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.
PATIENCE IS KEY
As Ohio State continues its investigation into head coach Urban Meyer’s knowledge of and actions regarding the domestic dispute allegations against former wide receivers coach Zach Smith, an air of uncertainty hangs over the Buckeyes’ 2019 and 2020 recruiting classes.
All 21 prospects have remained firm in their commitment to Ohio State despite the investigation and continued developments reported in the media, but very much in a wait-and-see mode regarding the status of their future head coach.
A final decision from the investigative firm and board of trustees is expected by the end of the week, so it’s only a matter of time before they — as well as the current coaching staff, players and fans — are given an answer.
It’s been more than two weeks since Meyer was placed on paid administrative leave, and he’s not permitted to have any contact with players or coaches during this time. He does not have access to any university-issued communication devices or his school email account, either.
That means all of his communication with commits and other recruits are being relayed through intermediaries, and he’s relying heavily upon his assistants to hold the classes together in his absence.
“His messages are getting to the kids, and his side is being communicated,” one unnamed high school coach of a 2019 commit told Sports Illustrated.
Sources close to the program and several commits have expressed confidence that Meyer will still be the head coach when the investigation concludes, which is a big reason why the Buckeyes — which sit eighth in the 247Sports Composite Team Rankings — have been able to keep their class intact.
“I think if it was a different school with a staff that didn’t do as good of a job communicating, you’d probably have more fallout,” 247Sports Director of Recruiting Steve Wiltfong said. “Ohio State is as good as it gets in communicating with their kids and targets.”
If Meyer is ultimately not retained, it’s likely we’ll see a number of decommitments in the days after such an announcement. If he remains the head coach moving forward, however, the only real casualty when it comes to the Buckeyes’ recruiting efforts is a pair of delayed announcements from St. Louis four-star receiver Marcus Washington and Texas four-star athlete Peyton Powell.
ODELL BECKHAM III
We’ve grown accustomed to seeing Ohio State five-star wide receiver commit Garrett Wilson doing ridiculous things on the football field, but a catch he made in practice earlier this week might be the highlight of his high school career.
— Overtime (@overtime) August 14, 2018
So let me get this straight. Not only does the 6-foot-1 and 180-pound Wilson — who regularly leaps over defenders to secure a catch — have to reach as far as he can with one hand for the ball, he also puts in between his legs while doing the splits before falling to the ground? That certainly takes some serious hand-eye coordination.
Of course, we’re talking about practice (shoutout to Allen Iverson), and doing that in a game with a defender draped all over you seems physically impossible. But if there’s anyone who could do it, it’s Wilson, who I’ve touted as the country’s best wide receiver since I first watched him play last fall.
Echoing the sentiments of his fellow commits, Wilson also reaffirmed his commitment to the Buckeyes earlier this week — acknowledging he'd only look around if Meyer was not retained or acting head coach/offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Ryan Day was not promoted in his absence.
"At the end of the day, I feel those kids are going to come back stronger after this," he said. "Coach Meyer is going to come back stronger and they’re going to win a [national championship] this year.”
Wilson and Lake Travis, meanwhile, open their season on Aug. 31 against Arlington Martin.
Colarado four-star offensive tackle Jake Moretti became the seventh member of Ohio State’s Select ’17 recruiting class when he committed to the Buckeyes on July 4, 2015.
He then tore his ACL, stretched his peroneal nerve and dislocated his left knee when his leg buckled beneath him while he was running through a non-contact shuttle drill during a one-day camp in Columbus the following summer, and missed his entire senior season as a result.
"It's tough," Moretti told Buffzone. “Sometimes I wish it was just the ACL, but it's the cards I'm dealt and I just have to make the most of it. The toughest part has just been the time period, because with the nerve you don't really know. The training staff and the strength staff have been awesome in helping me get through it."
Though Moretti’s rehab was going well, the Buckeyes were not going to allow him to enroll early since he wasn’t going to be healthy in time for spring practices. He ultimately flipped his pledge to the home-state Buffaloes in November 2017, citing a desire to be close to home and his ability to enroll in college classes that winter.
Moretti was redshirted as a freshman last season as the injury lingered, but returned to full strength for spring football. He’s been working with the first- and second-team at left tackle this fall, and will likely be the backup to redshirt junior Josh Kaiser for the season opener against rival Colorado State.
"There's some days that are great, some days that are a little tougher than others," Moretti said. ”It's one of those things, it's up and down. Right now it's been feeling good for most of camp, so I'm optimistic."
Ohio State signed California five-star offensive guard Wyatt Davis, Miamisburg four-star tackle Josh Myers and Massillon Washington four-star Thayer Munford that same cycle. Munford, who committed on National Signing Day, is in line to start at left tackle this fall.