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.
Liam Clifford Working for More Power Five Offers
St. Xavier wide receiver Liam Clifford has a lot of athleticism and is just now figuring out where to use it on a football field. The high school sophomore who reports a self-timed 40-yard dash in the 4.40s has played most of his football days at the quarterback position. That was until he broke his leg during his freshman year and missed the football season.
His injury prompted a move to wide receiver, and after one season at the position, he earned an offer from Michigan, extended by former Michigan linebackers coach and current Ohio State linebackers coach Al Washington.
“You always remember your first offer,” Clifford said. “It’s very special to me. They saw a lot in my speed and my ability to beat guys deep and play both sides of the ball.”
In addition to wide receiver, Clifford plays safety, and other programs that are recruiting him are looking at him on the defensive side of the ball, even though Clifford feels most comfortable at receiver.
Ohio State reached out to Clifford when Taver Johnson was on staff before taking his job with the Oakland Raiders, and he was the primary recruiter between Ohio State Clifford, until the coaching changes that sent Washington to Ohio State.
Washington was with Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh at St. Xavier, having only seen Clifford’s tape and St. Xavier’s workout that December day, when the coaching duo extended an offer to Clifford. He was the only player to receive an offer from Michigan’s trip to Cincinnati that day.
“Having a big-time coach like (Harbaugh) see you and want to have you on his team was big for me,” Clifford said.
Now Washington, who was the primary recruiter for Clifford at Michigan, has moved to Ohio State, and not much has changed between the two.
“He’s the same guy,” Clifford said. “He didn’t change. He has the same morals and everything. It just carried over to Ohio State.”
Clifford said he was told by Washington that he will likely receive an Ohio State offer once more time passes and once Washington can introduce the receiver to the Ohio State coaching staff. Clifford is continuing to become one of the top prospects in the state as the process continues.
He has just four offers, from Michigan, Toledo, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, but that list will grow as more schools begin to pull the trigger on the St. Xavier standout. Penn State is also another school interested.
Being that Clifford is on the same offense as current five-star Ohio State commit Paris Johnson Jr., Clifford said he has asked Johnson about what it’s like at Ohio State and that Johnson has said only positive things.
“He loves it there,” Clifford said. “He always talks about how it’s a family up there.”
Clifford made his way to Notre Dame on March 30 and was at Ohio State on Friday, April 5, as well. He is also planning a visit to Michigan State in the spring.
R.J. Mickens to Clemson
Texas four-star safety R.J. Mickens verbally committed to Clemson over the weekend. The No. 1 safety in the 2020 class was at an Ohio State camp in June but had made four visits to Clemson before making his fifth this weekend with his parents, including his father, Ray Mickens, who played in the NFL for nine seasons.
Mickens had included Ohio State in his most recent cut list, but it seemed like a long shot for the Buckeyes to land his commitment, and Ohio State turned its attention toward other safeties in the class, such as Arizona four-star safety Lathan Ransom, four-star New Jersey safety Jordan Morant and four-star Michigan safety Makari Paige, who was in Columbus on Friday.
Clemson now has the No. 2 recruiting class for 2020, jumping Miami with Mickens’ commitment and sitting behind Alabama. Ohio State is No. 6.
Another Tight End Offer
Three-star tight end Jonathan Odom earned an Ohio State offer Sunday. The Tampa prospect’s offer is the latest effort by Ohio State to land a tight end in the 2020 class. Odom is the No. 28 tight end in his class but dons offers from Alabama, Florida, LSU and others.
He took an official visit to LSU over the weekend and has an official set up at Florida, the school he is projected to commit to, next weekend. Odom has also named a top-11, which includes Alabama, Purdue, Louisville, Florida, Miami, Florida State, Vanderbilt, Penn State, Nebraska, and Iowa.