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.
RUSHMEN UP TO SOMETHING
Owings Mills, Maryland, McDonogh School three-star defensive tackle D’Von Ellies took to Twitter on Wednesday morning to tease an upcoming announcement of some sort.
Announcement coming soon....— Dvon Ellies (@dfesquire) July 11, 2018
The 6-foot-2, 280-pound Ellies is considered the 27th-best defensive tackle and No. 414 prospect overall in the Class of 2019, though he was certainly overshadowed on the Eagles’ line last season by his teammate and Penn State four-star signee P.J. Mustipher. He holds nearly two dozen offers from programs such as Boston College, Cincinnati, Duke, Nebraska, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
Ellies made his first and only trip to Columbus last month for a one-day camp. He was accompanied by his parents and siblings and received a considerable amount of one-on-one instruction from defensive line coach Larry Johnson.
“It was a great experience,” Ellies told Eleven Warriors. “I learned a lot. I’ve never really had a coach like that. I really got the college experience. It was just great. With his experience, I felt as though I learned a lot. It was just quality work that we put in. He said I do some things very well, but I still have a lot to work on. I’m going to take all of the information that he gave me today, go back home and work on it.”
Ellies also got to meet with head coach Urban Meyer, who called him into his office at the camp’s conclusion.
“[He told me I’m a] great player from a great family, and he just looks forward to building a better relationship with me,” Ellies said.
Ellies planned to narrow down his list of offers this month, with a decision to come sometime in August so that he can simply focus all of his attention on his senior season. The Buckeyes are certainly in a good spot if that remains the case.
“I’m definitely going to come back,” Ellies said. “It’ll probably be an official visit at the end of the summer.”
That said, sources have told Eleven Warriors that timeline may be accelerated — with a decision to come as soon as this weekend — which is why I put in a 247Sports Crystal Ball prediction in favor of Ohio State this afternoon.
“The overall environment [stands out],” Ellies said. “It’s just a great environment filled with great people, and the coaching staff is amazing.”
COUSINS AND TEAMMATES?
Next year’s crop of running backs is especially deep, with California five-star Kendall Milton, Maryland five-star MarShawn Lloyd, Texas five-star Zachary Evans, Virginia five-star Chris Tyree, Arizona four-star (and Akron native) Darvon Hubbard, Florida four-star Demarkcus Bowman and Texas four-star Emmitt “E.J.” Smith all holding an offer from and showing significant interest in Ohio State early in the process.
It’s a prospect who grew up in the shadows of Ohio Stadium that has the potential to be the best of the bunch, though.
Dublin Coffman four-star Michael Drennen II has been on the Buckeyes’ radar for more than a year, but finally landed an offer from running backs coach Tony Alford during his unofficial visit for Friday Night Lights late last month.
“He said he’s seen that I’ve matured a lot,” Drennen told Eleven Warriors. “That I was different as a person and a player.”
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Drennen is considered the 16th-best running back and No. 159 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 a dozen offers from programs such as Cincinnati, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisville, Michigan and Minnesota.
Ohio State is the overwhelming favorite in Drennen’s recruitment because of proximity — and the fact that his cousin in Buckeyes freshman running back Jaelen Gill — but there are other factors he’ll consider when making a decision.
“I mean, I love [Ohio State] because I have fans in my family,” Drennen said, “but I feel like you should be comfortable with the position coach and the head coach more than distance, maybe.”
Despite a recent rash of commitments in his class, don’t expect Drennen to make a decision anytime soon. He’ll likely take several visits this fall, first.
NOT HOW I WOULD HAVE HANDLED IT
Less than a week after he announced his commitment to Notre Dame over finalists Arkansas, Ohio State and Purdue, Thompson’s Station, Tennessee Independence four-star wide receiver T.J. Sheffield explained on Twitter that the Fighting Irish are not going to honor decision.
Of course, there are two sides to every story.
Sources close to the Notre Dame football program have told Eleven Warriors that there had been little to no communication between the two sides leading up to Sheffield’s announcement and the Fighting Irish were caught off guard by his decision. Either way, it’s a bad look for head coach Brian Kelly and wide receivers coach DelVaughn Alexander.
Now, the 5-foot-10, 170-pound Sheffield must reassess his options. He visited Columbus back in early March, but wasn’t very high on the Buckeyes’ list of priorities — not with California four-star Kyle Ford, Indiana four-star David Bell; Missouri four-stars Marcus Washington and Jameson Williams; and Texas four-star Elijah Higgins all vying for the three spots remaining in the class.