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.
Spinder trims list
Ohio State already has two of the nation's best offensive linemen already committed to its 2021 class in Donovan Jackson and Ben Christman, but the Buckeyes are not shy about gunning for their next big target.
Clarkston (Mich.) High School's Rocco Spindler, the No. 2-ranked offensive guard and No. 49-ranked overall recruit in America's junior class, talks with Greg Studrawa and Ryan Day almost every day, and they are letting Spindler know just how big a priority he is for them.
"They say I’m one of the top guys, if not the No. 1 guy, in the 2021 class," Spindler told Eleven Warriors on Sunday. "As far as 247Sports, they might have me at what they’ve got me, but that’s not what the coaches say. They say I’m the guy. They told me they know I’m one of the best guys, and they said if I can stay low key like you are, that’s better for us. But I know they’re coming after me real hard as well as a couple other players."
Spindler released his list of top 10 on schools on Monday, and Ohio State finds itself pitted against Notre Dame and Michigan (which are expected to be the top two programs the Buckeyes are facing here), in addition to Penn State, Tennessee, Arizona State, Oklahoma, Alabama, Florida and LSU.
Spindler plans on trimming that list to five schools in the next two weeks or so, and it's most likely that Ohio State finds itself on that list as well.
Plans May official visit
For his first two high school seasons, the 6-foot-5, 295-pound junior was being evaluated as both an offensive and defensive lineman. But he's now being recruited exclusively as either a left tackle/left guard, and he has started planning his five official visits this spring. He will begin taking those following his final unofficial visit, a trip to South Bend on March 20-21.
After that, Spindler is pretty set on which dates he will take his official visits, but there may be some shuffling on which schools get those visits. That said, he has plans on making an official visit to Ohio State during the weekend of May 1. He is hoping to make a college commitment sometime in mid-May, and if he sticks to that timeline, that visit to Columbus will be his final official visit before making a decision that will take some weight off his shoulders going into his senior year.
"It’s fun while it lasted, but now it’s time to make the big decision for where I wanna be for the next 4-5 years and where I wanna play football and hopefully have a shot at the NFL," Spindler said.
Buckeyes on the hunt
Notre Dame and Michigan are still considered to be the favorites here, but Ohio State is making a firm case largely due to three key factors: Relationships, academics, development.
"(Coach Stud) has one of the best offensive lines and (helped them become) a finalist for the Joe Moore Award. They’re definitely one of the best O-lines, and he’s one of the best O-line coaches out there," Spindler said. "Me and coach Stud are really close. Nearly every single day we talk.
"I think my relationship with coach Day might be even stronger. We talk all the time. We share the same characteristics. We wanna win, but there are a lot of things that come into play before that – preparation, hard work. We have the same mentality."
Ran into the lendgendary head coach, Lou Holtz in Mexico the other day! He impacted my life with his truly inspiring messages he gave about life. He also recruited my father heavily back in 86-87, this is one of those times we say like father, like son Could this be a sign? pic.twitter.com/1whZFIJOTa— Rocco Spindler (@RoccoSpindler92) February 26, 2020
One of the biggest bonds Spindler shares with the New Hampshire native Day? Their love of the outdoors.
Day is an avid outdoorsman who was well-versed in some of the same interests that Spindler has, and that has gone a long way in the two developing a relationship.
"We talked about hunting and trail cameras," Spindler said. "We share the same types of hobbies and stuff. Football’s a big factor, but off the field, hunting, fishing and outdoor life. We share that as well.
"We talk about that a lot of times. We talk about that all the time, actually. We just talked about how he managed deer and what he liked to shoot and what we liked to plan and stuff – almost as a farmer. There are a lot of things that go into it."
That lifestyle is something that defines the type of guy Spindler is.
"I just love being outdoors," Spindler said. "Most people like to play video games or working out 24/7. For me, I just like being outdoors and really enjoying wild life as well as working out."
At one point in time, Paris Johnson Jr. and Luke Wypler were both considering teaming up and heading to the West Coast to play at Stanford. Johnson told Eleven Warriors in January that the two met on a recruiting trip on the Cardinal campus, and each of them broached the idea of playing there together before deciding to do the same in Columbus.
If they had gone to Stanford, they certainly would not have been out of their element. The two are extremely gifted academically, and that helps show how Ohio State is able to stack up against other prestigious academic schools.
Academics will also play a major role in Ohio State being able to compete with Notre Dame and Michigan in Spindler's recruitment.
"My relationships with all those coaches are unbelievable," Spindler said when asked about his relationships with the Notre Dame and Michigan coaches. "They really care about me a person as well as an athlete. The biggest thing with them is their academics, and that’s what comes first – student-athlete. And that’s really what they look for, not just someone who can play on Friday nights but someone who can get it done Monday-Friday in the classroom, as well as at home."
So can Ohio State really compare with the academics of Michigan and Notre Dame?
"The thing I look at is how they compare down the road," Spindler said. "(Ohio State) has this after-football program (Real Life Wednesdays) where they set you up with job interviews with your degree that you have. They buy you a suit, an iPad, a Mac; anything you need to get you ready for the next chapter of your life."
Developing into a pro
Spindler said he watched this past weekend's NFL Scouting Combine, where 11 Ohio State players went through drills and interviews, and that was another aspect in a potential recruitment to the Buckeyes that's leaving an impact.
"They know how to win. That’s a big factor for me," Spindler said. "I wanna go to a program that knows how to develop players on and off the field as a young man. They know how to do it best. I was just watching this combine right here, and they’re definitely dominating the combine."
Spindler, like most players of his talent, dreams of reaching the NFL just like his father, Marc Spindler, who played defensive tackle at Pitt and defensive end for the Detroit Lions.
But, again, it comes back to academics for Spindler.
"That’s the ultimate goal is to play on Sunday nights, and that could be me one day," Spindler said. "I’ve gotten this far, and I’d definitely like to push it all the way until I can get my name heard called in the NFL draft. Hopefully I can go to the right school and they develop me on and off the field. That’s the ultimate goal, but you’ve gotta lean back on your degree. That’s a big thing for me."