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.
Next 2021 commit?
I hopped on the latest episode of Real Pod Wednesdays this week with Dan and Colin to conduct our Ohio State recruit draft, selecting from a pool of 45 players in the Buckeyes’ 2020, 2021 and 2022 recruiting classes.
If you checked out that piece and read up on the details of how we ended up getting to 45 players, you know that we snagged one uncommitted player from the 2021 class to give ourselves an equal number of guys at each position. That player was Hardin County (Tenn.) tight end Hudson Wolfe, who gave us three total tight ends so that we would have one tight end on each of our teams.
When I put together that idea of the draft, the numbers worked out almost perfectly in our favor, and it was with pure coincidence that the one uncommitted player we had to choose from was also the answer to a question posed to me later on the podcast:
With Ohio State up to 18 commits in 2021, how many more commits should we expect and who are your eyes on now as the next potential commitments?
Looking at the second part of that question first, I do believe that Wolfe will be the next commit in the class. According to a source, Wolfe has developed real, impactful relationships not just with Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson (who would be his position coach if he chooses to play for Ohio State) but also with several of the Buckeyes’ current commits in the 2021 class.
According to that same source, Wolfe was making it his goal to get back to Ohio State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia (the schools in his top five) for one final visit before reaching a decision. But that same source also said that Wolfe is wanting to make a commitment sometime in June – but no later than July 1.
It is my belief that Wolfe is an Ohio State lean right now, and when we add in the fact that the NCAA Board of Governors is almost certainly going to extend the recruiting dead period through June 30 (the board met on Wednesday to decide whether or not to extend it), it’s quite possible – though not certain – that Wolfe could choose to end his recruitment on that same timeline. If he does that, I really like Ohio State’s chances of landing him based on what I’ve heard and the momentum the Buckeyes have with him.
It’s also possible that Wolfe decides to wait things out and pushes his commitment timeline back, and I wouldn’t be totally surprised if he does, considering how important this decision is. I still like the Buckeyes’ chances of bringing him into the 2021 class down the road if he chooses to go that route, but that would open the door a bit more for one of those SEC programs to gain some ground.
As for the first part of that question, I have long been saying that I believe the Buckeyes would bring in 23 or 24 players into the class. Just three weeks ago, I started asking around to see if Ohio State would actually be looking around to possibly bring a punter into the class.
The consensus feeling was that the program would probably go ahead and lay off of searching for a punter, with Michael O’Shaughnessy – a former five-star punter, according to ChrisSailerKicking.com – the presumed No. 1 guy at that spot, as he would have two years of eligibility remaining after the graduation of Drue Chrisman.
So I continued working with that same number of 23 or 24 (likelier to be 24). But Matt Barnes and Co. threw us a curveball last week by landing a commitment from Australian punter Jesse Mirco, giving the Buckeyes a surprise extra commit in the class.
With Mirco now in the fold, I set the number at 25 total commits that Ohio State will ultimately be shooting for in this class. That leaves seven remaining spots for this cycle. With how much talent and depth the Buckeyes have at every position, they can afford to reserve at least four of those spots for J.T. Tuimoloau, Emeka Egbuka, JC Latham and Derrick Davis Jr. (or possibly Tywone Malone).
Seven more commitments feels like the sweet spot, and with how early and thoroughly Ohio State recruited in this cycle, the Buckeyes have afforded themselves the opportunity to remain patient to bring in some of the best talent in the nation.
Possible 2022 commits
As for the 2022 class, I was also asked who the next possible commitment would be in that cycle, and the three names I feel most confident could be next – though we might still be weeks or months away – are Strongsville offensive tackle Blake Miller, Marysville linebacker Gabe Powers and Kansas outside linebacker Dasan McCullough.
Ohio State is high on Miller, and I expect the three-star prospect to eventually rise into four-star territory. Powers has felt like a “when, not if” recruit for a while now. I’ve been told he is hopeful to visit Clemson at some point when things open back up, so perhaps he wants to wait until he has all of his options on the table. Powers’ commitment may not be around the corner, but I feel confident that it will happen eventually.
As for McCullough, the draw to the Buckeyes and the state of Ohio is strong, with him having family here, his father being a former star running back at Miami (Ohio) and his brother being a current RedHawk.
The last Ohio State target to have a history with Miami (Ohio) worked out quite well for the Buckeyes…
Jackson now a composite five-star
...speaking of which, Donovan Jackson – whose parents met at Miami (Ohio) – has earned his fifth star in the composite rankings.
Rivals released its latest rankings this week, and Jackson was one of the new five-star players in the 2021 class (in addition to Buckeye defensive end commit Tunmise Adeleye). We have long believed Jackson would eventually earn that fifth star, and that day has finally come.
For several weeks – long before his son had even committed to Ohio State – Jackson’s father, Todd, had the words “dad to future five-star Donovan Jackson” in his Twitter bio. We have to give a lot of credit to Todd for calling that all the way back in the fall (and he probably had been calling it long before that and we just didn’t see it).
“I think he personifies, in my mind, Texas football,” Todd told us in January. “It’s a religion down here so they’re always working in the offseason. Always training, always growing, always pushing yourself to do better in the weight room with trainers.
“He’s a self-starter. He’s driven. We have his back. We’ll walk through the wall with him, but he’s the first one through it. I’m proud of what he’s done. Proud to see the man he’s become and look forward to the next steps.”
Jackson is the fourth composite five-star player committed in the Buckeyes’ 2021 class, in addition to Jack Sawyer, Kyle McCord and TreVeyon Henderson. Tennessee (two) is the only other program in the country with more than one five-star commit.
Johnson is No. 6
As a final note, cornerback commit Jakailin Johnson, as expected, decided to become the sixth Buckeye commit in the 2021 class to accept an invitation to the All-American Bowl in January.
Ohio State had nine commits from its 2020 class participate in the last All-American Bowl, so it’s very possible the Buckeyes eclipse that number this time around.
Hudson Wolfe photo courtesy of The Jackson Sun and 247Sports