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.
TURN OF THE CALENDAR
College football’s month-long dead period (June 25-July 24) was lifted early this morning, which means coaches can once again have face-to-face contact with recruits. Off-campus contact is still not permitted through next Thursday (quiet period), but prospects are able to visit campus — and that is why Ohio State will host several big-time unofficial visitors over the next few days and into the weekend.
There were some concerns that moving up Friday Night Lights would have a negative impact on recruiting given the long period of time between the camp sessions throughout June and the first game of the season in September, but this weekend effectively serves the same purpose as Junior Day as an offseason get together for top underclassmen targets.
Five-star offensive tackle commit Paris Johnson Jr. will be among those in attendance, as will California five-star cornerback Elias Ricks; Washington D.C. five-star linebacker Mekhail Sherman, wide receiver Rakim Jarrett and four-star defensive tackle Tre Williams; Akron Archbishop Hoban four-star athlete DeaMonte Trayanum; Cincinnati Princeton four-star defensive end Darrion Henry; Detroit Cass Tech wide receiver Rashawn Williams; Dublin Coffman four-star athlete Michael Drennen II; and Michigan three-star wide receiver Devell Washington.
There’s a good chance for a commitment or two as a result.
HOUSE OF CARDS
Washington D.C. Sidwell Friends School three-star offensive tackle Walter Rouse couldn’t wait to get to Ohio State, meanwhile, and arrived on campus for an unofficial visit this morning.
It marks the first of five visits in the next seven days for the 6-foot-5, 285-pound Rouse, which includes trips to Stanford, Penn State, North Carolina and Duke.
“I’m just generally excited to see what they have to offer when I visit,” Rouse told Eleven Warriors last month. “I definitely want to see what they have to offer in terms of academics.”
Rouse — who is considered the 48th-best offensive tackle and No. 521 prospect overall in the Class of 2019 — landed an offer from the Buckeyes during the Spring Evaluation Period back in May. He’s never been to campus, but has become a name to know because of the need at offensive tackle and dwindling list of options at the position.
Ohio State is looking to add as many as three more offensive linemen this cycle to complement commits Harry Miller, Ryan Jacoby and Doug Nester. West Virginia five-star tackle Darnell Wright is at the top of the staff’s list, but far from a certainty, while Illinois four-star tackle Trevor Keegan is also someone in which they have a ton of interest, but he’s been trending toward Michigan for quite some time.
Rouse and Dayton Dunbar three-star tackle Jonathan Allen both fall into the same category as developmental prospects, but I doubt there’s a situation where the Buckeyes take both. There are too many ready-made offensive linemen next cycle to use a scholarship this year on multiple prospects who need long-term growth.
That said, this visit can put Ohio State in a good position with Rouse as he heads toward a shorter top school list — he included the Buckeyes in his Top 10 earlier this month — and a decision late in the process.
A SIMILAR POSITION
Nokesville, Virginia, Patriot three-star offensive guard Jakai Moore — who falls into the developmental category, as well — was also supposed to visit Ohio State today, but did not make the trip with heavy thunderstorms causing flash flood warnings across the eastern portion of his home state.
“The weather is bad and my mom doesn’t want to take the chance,” Moore told Eleven Warriors.
The 6-foot-6, 295-pound Moore — who is considered the 17th-best offensive tackle and No. 461 prospect overall in the Class of 2019 — hopes to reschedule and return for a game in the fall. He has been to campus once before, as he attended one of the Buckeyes’ practices this spring, where he spent a considerable amount of time with head coach Urban Meyer, offensive line coach Greg Studrawa and defensive line coach/area recruiter Larry Johnson.
Moore subsequently Ohio State in his Top 7 back in early June alongside Clemson, Miami, North Carolina, Penn State, South Carolina and Virginia Tech. The Nittany Lions are considered the favorite in his recruitment at this time.
Ohio State hosted hundreds of prospects last month for the aforementioned Frida Night Lights recruiting extravaganza, including St. Louis De Smet Jesuit four-star wide receiver Jordan Johnson.
LOVED THE Ohio State University!! pic.twitter.com/pYphY24ueZ— Jordan Johnson (@jjohnsonj1) June 23, 2018
“It was great,” Johnson told Eleven Warriors. “I loved the campus and the coaches.”
This was the first trip to campus for the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Johnson, who is considered the 11th-best wide receiver and No. 60 prospect overall in the Class of 2020. The Buckeyes offered back in late April.
Johnson had a scrimmage earlier that afternoon that forced him to miss a large portion of the camp, but he spent valuable time with the coaching staff and toured campus the following day. He grew particularly close that weekend with then-wide receivers coach Zach Smith, who was fired this week amid allegations of domestic abuse.
“It really sucks what happened to him. He was a big part of why I liked the visit,” Johnson said. “The energy and positivity he had and also the confidence he had in the program [stood out].”
Johnson holds more than 20 programs such as Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Iowa, Kansas State, Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oregon, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin, but Ohio State made a significant jump in his recruitment that weekend. Smith’s departure seemingly resets that, though.
“Coach Smith was a big reason why I was considering Ohio State, so with him gone, it does kind of alter my opinion,” Johnson said. “But, I’m pretty sure the next guy they bring in will be a great fit, and I’d be happy to see who it is.”