Heat Check: Updating the 2019 Recruiting Board Following a Tumultuous Month of July

By Andrew Ellis on August 7, 2018 at 2:15 pm
Cornerback target Peyton Powell has pushed back his decision timeline.

Recruiting is all about momentum. Sometimes you're gaining it, sometimes you're losing it. What prospects are trending up with Ohio State? Let's take a look.

July has come and gone with two new additions to Ohio State's 2019 recruiting class. Four-star linebacker Kane Patterson and three-star tight end Cormontae Hamilton are now in the fold and the Buckeyes' class checks in at No. 8 in the country. 

With 15 commitments already on board, the expectation is for 8-10 more between now and February's signing day. A number of position groups are likely finished, but offensive tackle, wide receiver, defensive line, and the secondary all have plenty of work to be done. 

Addressing the elephant in the room: Yes, there are a lot of strange things going on in Columbus. Ohio State fans – and the entire football program – should learn of Urban Meyer's fate within the next 12 days. And there's also the changes in the wide receiver room with Brian Hartline taking over in the interim following Zach Smith's termination. 

At this point there's no reason to speculate as to what impact the Meyer situation will have on recruiting. And to be honest, it will probably matter very little as long as Ohio State ends up retaining its head coach, and that certainly looks like the most likely outcome at this juncture. 

Meanwhile, there have been plenty of happenings on the recruiting trail as we offer an updated look at the 2019 board. 

ZACH HARRISON DE 1 1 ★★★★★ Penn State•Michigan
DARNELL WRIGHT OT 2 2 ★★★★★ Alabama•Tennessee•Virginia Tech
JAMESON WILLIAMS WR 3 4 ★★★★ Alabama•Oregon•Nebraska
MARCUS WASHINGTON WR 4 3 ★★★★ Missouri•Georgia•Texas•FSU
ELIJAH HIGGINS WR 5 NA ★★★★ Florida•Stanford•Texas
WALTER ROUSE OT 6 NA ★★★ Stanford•Penn State•Notre Dame
KAIIR ELAM CB 7 7 ★★★★ Florida•Georgia
PEYTON POWELL CB 8 9 ★★★★ Oklahoma•Baylor
TREVOR KEEGAN OT 9 6 ★★★★ Michigan•Penn State
D'VON ELLIES DT 10 NA ★★★ Penn State•Virginia Tech
WANDALE ROBINSON WR 11 NA ★★★★ Alabama•Michigan•Nebraska

*Last month's edition can be found HERE. 

It's no longer looking like Ohio State's top 2019 target will announce his decision next week. You can read into that however you want, but the bottom line is that five-star defensive end Zach Harrison simply isn't ready to decide between Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State.

The Aug. 14 date was never set in stone, but it's long been rumored that he had hoped to decide by that time (his birthday). We haven't heard a lot from the Lewis Center star throughout the process, and I wouldn't expect that to change leading up to his commitment; whenever that may be. 

With Doug Nester expected to play guard at the next level, the Buckeyes absolutely need to add another tackle. The 2020 class is off to a fantastic start with Paris Johnson Jr. and Jake Wray already in the fold, but there's still a glaring need for the current class.

Five-star offensive tackle Darnell Wright still appears to be fairly wide open, but it doesn't look like Ohio State is running any better than third at this point. Getting him on campus this summer was big news and there's still plenty of work to be done for the country's No. 2 tackle. Alabama and Tennessee look to be the favorites at this point, but this one could play out for a while. 

Sticking with the tackle theme, Walter Rouse makes his debut at the No. 6 spot on the board. The Washington D.C. product is wanting to pursue med school, and he's got programs like Yale, Duke, Stanford, and Northwestern all among his top choices. He made trips to Ohio State, Stanford, and Penn State in late July, and right now the Cardinal is the crystal ball favorite. 

Trevor Keegan remains on the board at No. 9, but again the Buckeyes aren't looking like the favorite. The Crystal Lake, Illinois prospect doesn't do a whole lot of talking, and it seems as though both Ohio State and Michigan have led at various points in the process. Penn State likely remains the dark horse and Urban Meyer had been in regular contact with the four-star. 

