The Hurry Up: Big Recruiting Weekend Lies Ahead As Large Group of Uncommitted Targets Comes to Columbus

By Zack Carpenter on October 1, 2019 at 7:20 pm
Kevontre Bradford
Bill Embody, 247 Sports

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.

Big recruiting weekend ahead for Buckeyes

The weekend Ohio State has been awaiting with heavy anticipation is almost here.

Two weeks after having to watch the recruits they are gunning after talk about how awesome the atmosphere was at the Georgia-Notre Dame game — and one week after witnessing first-hand a great night environment in Lincoln — the Buckeyes finally get their shot at showing what they can offer with a night contest against Michigan State, and there will be a large throng of recruits to impress. 

According to Bucknuts' Bill Kurelic, the list of uncommitted 2020 and 2021 recruits expected to come to Columbus this weekend as of Tuesday includes Kevontre Bradford, Tyler Baron, CJ Stroud, Troy Stellato, Hudson Wolfe, Damon Payne, Najee Story, Jaylen Johnson, Hunter Wohler, Jakailin Johnson and Charles Montgomery

Also expected to be at the game are 2020 commits Julian Fleming, Lejond Cavazos, Paris Johnson Jr., Grant Toutant and Darrion Henry, plus 2021 commit Jack Sawyer.

The four biggest names that should jump out on the list of visitors are Bradford, Baron, Payne and Stroud. Bradford and Baron are both set for official visits, while the rest are expected to make unofficial visits. 

We’re not going to take much time today to rehash the Buckeyes’ well-documented search for a 2020 running back and 2020 defensive linemen. But the fact Ohio State is using two of its 62 official visits allotted to it during this recruiting cycle tells you how important this weekend will be in potentially locking up guys at those two positions and rounding out this class.

And with Jacolbe Cowan’s commitment announcement coming Friday, this could end up being a major weekend for the Buckeyes. Bradford, Baron and Cowan each would fill some of the biggest needs left in the 2020 class, and the only two real question marks remaining would be cornerback (Ryan Watts III is still in play) and a second quarterback (see below).

Could be an exciting stretch here, folks. Prepare to get giddy. Or really disappointed. 

It’s especially intriguing whether or not Stroud will be visiting, and it's just as intriguing whether or not this could be the weekend he gets an offer. And it looks as if he’s getting a push from a couple guys who will be in the Shoe:

Payne is the Buckeyes' most likely shot at getting a top-flight defensive tackle in 2021, though J.T. Tuimoloau is getting the program's biggest pitch (as well as the 2021 commits' best pitch as Sawyer and Reid Carrico look to sway Tuimoloau).

Impressive atmospheres at both the Georgia-Notre Dame and Ohio State-Nebraska games have made waves among recruits and fans, and I’m interested to see if the Buckeyes pull out all the stops and put on a light show themselves. This would be the perfect weekend for it. The black out is going to be electric, but the light show would put it over the top.

We’ll see if it’s enough to make a difference.

Day asked about QBs...

Much has been made about the fact 2020 quarterback Jack Miller, who has been committed since July 2018, may have some competition ahead of him when he gets to campus as the Buckeyes may be looking to add a second quarterback to the senior recruiting class. 

Ryan Day on Tuesday was asked how tough it is when he has a quarterback committed for years but there is a need to take two in the same class.

"Yeah, the quarterback situation in college football is sensitive as it can be," Day said. "You try to do the best you can. We always want to have four on scholarship, and you do the best you can to adapt year in and year out and make the best decisions you can. You know, nobody is more aware of that than we are, just what's happened.

"Think about what we had a few years ago, you had J.T. (Barrett), Joe (Burrow), Dwayne (Haskins) and Tate (Martell) in the room, and they're all kind of gone. J.T. is graduated, Joe is at LSU, Dwayne is in the NFL and Tate decided to leave. You have a whole new group of guys in here. And that was just a couple years ago. 

"So it happens quickly, and especially at a high-profile place like Ohio State. We'll do the best we can to adapt to it and make sure to have four guys in the room."

Day was then asked, as a recruiter, how do you handle that, when you have somebody who's been committed for a while? 

"I think what you tell them in recruiting is all we can guarantee is that there's going to be three other guys in the room with you, and you're going to be part of an unbelievable program, have all the resources you need, be part of a great culture, and you're going to get coached up at the highest level," Day said. "And all we can guarantee is that, and the fact there's going to be three other guys in the room with you — whether they're freshmen, seniors, transfers. You just don't know because you don't have a crystal ball."

...and two-way players

Sawyer is the nation's No. 2-ranked junior defensive end, but he has been thrust into the starting quarterback role at Pickerington North. 

There could be some added benefits for Sawyer as he plays quarterback and sees the position from both sides.

"Yeah, I can't really comment on any specific recruits," Day said Tuesday. "I can say that any time somebody plays multiple positions or multiple sports, we look at it as a positive because it just — it allows them to compete and work through different things and learn skills that maybe they haven't learned at another position, so we love that.

"I just think that any time you get to play another position or another sport, you're increasing your ability as a total athlete, just whether it's spatial awareness, or let's say you're a quarterback and someone puts you in on defense. I love that because now they've got to learn to be tough and stick their face on people. Again, any time they can do multiple things, I think it's great."

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