Young heads toward an announcement, especially given he plans to return to campus on June 22.
“I’m weighing out my options,” he said. “I’ll probably be committing in the next few days, so just stay tuned.”
EVERY ACTION HAS AN EQUAL AND OPPOSITE REACTION
When Parkersburg, West Virginia, three-star tight end Brenton Strange visited campus for the first time last week, Meyer said he wanted to see the talented prospect move in person before he extended a scholarship offer.
After an admittedly "solid" camp performance and some one-on-one time with offensive coordinator/tight ends coach Kevin Wilson on Tuesday, Strange became the latest prospect to earn an offer from the Buckeyes.
— Brenton Strange (@BrentonStrange) June 12, 2018
“It means a lot,” Strange told Eleven Warriors after the camp concluded. “It felt really good to get the offer.”
The 6-foot-5, 210-pound Strange is considered the 38th-best tight end and No. 992 prospect overall in the Class of 2019, as he was named first-team all-state after he hauled in 59 passes for 938 yards and 12 touchdowns to lead the Big Reds to the playoffs last season. He holds offers from Akron, Cincinnati, Marshall, Maryland, North Carolina, Purdue, Rutgers and West Virginia, so there’s no doubt Ohio State has put itself in a great position — that is, if the staff decides it wants to take a tight end this cycle.
"They stand near the top, for sure," Strange said, though he noted there's no plans for a decision anytime soon.
There was actually a time where it looked as if Young would be the Buckeyes’ top target at the position, but that’s certainly out the window given what was stated above. Though the position isn’t one of great need this cycle, Strange becomes the obvious replacement on the priority chart.
Strange is Parkersburg’s all-time leader in receptions (128) and receiving yards (1,739) and set the school mark for catches in a game with 12, but admitted after Tuesday’s camp he still has a lot to work on.
“Coach Wilson helped me a lot with my blocking today, and that’s something I’m going to have to work on,” he said.
SEE ME RIDING THROUGH ATLANTA IN THE PHANTOM WITH THE DOUBLE DOORS
Ohio State will wrap up the satellite camp position of its summer schedule at Clark Atlanta University Wednesday morning. Meyer will be among those in attendance, a wise move given the amount of football talent in the greater metropolitan area.
— CAU Athletics (@caupanthers) June 11, 2018
The Buckeyes hold commitments from a pair of Georgians this cycle in Buford four-star center Harry Miller and Roswell Blessed Trinity four-star running back Steele Chambers. It’s unclear at this time if either will attend, though a 40-minute trip south would be well worth the time spent with their future head coach. The same goes for 2020 four-star offensive tackle commit Jake Wray, who now lives in Marietta.
Ohio State has offers out right now to more than 40 prospects across the Peach State, so Wednesday’s event will give the staff a chance to see a number of them in person for the first time.