The Hurry Up: Ohio State Reaches out to 2020 Running Back Henry Parrish, Elliot Donald Lists Buckeyes in Top-eight

By Taylor Lehman on August 28, 2019 at 4:50 pm
Elliot donald

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.

Henry Parrish Contacted by Ohio State

Three-star 2020 running back Henry Parrish is committed to Pitt, but that commitment is far from solid, even though he told 247Sports Friday nothing about his commitment has changed. 

The No. 63 running back in the class is hoping to visit South Carolina, who extended him an offer in July. South Carolina running back coach Thomas Brown, who I discussed earlier this week as a rising star among assistant coaches, has been in contact with Parrish since Brown was at Miami.

Speaking of Miami, the Hurricanes are also growing as a contender for Parrish before signing day.

But now, Ohio State is throwing its hat into the ring, as Bill Kurelic of 247Sports reported that the Buckeye staff reached out to Parrish recently, expressing interest in developing a relationship. 

Let’s set the record straight. Parrish is better than No. 911 in the class. There’s no question about that. His instincts as a runner are far above average, and while he doesn’t get as much separation from defenders in space as someone would like to see from a back measured at 5-foot-10, 183 pounds, he’s tough to bring to the ground. He made SportsCenter’s Top 10 with this play.

The reason he is able to make plays like the one above is – yes, because he is strong – but also because he is decisive. That’s something that top programs are looking for. What does a running back do when he gets the ball and how fast does he do it? For Parrish, he hits the hole hard when he gets the ball, and he does that as quickly as some of the top running backs in the country. When a running back can get on a second- or third-level defender a step or two quicker than that defender is anticipating, he gets them on their heels and then makes examples out of them. 

Parrish has been a late bloomer. He exploded onto the scene in 2018, when he rushed for 1,878 yards. He’s off to a hot start this season as well. He ran for 324 yards and three touchdowns Friday.

In his junior-year tape, Parrish also looks natural when catching passes. That would lead one to believe he would be recruited with the likes of all-purpose backs, but his running ability makes him more of a running back.

This effort by Ohio State to make contact with him comes after Bijan Robinson and Jaylan Knighton committed to Texas and Florida State respectively. Parrish would fit into a role that the Buckeyes were potentially seeing for Knighton, but that’s adding to a pool that is growing larger than the pool of backs that would fill the Robinson role of a lead running back. 

Kavontre Bradford is probably the most suited to fill the Robinson role, and EJ Smith and Mike Drennen are also with Parrish in the Knighton role. But Parrish’s running ability provides an opportunity to develop as a lead back more than one would expect from a running back rated outside of the top-900. 

Elliot Donald Includes Ohio State in Top-Eight

Elliot Donald, the nephew of NFL Defensive MVP Aaron Donald and four-star defensive end out of Pittsburgh, released his top-eight via Twitter earlier this week, and Ohio State was included. 

The No. 85 overall 2021 prospect also listed Notre Dame, Penn State, Michigan, LSU, Pitt, Texas A&M and West Virginia.

Donald is proving to be filling in his uncle’s shoes as well as he could as a sophomore going into his junior season. The No. 8 strongside defensive end in the class record 14 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks and forced two fumbles in 2018. 

Donald is a top 2021 target for the Buckeyes. He was in Columbus for the Student Appreciation Day event, the same event that swung interest for recruits like Julian Fleming, Emeka Egbuka, Beaux Collins and others, on March 23. But Pitt, where Aaron played his college ball, is proving to be a tough beat at this point, though Ohio State likes where it sits with the defensive end.

Cam Large Commits to Wisconsin

Massachusetts tight end Cam Large announced via Twitter on Tuesday evening that he has committed to Wisconsin. He chose the Badgers over Georgia, Alabama and Ohio State. 

The fact that he was moving on from Ohio State wasn’t a surprise, as Joe Royer had already committed to Ohio State after he, Large and current Oklahoma commit Jalin Conyers all made official visits on June 21. It seemed, as time went by, that only one of those three would be taken in the 2020 class due to numbers.

Obviously, the conversation about how many commitments Ohio State will take in 2020 changed earlier this summer, as the class could have swollen to as many as 28, and then changed again after Bijan Robinson and Jaylan Knighton chose to go elsewhere and left two massive holes for the Buckeye staff to fill. 

Given where the current tight end room stands, it made sense for Ohio State to take one tight end, and throughout May and June, it always seemed to be a decision between Royer and fellow in-state tight end Luke Lachey, who didn’t receive an Ohio State offer and then committed to Iowa. 

For the way Kevin Wilson likes to use his tight ends, Royer fits the bill. He will be someone that can work in several different types of situations, whether it's finding space or a passing lane, being a mobile blocker downfield or in the flats or making a tough catch in traffic. Royer has the capability to do all of that to some degree, which is potentially something that couldn't be said for the other tight end candidates Ohio State was looking at.

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