The Hurry Up: Friday Mailbag Answers Questions on Cameron Martinez, Justin Flowe and More on the 2021 Class Projections

By Zack Carpenter on November 8, 2019 at 5:45 pm
Cameron Martinez
Cameron Martinez

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.

Fleming flip is doubtful

The rumors of a Julian Fleming flip to Penn State are not going to stop until he signs on the line which is dotted and enrolls himself at Ohio State.

Until then, they will continue to persist, but Fleming had an answer to those rumors on Friday afternoon. 

Fleming has firmly responded to these rumors multiples times now. He's strongly entrenched in Ohio State's future.

Buckeyes in Foreman's final options

On Wednesday, four-star junior running back Evan Pryor trimmed his list to 10 final schools, and the Buckeyes were in that bunch. 

Another star on Friday did the same. 

Korey Foreman, the nation's No. 1 overall player in the 2021 class, included Ohio State on his list of top 10 schools. 

Foreman is the No. 1-ranked strong-side defensive end in his class. He is a 6-foot-4, 245-pound junior from Corona, Calif.

Ohio State already has the nation's No. 2-ranked overall junior player committed in Jack Sawyer, so a pairing with Foreman would be incredible.

Now, on to your questions in this week's Friday Mailbag... 

Martinez supremely underrated

Question 3
Question 4

I'm not 100 percent sure why Cameron Martinez remains a three-star prospect in the 247Sports Composite rankings, but it's most likely attributed to the fact that he's sort of a tweener. He doesn't have outstanding size (5-foot-11, 183 pounds), and he is yet to craft out and master the position that he'll play at the next level.

Obviously, that second part is why he's listed as an athlete. But when you compare him to someone like Emeka Egbuka, who has a clearly defined position as a future receiver at the next level, perhaps that's why he's ranked so low. 

I have a feeling, however, that Martinez will be getting a much-deserved ratings bump before his high school career is over. He plays for one of the best high school teams in the state of Michigan and in the nation in Muskegon, and he's on a path to leading the program to a state championship in addition to winning back-to-back Michigan Mr. Football awards and back-to-back MLive Player of the Year awards.

If he doesn't get bumped to a four-star, that'll be a mistake the Ohio State coaches will gladly accept, and I'm sure Martinez will too so he can use his terrific work ethic to prove some people wrong. He's one of the most underrated prospects in the program's 2020 haul, and he could be an answer for them to plug in at two different positions: safety or running back.

In each of those spots, Martinez's athleticism and explosiveness would be used to either fly around and make plays for a secondary that will be looking to replenish some big losses, or a running backs room that will certainly be losing J.K. Dobbins and will need some depth over the next couple seasons.

At safety is where he's probably going to end up, as he was one of the first players that jumped out on film to Jeff Hafley when the coach arrived in Columbus, and Hafley instantly made him one of the top priorities in the defensive backs class.

As for running back, Martinez did just put up 293 yards rushing and seven touchdowns on 17 carries last weekend. In the first half. As a caveat, yes, it absolutely matters what the competition was. Without a doubt. So I got curious and checked out some of the opponent's seasonal numbers, and it was a team that:

  • Finished 5-4 and snuck into the playoffs with three straight wins over opponents with records of 7-3, 3-6 and 2-7. 
  • Allowed 19 points per game and scored 25 points per game heading into the playoffs.
  • Owned victories over three teams with 7-3 records but also losses to teams with records of 2-7 and 4-5.

In conclusion, based purely off the numbers, I'm guessing it was an average, up-and-down team. In other words, it was good enough competition to where one touchdown for every 2.4 touches is ... *drum roll please* ... good.

It's not just impressive because of the yard and touchdown totals. It's also remarkable because of what he showed in terms of hitting holes and showcasing that explosion through the defense's gut and then up the sidelines, plus showing off some extra bounce and shiftiness:

As for the quarterback aspect, there are no plans as of now to have Martinez sitting in on meetings with Mike Yurcich and company. I could see him being used in an emergency quarterback situation if need be, and in that case, I would project the offense would turn into a read-option centric system to highlight Martinez's athleticism and rushing skills. 

Outside of that, no, Martinez is not the second quarterback option in 2020. He could, however, be the answer at running back if the Buckeyes don't land one this season. He could be used creatively in that spot as an all-purpose back, as he's been used in the slot at times during his high school career.

