The Hurry-Up: Donovan Jackson, Bryce Steele Set Commit Dates, Six Buckeye Commits in State Title Games

By Zack Carpenter on December 5, 2019 at 6:50 pm
Bryce Steele
Bryce Steele

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.

Jackson, Steele announce commit dates

The future of Ohio State's offensive line is already off to a great start with Ben Christman coming into the program in 2021, and as the new year gets underway, it has a great chance to get even brighter.

Donovan Jackson, the No. 8-ranked offensive tackle in America and a top-50 national recruit, has set a commitment date for Jan. 8, 2020. 

The Buckeyes have been considered a favorite to land Jackson, but they are now considered the favorite to land Jackson. And what a get he would be.

With Jackson and Christman, two aggressive and violent blockers, the Buckeyes would have a dynamic tandem at offensive tackle, and Jackson has the versatility to move inside to guard. That means Ohio State could still strongly pursue JC Latham at tackle to give the program one of the best offensive line trios in the 2021 class. Exciting stuff that could also have an impact on getting a top-tier junior running back to come to Columbus as well. 

Shortly before Jackson's announcement on Twitter on Thursday afternoon, three Crystal Ball predictions rolled in from national analysts (although you have to take CBs with a grain of salt) that predict the Buckeyes getting him. If I had a Crystal Ball, I would predict Jackson to Ohio State as well, but, ya know, I don't have one. 

Jackson's Ohio roots have him connected strongly to the Buckeyes, but we'll find out soon enough where he wants to play his college ball.

In addition to Jackson, Bryce Steele, a three-star athlete from Alexandria, Va., announced that he will be ringing in the new year with a bang. Or, maybe a "boom" will be the correct verbiage. 

Again, grain of salt, but all three of the current Crystal Ball predictions have him headed to the Buckeyes to most likely add to their defensive backfield. 

Steele, a rangy, hard-hitting 6-foot-1, 195-pound safety/linebacker hybrid, visited Ohio State games in back-to-back weeks, as he was on hand for the team's wins over Penn State and Michigan.

He holds offers from both the Wolverines and Nittany Lions, in addition to North Carolina, NC State, South Carolina, Notre Dame and Virginia, and he could be a candidate to fill the bullet position for the Buckeye defense.

Stroud announces USC offer

Not sure if you guys have heard, but CJ Stroud is a pretty big target for the Buckeyes in the 2020 class. 

Ohio State and Georgia are the top two favorites to land Stroud, but the four-star quarterback from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., announced a USC offer on Thursday evening.

Six Buckeye commits to play for title

The Ohio High School Athletic Association's football state championships will begin this week, starting Thursday and finishing Saturday in Canton, and the Buckeyes will have plenty of representation on the sport's final weekend of the season.

Tonight, in the Division II state championship game at 7 p.m., Massillon Washington and Cincinnati La Salle will square off, pitting Wasington's Jayden Ballard, a 2021 Buckeye receiver commit and a top-75 national recruit, and Andrew Wilson-Lamp (another Buckeye target in the junior class who may end up receiving a preferred walk-on offer from Ohio State by the time his high school career is over) against La Salle and 2021 safety prospect Jaylen Johnson, a three-star recruit who has Ohio State as a finalist, and Buckeyes 2020 kicker commit Jake Seibert.

In the Division I state title matchup at 8 p.m. on Friday, Cincinnati Elder and Pickerington Central will clash, as Elder's Joe Royer (a 2020 Buckeye tight end commit) and Jakob James (a 2020 Buckeye offensive lineman commit) will face Central and Ty Hamilton, a 2020 Ohio State defensive lineman commit.

And in the final game of the weekend, Ohio State 2021 linebacker commit Reid Carrico and the Ironton Tigers will seek hardware against top-seeded Kirtland at 8 p.m. Saturday in the Division V title game.

Location, location, location

When one of your biggest issues as a program is trying to figure which corner of the United States would be best to play your College Football Playoff semifinal game, it's a pretty bright signal that things are going just fine.

That's a situation the Buckeyes may find themselves in, assuming they take care of business handily on Saturday and if the committee doesn't feel LSU deserves to supplant them as the top seed if the Tigers get past Georgia. 

If the Buckeyes retain the top spot in the CFP, they'll essentially be asked their choice of whether they want to play their semifinal game in Phoenix or Atlanta. Ohio State has a bigger alumni presence and fan base in Phoenix, but Atlanta's proximity is also obviously a pull.

But from a recruiting angle, location could matter in terms of which city would be a larger pull for Ohio State targets. When asked if that matters to Day, he said he doesn't "even have time right now to think about any of that. It's all about trying to win this game. If we get to that point, we'll kind of cross that bridge as we get there. That's a good question for the administration and (athletic director) Gene (Smith) right now. It's trying to get a first down against Wisconsin right now."

If it's not in Day's mind, perhaps it should be. In the 2021 class, the Buckeyes have two offers extended to players in Arizona, nine in California, and one apiece in Nevada, Utah and Colorado.

They have 12 offers out to players in Georgia, 20 to players from Florida, nine in North Carolina, three in Tennessee and one in Alabama. 

That's just the states bordering Arizona and Georgia. No matter where the Buckeyes play, they'll be getting exposure to a wide range of recruits. But maybe it could make a difference.

Offers for other Buckeye targets

Marcus Bradley is a four-star 2021 defensive lineman from Maryland whom we discussed during Feast Week.

Ohio State and Virginia, in that order, are the top two candidates to eventually land Bradley, who has been recruited by Larry Johnson since he was a freshman at DeMatha Catholic (Bradley is now at Quince Orchard and teammates with highly prized Buckeye target Demeioun Robinson). 

But following the weekend's Ohio State win over Michigan, the Wolverines apparently realized they may need help along the defensive line in order to put together a roster that can compete with the Buckeyes. That might be part of the reason they extended an offer to Bradley shortly after the game.

The Buckeyes will still be mostly competing with Virginia to get a commitment from Bradley, but the Wolverines have thrown their hat in the ring. 

Another noteworthy offer to an Ohio State target went to 2021 running back Corey Kiner, who got the call from Ed Orgeron. 

That adds to an already impressive list for Kiner, as the Cincinnati native will have to choose from the Buckeyes, Tigers, Michigan and Notre Dame, in addition to other schools that he told Eleven Warriors are high on his list such as Louisville, Cincinnati and Purdue. Kiner said he looks for a father figure in the running back coaches at other programs, and he has especially seen that at Louisville.

Division I Ohio honorees

The Ohio High School Athletic Association released its Division I All-Ohio teams on Wednesday, and it features a slew of Buckeye commits.

First-Team Offense features Paris Johnson Jr. and Jakob James and tight end Joe Royer (listed as a receiver), and First-Team Defense features Jack Sawyer, Darrion Henry-Young and Ty Hamilton

And in Michigan, Cameron Martinez earned the state's Mr. Football award.

Just another honor for the uber-talented athlete.

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