If the Buckeyes get the sense that Wright, Rouse, and Keegan are all headed elsewhere, then they may very well turn up the heat on Dayton's Jonathan Allen. The three-star was previously on the board, but at this point it does appear that Ohio State is taking thing slow on that front. Adding one of the big three plus Allen would perhaps be the ideal finish at tackle.

Looking for an answer to 2019 wide receiver recruiting? Then welcome to the club. But in all seriousness I think everyone is still trying to figure out what the board looks like now that Brian Hartline is running the show. I do believe there's one thing that can be said without much hesitation, and that is that Jameson Williams is the staff's top target at the position. 

The St. Louis Cardinal Ritter Prep star took a visit to Oregon a few weeks back, and there were some drumbeats that a commitment could come in favor of the Ducks. The majority of those drumbeats were coming from the Eugene faithful, but I do think Oregon made a pretty big impression. This one will likely come down to the Buckeyes, Ducks, and Crimson Tide. Ohio State is the crystal ball favorite but we will see how things transpire with the recent coaching staff shakeup. 

It's really anyone's guess as to who is next in line behind Williams. We previously had Marcus Washington as the top target at wideout, but recent events have changed things a bit. Elijah Higgins is a new addition and his relationship with Garrett Wilson may help the Buckeyes land both of the Austin, Texas stars. Stanford and Florida are likely the stiffest competition.

I think there are some questions surrounding both prospects, and I do believe the coaching change will have a big impact on each of the four-star wideouts. Washington was starting to trend toward Missouri before deciding to delay his scheduled announcement. He had been slated to make his choice today, which is also his birthday. It seems like the family prefers the Tigers, but we'll see how things unfold on that front.

Higgins has ties to Florida and you can never overlook Stanford for a kid with his smarts. The Gators and Cardinal are the crystal ball favorites but I genuinely think this is a recruitment that Ohio State could win. We'll see how the receiver board evolves in the coming weeks and months.

Wandale Robinson checks in at the No. 11 spot, and he's a unique player who brings a different skill set than someone like Garrett Wilson and the other top receiving options. Robinson is only about 5-foot-9, but he's someone who could be a perfect fit in the Buckeyes' system. The Frankfort, Kentucky all-purpose back is likely to play slot wideout or H-Back at the next level, and his recruitment seems pretty open at this point in time. His recruitment should come down to Ohio State, Michigan, and Alabama.

Kaiir Elam remains at No. 7 on the board and the Buckeyes are still in need of a cornerback or two. The North Palm Beach defender has all sorts of connections to the University of Florida, but Ohio State and Georgia are both pushing hard. Elam doesn't plan on announcing until later in the process and right now claims no leader.

News of another delayed announcement recently broke when four-star athlete Peyton Powell elected to slow things down. The Odessa, Texas quarterback is being recruited as a corner and has struck up a solid relationship with Greg Schiano. This delay seems to have more to do with a recent Oklahoma offer than the turmoil in Columbus. Powell is a Sooner legacy and you can bet he makes his way to Norman in the near future. Things are trending away from the Buckeyes, but we'll see what kind of relationship the OU staff can develop. 

Defensive tackle recruiting seems to be going through a bit of an overhaul, and right now it's tough to really pinpoint one guy at the top of the board. We've long had Apopka, Florida's Tyler Davis as the most likely option, but I'm not sure that's the case anymore. Davis is off the board and we're now rolling with D'Von Ellies as a priority target and the most likely addition along the interior defensive line. 

Again, this is not a position of great need, but it's still very likely that Larry Johnson and Co. will bring in one or two. We have it on good authority that Ellies was set to commit to Ohio State at one point last month, but he's received some new offers and may elect to slow things down a bit. As for now, an August commitment wouldn't be a surprise at all. Penn State, Florida, and Virginia Tech are also in the running for the three-star Maryland native.

We are just over three weeks away from an actual college football game in Columbus. Obviously these are some trying times filled with questions, petitions to "Save Urban Meyer," and weird rallies taking place outside of the north rotunda. But something tells me everything is going to work out just fine for Meyer and the Buckeyes. 

The long wait is almost over, and season can't get here soon enough. 

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