The Hurry-Up: Filling the Last Spot in Ohio State's Secondary, Seeking Seven More Commits in 2021, Bullish on Derrick Davis Jr.

By Zack Carpenter on May 18, 2020 at 6:30 pm
Derrick Davis Jr.

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.

Filling last spot in secondary, seeking seven more commits

Question 1

Based on what I’ve heard, the seven spots Ohio State is most likely to fill are: 1 WR, 1 TE, 2 OL, 2 DL, 1 DB.

If that is the case, it lays the foundation for the rest of your questions: 

I believe 25 commits is the number to expect in this class, but if, say, both Derrick Davis Jr. and Jaylin Davies wanted in, Ohio State would make room for both, based on what I know, which would take it up to 26 commits. Ohio State needs another cornerback in this class, but Davis is too good of a talent to pass up. 

I’m going to be bullish on Davis for basically forever. There was a phrase I heard not too long ago – for the life of me, I can’t remember who said it – when an NFL exec was discussing the players in the 2020 draft pool. He said something along the lines of “every player being drafted is special. They were special when they were being recruited in high school, and they were special enough to be drafted. We’re looking for someone who’s different – the guy who’s special but is on another tier above the others.”

That’s Davis. He’s different, and I think he’s going to be a star for Ohio State, Penn State, Clemson, Georgia or whichever other program he decides to join (though it’s almost certainly going to be one of those four). 

For Davies, it sounds like he might only be a take if he’s able to visit, which brings me to your next questions...

Part of the reason for the Davies crystal ball predictions to Arizona State comes because he needs to get to Columbus to be able to get in the class, and the moratorium is putting that very much up in the air on when/if that happens. Things change daily, of course, so maybe Ohio State moves off its stance on needing a visit from Davies. The continued extensions of the dead period could keep moving the goalposts on programs’ requirements for a take. 

At linebacker, Raesjon Davis – who has visited Columbus, most recently for a March spring practice with a host of other California prospects – is a real possibility for a flip, but there’s plenty of ground to be made up. 

Raesjon Davis told Eleven Warriors that it was an impactful visit, as he and the others visited after a 7-on-7 tournament in Tennessee: “It was super nice, the facilities and everything was great. We had a good time, but we were on a short schedule because we had to get to other places,” Davis said.

Raesjon Davis and Barrett Carter are the only two true linebackers the Buckeyes would make room for in this class (though I think they’re behind on both) with Jaylen Johnson already in the fold as a candidate to move to outside linebacker. That's part of what makes Ohio State's linebacker recruiting in this cycle interesting is because, if the Buckeyes don't land either Raesjon Davis or Carter, they will be able to move Johnson to OLB, and Derrick Davis could possibly be moved to outside linebacker as well.

The fact that they didn’t attack linebacker as hard in the 2021 class, and with them being behind in linebacker recruiting in the cycle, is a major reason they’re attacking linebacker so hard in 2022. There will be a minimum of three linebackers, but I believe four, brought into the class.

I don’t think any of the aforementioned players (like Jager Burton) would be “left out” of this class. I just don’t believe Ohio State will land all eight of Emeka Egbuka, Hudson Wolfe, JC Latham, Burton, J.T. Tuimoloau, Tywone Malone, Davies AND Davis. If all eight want in, they’re in. After all, that would hit on all seven of the positions they want in this class that I mentioned above (1 WR, 1 TE, 2 OL, 2 DL, 1 DB) while adding another potential star in Davis. 

But I don’t realistically think that happens. I could be wrong, since this class is already at an absurd level, but I’m not overly optimistic that seven of those eight wind up in the class. Four or five? Yes. Five or six even? It's possible. But seven or eight? I'm doubtful. 

As for three additional cornerback prospects, we touched on Arizona corner Denzel Burke on Thursday, and he is a real possibility – though I think he’s another who would have to visit, as he has not yet stepped foot on the Columbus campus. 

The two biggest cornerback targets remaining are Tony Grimes and Clemson commit Jordan Hancock. Those are two players I don’t believe the Buckeyes have a strong shot at landing, but pulling Hancock from the Tigers is not off the table, and Coombs still has some time to make up ground for Grimes before he unveils his top three list at the end of the month. 

Grimes spent some time on Friday giving some love to Ohio State via Twitter. Though we're still not confident that Kerry Coombs and the Buckeyes can make up enough ground in that recruitment, there is still a lot of time left before his scheduled Dec. 1 decision date.

Carter decision coming

As written above, the Buckeyes are very much behind on Carter, the No. 56-ranked overall prospect in the country and the No. 4-ranked outside linebacker in America. It doesn't look like they will be able to catch up, either, as Carter announced on Monday afternoon that he has made his decision and will be announcing his college commitment on Tuesday night.

For a while, the strong feeling has been that Carter wound end up at Clemson with his good friend and North Gwinnett teammate Hancock, and that's the belief we have here, too.

Carter committing to Georgia would not be a surprise, either, but our money is on the Tigers. Either way, it looks like Ohio State will be watching its No. 1 linebacker target come off the board, and it will have to look elsewhere if it wants to bring in another linebacker – which, again, I believe Carter and Raesjon Davis are the only true linebackers the Buckeyes would be looking to bring into the class (in addition to Smael Mondon, though he is another they appear to be well behind on).

Derrick Davis Jr. photo: Zack Carpenter/Eleven Warriors

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