The Hurry-Up: Ohio State Projects Latest Offer Justin Medlock As a Will Linebacker, Jakailin Johnson Latest All-American Invite, Historic Number of Commits

By Zack Carpenter on May 8, 2020 at 6:30 pm
Justin Medlock

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 Texas linebacker

Manvel (Texas) High School linebacker Justin Medlock is ranked as the eighth-best inside linebacker in the country in the 2022 class. But, still, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound junior-to-be is only rated as a three-star prospect, per 247Sports.

He doesn’t care.

“I'm not too worried about stars,” Medlock told Eleven Warriors. “I would be just as motivated if I were a five-star.”

If he never moves in the rankings, Ohio State probably wouldn’t care, either. The Buckeyes have already made it known they’re interested in Medlock, offering the first-team all-district performer who helped the Mavericks pitch four shutouts en route to an undefeated regular season and 13-1 mark that ended in the Class 5A Division II state quarterfinals. 

“I've been talking to them for a couple months now,” Medlock said. “It's great to have been offered, but at the same time it's humbling and makes me want to go even harder.”

Medlock’s Ohio State offer came on Thursday night following a productive conversation with Al Washington. 

“The conversation was great. The main thing that I took away from it is that they care about their players, not just on the field but off the field as well,” Medlock said. “The best part of the conversation was when we got to sit down and just talk football for a little bit. (Washington’s) a real cool dude. He has very high expectations of all his linebackers, and he's gonna keep it real with you always.”

Medlock led Manvel as a sophomore in all three tackle categories – total (117), solo (79) and assisted (38) – was fifth in sacks (3.5) and tackles-for-loss (4.0), second in passes defensed (five), and he added two fumble recoveries. 

Most of those numbers came from the Will linebacker position that Medlock played for the majority of the season. The Will linebacker spot is where Medlock says Washington sees him fitting best, but he also sees Medlock possibly transitioning to Mike linebacker down the road.

Medlock says his “speed and coverage ability” are the skills that caught Washington’s eye and make him suited for the Will linebacker position. 

Medlock has 16 total offers, including Baylor, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Oregon, the latter of which Medlock announced a few hours after he revealed he had been offered by the Buckeyes. 

As we touched on in Monday’s Hurry-Up, Ohio State is looking to add a minimum of three linebackers to its 2022 class. The Buckeyes already have an outside linebacker – and possible linebacker/safety hybrid – in the fold with C.J. Hicks, and they are likely to add outside linebacker Gabe Powers at some point down the road (though Powers might end up growing into a defensive end). 

Johnson latest to earn bid

Four of Ohio State’s highest-ranked commitments in the 2021 class may have a fifth member of their group join them in San Antonio. 

St. Louis cornerback Jakailin Johnson announced on his Twitter on Friday that he has been invited to play in the 21st annual All-American Bowl.

Johnson has not yet announced whether or not he will accept the invitation. If he does accept, he would join quarterback Kyle McCord, offensive guard Donovan Jackson, linebacker Reid Carrico and running back Evan Pryor as the latest Buckeye pledge to participate in the game in January.

The De Smet four-star talent was recently bumped up seven spots to the No. 52 overall ranking in America, inching closer to becoming the Buckeyes’ sixth top-50 player in the class.

Historically high number of commits

Speaking of Johnson, when the junior decided to join Ohio State’s 2021 class on March 15, just one day after the nationwide recruiting shutdown, it turned out he was becoming a bit of a trendsetter. 

Not just for Ohio State – which landed three more commitments over the next two days to jump-start a surge that became a national recruiting storyline – but countrywide. 

From March 14-May 6, according to 247Sports, there have been a staggering 424 players make a commitment. That is a massive increase compared to 198 through that same period last year, 170 in 2019 and 202 in 2018.

In total, there have been 627 total commitments in the 2021 class through May 6, which is more than double the number of commitments through that point in each of the last three classes. It’s more total commitments than the 2020 and 2019 cycles combined. 

That data was part of a piece by 247Sports’ Bud Elliott, in which he details something that many have been predicting for more than a month now – that this wild rash of commitments is going to lead to far more decommitments and flips in this cycle than usual. 

When looking at those numbers through a scarlet and gray lens, it wouldn’t be hard to assume that Ohio State will be immune to any such attrition. The Buckeyes have long-standing relationships with the players committed in its 2021 class, their brand is as big as any in college football (if not bigger), the NFL success numbers are there, and all but one commit (TreVeyon Henderson) has visited either multiple times or made a very impactful single visit (Tunmise Adeleye for example). 

I don’t think any members of Ohio State’s 2021 class will decommit. From everything we’ve heard, all of the class’ verbals are solid. 

But perhaps down the line we will be looking at a situation where national guys want to end up staying closer to home or have a change of heart for other reasons – or perhaps the staff has a change of heart. Again, I don’t think it’s of major concern right now, but it’s at least something to keep in the back of the mind, especially if and when visits are allowed again.

Justin Medlock photo courtesy of Brian Perroni/247Sports

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