Early fireworks on the way?
It's only June, but this year the biggest recruiting event of the summer arrives a little early thanks to the changes to the recruiting calendar. Urban Meyer's Friday Night Lights camp has been a spectacle dating back to his time in Gainesville, and very little has changed during his tenure at Ohio State.
Oftentimes the summer event is more about the future classes rather than the current crop. Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors arrive in Columbus to make a name for themselves in the hopes of earning a Buckeye offer. This year – thanks to the early official visits – the Friday Night Lights weekend will be even more critical for the Class of 2019.
Several top Ohio State targets will be in town and the coaching staff will surely have the red carpet rolled out all weekend long. Urban Meyer's 2019 recruiting class currently checks in at the top of the Big Ten and No. 9 in the country.
Less than two weeks ago the Buckeyes landed their top center target in four-star Harry Miller, and a few other names could soon be joining the list. We take a look at who could be on commitment watch during one of the year's biggest recruiting weekends.
Jordan Battle • Defensive Back • Fort Lauderdale, Florida • ★★★★ • Nat. Rank: 170
St. Thomas Aquinas has been good to the Buckeyes of late with players like Joey Bosa, Nick Bosa, and Damon Arnette all finding new homes in Columbus. For the Class of 2019, it's looking like four-star defensive back Jordan Battle may very well follow a similar path.
We've had Battle on commitment watch for some time now, but he hasn't been able to make the trip back to the Midwest. Miami and Clemson are also involved here, and the 6-foot-1, 187-pounder is fresh off a trip to Coral Gables. He's listed Ohio State as the favorite for months now, but did the Canes do enough to get him to delay a decision?
Battle is versatile player in the secondary. 247Sports lists him as the nation's No. 4 safety prospect, but there have been rumblings that he prefers playing corner. Ohio State's 2019 class currently has zero corners in the fold.
Marcus Washington • Wide Receiver • Saint Louis, Missouri • ★★★★ • Nat. Rank: No. 62
The Show-Me State's top-rated prospect from a year ago is already in Columbus in the form of Kamryn Babb—the No. 7 wideout in the 2018 class. This time around the country's 10th-ranked wide receiver prospect hails from Trinity Catholic High School in St. Louis. and the Buckeyes certainly look like the team to beat for Marcus Washington.
The 6-foot-2, 193-pound pass-catcher has offers from all over America, and he's clearly been a top wide receiver target for Zach Smith and Co. Last month Washington listed a top six that includes Ohio State, Missouri, Oregon, Texas, Florida State, and Georgia
Five-star Garrett Wilson was a tremendous start at the position, and the Buckeyes are likely to sign at least three receivers for the Class of 2019. This weekend will go a long way in helping to solidify the future of #Zone6.
Jameson Williams • Wide Receiver • Saint Louis, Missouri • ★★★★ • Nat. Rank: No. 146
Ohio State's wide receiver room certainly has the chance to have a very heavy STL flavor in the years to come. Jameson Williams is yet another talented wideout from the state of Missouri who is heavily considering the Buckeyes. His crystal ball currently reads 100 percent in favor of the Scarlet and Gray, and while we aren't necessarily expecting a decision this weekend, it wouldn't be a total shock if there were some major movement.
[Sees Jameson Williams averaged 30 yards a catch last year.]
Me: Probably just a bunch of bombs.
[Watches first five plays of junior highlights.] pic.twitter.com/TEhuWL39D5
— Tony Gerdeman (@TonyGerdeman) June 14, 2018
Last week the 6-foot-2, 160-pounder named a top five of Ohio State, Oregon, Alabama, UCLA, and Nebraska. He's currently checking out Tuscaloosa and is tentatively planning on visiting Oregon and Nebraska next week.
Brian Maurer • Quarterback • Ocala, Florida • ★★★ • Nat. Rank: No. 491
Ohio State's 2019 quarterback recruiting has been quite adventurous. A number of names have come and gone, and right now I don't think anyone can really pinpoint exactly what will transpire at the position.
Last week four-star Wisconsin commit Graham Mertz shut things down after Ohio State and Notre Dame were in hot pursuit. On that same day, three-star Floridian Brian Maurer announced that he would be in town for Friday Night Lights. Maurer has seen his stock rise thanks to a strong performance in the Elite 11 (Tennessee offered yesterday), and you can bet that he'll be looking to earn an offer this weekend.
Perhaps it's a bit silly to put a kid on commitment watch when he doesn't even have an offer. However, if the Buckeyes do extend and offer and push for a pledge, then I could see this one ending fairly quickly. Maurer may be the most important prospect to watch on Friday night.
Jack Miller • Quarterback • Scottsdale, Arizona • ★★★★ • Nat. Rank (2020): No. 58
The 2020 situation at quarterback is drastically better than that of 2019. There are a number of players the Buckeyes are already highly interested in, and it looks like Scottsdale's Jack Miller may be at the top of the list.
The 6-foot-4, 210-pounder is another player we've talked about being on commit watch in the past, but he's finally set to make it back to Columbus this weekend and who knows what could transpire. The Buckeyes have been out in front through much of the process thus far.
Still, with Miller planning to check out other programs like Alabama, Michigan, and Michigan State, he doesn't appear to be rushing through the process. Ohio State has its sights set on several talented 2020 signal-callers, and with questions still remaining for the 2019 class, we just aren't sure if the staff is in a position to push for a commitment.
There are a handful of other names to watch this weekend as well. Ohio State's top overall target – five-star defensive end Zach Harrison – is making his official visit. He's visiting Michigan today and tomorrow, so he's not expected to make it back to town until Saturday. Harrison seems content waiting until later in the summer to decide, but again anything is possible on weekends such as these.
A pair of 2020 prospects may also be worth keeping an eye on, though it doesn't necessarily appear that anything is imminent. Outside linebacker Derek Wingo is another one of the stars from St. Thomas Aquinas, and he’s been in town since Wednesday afternoon. Ohio State holds 100 percent of the crystal ball picks for the four-star.
Tailback Darvon Hubbard is a teammate of Jack Miller's at Scottsdale's Chaparral High School. He's an Akron native, and if the Buckeyes were to offer, then the assumption is that they'd instantly be in the driver's seat.
Hubbard has stated that a decision isn't expected until his senior year, but if an Ohio native receives an offer from his home-state school then all bets could be off. He's already put together quite the offer sheet that includes Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Michigan, and Georgia.