The Hurry-Up: Ohio State Offer to Rising Virginia Sophomore Zach Rice Leads to Emotional Reactions From Family and Fans, Marcus Bradley to Make College Decision on Friday

By Zack Carpenter on April 30, 2020 at 6:30 pm
Marcus Bradley

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.

Buckeyes offer Virginia riser

When Liberty Christian Academy (Va.) offensive tackle Zach Rice tweeted out on Wednesday that he had officially received an offer from Ohio State, there were three eyebrow-raising reactions that the three-star sophomore prospect received. 

The first, and frankly less important, reaction came from Ohio State fans, who instantly flooded his Twitter page and boosted his number of followers by at least 200 people – a lot of that stemming from a subtle message from fellow Virginia star TreVeyon Henderson

“(Ohio State) fans are really supportive,” Rice told Eleven Warriors. “It was crazy how my Twitter blew up. Sheesh, I think it was 200-300 (new followers), I think. It was crazy. TreVeyon Henderson put the little smirk emoji after I got the offer, and I said, ‘I wanna block for the best,’ and good Lord, they were going crazy.”

The other reactions, emotional ones from two of the people he is perhaps the closest with, preceded all of the publicity on social media.

Those reactions came after Greg Studrawa got on the phone with Rice to offer him – a phone call that had been budding for two weeks as Buckeye assistant offensive line coach Kennedy Cook had been carving out a relationship with the 6-foot-6, 280-pounder.

“Coach Stud offered me, and I was really shocked,” Rice said. “But then my mom – she’s a counselor – she got off the phone with one of the ladies she works with. After she got off the phone, I finally got it on speaker phone (with Coach Stud), and my mom, as he told her he was offering me, her knees buckled. She almost fell. It was crazy.

“My grandmother lives with me. So she found out, and she was pretty excited too.”

Rice, ranked No. 30 at offensive tackle nationally and No. 13 in the state of Virginia regardless of position, was coming off a Tuesday evening of being offered by LSU and Georgia, and he was offered by Michigan on Wednesday prior to the Ohio State offer. 

Did any of those offers get a similar reaction from mom?

“No. Absolutely not,” Rice said. “I guess it just shows the work paying off. I had just gotten offered by LSU the day before, and Ohio State, she just knew I really liked them.”

Eleven Warriors will have more from our interview with Rice in Sunday's Hurry-Up.

Offer out for star corner

Another player whom Ohio State offered recently is 6-foot, 180-pound Grayson (Ga.) High School cornerback Marquis Groves-Killebrew, a standout sophomore ranked as the No. 64 overall player and No. 10 cornerback in the 2022 class. 

Groves-Killebrew, one of just nine defensive backs the Buckeyes have offered in his class, is already emerging as one of the nation’s premier cornerbacks, and his recruitment is starting to pick up some heat with offers from Oregon and Ohio State on Thursday adding to a growing list of 25 programs that includes Auburn, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Tennessee and Texas.

Kerry Coombs and Matt Barnes have already shown they will attack the South region of the country in the 2022 recruiting cycle, nabbing a commitment from Louisiana’s Jyaire Brown and targeting Jacoby Mathews (Louisiana), Bryce Anderson (Texas) and Denver Harris (Texas).

Anderson, Harris and Michigan’s Will Johnson – a top-20 overall and top-five cornerback prospect out of Michigan – each told Eleven Warriors that their recruitment changed the moment Coombs and Barnes came calling with an offer, so Groves-Killebrew now becomes another key name to monitor going forward.

Bradley commitment coming

One of Ohio State’s top defensive tackle targets in the 2021 class, Quince Orchard (Md.) High School four-star Marcus Bradley, is set to make his college commitment at 2 p.m. Friday.

For a while, it looked like the Buckeyes had plenty of momentum for the 6-foot-3, 270-pounder, who has a great relationship with Larry Johnson – a relationship built on Johnson’s honest assessments, including a comparison to Dre’Mont Jones, and Johnson’s ties to the DMV area.

“Talking to Coach Johnson, he keeps it real at all times. I like that about him. It feels genuine,” Bradley told Eleven Warriors previously. “Talking to me, he always talks to me about my film and all that stuff. He talks to me different. It seems like it’s different from other coaches talking to me. He tells me all the things that he can do for me instead of just praising me. He doesn’t sugarcoat at all.”

It looks, however, as if Ohio State will be one of the odd men out here in favor of Maryland, with all 10 Crystal Ball predictions (and counting) in favor of the Terrapins for the top-200 player. Bradley, ranked No. 10 at defensive tackle and No. 9 in Maryland, is likely to join Quince Orchard teammate Demeioun Robinson, the No. 2-ranked weakside defensive end in America, who committed to Maryland last month. 

Tennessee on fire

On Sunday afternoon, Tennessee landed a commitment from five-star defensive end Dylan Brooks, the No. 1-ranked weakside defensive end in the 2021 class. 

That was just the beginning of a huge week for the Volunteers, which on Tuesday landed former Ohio State defensive back target Kamar Wilcoxson – who for a few weeks after his second decommitment from Florida seemed destined to be a Buckeye before the team began backing off of him a bit in their recruitment – and on Thursday received a commitment from five-star linebacker Terrence Lewis, another former Buckeye target, though that recruitment never really saw much momentum as Ohio State elected to not offer him.

Ryan Day’s program still has the most momentum of any in the country on the recruiting trail, but what Jeremy Pruitt is doing down in Knoxville is impressive if he is able to sign each of his commits. The Volunteers have now landed in the past four days:

  • Five-star DE Dylan Brooks (18 overall, 1 WDE)
  • Five-star OLB Terrence Lewis (10 overall, 1 OLB)
  • Four-star WR Julian Nixon (238 overall, 42 WR)
  • Four-star DB Kamar Wilcoxson (266 overall, 14 S)

Also landing a big commitment on Thursday was Missouri, which received a pledge from four-star St. Louis prospect Travion Ford, another former Ohio State target whom the Buckeyes backed off a bit. Ford is ranked in the top 150 overall and No. 8 at weakside defensive end in 2021.

Rankings update

ESPN – one of the three recruiting services that makes up the 247Sports Composite rankings in addition to 247 and Rivals – released its latest 2021 player rankings on Thursday, and 13 of the Buckeyes’ 2021 commits are ranked inside the top 150. That includes Jack Sawyer, who retains the No. 1 ranking, and TreVeyon Henderson, who is up three spots into the No. 10 slot.

Expect some shifts in the next few days in the composite rankings as those get adjusted, and that should lead to some risers among Buckeye commits and targets.

Some of the notable risers are Mike Hall (who is now 78th after being outside the top 100), Marvin Harrison Jr. (from 92nd to 79th) and Reid Carrico (from 198th to 129th), and Kyle McCord is at No. 30 now after being ranked No. 39 previously.

Some fallers include Jayden Ballard from No. 41 to No. 50 and Ben Christman from No. 119 to No. 131.

Other commits in the top 150 are Tunmise Adeleye (No. 40), Donovan Jackson (No. 83), Jakailin Johnson (No. 87), Evan Pryor (No. 128) and Andre Turrentine (No. 132). 

Jantzen Dunn (No. 183), Jaylen Johnson (No. 299), Sam Hart (unranked) and Devonta Smith (unranked) are the only Ohio State junior commits not ranked in ESPN's top 150.

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