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.
Gavin Sawchuk Makes Appearance at OSU's Weekend Barbecue
Colorado running back Gavin Sawchuk told Eleven Warriors when he received an offer from Ohio State in March that he understood recruiting could sneak up on young recruits, so the 2022 playmaker made several visits this summer, including being one of the only 2022 prospects at Ohio State’s Buckeye Bash & Barbecue – an invite-only event.
“I thought they were really cool,” Sawchuck told Eleven Warriors about Ohio State’s coaching staff. “I enjoyed meeting them, and I really liked their coaching methods and what they teach – not only the position coaching but also the mentoring and teaching they give their players outside of football.”
Sawchuck had also been to Notre Dame and Michigan during the summer.
“I just wanted to hit all the schools that I have interest in, so when the time comes to make a decision, I’m ready and I can make my decision without regret or worry," he said.
Big shout out to @CoachTonyAlford for all the luv you guys showed us at @OhioStateFB. @G28football had a great time and thanks for the unique photo shoot. Excited to get back to Columbus. pic.twitter.com/KapfToEGJw— Kevin Sawchuk (@ksaw75) June 22, 2019
Sawchuk has offers from Ohio State, Oregon, Michigan, Penn State, Colorado, Iowa and others already and will surely be one of the top backs in his class. He could also be one of the top all-purpose backs if he is reclassified.
Ohio State running backs coach Tony Alford identified this immediately when he met Sawchuck at Valor Christian in Littleton, Colorado, while on a visit to Washington offensive tackle commit Roger Rosengarten. Valor Christian’s head coach is former NFL wide receiver Ed McCaffrey, who is the father of Carolina Panthers standout Christian McCaffrey.
McCaffrey used his freshman speedster in space, where Sawchuk was able to gain speed and make guys miss. He returned kickoffs and punts, split out wide and in the slot and also ran reverses. Sawchuk did run some plays out of the backfield too, but his role there will continue to grow as he gets older.
The barbecue was an invite-only event, meaning only the prospects that Ohio State is very interested in were in attendance. The Colorado running back was able to meet the rest of the staff, after just meeting Alford in Colorado before. Sawchuk will likely receive that same treatment from the Buckeyes throughout the rest of his recruitment.
Putting Michigan’s Weekend into Perspective
Four-star wide receiver and No. 80 recruit overall A.J. Henning announced his commitment to Michigan on Wednesday, becoming the Wolverines’ top-rated recruit in the 2020 class.
Several folks have been referencing Michigan’s big recruiting weekend in relation to Ohio State’s Buckeye Bash & Barbecue weekend, and it makes sense. Both weekends occurred at the same time and just before the dead period. The only difference was that the Wolverines landed eight commitments as a result of the weekend, and on the surface, the Buckeyes have received two official commitments from their weekend.
But it’s worth slowing down and putting into perspective what Michigan accomplished on its weekend, and once the lens is pulled back, Ohio State fans might feel more at ease with the Buckeyes’ situation than Michigan fans are with theirs.
First, it’s important to talk about the recruits that Michigan earned over Ohio State, and the top one from this weekend was Jordan Morant, who wasn’t expected to announce his commitment until the All-America Bowl on Jan. 4. Understanding Lathan Ransom’s interest in Ohio State might have had something to do with that.
But the Wolverines also brought in center Reece Atteberry, who was a long shot for Ohio State at this point after having nearly committed last summer, and linebacker William Mohan, who told Eleven Warriors that Ohio State was a real contender for him after his visit June 14 but clearly saw his window of opportunity to commit to Michigan last weekend.
Outside of those three prospects and Aaron Lewis, who flipped from West Virginia to Michigan and was loosely recruited by Ohio State, it’s tough to state that Michigan is better off than the Buckeyes.
Ohio State has brought in three top-40 overall offensive linemen, including the top tackle and center in the form of Paris Johnson Jr., Luke Wypler and Grant Toutant, and Trey Leroux and Jakob James are projects with high ceilings and low floors but have a good chance at developing into decent options along the line. Both Atteberry and Jeffrey Persi are rated behind the top three Buckeye offensive line commits overall.
Andre Seldon will be a very good option for the Wolverines at cornerback, but even as the No. 20 cornerback in the country, he just doesn’t hold a candle to the talent Clark Phillips brought to the Ohio State class as a cornerback over the weekend.
Every class needs players like Eamonn Dennis, who brings raw athleticism but needs help finding a position and with technical skills. Michigan also took Gaige Garcia, the teammate of Julian Fleming at Southern Columbia, who will not count toward scholarship unless he proves he can help the team. He will be at Michigan for wrestling.
The waters really get murky when comparing high school athletes because of the maturation their bodies must go through and how they mesh with coaching staffs, but the point is that Ohio State fans shouldn’t fret about competition within the conference on the recruiting front, even though Michigan jumped from No. 26 nationally to No. 9 over the weekend.
And Michigan’s big recruiting weekend certainly won’t prove to eventually be as big as Ohio State’s, as I wrote about this morning. The Buckeye staff is very confident that commitments will stem from last weekend.
New NCAA Transfer Guidelines
USA TODAY reported that the NCAA will be tightening its transfer rules to limit the number of football and basketball players that can be granted immediate eligibility.
Ryan Day spoke about the transfer portal at the beginning of June, and he, like many coaches, said he understood why it needed to be put in place but was “worried” about what it would do to the future of college football.
Well, the NCAA has handled a lot of anxiety and responded with adjusting the language to the original guidelines. The NCAA Division I council is meeting today to determine if the change is adequate.
The original language read that the transferring student-athlete must show “documented mitigating circumstances outside of the student-athlete’s control and directly impacts the health, safety or well-being of the student-athlete.”
Now, they must show “documented extenuating, extraordinary and mitigating circumstances outside of the student-athlete’s control that directly impacts the health, safety or well-being of the student-athlete.”
It might seem small, but the change in language is what USA TODAY reported to be a “short-term” change to the guidelines that will limit the number of waivers being sought during the next season.
There were some other changes to the eligibility rules outside of the transfer portal, and those can be found in the report linked here and previously in this section of the Hurry Up.
Of course, when a conversation about the transfer portal occurs, the mention of Ohio State’s presence is mentioned, as Tate Martell transferred from Ohio State to Miami and Justin Fields transferred from Georgia to Ohio State and both are eligible immediately.
“While many athletes such as high-profile quarterbacks Justin Fields (Georgia to Ohio State) and Tate Martell (Ohio State to Miami) have been granted waivers for reasons that publicly appear to be ambiguous, social media has fueled frustration among school officials and fan bases in cases like tight end Luke Ford (Georgia to Illinois) and offensive lineman Brock Hoffman (Coastal Carolina to Virginia Tech) where waivers have been denied.”