Another one in the works?
It was yet another interesting week on the quarterback recruiting front, and while we aren't going to beat it into the ground once again, there are a few things to recap before getting into the latest and greatest.
First it was Grant Gunnell (wrong). Then there was a chance it would be Wisconsin commit Graham Mertz (looking unlikely). It really never was Bo Nix – the country's top-ranked dual-threat passer – even though he was clearly the guy the Ohio State staff would have loved to grab.
Something went awry between Gunnell and the Buckeyes and the four-star is now part of Arizona's 2019 class. There had been some hope that Mertz would head to Columbus later this month as Ryan Day has maintained regular contact with the Kansas product. That too seems to have fizzled as Mertz announced that his recruitment was being shut down.
You have to give credit to Wisconsin. The Badgers were all over Mertz before he blew up and all of the national offers came pouring in. Paul Chryst and his staff clearly have built quite the relationship and they're now on track to sign one of the country's best players at the position.
We've spent much of the last week analyzing the Ohio State situation and looking at where it could go in the coming weeks and months.The staff is in a spot where they basically have to take a quarterback this class, so something has got to give one way or another.
There was actually a bit of positive movement on that front when another 2019 prospect announced that he will head to Columbus next weekend.
So who exactly is Brian Maurer, and is he now the guy to watch at quarterback?
We'll start with the most important point to remember on the Ocala (West Port) signal-caller: Maurer has not been offered by Ohio State. Texas A&M and West Virginia are his top offers at the moment, but I would expect some more to start rolling in.
Earlier in the week, there was some optimism that the aforementioned Graham Mertz would be making the trek to Columbus (and Stanford). Something clearly changed on Thursday when he shut things down. That same day Maurer announced that he would be heading to Ohio State on June 21st for an unofficial visit.
Reading between the lines on this one, it's easy to surmise that the Ohio State staff reached out to the three-star once they caught wind of the Mertz news. The obvious assumption – which is probably silly to do given the way quarterback recruiting has been this cycle – is that Maurer could be next in line for an offer.
“It would mean a ton,” Maurer said back in April. “A top-tier school like Ohio State would definitely shake some things up in my recruitment.”
There was a time when it looked like West Virginia was set to land the Ocala quarterback. Maurer didn't end up committing over the spring and elected to continue taking visits. The Mountaineers remain the crystal ball favorites, but who knows what will happen if the offers start rolling in.
Maurer threw for 2,862 yards and 22 touchdowns as a junior, but he recently burst onto the scene when he was named an Elite 11 finalist. At the nation's most prestigious quarterback event, the 6-foot-4, 185-pounder more than held his own against some of the country's top prospects.
247 Sports national recruiting analyst Greg Biggins was on hand and ranked Maurer just one spot behind Graham Mertz on the list of top performers. He'll be in Texas later this month for the Elite 11 Finals, and while the event certainly doesn't guarantee success or stardom, it can absolutely cause a prospect's recruitment to trend upward.
He's listed as a pro-style quarterback, but Maurer appears capable of moving around in the pocket; as evidenced by the first play on his junior highlights. Even with a new-look offense coming for the Buckeyes, it would be silly to think the staff would ever covet a player who is merely a statue in the pocket. As a junior Maurer also rushed for 400 yards and six scores.
Another interesting angle to this story is the Gators' interest. Ocala is less than an hour south of Gainesville, and the Florida staff seems to be at least somewhat interested despite already having a 2019 quarterback in the fold. Maurer was back on UF's campus yesterday and has made multiple trips in the last year though he has yet to receive an offer.
Urban Meyer and Ryan Day are likely going to have to decide if they should push for a quarterback in the summer or wait and see how things unfold throughout the fall. Right now only two of the nation's top 25 quarterbacks remain uncommitted, and the Buckeyes aren't a factor for either one.
Regardless, Maurer is a player the Ohio State staff has been keeping tabs on since the spring, but the quarterback dominos have been falling left and right and he may now be someone to watch a bit more closely; especially with the visit looming and so much uncertainty at the position.