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.
Steele ready for decision following visits
Bryce Steele transferred to a boarding school called Episcopal High School in Alexandria, Va., to begin his freshman season of football. Originally from North Carolina, that made Steele a Tar Heel fan growing up, and Steele's family still lives in Raleigh, just a 30-minute drive from the Chapel Hill campus.
However, being at the boarding school means there are some strict rules to follow, which includes limited TV time. Therefore, Steele didn't get to see much of Ohio State's 74-49 beatdown of North Carolina at the Dean Dome on Wednesday night, just catching some glimpses of highlights on ESPN.
So when told of one of the biggest eye-popping storylines to come out of that win – the Buckeye fans taking over the Tar Heels' historic home with chants of "O-H-I-O!" at the end of the game – Steele was taken aback.
"Are you serious?" Steele told Eleven Warriors when informed of the chant. "Man, that’s crazy. I didn’t even know that. They’re everywhere. Everywhere Ohio State fans go, they take over."
Steele may not have seen the chants yet, but Ohio State fans making their presence known in enemy territory certainly isn't something he's unfamiliar with. Steele visited The Big House for the Buckeyes' 56-27 victory over Michigan, soaking in the atmosphere from start to finish, which included a big surprise at the end.
"Towards the beginning of the game, I saw a lot of Ohio State fans, which kind of surprised me," Steele said. "And towards the end of the game, when it started getting a little out of hand, they started chanting the "O-H-I-O chant," and I was like, 'Wow. Ohio State really just came in and took The Big House over."
That was the second weekend in a row Steele was impressed by a Buckeye crowd, as he was coming off a visit for the scarlet and grey's victory over Penn State the previous week. He raved about his visit to the Shoe and the wire-to-wire noise the crowd brought with it.
In between those two visits, Steele took a weekday unofficial visit to Chapel Hill to get some more time at UNC, and he loved it there as well.
It was after those three visits that Steele sat down with his family and picked the date of Jan. 1, 2020 to ring in the new year with his commitment.
"After my visits this past weekend, it was pretty clear as to where I wanted to attend college so me and my family, after talking about it, we were at the point of, 'If you know where you’re gonna go, why wait?'" Steele said. "Why wait and postpone the commitment when you’re already ready?"
So that's where Steele stands a little more than three weeks away from his impending college decision. It's down to Ohio State, North Carolina, Michigan and South Carolina. He also enjoyed visits to NC State and Virginia games this season, but it's those first four mentioned that really pop out for Steele.
"Academics were a big part of it, and the past three schools I’ve been to were all high academic schools, and the position they’d have me playing is the position I wanna play in college. And they have good coaching staffs," Steele said.
Steele is a 6-foot-1, 195-pound junior ranked just as the No. 36 athlete in America, and he barely cracks the top 400 nationally as an overall recruit. A lot of that, however, is due to the fact that he has sat out his entire junior season due to a health issue that arose following a preseason scrimmage this year.
He's back to 100 percent full health now, though, and he's ready to attack the offseason so he can "ball out for my senior season."
That's another big reason he's decided to set a commitment date sooner rather than later. He wants to get the load off his shoulders and focus on grinding away in the offseason in the weight room and on the field and not have to handle anymore questions about where he's going to play his college ball.
But that again brings us back to the Buckeyes. They are considered a top destination and have Al Washington, Larry Johnson and Jeff Hafley (in that order) to thank for cultivating a relationship with one of the nation's more underrated three-star athletes, who will is being recruited by Washington for the bullet position because of his versatility, range and physicality in being able to cover, blitz and come up to lay some wood.
"Ohio State is right at the top," Steele said. "It’s between them and two other schools. But in just a couple weeks, I should have everything figured out and ready to commit."
Steele camped with the Buckeyes overnight in the summer and was able to meet Chase Young and catch up more with Bryson Shaw, an Ohio State freshman safety who played in the same conference in high school as Steele. During the Penn State and Michigan games, he watched as guys like Young and Shaw interacted on the field together, and it's another reason Ohio State is an attractive option.
"The Brotherhood," Steele said of what stands out about Ohio State. "They don’t play for themselves. They play for their teammates, their coaches and Buckeye Nation. I think that’s a really good motto to play by, ya know? Not a lot of schools have that and not a lot of teams have that.
"It’s just something I can tell from being a natural fan and watching the game, seeing how they interact with each other on the field and communicate with each other on the field. It’s like no other program."
Only time will tell if Steele becomes the next member of that brotherhood or not, or if he will be joining North Carolina, Michigan or South Carolina.
It's important to note that Steele has since deleted a tweet that announced his commitment date of Jan. 1.
Buckeye targets win, lose state title games
A bevy of Ohio State commits and targets were playing in state championship games this weekend, and that began with a bout between 2020 kicker commit Jake Seibert, 2021 safety/bullet target Jaylen Johnson and Cincinnati La Salle against 2021 receiver commit Jayden Ballard, 2021 potential target Andrew Wilson-Lamp and the Massillon Washington Tigers.
Seibert, Johnson and La Salle took home the hardware, capturing the Division II state championship crown with a 34-17 victory. That included Seibert nailing a 43-yard field goal to set the Division II state title game record for longest kick.
#OHSAA D2 FOOTBALL: Jake Seibert connects on a 43-yard field goal to extend La Salle's lead over Massillon to 14 with 9:30 remaining in the game.— Ohio High School Athletic Association (@OHSAASports) December 6, 2019
La Salle - 31
Massillon - 17 pic.twitter.com/mdL19QQkWR
Wilson-Lamp finished with a 128-yard receiving night, making him (1,049 yards) and Ballard (1,202) the first 1,000-yard receiving duo in Massillon Washington school history.
Over in Pennsylvania, Julian Fleming helped his Southern Columbia Tigers to a third state championship in four years. Fleming and his senior class finished with a 63-1 overall record, with the only loss coming in a state championship game loss.
Julian Fleming fumbled on the last drive and Avonworth fans chanted overrated.— Edward Sutelan (@EdwardSutelan) December 6, 2019
He just scored a 63-yard touchdown to make it 55-7 @SoCoTigerSports lead with 2:49 left in the half. pic.twitter.com/pDbTnVbYSl
I, uhh, don't think he's overrated. And I'm sure he'll prove that during his Buckeye career.
Back in Ohio, 2020 defensive line commit Ty Hamilton and former Buckeye target Lorenzo Styles Jr., who committed to Notre Dame at receiver, helped Pickerington Central win its second state championship in three years. With a 21-14 win, the Tigers took down Cincinnati Elder, which was led by Buckeye 2020 commits Jakob James (offensive line) and Joe Royer (tight end).
In the Division V state title game on Saturday, 2021 linebacker commit Reid Carrico and the Ironton Tigers fell to Kirtland, 17-7, finishing the season as the 13-2 state runners-up.