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.
Gibbs not visiting
One of Ohio State's final two priorities for the 2020 recruiting class was making one last pitch/impression on 2020 star running back Jahmyr Gibbs, as the Buckeyes hoped to strengthen their relationship with Gibbs during an official visit on Friday and Saturday.
That visit will no longer be happening, as reported by 247Sports' Director of Recruiting Steve Wiltfong.
247Sports has learned that Ohio State will no longer host Top247 running back Jahmyr Gibbs on an official visit this weekend.
It's a numbers thing for the Buckeyes who already have 24 signed and Cameron Martinez also committed making 25 for this 2020 class.
Gibbs is currently committed to Georgia Tech and also keeping an eye on Florida and LSU as well. The Gators are scheduled to get an official next weekend with the Yellow Jackets slated for the last one the weekend of Jan. 31.
When speaking briefly with Eleven Warriors following the All-American Bowl in early January, Gibbs said he loves the South and wouldn't be looking for anything specific when he visited. Turns out, he won't be looking at all anymore.
Landing Gibbs was already a steep long shot for Ohio State, given Gibbs' desire to stay closer home in the South, either at Georgia Tech (where he's been committed since May), LSU or Florida. But even with those odds stacked against them, there was still at least a chance if Gibbs had taken the visit.
Any chance of signing Gibbs is now gone, and those three teams are at the front of the pack in the race to get him.
So, now it's onto what was already the most important remaining focus area for Ohio State in the 2020 class.
On Wednesday, I joined Dan Hope and Colin Hass-Hill on the latest edition of Real Pod Wednesdays, and Dan asked me a great question that has even more bearing today as we sit just hours away from the opening of the next recruiting contact period.
The 2020 class’ final contact period before National Signing Day runs from Jan. 17-Feb. 1, and the Buckeyes were putting their focus into two things: Locking down Cameron Martinez and making a final impression on Gibbs. That has now been whittled down to focusing on Martinez, as the Buckeyes will not be making a run at Zach Evans, either, per a report by Lettermen Row's Jeremy Birmingham.
It's important to note that I wrote the following several graphs prior to the news that Gibbs would not be making a visit to Columbus...
For as wildly talented as Gibbs is, and despite the fact that I think he will be a future star at the college level, Martinez is the most important area of focus for Ohio State.
The Buckeyes offered Martinez a scholarship on Feb. 15, 2019, meaning that NSD will come nearly a full calendar year after Ohio State began pouring concerted effort into his recruitment.
If they wind up losing Martinez to either Northwestern or Minnesota – the two schools he made official visits to prior to his OV to Ohio State on June 21 – or Notre Dame, it would hurt a lot. Losing Martinez after losing Clark Phillips to Utah could set the Buckeyes back, and it would put an even stronger emphasis on 2021 defensive back recruiting, which is already a top-two position of need in the next cycle.
Senior Season Highlights (Touchdowns Only) https://t.co/lbJ52NmLkj— Cameron Martinez (@CM240) December 12, 2019
Mlive Michigan High School Football Player Of The Year (18 & 19)
STATE CHAMPS Hungry Howies Mr. Football 2019
Gatorade Michigan High School Football Player Of The Year 2019
29 D1 Offers pic.twitter.com/GQiIQ7PDJ6
The return of Shaun Wade is a tremendous boost for the immediate future, and if Ohio State can hit a home run with some of its top 2021 targets, much of the worry goes away even with the loss of Phillips and hypothetical loss of Martinez. But lose both and things get much tighter.
Assuming reports and sources are accurate and Kerry Coombs becomes the Buckeyes' next secondary coach (and probably co-defensive coordinator), there's reason to feel confident that Coombs and Day will land a great DB class, considering Coombs’ recruiting prowess. Recruits love him, and he landed Jeff Okudah and Wade, among many others. But that still doesn’t take away from the fact that DB recruiting would come with extra pressure in 2021, and Coombs would have to play catch-up in terms of building relationships with some of Ohio State's top targets.
As for Martinez's situation, I write all of that knowing there’s really not much left for Ohio State to do other than wait out Coombs and the Titans, which we talked about on Tuesday. Martinez very well may just be waiting until Coombs is officially hired to sign with the Buckeyes, and if that’s all he’s waiting on, then worries about Martinez signing with another Big Ten program mostly goes away.
However, if the Titans do make a run to the Super Bowl, their season would not come to an end until Feb. 2, and Coombs (at the earliest) would not be announced as the new hire until Feb. 3, the beginning of the next recruiting dead period that runs Feb. 3-29.
So if Martinez is waiting until Coombs is hired, he won't have time to establish a face-to-face relationship with the coach.
Martinez is a high priority because of a ridiculous amount of athleticism that he brings from Muskegon High School in Michigan. Despite being rated as a three-star for most of his recruitment, Martinez – also a standout basketball player – flashed explosive playmaking during a preps career in which he won Michigan's Mr. Football award and the state's Gatorade Player of the Year award this season, and he is a two-time winner of the MLive Player of the Year award (2018, 2019).
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound high school quarterback finished with a 48-4 career record, two runner-up finishes in state title games and 6,343 career rushing yards to come in 11th on the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s all-time rushing list. Martinez’s final Hudl highlight film features almost 10 minutes of touchdowns. The guy can ball.
The more I read about Martinez and another former three-star recruit, Malik Hooker, the more it seems their athletic profiles are similar.
I’m hoping no one takes that as saying that I believe Martinez will be the next Malik Hooker, but he possesses budding all-around potential in a similar way that Hooker did when he came to Ohio State.
Jackson No. 1
Small note here: Donovan Jackson, the Buckeyes' latest 2021 commit who brings a nasty edge to him on the offensive line, was ranked as the No. 11 offensive tackle in the country when he committed to Ohio State last week.
Now, Jackson has been moved to offensive guard on his recruiting profile, and he is ranked No. 1 in America at the position.