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.
Jaheim Thomas Commits to Cincinnati
Cincinnati linebacker Jaheim Thomas announced his commitment to his hometown school, Cincinnati, on Saturday, and before he announced his decision, I outlined his past with teammates Paris Johnson Jr. and Darrion Henry throughout the recruiting process. It was no secret he was going to Cincinnati.
It’s a great fit for the Princeton linebacker and provides an opportunity to remain at the position, which he has hoped to do since the beginning of his recruitment. Programs like Ohio State and others believed he would be best fit at defensive end, with his frame of 6-foot-3, 215 pounds.
Cincinnati is putting together an impressive recruiting class, ranked No. 46 in the nation, and that class is centered around the commitments of four in-state recruits, quarterback Evan Prater, cornerback Deshawn Jones, linebacker Daved Jones and Thomas. It’s hard to overstate how big Prater’s commitment is to the Bearcats, after he led Cincinnati Wyoming to a state title and has the capability of becoming a good quarterback at Cincinnati.
While Cincinnati and head coach Luke Fickell are putting together an impressive class, 247Sports published an article that claimed Cincinnati “continues to beat” Power Five programs for commitments, and that's not a complete truth. Thomas was not a take for the major Power Five programs – Michigan State and LSU – included in his top schools list.
His performance at the Under Armour All-American Camp in Cincinnati on April 14 was less than stellar, as he relied on his length for much of his coverage, and he was slower than other linebacker prospects. But in game scenarios, Thomas is a force and will serve well for Cincinnati wherever the Bearcats play him.
Darrius Clemons Draws Interest from Hartline, Has Relationship with Gee Scott Jr.
Gee Scott Jr. is recruiting more than just the receivers in his own class, like recent commitment Mookie Cooper. He’s also reaching into other classes to pull top wideouts off the West Coast for future Ohio State classes.
The most recent example of this is Oregon 2022 receiver Darrius Clemons, who is drawing interest from wide receivers coach Brian Hartline. Clemons’ father, Larry, told Eleven Warriors that Hartline and Darrius talk every other week on phone calls.
“We’ve talked a few times on the phone,” Darrius told Eleven Warriors.“I think I’m gonna go see a game and we’ll talk more there.”
Clemons reached out to Scott, since they play in the same areas for 7-on-7 tournaments, and Scott gave him tips on the recruiting process, what he looks for in a team and what he found in Columbus. Then Scott got him in contact with Hartline.
By this point, Clemons’ assistant coach, who played with Hartline on the Miami Dolphins, had sent Clemons’ film to the Ohio State receivers coach, and Hartline had positive feedback.
Scott told Clemons that one of the things that gave him a strong affinity for Ohio State was that the staff offered and showed interest in him early in the process and saw him as a leader for the 2020 class.
“He takes pride in Ohio State and getting his class to be ready to win a national championship,” Clemons said. “He’s definitely the dude out here. It’s a good feeling knowing that there’s somebody from the same area as me doing the same things that I aspire to do. Just seeing what he does and seeing what I might need to do in the future.”
Clemons moved to Oregon when he was 10 years old but lived in DeWitt, Michigan, as a child. He also has family in Indiana, so he is familiar with the Midwest, similarly to Scott, whose father also lived in Indiana at a young age.
Clemons’ father played at Florida for a short time, so he is familiar with the recruiting process and understands who Hartline is as a coach. Clemons said they watch the Ohio State-Michigan game every year, though they have no allegiances in college football.
At 6-foot-3, Clemons can stretch a team vertically but also climb the ladder for passes. He doesn’t have too large of a role within Westview High School’s offense yet, but the tools are there for him to find plenty of success in the near-future.
He doesn’t have many prestigious offers yet, since he is still young, but he does have an offer from Oregon State. Michigan State’s offer stands out the most though.
“It was reassuring to know that I’m doing all the right things in my workouts and working hard,” Clemons said. “It just helped me realize I need to keep doing what I’m doing now.”
Cody Simon is Third-Best Linebacker at The Opening Finals
Late last week, The Opening released its top-10 linebacker combine ratings from The Opening Finals in Frisco, Texas. It’s no secret that Ohio State commit Cody Simon posted impressive numbers in the five testing areas, but his overall rating finished third among linebackers at the event.
Sewell and Steiner will bring near NFL-ready bodies to the college level, which is great news for Auburn and wherever Sewell will end up – likely somewhere in the Pac-12 or SEC. Simon posted a 4.53-second 40-yard dash, a 38-inch vertical and a 4.18-second shuttle. Those are all outstanding numbers for a high school linebacker.
As far as his football knowledge, Simon is one of the best in the nation, and he understands what playing at a top program takes, since his brother plays at Notre Dame. It’s hard to imagine Simon not pushing himself above that No. 10 outside linebacker rating either before he graduates or in his time at Ohio State.
Drake Maye Commits to Alabama
North Carolina quarterback Drake Maye announced via Twitter that he has committed to Alabama. That announcement was quite a surprise since he had been nearly locked as a quarterback commit for North Carolina, where his brother, Luke, was a star on the basketball team and his father played quarterback. Maye’s parents met at North Carolina.
Committed to The University of Alabama! Roll Tide pic.twitter.com/AiZltK9gAX— Drake Maye (@DrakeMaye2) July 17, 2019
While the familial ties to North Carolina were there, they weren’t enough to sway the No. 5 quarterback away from Alabama. His relationship with Nick Saban grew, and he was close with offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian, and eventually, Alabama and North Carolina rose as the top two schools for Maye.
Ohio State was in the mix with him as well, but that was before Kyle McCord committed to be the 2021 quarterback for the Buckeyes. That stunted Ohio State's relationships with several top 2021 quarterbacks, like Miller Moss, Carlos Del Rio, Jake Garcia, Preston Stone and J.J. McCarthy, who later committed to Michigan.
Maye visited Ohio State when his brother and the Tar Heels were in Columbus for the First Round of the NCAA Tournament, and he also participated in the Under Armour All-America Cincinnati Camp in April. The entire time, though, it seemed like the Buckeyes would need to pull Maye away from North Carolina.
With the quarterback scenario at Alabama, Tuscaloosa was bound to be a landing spot for any of the top quarterbacks in the country. Tua Tagovailoa will likely head to the NFL after the 2019 season, and his brother, Taulia has a good chance to be his successor. Once Maye steps on campus in 2021, Taulia will be entering his junior season. Outside of Taulia, Maye shouldn’t have much competition for the quarterback spot. The North Carolina native could be the starter as soon as his sophomore year, but any Ohio State fan knows how quarterbacks can transfer and shift the room in just one offseason.
Maye has the tools to be the best quarterback in the country, granted that can be said about nearly any quarterback in the top-10. But the chance is high that if the Ryan Day era in Columbus goes as well as folks hope it will, Maye could be playing against a Buckeye defense.