Small class in 2021?

Question 7

This is in reference to my Thursday piece on a scenario in which the Buckeyes could potentially land the No. 1 class in 2021 with 22 commitments. 

Including the 2020 class, dating back to 2010 (11 recruiting classes), the Buckeyes have signed an average of 22.6 players per class. If they land at least three additional commits to the 2020 class as expected, that number bumps up to 22.9. So I was trying to use a number around 22 or 23 based off the numbers of previous classes. I do expect the number of commitments to be around 20 or 21 heading into the season, which would leave Ryan Day room for some late additions just like this season.

Also, to answer some other questions from you guys about the lack of outside linebackers and interior linemen in that 2021 scenario, the Buckeyes I'm sure will be looking to land at least one offensive guard. But I don't think it would turn into a problem if they don't. 

They are getting three interior guys in 2020 (Luke Wypler, Josh Fryar, Jakob James), plus it's typically an easier, smoother transition to move guys from tackle to guard. So even without any guards or centers in 2021, I think they would be solid and not in panic mode with all the offensive line talent they will be bringing in (especially if that means Ben Christman and Donovan Jackson in addition to Paris Johnson Jr.)

While not including any interior linemen was a conscious thing on my part, at outside linebacker I completely dropped the ball on projecting Ohio State to get anyone there. So hand up on that one. 

I do think Reid Carrico has the versatility to play OLB, since outside 'backer is the only LB position he had played full-time and had been truly comfortable in at the high school level coming into this season. But Al Washington wants him to play the Mike linebacker spot, so that's where he'll be focusing on polishing himself during his senior season at Ironton.

But looking at the linebacker depth chart, Ohio State is going to want to land an OLB in the next recruiting cycle. The Buckeyes will be bringing in Cody Simon, Kourt Williams and Mitchell Melton, so perhaps they would be fine. But I'm sure depth at the position will be a focus area.

Realistic fiction on Justin Flowe

Question 1

I don't know enough about Justin Flowe's recruitment or state of mind to give you guys much substance on him. All I know is that Flowe is good friends with C.J. Stroud, Stroud is going on official visits to Georgia and Ohio State, Flowe expressed interest in a Columbus visit as well, and there's an outside chance the two could visit each school together. 

If that happens – if Flowe makes the Columbus visit – I'm not going to be the one to count out Al Washington. He's already shown his recruiting chops, and high schoolers across the state and country have sung his praises as a guy they love and respect. 

But outside of that, since I don't know much on Flowe, I want to give you guys something different here.

Yesterday, I gave you a dose of what I labeled "realistic fiction," and I want to do the same thing here. 

It varies on a case-by-case basis for each prospect, of course, but location is most often at least a top-three factor in a recruit's college decision. Let's hypothetically say that's one of Flowe's biggest decision factors and that the Upland High School senior wants to remain in southern California weather.

Let's also say he wants to wait until February to sign. Especially if he takes these visits with Stroud in December, he may want to take a step back and take some more time to think about his decision (Stroud is wanting to make a decision on Dec. 18). 

Well, guess who may be rolling into the dinner party out in California come February...

Urban Meyer might become the new USC head coach, so I want to have a little fun here and pretend he does. Except it won't be too much for programs in the Midwest, on the east coast and down south who have done well recruiting California. 

If Meyer takes the USC job, he obviously instantly becomes the splashiest of splash rides on Splash Mountain, and he will have a top-five recruiting class every single year. 

As Bill Landis of The Athletic pointed out on the 4 to 6 with A&B podcast on Monday, 12 of the top 150 national recruits in 2021 are within an hour drive from USC's campus. 

Oh boy. 

Just within the state, Meyer would have the Trojans' recruiting humming along faster than you can say Big Noon Kickoff, and I'm sure he would instantly be focusing on Flowe as one of his main 2020 targets, as Flowe's high school rests just an hour away from USC. Flowe didn't include USC in his top four schools in August, but a Meyer hire could change that in a heartbeat.

It doesn't sound like there's a big chance of Flowe committing to Ohio State, so I figured I'd at least toss an entertaining hypothetical your way as you gear up for Saturday's soon-to-be slaughterfest against Maryland. 

View 7 Comments