The Hurry-Up: Jaxon Smith-Njigba Gets Fifth Star, Buckeyes Offer Another 2021 TE, Tegra Tshabola Blowing Up on Recruiting Trail

By Zack Carpenter on December 4, 2019 at 6:50 pm
Jaxon Smith-Njigba
Jaxon Smith-Njigba

Smith-Njigba gets fifth star

A couple weeks ago, we highlighted a piece from Rivals' Sam Spiegelman detailing his belief that Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Gee Scott Jr. could end up receiving a star bump from four to five stars. 

Smith-Njigba received that bump on Tuesday, getting raised to a five-star prospect on Rivals as he's put up 1,876 yards receiving and 30 touchdowns (!) on 93 catches across a 12-game span. That's good for 20.2 yards per catch and 156.3 yards per game. 

Smith-Njigba has continued building a reputation as arguably the best receiver in the state of Texas. It's possible he ends up as a five-star in the 247Sports Composite rankings, especially with the Rivals ratings bump being factored in. 

Buckeyes offer 2021 TE

Last week, I detailed a trio of junior tight ends who made the trek for Ohio State's win over Penn State. 

Jordan Dingle, Sam Hart and Christian Burkhalter (and probably in that order) are three of the recruits highest on the Buckeyes' board at the position, and they each came away with positive vibes from the trip. Each one will have Ohio State among the four or five finalists in their respective recruitments when each of them narrows their lists. Hart told us that Ohio State is in his "top one or two."

However, I dropped the ball on introducing you guys to another big tight end target, Louis Hansen, who also visited for that Penn State game.

Hart and Hansen played together at a Penn State game this summer, and Hart said the two caught up a bit at the Buckeyes' victory a couple weeks ago. At the time, Hart said Hansen had mentioned nothing about an Ohio State offer. Maybe Hansen was just playing coy, or maybe the Buckeyes had not yet let their true interest show. 

Either way, Hansen on Tuesday evening announced that he had indeed gotten that Ohio State offer.

Hansen, a 6-foot-4.5, 222-pound four-star prospect in the 2021 class, plays at St. Sebastian's (Mass.) School. He has 17 total offers, including from LSU, Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan and Penn State.

The Buckeyes are looking to land two tight ends in the 2021 class after getting just one in 2020 (yes, I know you guys are tired of hearing that), so perhaps Hansen will be one of those two. He is the No. 8-ranked tight end in 2021.

Tshabola blowing up

It's pat myself on the back time.

When Tegra Tshabola announced an offer from the Florida Gators last week, I said that it was the start of a monsoon of offers that the 2022 offensive tackle was going to start receiving. That was correctamundo.

Tshabola, an Ohio player from Lakota West High School in West Chester, soon followed by announcing an LSU offer, and on Tuesday he announced a USC offer.

Tshabola's recruitment isn't going to hit Troy Stellato status. Whereas Stellato saw that influx of offers in a tiny time span, Tshabola's will end up being more spread out since he's only a sophomore. But still, expect to see them continue flooding in at an impressive rate over the next several weeks.

The Buckeyes remain the favorite to land Tshabola, and they will remain the favorite no matter how many offers continue to roll in for the 6-foot-6, 300-pound sophomore. Tshabola has made it no secret that Ohio State is his dream school, and that doesn't seem like it will change no matter how many SEC or Pac 12 programs offer him. 

He visited for Ohio State's win over Penn State on Nov. 23, and he was floored by the atmosphere and the face time he got with Ryan Day, offensive line coach Greg Studrawa and offensive line assistant Kennedy Cook. It was enough to help him start thinking about when he will make a college decision.

"At this point, it’s my No. 1. But my options are still open," Tshabola told Eleven Warriors following his visit. "Between all of my schools together, I’d say by the end of this school year or around my summer workout time (is when I'll make a decision). That’s probably when I’m gonna make the big announcement. I’m not for 100 percent sure where it’s gonna be, but that’s when you should expect it."

Though the Buckeyes are still the favorite, perhaps the influx of offers still encourages Tshabola to wait to see what other programs will offer down the line and if he wants to make visits to any of these schools like Florida, LSU and USC first. 

Williams earns award

You probably know by now how I feel about 2020 running back Miyan Williams. Go back and read my analysis piece on him if you need a refresher. 

I think he's going to be a hard, aggressive, violent runner. I think he'll get some tough-nosed yards, especially in short-yardage or goal-line situations. But, no, I don't think he's any sort of bell-cow back or every-down back who is going to become the next Carlos Hyde, even if the comparisons to Hyde when he was a high school senior seem to line up. 

Honestly, though? I hope to hell he proves me wrong.

If you've read my stories from my three years covering high school sports (you haven't), or if you want to go back and read them (you don't), you would find out that I love the redemption angle.

For example, if a junior quarterback messed up big time earlier in the game but bounced back to throw a huge touchdown pass that turned everything around and led to a win, I would center my story around that ... how he knew he screwed up and almost cost his team a win, but then he made up for it in the game's biggest moments. 

I love when high school players prove people wrong, get some redemption and come through when it matters most. It's always awesome. Williams has four years to show why the Buckeyes wanted him so badly; to prove that he wasn't just a last-minute option for Ohio State in the 25th hour; to prove he can ball. 

So why do I seemingly bring this up at random? 

Williams won Ohio's Division II co-offensive player of the year award for the second straight year. 

Just another accolade for a player who will probably be running with a chip on his shoulder his entire career.

Additional honorees

Williams is not the only Ohio State commit/target to earn some recognition. 

The Ohio High School Athletic Association released its All-Ohio teams for the Division II and Division III levels. 

On the First-Team Offense are 2021 receiver commit Jayden Ballard and 2020 kicker commit Jake Seibert

Andrew Wilson-Lamp is a Special Mention honoree in Division II.

Earning First-Team Offense in Division III are Ohio State lineman commits Trey Leroux (2020) and Ben Christman (2021). 

On First-Team Defense is four-star defensive tackle target Michael Hall Jr. from the 2021 class, and on Second-Team Defense is C.J. Hicks, a target in the 2022 class who plays both safety and linebacker.

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