The Hurry Up: Ryan Watts Decommits, Jacolbe Cowan and Tyler Baron Could Fill 2020 DL Class and Expect At Least One Commitment This Weekend

By Zack Carpenter on October 3, 2019 at 6:57 pm
Ryan Watts III

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.

Watts decommits from Oklahoma

The biggest news of the past week came late Wednesday night, when Ryan Watts III confirmed he decommitted from Oklahoma.

The four-star 2020 cornerback, a 6-foot-2, 187-pounder who had been committed to the Sooners since April, is looking like a prime candidate to fill the last spot in Ohio State’s defensive backs class — the Buckeyes will continue holding a spot for Elias Ricks, but that still looks like more of a pipe dream than a real possibility.

Watts told Eleven Warriors he wants to make another visit to Ohio State for its game against either Wisconsin or Penn State before making a final decision, but he seems like a good bet to come to Columbus, where he has visited twice in the last three months and was in the Shoe for the Miami (Ohio) game Sept. 21.

He might not be rated on the same level as Ricks, but at this point, with everything we’ve seen from this season’s defensive backs unit — and with everything they’ve said in interviews — is anyone doubting Jeff Hafley can turn Watts into a stud?

Cowan, Baron could polish DL class

Four-star defensive tackle Jacolbe Cowan, the 6-foot-5, 277-pounder ranked as a top 10 North Carolina senior recruit, is set to make his commitment Friday night at approximately 10 p.m. following his team’s game. 


A commitment from Cowan would put the Buckeyes inches away from polishing off their 2020 defensive line class. A defensive end commitment from the guy at the top of their board, four-star Tyler Baron, could be the last piece of the puzzle. 

This weekend could go a long way in solidifying a big part of Ohio State’s future on the defensive line, with a Cowan commitment to the Buckeyes sounding more likely and Baron’s visit for a hyped-up Michigan State game an appetizing selling point — especially with his suspected top school Tennessee trudging through a rough season and a future with an abundance of question marks lying ahead. 


Baron can be seen tonight at 8:30 on ESPN2 when his Knoxville Catholic (Tenn.) team faces Brentwood Academy (Tenn.). 

Look for potential commitments

As previously discussed, this is a big weekend for Ohio State recruiting with at least 27 reported recruits converging on Columbus, including two uncommitted 2020 guys with Buckeyes offers (Baron, Kevontre Bradford), another 2020 guy who’s committed to Notre Dame (Greg Crippen) and, of course, C.J. Stroud

Eleven uncommitted juniors are also on the way, and there’s a feeling the Buckeyes get at least one commitment coming this weekend. 

My money is on Troy Stellato, whose total offers increased to 26 with his announcement of Florida State and Ole Miss offers on Thursday, most of which came after Stellato got his Buckeyes offer a little more than two weeks ago.

I would add Jaylen Johnson to that list as well, but I’m told he wants to wait until March to make a commitment. 

And don’t be shocked if Stroud gets his Buckeyes offer this weekend. He’s not coming all the way from California on his own dime for nothing. 

All but one 2020 receiver (Mookie Cooper) is coming this weekend, and they will surely be making some sort of pitch to Stellato and to the Ohio State coaches to give Stroud an offer. 

Hicks’ position?

After posting yesterday’s Hurry Up that was centered around 2022’s No. 1-ranked athlete C.J. Hicks, I checked out some of the comments, and a great question was posed by OSUlewis:

What position do you project Hicks to play?

Basically, I’m just going to regurgitate what I wrote in response here: 

At 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, he would be the second-biggest DB on the roster if he stepped onto campus right now (next to Brendon White, who now plays bullet). He’s only 15, but he still looks like a DB, and I get the strong sense that’s where he would be most comfortable.

Hicks did say, though, that Al Washington mentioned Ohio State wanting him to play LB. So if he tacks on the weight over the next two seasons, there’s potential there.

So let’s see how OSU develops and uses that bullet position. That could have Hicks’ name written all over it, though right now, I still lean safety. 

Brutus360 followed up with a question of his own: 

Linebacker seems natural if not DE by the time he could arrive. Hell, we are recruiting 5’10” linebackers. So, how does that change our bullet commits coming in if we are abandoning that already?

My response: 

He won't be a DE. He won't quite get there, but I could see LB/bullet. And I don't think they're abandoning the bullet yet. Colin just wrote a piece about Pete Werner's emergence minimizing the need for the bullet. But since it's such a new position that Ohio State's coaches even seem to be trying to work out themselves, it might take a little while for them to find the right type of guy they want to fill that role. 

I’d like to turn answering questions in the comments section into perhaps a weekly Hurry Up thing, even if it’s answering just one or two per week, so you might see more of that in the future.

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