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.
CHANGE OF PLANS
Though he previously said he would not make his college decision until his birthday during senior year — which falls next September 12 — it appears Oak Park, Michigan, five-star offensive guard Justin Rogers will be committing to the school of his choice much sooner than that.
Just don’t ask him for any explanation or the reason why he’s altering his decision timeline by more than a year.
Commit coming soon do not ask me why
— Justin Rogers (@AllAmerican52JR) August 18, 2018
The 6-foot-3, 311-pound Rogers — who is considered the top-rated offensive guard and No. 14 prospect overall in the Class of 2020 — has long been considered a heavy Ohio State lean, but a pair of trips to Georgia this summer have made the Bulldogs a serious threat to the Buckeyes’ chances.
Rogers has been to campus nearly a dozen times in the last year, since Columbus is just a small detour on the way to visiting family in Dayton. He’s grown especially close with head coach Urban Meyer, offensive line coach Greg Studrawa and the current players as a result.
“I’m really looking for academics and building relationships with the players,” Rogers told Eleven Warriors at The Opening Massillon Regional back in early May. “Nowadays, coaches get fired or get a new job, so I really want to build a relationship with the players.”
Also of note, Rogers is the teammate of Ohio State four-star quarterback commit Dwan Mathis. That certainly increases the Buckeyes’ chances, even if outsiders are caught up on his recent visits to Athens — you’ll note, too, not a single 247Sports Crystal Ball prediction has been placed in favor of Georgia.
With the investigation into Meyer’s knowledge of and actions regarding the domestic abuse allegations against former wide receivers coach Zach Smith wrapping up today and a decision to come soon, Ohio State’s recruiting efforts are about to ramp up again. And that could mean another commitment from one of the staff’s top junior targets.
The Buckeyes already hold three commitments in the trenches from Cincinnati five-star tackle Paris Johnson Jr., Georgia four-star tackle Jake Wray and New Jersey four-star guard Luke Wypler. Landing Rogers and Kansas four-star tackle Turner Corcoran — a top target who recently included Ohio State in his Top 7 earlier this month — would make for one massive haul.
A WAY OUT
Two years ago this October, Ohio State three-star athlete commit Craig Young wasn’t thinking about which college he’d attend or if he’d be a Division I athlete. His lone thought was wondering if he’d see another day.
Young, who was just 15 years old at the time, was hanging out at a friend’s house in Fort Wayne, Indiana, when bullets came flying through the walls as part of a drive-by shooting. One shot went through his hand, another hit his arm and the third pierced his leg.
His parents weren’t sure he was going to make it.
"I was just like, I don't want to die, I don't want to die," Young told Fort Wayne’s NBC affiliate. "I was just scooting back, and while I was scooting back I was seeing bullets flying past me and I'm just thinking I don't want to die."
Young’s injuries were not life-threatening, but forced him to miss the rest of his sophomore season. He used it as motivation on the football field, and that dedication to perfecting his craft ultimately led to his dream offer from Ohio State.
It also serves a dual purpose, which is getting out of gang-ridden Fort Wayne. Young doesn’t believe he was the target of the drive-by shooting, and
"I knew I had to get out of this," Young said. "I got to get out of this city, and [football] is the best thing for me."
Young, as mentioned, grew up rooting for the Buckeyes. He camped in Columbus in mid-June, which is when he got the go-ahead from the staff to commit following a stellar athletic performance.
"It was like a feeling that you can't explain," Young said. "I don't know if any kid commits to a school that they've been dreaming about since they were six years old could ever tell you how they feel."
Young and his Wayne teammates dropped their season opener on Friday night, 22-0. He recorded three tackles, one sack and one tackle for a loss — but given what happened two years ago, he’s just happy to have the opportunity to play the game he loves.
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Miller — who committed to the Buckeyes in early July — led Scottsdale, Arizona, Chaparral to a 36-33 overtime win over Chandler Hamilton on Friday night. He completed 23-of-46 passes for 402 yards and three touchdowns in the Firebirds’ first game at the Class 6A level.
Chaparral led for most of the game, but Hamilton rallied from a two-touchdown deficit to take a 30-27 lead in the fourth quarter. With the Firebirds facing a 4th-and-30 from roughly midfield on the ensuing possession, Miller connected with receiver Marcus Norvell Jr. for a 32-yard pitch and catch to keep the drive alive.
— Cody Cameron (@CodyTCameron) August 18, 2018
Chaparral connected on a 44-yard field goal just seconds later to send the game into college rules overtime.
Hamilton got the ball first, but was unable to muster more than three points. That’s when Miller, who also converted a 4th-and-12 on his last drive, took over. Facing 3rd-and-goal, he lofted a perfect ball to one-on-one coverage in the back corner of the end zone for the win.
@jackjamesmiller to @kingmarcus1313 Chaparral Wins in OT! #Dimedropped! @QBHitList @ChapfootballAZ @Chaptownbcage @Bill_Kurelic @Birm @jason247scout @JUSTCHILLY pressure is a privilege pic.twitter.com/xPTocfTkpB
— Jack Miller (@cocoabeach_28) August 18, 2018
Ohio State four-star running back commit Darvon Hubbard also rushed for a pair of touchdowns (from 57 and six yards out, respectively) for the Firebirds.