The Hurry Up: Ohio State Continues Cementing Itself As DBU, Jahmyr Gibbs and Corey Kiner See Stock Rise

By Zack Carpenter on September 30, 2019 at 6:50 pm
Jeff Haftley

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.

Lattimore’s performance catching recruit eyes

Last night’s Sunday Night Football game was a battle of the New Orleans Buckeyes vs. the Ohio State Cowboys, as a combined seven former Buckeyes started in the showdown. 

Ezekiel Elliot and Devin Smith for the Cowboys; Vonn Bell, Eli Apple, Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn Jr. and Marshon Lattimore for the Saints. 

Eleven Warriors’ Ramzy Nasrallah had a great comparison:

NFL games like this have a big impact on the Buckeyes’ recruiting, which continues to shine under first-year head coach Ryan Day and his coaching staff of multiple former pros. 

At the heart of the Saints’ 12-10 victory in a tight defensive battle was Lattimore’s blanket coverage of Amari Cooper, one of the game’s top wide receivers whom NBC Sports analyst Cris Collinsworth said during last night’s broadcast is one of the best receivers against one-on-one man coverage in the game.

Lattimore had struggled through the first three weeks. Per Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus, Lattimore had allowed a 74-percent completion rate and a 140.0 passer rating prior to the game. He had also surrendered the most catches (20) and receiving yards (341) in the NFL before his matchup with Cooper. 

None of that mattered Sunday night, when Lattimore allowed Cooper just one catch for seven yards on two targets in the first half. Cooper finished with five catches for 48 yards on eight targets. 

Lattimore’s performance caught the eye of at least two defensive back recruits whom Eleven Warriors reached out to following the game.

“I watched the game, and for the most part, Marshon had (Cooper) on locks,” said three-star 2021 safety Kamren Kinchens. “Most of Amari’s catches were when the Saints were in zone.”

Kinchens goes to Northwestern (Fla.) High School in Miami and is the country’s No. 14-ranked junior safety. The 5-foot-10, 175-pounder holds offers from Miami, LSU and Oregon, and he is one of seven safeties — and one of 16 defensive backs — holding an Ohio State offer in the 2021 class. 

"(Lattimore) was lock down," said four-star 2021 corner Jaylin Davies. "It was nice seeing a DB use technique, which is what I pride myself on — having technique and not just relying on my natural athletic ability."

Davies goes to Mater Dei (Calif.) High School and is the nation's No. 11-ranked junior corner. The 5-foot-11, 165-pound 2021 prospect is California's 13th-ranked junior and holds offers from UCLA, Alabama and Auburn.

Seeing guys like Lattimore have that success on the big stage continues to help Ohio State build its reputation as DBU, and it adds to the program’s potential — if not outright certainty — that it will keep bringing in top-flight defensive backs. 

Kinchens is only a three-star prospect, but even so, him and guys like Tony Grimes keep the Buckeyes high on their lists in large part because of alums’ success.

“That’s what made me fall in love with Ohio State — when Marshon, Gareon (Conley), Malik (Hooker) and Denzel (Ward) was there, they were always making big plays, and now it’s carrying over to the NFL,” Kinchens said.

Kinchens says he’s excited to see the next crop of defensive backs move onto the next level from this year’s team, naming Jeff Okudah, Damon Arnette and Jordan Fuller.

Okudah saw his stock rise even further this weekend in the Buckeyes’ 48-7 win over Nebraska, recording a pair of interceptions — the first Ohio State player to snag two picks in a game since Lattimore did it against Tulsa in 2016 — in another dominant effort from arguably the nation’s best defense, and The Athletic's Dane Brugler has Okudah ranked as the No. 3 overall prospect on his Draft Board. 

Okudah has turned himself into the country’s top cornerback prospect, and a ton of credit goes to Jeff Hafley.

“He’s changed my whole career and the perspective through which I see the football game,” Okudah said after the win.

Lattimore and the rest of his Buckeye alums are getting shine in primetime games, Okudah is balling out and has just as bright of a future ahead of him as some of those pros, and Haftley is overseeing a defensive back factory in Columbus. 

Outside of quarterback, cornerback is the most difficult position to play in football, and with all of those factors above weighing in, the Buckeyes have to love their chances of continuing to land those top-tier guys as they search for another commitment.

Whether that ends up being a flip of Ryan Watts III from the 2020 class — or Grimes, Davies, Jakailin Johnson, or Derrick Davis Jr. from the 2021 class — getting a top corner will be a high-level priority for the Buckeyes.

Sunday night helped their case.

Gibbs’ stock rising

Three-star 2020 running back Jahmyr Gibbs has been committed to Georgia Tech since May, but his recruitment to Ohio State has picked up steam over the last month or so. 

What’s also picked up is Gibbs’ on-field play, as the senior started off the year with a 404-yard, eight-touchdown performance in his season opener. He now has 1,364 yards rushing and 24 touchdowns on 110 carries this fall, and he has 3,692 yards rushing and 54 touchdowns on 420 carries in his career. 

Gibbs is earning a strong reputation on the recruiting trail.

Kiner gets Notre Dame offer

Corey Kiner, a 2021 running back from Roger Bacon High School out of Cincinnati, is another back who’s starting to tear it up this season and is seeing his recruiting profile ascend even further. 

Kiner netted his 50th career touchdown and moved up to No. 2 in Roger Bacon’s all-time record book for career all-purpose yards (4,634) on Friday night. Two days later, he was offered by Notre Dame, adding to an offer list that includes Ohio State and Michigan. 

Kiner, a 5-foot-10, 205-pound back, is a four-star recruit ranked as the No. 7 junior in Ohio and No. 10 running back in the country. 

With Evan Pryor already seeming to have Georgia near the top of his list early in his recruitment, it looks like Kiner and Donovan Edwards will be two of the Buckeyes’ top 2021 running backs on the board moving forward.

Ohio State offers PWO to in-state corner

Andrew Moore — a 6-foot, 192-pound cornerback in the 2020 class — announced on Monday the Buckeyes offered him a preferred walk-on spot. 

"It's so special to me," Moore told Eleven Warriors. "Growing up in Ohio, you always knew the Buckeyes, and to be part of that history means so much. And going into this off-season that was a goal of mine, to get noticed by them, and when it finally did happen, it was like a dream come true."

Moore visited for Ohio State’s Week 4 victory over Miami (Ohio). He is from Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

"When they first reached out, it was like an initial shock because it was the Ohio State and because I’m so new to football so I felt so blessed," Moore said. "And when I found out that I got offered, I merely told my family because they’ve been there since the beginning with me, and we were huge Ohio State fans. And even my sister goes there, so going back to school with my sister would mean so much to me and my family."

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