The Hurry Up: Tre Bradford Added to List of 2020 Running Back Targets, Deont'e Thornton Decommits from Penn State

By Taylor Lehman on August 1, 2019 at 5:00 pm
Tony Alford
Tony Alford

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.

Tre Bradford Receives Ohio State Offer, Added to 2020 RB Targets List

After Ohio State missed out on Kendall Milton and Jaylan Knighton’s commitments earlier this week and was told Sunday that five-star running back Bijan Robinson will likely be committing elsewhere, the Buckeye staff went back to the drawing board.

There were several options from the running backs that the staff had already offered, which were detailed on Eleven Warriors earlier this week, but there were bound to be targets Ohio State had who had not yet received offers. 

One of those targets was Kevontre “Tre” Bradford – the No. 18 running back in the 2020 class and the No. 235 overall prospect in the nation. He received his Ohio State offer Thursday.

“It means a lot. I’m very excited,” Bradford told Eleven Warriors on Thursday. “I just started talking to them like two days ago, maybe three days ago.”

Ohio State running backs coach Tony Alford had reached out to Bradford shortly after the news of Robinson’s change of heart, and Ryan Day extended the offer. 

Bradford said he is not yet aware of the running back situation that has recently opened up this week in the 2020 class, and he hasn’t had much time to look into the future at the running back position for the Buckeyes. But he likes the program at this point simply because it’s Ohio State.

“I mean, it’s Ohio State. I’m pretty sure everybody likes them,” Bradford said. “It’s a good school. They’ve got good education. I just like them.”

Bradford isn’t necessarily a big, bruising type of running back, at 5-foot-11, 190 pounds, and while he certainly can catch the ball out of the backfield to an extent, he’s only caught 13 passes in two years on the Varsity team. He averaged 10.4 yards per carry and eclipsed 1,000 yards with 1,164 in 2018. 

Much of what makes Bradford a good running back are subtleties in the way he runs. He won’t set the field on fire with his speed, but he’s extremely good at making himself small while splitting defenders and attacking the hole in the line. His combination of patience and field vision is what allows him to get himself into positions to have successful runs of 10 yards or more. 

His film is  a large part of why the Buckeye staff decided to extend an offer, Bradford said.

“I’m going to visit for sure,” Bradford said. “I’m going to try to do an official and come up for a game.”

While Bradford has made one official visit – Wisconsin on June 21 – he hasn’t released a top-schools list yet, but this offer is making him consider settling into one.

“It kind of basically makes me start going towards a top-five,” he said.

Bradford joins a list of several out-of-state options the Buckeyes are entertaining. That list includes EJ Smith, Jalen Berger, Lawrance Toafili, Darvon Hubbard, Zachary Evans and others.

Bijan Robinson Announces Commitment Time

The stage is now set for five-star Arizona running back Bijan Robinson to commit Friday, as he announced via his Instagram account Thursday that he will commit at noon Pacific Time – or 3 p.m. ET.

Most Ohio State fans understand that the Buckeyes have a long shot to earn that commitment and that the Ohio State staff will go 0-for-3 on top running back targets this week, with Milton and Knighton having committed elsewhere. But the staff isn’t surrendering on either Robinson or Knighton.

If Robinson commits to another school – and I expect that he will – tomorrow, it won’t be the end for the Buckeyes and Robinson. 

Dont’e Thornton Decommits, A Look at 2021 Receivers

No. 4 wide receiver Dont’e Thornton announced via Twitter on Thursday that he has decommitted from Penn State. The Baltimore native had been committed to the Nittany Lions since Feb. 2.

Brian Hartline has been interested in Thornton for awhile, but, even though he is the No. 4 wide receiver in the class, there is a possibility of there not being enough spots for Thornton within Ohio State’s 2021 class. The Buckeyes have already pushed hard for some top-tier talent at the position, and they’re doing it with success – success that could rival what was seen in Hartline’s first cycle in 2020

Jayden Ballard, the No. 91 prospect overall in the class and the No. 19 wide receiver, is already committed to the Buckeyes, and he will continue to see a rise once his junior season progresses in 2019. But outside of Ballard, the list is still quite impressive.

Marvin Harrison Jr., the No. 8 wideout in the class, has expressed to Eleven Warriors his strong desire to be part of the Ohio State program with his Philadelphia teammate, Kyle McCord. His Hall of Fame father has also made several trips to Columbus and likes what he sees from Hartline. Even though Harrison took a visit to Clemson in June, it still wouldn’t be surprising to see him commit to Ohio State in the coming months to ensure a spot in the class.

Beaux Collins, the No. 2 wideout in the class, was in Columbus in March and has been high on Ohio State since the winter and even named Ohio State and Clemson to his top-two. Outside of Harrison and Ballard, Collins is likely the top target at the position. Emeka Egbuka, who is classified as an athlete and is the No. 8 overall player, is another West Coast target at wideout, but he is more of an H-back type of receiver, which would be ideal since Ohio State is already recruiting the tall, outside-the-numbers receivers in Ballard Harrison and Collins.

Then there’s Pickerington receiver Lorenzo Styles, who’s also rated in the top-100 but will likely draw out his recruitment longer than receivers like Ballard and Harrison, which could throw a wrench in the expectations that Styles was a sure fit for Ohio State. If he doesn’t land in Columbus, Notre Dame seems to be the next option. It would be very realistic, though, if Collins landed at Clemson if Harrison commits early, given the similarities in how the committed receivers are to his playing style. So a commitment from Styles still has good odds.

Other receivers Hartline has warmed up to as the cycle has progressed include Kentucky speedster Dekel Crowdus, No. 12 wideout Gavin Blackwell, Georgia receiver Julian Nixon – who was at the spring game – Tennessee wideout Walker Merrill, Georgia standout Shawn Hardy and No. 75 wideout Troy Stellato – who is severely underrated. St. Xavier receiver and No. 15 Ohio prospect Liam Clifford has also been hoping for an Ohio State offer and has had conversations with the Buckeye staff.

It’s safe to say there are plenty of options there, and those are just the receivers who have developed and have begun to develop good relationships with Hartline. Nearly every receiver in the country wants to play for him, but there is only so much room. So that is why there could potentially be few spots left for the No. 4 wide receiver in the country. 

Written Scholarship Offers Released, Johnson and Henry Apply

Aug. 1 marked the first day programs were allowed to extend written scholarship offers, so Ohio State extended theirs and the commits made it known. From Paris Johnson Jr. to Trey Leroux, commits made it known on social media that they received their Buckeye offers. 

Kicker Jake Seibert did not tweet his offer because he has not received it, given that he might need to grayshirt his first year to maintain room in the class. 

Several other prospects also received their offers from other programs, including Kendall Milton, Makari Paige and others.

On the first day having their scholarship offers, Paris Johnson Jr. and Darrion Henry submitted applications to attend Ohio State, per Monica Johnson. 

Henry responded to her tweet saying he was "1000% committed."

Johnson seems as committed as he's ever been to Ohio State, but Ohio State fans would sure like to see him send a tweet saying he's "1000% committed." This seems like an attempt to show that he is solidly committed to the Buckeyes, but until the tweets come from him, there will always be the possibility of another reality. 

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