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 ready to make decision
On Wednesday afternoon, Ohio State offensive line coach Greg Studrawa is going to find out if the time and effort he put into recruiting Donovan Jackson will pay off.
Jackson is set to make his college commitment at Houston (Episcopal) High School alongside his family, and he will be choosing among Ohio State, Georgia, Stanford, Texas and Texas A&M.
The four-star offensive lineman, a top-60 overall recruit in the 2021 class ranked just outside the top-10 nationally among offensive tackles, says he has done all his research, is "very confident" in his decision, and the college he will commit to checks off the main factors he was looking into (what he can take away once his football career is over, the alumni base and the overall atmosphere).
Eleven Warriors asked Jackson about how Ohio State stands out among those programs, and he said it stands out "a lot to me. Obviously one of my top five schools. But with Ohio State, I would say the academic prestige they have is something that means a lot to me."
Jackson's relationship with the Buckeyes, and especially Studrawa, dates back to Jackson's middle school days.
"When I was in eighth grade, I went to their camp, and that’s the first time I met (Studrawa)," Jackson said on Friday. "Three months later, that’s when they offered me. It was kind of quiet for a little bit, but once my 10th-grade year hit, we started texting more, and I visited the school. Every time he came over, it was really fun seeing him.
"Coach Stud and I have probably one of the best relationships I have (with a coach), and when Coach (Ryan) Day came on board, I feel like our first conversation we’ve clicked since then. Seeing where that relationship has gone, it’s really fun to see that (evolve)."
Jackson's recruitment also evolved over time, seeing his first two offers from Memphis and Ohio State rising to a level proper for a player of Jackson's talents.
And despite seeing a big-time offer from a Big Ten school like that, Jackson says he took it in stride.
"I wouldn’t say it made that big of an impact on me," Jackson said of that offer. "It was obviously cool at the time, but I didn’t wanna get sucked up in that – I don’t wanna say hype, but that feeling. I wanted to take a step back and just focus on being a freshman in high school and then get to the recruiting process later."
It's an interesting point that Jackson brings up. It can be hard, damn near impossible at times, to separate being a regular teenage kid and a high-level, blue-chip Division I recruit. For Jackson, he wanted to put off the recruiting process as long as he could, and then he finally hit the fast-forward button.
"Well, it wasn’t until recently that I was like, 'OK, let me focus on my recruiting process,'" Jackson said. "For the most part, I’ve been putting recruiting on the backburner. I wanted to focus on winning a state championship and getting A's (in the classroom). But now, I’m obviously starting to focus on the recruiting part.
Whatever program Jackson chooses, it will be getting a 6-foot-4, 310-pound versatile athlete who can play either tackle or guard, but he says the majority of college coaches have told him they see him as a guard at the next level. Jackson's college program will also be getting "a hard worker" and someone who's "coachable and loves to be a part of the team and just wants to win."
In the end, whatever position Jackson plays, he says he'll gladly play it. It's all a part of the process. And speaking of that, what is Jackson looking forward to most about this whole process ending?
"Uhh, the whole process ending," he says with a laugh. "I’m tired of all the calls I’m getting. I just want one school to call me from now on."
And no calls or texts from 30 different recruiting writers too, right?
“Nah,” Jackson says with a smirk. “I just want one single school’s recruiting writer.”
Johnson humbled by "tremendous honor"
In the immediate moments following Paris Johnson Jr. claiming the crown to the All-American Bowl's Anthony Muñoz Lineman of the Year, the Ohio State offensive tackle signee walked up to the stage in the Lone Star Ballroom (not appropriately named for the number of highly rated talents stashed inside of it) of San Antonio's Grand Hyatt. He shook a few hands, took a handful of pictures, flashed a bright smile and then walked back to his seat to celebrate earning the trophy (heavier than you would think his mother, Monica, later says).
That was only his first victory lap of the night.
Less than 30 minutes later, the five-star gem of a gem-filled 2020 Buckeyes class went right back up to the stage, making his way to another trophy. One that means a little more.
Johnson took the stage with Alabama quarterback commit Bryce Young, one of six finalists for the award, as they discussed causes they cherish.
After the awards ceremony, Johnson took time to talk with several people and was one of the last people to leave the ballroom. That's when Eleven Warriors caught up with him, after things had died down. But his demeanor and appreciation never changed throughout.
"It’s a tremendous honor," Johnson said. "Not only getting recognized for what I do on the field with the Lineman of the Year, but the Man of the Year award recognizes what I do off the field. It also represents my family and how I was raised and the people around me that have inspired me to give back. I feel like it’s not only myself. It’s a larger group of people."