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.
Noah Josey Spends Time in Big Ten Country
Of the three Brentwood Academy visitors traveling together through the Midwest this past weekend, 2021 offensive guard Noah Josey was the one programs were hoping to get a look at the most.
The 6-foot-5, 280-pound Tennessee native and the son of a Vanderbilt alumnus, Josey traveled with his teammates, Damon Owens and John Howse, as they hit Ohio State and Eastern Michigan on Friday, Michigan State and Michigan on Saturday and Notre Dame on Sunday.
Josey left Columbus with an offer.
“I was ecstatic,” Josey told Eleven Warriors. “I thought it might happen but didn’t know if it would.”
As detailed in Monday’s Hurry Up regarding John Howse, the trio of Brentwood Academy prospects was put in contact with Ohio State by their trainer, Daryl Graham, who worked with Mike Weber when they were both in Detroit.
But Josey has seen his recruitment lift off the ground quicker than his teammates have. The offensive guard is one of the top 2021 targets along the offensive line for Alabama and other programs, and growing up in Tennessee, the SEC is a big part of Josey’s perspective on football. He’s visited Alabama a couple times already.
“Being with a couple of my friends and being able to share the experience was great,” Josey said. “Being able to go somewhere that wasn’t an SEC or ACC school was great as well.They’re pretty similar, but getting a slightly different perspective on college football was cool, for sure.”
The No. 14 offensive guard was able to meet offensive line coach Greg Studrawa and running backs coach Tony Alford during his visit, and they were the coaches to break the news about his offer.
He was able to talk to Studrawa for around 30 minutes and said Alford is a “really real guy.”
“I thought they were really genuine,” Josey said. “You could tell there was a lot of care there from the coaches, which is really big for me. I love a place with a good family atmosphere.”
Josey has made a lot of visits in 2019, hitting LSU, Kentucky, Georgia and all of the schools listed previously, but he only camped at Clemson. He said he camped one time because he didn’t want to get injured.
That’s understandable for a key offensive lineman in Brentwood Academy’s front. The program won its fourth consecutive state title in 2018.
Makari Paige Commits to Michigan
Four-star Michigan safety Makari Paige announced his commitment to Michigan on Tuesday night via Twitter.
Paige had made a visit to Ohio State on the same day as five-star running back Kendall Milton in April and then made an official visit on June 21 for the Buckeye Bash & Barbecue.
Paige had seemed like the odd man out when Ohio State's staff was crunching numbers. Lathan Ransom had been the preferred safety between the two, and Cam Martinez will likely end up at safety as well. That had caused the Buckeyes and Paige to drift apart enough for Michigan to seal his commitment.
Paige is rated as the No. 22 safety in the class but has the talent to develop into a better safety than he is given credit for. His long body at 6-foot-3 allows him to play different styles at the position and he also has proven an ability to play in the box, as he recorded 105 tackles in 2018.
Paige is also teammates with Ohio State's top running back target in the 2021 class, Donovan Edwards, at West Bloomfield.
Jaylan Knighton Commits to Florida State
As expected, four-star all-purpose back Jaylan Knighton made it official and committed to Florida State on Tuesday night.
For the last month, Knighton had been set on committing to Ohio State, especially after the Buckeye Bash & Barbecue event. But he was the Seminoles’ top running back target remaining in the 2020 class, so they also invited him to their big recruiting weekend, Saturday Night Live, this past weekend.
“My heart told me to come here,” he told 247Sports about Florida State. “Everything about this school is for me. No bad feeling about the school. Perfect for my running style. Environment, coaching, my parents loved it. That’s what I care about the most, my parents loved it.”
Knighton had narrowed his recruitment down to Ohio State and Florida State for quite some time now, and it had been said that he was deciding on whether to stay close to home or not. Florida State is clearly closer to Knighton’s home in Deerfield Beach than Columbus is, and Saturday Night Live accomplished what Ohio State fans had feared it would – it gave Florida State the last chance at persuading Knighton to commit to its program.
Knighton represents the second top 2020 running back target that has committed away from Ohio State, as Kendall Milton committed to Georgia on Monday night.
The Buckeyes still have a short opportunity to persuade Bijan Robinson to commit to Ohio State before his decision date Friday, but that’s a small chance at this point, meaning the Buckeyes will probably go 0-for-3 on running backs this week. But as it will be stated later in the Hurry Up, the staff won’t surrender just because Knighton and Robinson have or will have committed somewhere else.
Reid Carrico Talks Clemson Visit
Ironton linebacker and No. 4 Ohio prospect Reid Carrico made his way to Clemson for a visit this past weekend, the first weekend after the month-long dead period. He told Eleven Warriors that the visit was “great.”
That understandably worries Ohio State fans, but Carrico also told Eleven Warriors that his relationship with Ohio State is “great” on Monday. That’s the way it’s been since before his name jumped onto the scene. He was a prospect Ohio State caught onto early in the 2021 cycle. You can read here what he told Eleven Warriors about Ohio State in March.
But Carrico has made at least three visits to Ohio State already – one on April 3, one for the spring game on April 13 and a visit to a one-day camp in June that he didn’t participate in because of a double-ear infection.
While in Clemson, Carrico was not able to meet Dabo Swinney, and Carrico didn’t get the impression he was disregarded by the head coach because it was Swinney’s son’s birthday. That means there will likely be another visit to Clemson later in the year, if Carrico hasn’t already committed to Ohio State by then.
