The Hurry-Up: Devonta Smith Earns Coveted Ohio State Offer, Potential to Play with Rocco Spindler a Possible “Pro” on Donovan Edwards' List

By Zack Carpenter on March 13, 2020 at 6:30 pm
Rocco Spindler
Rocco Spindler

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.

Smith earns coveted offer

Throughout all the madness of the crazy news cycle over the past 48 hours, I was bit taken aback when Cincinnati La Salle three-star cornerback Devonta Smith announced on Thursday afternoon that he had received an Ohio State offer.

Frankly, it was a nice breath of fresh air to get back to some sort of normalcy, even if it was only for a few minutes, to be able to write about a player who’s grinded to earn a coveted offer from his home state school. 

“I'm feeling great, man,” Smith told Eleven Warriors after earning the offer, one that he says came from Kerry Coombs during Smith's lunch period on Thursday. “This is a blessing, for sure.”

Coombs called Smith's head coach, Pat McLaughlin, and the emotion and weight of the moment cannot be overstated.

“I cried,” Smith said. “I’m not even sure if people know what this offer means to me. It’s very special.”

When we spoke with Smith a few weeks ago, the talented state champion cornerback had glowed about huge offers from Alabama and Oregon he had gotten the week prior, but he voiced disappointment that he had not yet gotten an Ohio State offer.

"To be honest, my relationship with the Ohio State coaches are not as strong as I would like it to be,” Smith said, before later adding, “Coach Coombs has told me what it would take to earn the offer, and honestly I feel like I have (earned an offer) because I work day in and day out. But if he and the Ohio State staff don't feel like I did, all I’m gonna do is continue to work. That’s all I’m gonna do. That’s all I can do.”

When I first started on the Ohio State recruiting beat in September, defensive lineman Mike Hall was in a similar position, telling me he knew what it would take to earn an offer and increase his recruiting rankings, and then he went out and did it. Smith’s case is similar here, and it’s pretty cool to see him land this offer. Smith was already expecting to release a top 10 list of final schools in about a week, but it was unclear if Ohio State would be on there. Now, assuming he still releases that list, it’s a lock that it will be on the list.

Visit cancellation for Smith

In a teeny-tiny twist of potentially good fate in this specific recruitment, it’s possible the cancellations of visits could end up working in Ohio State’s favor. Smith was set to take an unofficial visit to Alabama on March 23-24 with Jaylen Johnson. (The two teammates are good friends, and Smith invited Johnson on the trip. Johnson’s happily committed to Ohio State, so there was nothing to worry about there even if the trip had occurred. Just wanted to make that clear in case there were questions about that.)

Now, with the Buckeyes offering and Smith unable to visit Alabama for a while, they have put themselves in good position to keep Smith home as part of a five-man defensive backs haul in the 2021 class.

Spindler could be a “pro” on Edwards' list

Before the years-long day that was Wednesday afternoon and evening, we talked about West Bloomfield (Mich.) High School head coach Ron Bellamy and his “pros and cons” strategy he makes his players follow when they are deciding between a litany of college programs that have offered them. 

Another to add to the “pro” list for West Bloomfield running back Donovan Edwards would be the potential to play with four-star offensive guard Rocco Spindler, who told Eleven Warriors he is planning on taking all five of his official visits between April 1-May 3, including a planned visit to Ohio State as the last of those officials before making a mid-May commitment. (Obviously, as we talked about on Thursday, that visit may not end up happening, and that mid-May commitment plan could be pushed back.)

That would mean Spindler will have made his college decision prior to Edwards, and whether he chooses Notre Dame, Michigan or Ohio State (or one of seven of his other choices), Edwards would be able to list it as a positive that he could do something Spindler – who attends Clarkston (Mich.) High School just 30 minutes away from West Bloomfield – has been angling for the talented running back to do for at least several months now.

“Yeah, I’ve even tried talking him into coming and playing for my high school team,” Spindler, whose team lost 24-0 to Edwards’ team in 2019, told Eleven Warriors when asked if he’s envisioned opening up holes for Edwards in college. “I say, ‘Listen, be the best running back you can be behind the best offensive line in the state and the best offensive line in the country. Imagine what that would be like. You might be getting 10-yard runs now, but you’d be getting 100-yard runs with us.’

“I’ve talked to Donovan a little bit here and there. We play each other once or twice a year, and he’s one of the best running backs in the country. No doubt about it. We go back and forth. He might break a 10-yard run, but I might get him for a 10-yard loss. That’s a great relationship.”

Stellato provides clarity

For months now, it's been assumed and expected that four-star Cardinal Gibbons (Fla.) receiver Troy Stellato was choosing between Ohio State and Clemson. On Thursday night, it looks like Stellato provided clarity on that by solidifying that his recruitment is down to the Buckeyes and Tigers.

Stellato and Emeka Egbuka's recruitments have truly become extremely similar to the recruitment of Edwards in terms of the fact that they are recruitments that help define a rivalry between programs (Edwards = Michigan vs. Ohio State; Stellato and Egbuka = Clemson vs. Ohio State). 

Ohio State and Clemson's rivalry on the recruiting trail are very much real, and it should be for however long Dabo Swinney is at Clemson and Day is at Ohio State.

Hall earns All-American bid

We mentioned Hall earlier, and on Thursday night, he had a couple key tweets. One showed off his athleticism, and the other showed just how far he's come as a player.

Hall going from a three-star recruit to one of the best defensive tackles in America and earning an Under Armour All-American invite is a great cherry on top of his tremendous rise.

Henderson's list coming soon

Five-star running back TreVeyon Henderson made a vague tweet on Thursday night ... and then almost instantly clarified it.

Henderson's list of top schools will be coming soon, and it would be shocking to not see Ohio State and Clemson as two of the programs on that list.

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