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.
NIP IT IN THE BUD
After Michigan stole three-star safety Joey Velazquez away from the Ohio State baseball team this morning, head coach Urban Meyer and running backs coach Tony Alford quickly made an effort to make sure the Wolverines didn’t nab a Columbus-based prospect the Buckeyes actually want.
The staff invited Dublin Coffman four-star athlete Michael Drennen II to campus for Friday Night Lights and extended a scholarship offer this afternoon.
— Mike Drennen II (@UhhMyNameDonut) June 22, 2018
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Drennen is considered the 17th-best athlete and No. 170 prospect overall in the Class of 2020, as he racked up 927 all-purpose yards and 14 touchdowns for the Shamrocks last season. He now holds double-digit offers from programs such as Cincinnati, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan and Minnesota, but recently admitted the Wolverines were among the schools recruiting him the hardest.
In addition to the aforementioned Velazquez, Michigan also picked up a commitment this week from Northland three-star sophomore wide receiver Kalil Branham. While Ohio State did not offer either one, it’s apparent the Wolverines feel as if they’re making significant in-roads in Columbus.
There’s no doubt in my mind Drennen is going to be one of the most sought-after prospects in the state when it’s all said and done, so the Buckeyes didn’t want to fall behind in that respect. He’s cut from the same cloth as freshman running back Jaelen Gill, too, which just so happens to be his cousin.
That certainly bodes well for Ohio State, which has offered just three other prospects from the Class of 2020 thus far in Akron Archbishop Hoban four-star running back DeaMonte Trayanum, Cincinnati Princeton four-star defensive end Darrion Henry and Cincinnati St. Xavier four-star offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr.
BACK TO THE LONE STAR STATE
Houston North Forest five-star wide receiver Demond Demas trimmed his list of nearly 50 scholarship offers to eight schools late Thursday evening, and included Ohio State alongside Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Oklahoma, Texas and Texas A&M.
— Demond Demas (@DemondDemas1) June 22, 2018
“I talk to the coaches a lot and I keep a close relationship with them,” Demas told Eleven Warriors.
The 6-foot-4, 200-pound Demas is considered the sixth-best wide receiver and No. 25 prospect overall in the Class of 2020, as he was named first-team all-district last season and won the gold medal at the state long jump this spring with a personal-best of 23 feet, 8 1/2 inches.
The Buckeyes offered Demas a scholarship earlier back in April, and he’s built a solid relationship with wide receivers coach Zach Smith in the months since. The two caught up during a satellite camp at Houston two weeks ago.
“[He tells me to] make the right choices at all times and play and work hard every day,” Demas said, noting he’s never been to campus but plans to make his first trip very soon.
All that said, Demas’ recruitment is shaping up to be a battle between the long-time rival Aggies and Longhorns.
SETTING THE OVER/UNDER AT THREE
As you know by now, Ohio State was forced to move its annual Friday Night Lights recruiting extravaganza indoors for the first time due to the threat of inclement weather.
It is no longer open to the public or the media, which is extremely disappointing not only those who hoped to attend, but also head coach Urban Meyer and the rest of his staff.
Friday Night Lights typically offers prospects the chance to perform in Ohio Stadium in front of thousands of fans. The event has all the bells and whistles of a night game, with music blaring through the speakers, highlights being played on the Jumbotron and former players roaming the sidelines.
It’s arguably the biggest recruiting event of the offseason, next to the Spring Game, which was also impacted by the threat of rain. But that said, moving it to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center still gives the staff an opportunity to impress and get valuable time with the dozen of prospects on campus.
The Buckeyes are welcoming six official visitors this weekend, including Olentangy Orange five-star defensive end Zach Harrison; St. Louis four-star wide receivers Marcus Washington and Jameson Williams; St. Thomas Aquinas four-star cornerback Jordan Battle; Texas four-star wide receiver Elijah Higgins; and Missouri three-star defensive end Etinosa Reuben. Several remain on commitment watch no matter the circumstances surrounding the event itself.
That said, I anticipate there will be at least three commitments this weekend from Battle, Washington and Arizona four-star junior quarterback Jack Miller III. Williams is also a prime candidate to end his recruitment, though he has an official visit to UCLA scheduled for this fall.
I think Florida three-star quarterback Brian Maurer has an excellent opportunity to earn an offer this evening, and he’d immediately become Ohio State’s top target at the position. The Buckeyes would like to have a quarterback committed sooner rather than later, so there’s a strong change they’ll push for a quick pledge.
Another name worth keeping an eye on is Dayton Dunbar three-star offensive tackle Jonathan Allen, who is making his third trip to Columbus this month. Though he underwhelmed with his one-day camp performances, he’s shown a great attitude and a strong work ethic over the last two weeks, and could finally get the green light to pull the triggers.
Last but not least, a pair of underclassmen round out my list. Arizona four-star running back (and Akron native) Darvon Hubbard is hoping to land an offer this evening, and could very well commit on the spot. While Battle’s teammate, four-star linebacker Derek Wingo has not been shy about his affinity toward Ohio State. He has limited tape, but he could cement himself as a must-get prospect this evening — and there’s no doubt in my mind he’d jump at the opportunity.
Even with the change of venue, it’s shaping up to be a busy Friday night. Stay tuned to Eleven Warriors for the latest.