Running Backs Recruiting After This Weekend's News
I wrote this morning about Ohio State’s options left at the running back position in the 2020 class, following the news from Sunday involving Bijan Robinson and Jaylan Knighton. These options should be understood under the circumstances in which signing day isn’t for another four and a half months.
Even though Knighton has committed to Florida State and Robinson is expected to go somewhere other than Ohio State – though there is still time to earn a reconsideration before Friday – that doesn’t mean Ohio State will back off of either of them. Whether the staff needs to do some recuperation after potential negative recruiting or convince their families that they are taken care of far away from home, Ohio State’s staff won’t leave it alone after their commitments.
With that being said, these are some potential options I listed in the story for the Buckeyes’ recruiting efforts moving forward in the 2020 class.
EJ Smith, the son of Hall of Famer Emmitt Smith, seems like the most likely option for Ohio State to dump its efforts into. He will take an official visit this fall but told Eleven Warriors that he has not scheduled it yet. He can develop into a three-down back like Ohio State was hoping to get but fits more of the mold that Knighton would have served – more of an all-purpose back that can work as a pure running back too. The Buckeyes are looking for exactly what Robinson and Knighton would have provided, a lead running back that can carry a load and a more dynamic, change-of-pace type of running back.
Dea Monte Trayanum is a real option for Ohio State later in the cycle. His relationship with Tony Alford was strong but there just wasn’t the room he hoped for within the class. If that’s still the case down the road, Trayanum might take another look at Ohio State, and he would be a good three-down ball carrier that Ohio State hopes to get as J.K. Dobbins exits.
Mike Drennen is very much an all-purpose back but doesn't have the potential that Knighton had to develop into a pure back. Smith can work in both areas, like Knighton was able to. Drennen is essentially a third-tier option at this point.
Landyn Watson Commits to LSU
Texas defensive end Landyn Watson made a surprise announcement Monday via Twitter that nobody, not even himself, expected him to make this early. The No. 14 weak-side defensive end committed to LSU after his visit this weekend.
“I did not go to LSU planning on committing,” Watson told Eleven Warriors on Monday.
Watson was in Columbus in June for the second one-day camp hosted by the Buckeyes. He didn’t participate, but he did have a one-on-one conversation with Ryan Day and met the staff. Ohio State didn't extend an offer, but it was optimistic with where it stood with Watson and his trajectory expected in his junior year after 20 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks as a sophomore in 2018.
But during his visit to Baton Rouge over the weekend, Watson said he had a “gut feeling” about LSU. Typically gut feelings can wear off over the course of an entire recruiting cycle, and, as with most recruits that commit this early, there is a chance the commitment is less than solid. That depends on whether other teams stay on him hard, but Ohio State does have other options at the position in 2021.
In fact, the Buckeyes have the best pass rusher in the class already committed, in five-star Pickerington defensive end Jack Sawyer. In-state end Najee Story is also currently leaning hard toward the Buckeyes.
247Sports Updates 2021 Ratings
If you read that subheadline and thought you’d read about a ratings update by 247Sports not all that long ago, that’s because this ratings update is for the 2021 class, which was in need of an update.
While defensive end Korey Foreman finally earned his fifth star from 247, Ironton standout linebacker Reid Carrico stole the national stage with his 164-spot bump to No. 34 overall. He is now rated No. 99 overall in the composite ratings. Michigan defensive tackle Damon Payne also earned his composite fifth star and is rated No. 20 overall.
Ohio State’s four commitments in the class are littered throughout the top-100 in composite ratings now. Jayden Ballard just missed the top-100 mark (109), but he will break that boundary with a strong season in 2019. Jack Sawyer is now No. 3, Kyle McCord is No. 38 and Ben Christman is No. 44.
This is where top Ohio State targets stand in the new 247Sports top247 ratings within the top-100 (reminder that these are separate from the composite ratings, so the commits will have different numbers than the ones above).
- No. 2: Korey Foreman
- No. 3: Jack Sawyer
- No. 8: Emeka Egbuka
- No. 19: Raesjon Davis
- No. 21: Tony Grimes
- No. 24: Ben Christman
- No. 25: Damon Payne
- No. 29: Nolan Rucci
- No. 31: Rocco Spindler
- No. 34: Reid Carrico
- No. 35: Donovan Jackson
- No. 36: Garrett Dellinger
- No. 39: Quintin Somerville
- No. 44: Will Shipley
- No. 46: Micah Morris
- No. 52: Marvin Harrison Jr.
- No. 60: Donovan Edwards
- No. 61: Travion Ford
- No. 66: Beaux Collins
- No. 69: Yanni Karlaftis
- No. 70: Tunmise Adeleye
- No. 94: Kyle McCord
MaxPreps All-America Teams Released
MaxPreps released its All-America teams for the Class of 2020, and several Ohio State commits were named. These are the notable prospects who were honored.
MaxPreps also released its All-America teams for the Class of 2021.
- Kyle McCord
- Marvin Harrison Jr.
- Beaux Collins
- Donovan Jackson
- Emeka Egbuka
- Damon Payne
- Raesjon Davis
- Jaylin Davies
- Tony Grimes
- Jack Sawyer
- Jonathan Flowe
- Will Shipley