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.
Dekel Crowdus Announces Transfer to IMG
Kentucky wide receiver Dekel Crowdus has been a wideout that Ohio State wide receivers coach has had his eye on since late-spring, and the top 2021 prospect from the Bluegrass State really caught Hartline’s attention when he ran a 4.32 at Ohio State’s one-day camp in June.
Crowdus then went on to be one of only a few 2021 representatives at The Opening Finals in Frisco, Texas, where his stock as a recruit skyrocketed and where he played on the same 7-on-7 team as Ohio State commit Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
His profile continues to improve, as he announced that he will transfer to IMG Academy for his final two seasons of high school football.
“To better myself academically and athletically,” Crowdus told Eleven Warriors about why he is transferring.
Crowdus was part of a program at Frederick Douglass High School in Lexington, Kentucky, where it went undefeated throughout the regular season in 2018 but lost its second postseason game. He was also teammates with a top 2021 Ohio State offensive line target, Jager Burton, and Clemson top-100 commit Walker Parks.
The system that IMG runs, though, fits the skillset of Crowdus, who has a smaller frame and can work in what would be considered an H-back role.
The move comes a little late, though, and the timeline is moving quickly. Crowdus made the decision to transfer Thursday, was in Venice, Florida, to see IMG’s season-opening victory and moved in Sunday.
Crowdus listed Lejond Cavazos and Elias Ricks as teammates he’s excited to play with, and also included Miami wide receiver commit Michael Redding III, 2021 wide receiver Corey Palmer and four-star 2021 cornerback Markevious Brown.
Back when he attended the Ohio State camp, Crowdus had just 12 offers, and his recruitment appeared to be on the verge of exploding. He and Hartline had never spoken before he attended the one-day camp, but he left campus with an Ohio State offer that day. His offers list has only bumped to 15 since then, despite having jumped 44 inches in the vertical at The Opening Finals and posting one of the top SPARQ scores at the event. A move to IMG will aid that exposure.
As far as where Crowdus stands with Ohio State, he still remains in contact with the Buckeye staff, but Michigan has actually made a late push for him, and the 2020 and 2021 commits and targets are already pushing for him to go to Ann Arbor. It’s slightly different at Ohio State, where there is dwindling space for wide receivers in the 2021 class, and the Buckeyes have already piqued the interest of some top wideouts in the class.
2020 Commits With Something To Prove
Every high school players enters every season with something to prove. That’s the nature of a career that features just two – maybe three – years at such a developmental time in his life. But some Ohio State 2020 commits have a little more to prove than others.
These are just a few commits to watch closely as the 2019 season kicks in gear.
Cavazos is one of the most athletic prospects in the class. He runs a 4.40-second 40-yard dash and jumps 40 inches in the vertical. But Ohio State recruited him as a cornerback, despite most of his time being played at safety. Even with that time, Cavazos battled injuries that kept him off the field for most of his junior season.
As a result of that injury, Cavazos’ ratings haven’t jumped much. He’s still rated the No. 244 prospect overall in the class even though he is respected by his peers as one of the best.
He’s taking on the cornerback role across from five-star teammate Elias Ricks, who had a pick-six in IMG’s first game Friday. Cavazos had a strong start as well, recorded seven tackles, a defended pass and a forced fumble.
His length and his athleticism make him a prime cornerback in Jeff Hafley’s room, and when Cavazos played cornerback in 7-on-7 at The Opening Finals in July, he showed strong instincts and didn’t surrender much on the outside.
The week after Toutant flipped his commitment from Penn State to Ohio State on June 9, his overall rating dropped 66 spots, pushing him out of the top-400 and cutting off his fourth star.
Toutant, though, is a top prospect in the Detroit area, which is in the midst of some strong couple of classes. Being a tackle against some of the Detroit defenses of late hasn’t been easy job. But Toutant is one of the most athletic 6-foot-7 tackles in the country and is crucial to Warren De La Salle’s success in the running game.
There isn’t much that can be done by an offensive tackle throughout the season in terms of ratings, but adding another strong season of tape and building his strength before he gets to Columbus will be important.
Of the offensive line commits in the class, Toutant isn’t necessarily one that needs to prove much to the Ohio State staff, though.
Leroux is one that needs to prove something to the Ohio State staff. There are tools in Leroux’s game that make him a desirable prospect. He has a strong work ethic on the field and is someone that can be certainly take on a leadership position over time.
But his weight will likely be a factor when it comes to obstacles hindering his development. Ohio State would like to see him drop down closer to 310 from the current 330 he is at. That’s proven to be a difficulty for Leroux, whose weight has been inconsistent as of late.
His performances in camps during the summer, such as The Opening Regionals in March, the Under Armour All-American Camp in April and the Ohio State one-day camp in June, have also been inconsistent. He’s flashed real potential in some reps and really struggled in others.
If there is a commit with the most to prove in 2019, Leroux is the one.
When Miller is healthy, he has shown he is one of the best quarterbacks in the country. Ryan Day knows it. Mike Yurcich knows it. Corey Dennis knows it. And Urban Meyer knew it. Those facts alone should cement Miller near the top of the 2020 quarterbacks list.
But Miller has struggled with injuries as recently as this summer, when he missed the Elite 11 Finals and didn’t impress national recruiting reporters at the Rivals 5-Star Challenge. His ratings drops now have him at No. 6 among pro-style quarterbacks and No. 183 overall, though his arm flashes top-100.
Miller is a tough kid. There’s no doubt about that. He never pulls himself out of competition. And he hasn’t struggled with injuries until his junior season. But now he has a struggling offensive line at Chaparral. If there’s one thing he proved in his first game Friday it’s that he can make throws on the run.
Miller has a lot to prove to the nation, which is now viewing him through the lens of his ratings drop and not for what he is – a top quarterback in the country. His peers know it. His coaches know it. Ohio State fans should know it too.