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 defensive end
After grabbing just three defensive linemen in its 2020 class, Ohio State made the position its No. 2 or No. 3 biggest priority (behind running back, of course) in the 2021 cycle, as five signees is the safe number to bank on, and six could ultimately be the call.
The Buckeyes currently have 16 defensive linemen on scholarship. I think we can pretty safely project Zach Harrison to enter the NFL Draft following the 2021 season, so we can reasonably expect there to be 13-14 on scholarship after that season. Though if Taron Vincent shakes off the injury bug and lives up to his potential and Javontae Jean-Baptiste capitalizes on his monster athleticism, maybe we're talking about a different number by then.
But if we assume that 13-14 number entering the 2022 season (again, the 13 or 14 depends on whether the Buckeyes land five or six DL in the 2021 cycle), that means the Buckeyes will be looking to land at least three defensive linemen in the 2022 class. But because of a few variables – such as Vincent and Jean-Baptiste possibly being draftees if they improve, injuries, players not developing at a good pace, or Ohio State only taking five defensive linemen in this class – let's be safe for now and say that they shoot for four DL in the 2022 cycle.
We are starting to see the Buckeyes begin to target more and more defensive linemen publicly with offers being dished out over the last month and a half.
Following North Carolina's Travis Shaw and Florida's Shemar Stewart being offered in April, the Buckeyes have shown interest via offers this month to Indiana's Caden Curry two weeks ago, Philadelphia's Enai White last week and Texas' Ernest Cooper on Tuesday afternoon.
Cooper is the latest player to receive an Ohio State offer, as the four-star prospect announced the offer via Twitter.
Blessed to receive an offer from Ohio State University pic.twitter.com/VkSlOzBHBj— Ernest RJ Cooper (@RJ_COOPER44) May 19, 2020
Cooper, a junior-to-be at Arlington's James Martin High School, is ranked No. 76 overall, No. 6 at weakside defensive end and No. 10 in the state of Texas, according to 247Sports.
At 6-foot-4, 215 pounds, Cooper is a pretty skinny defensive end who will need to add a lot of weight to his frame over the next year or two, and he still tackles a bit high instead of with force down low.
However, Cooper blends great length, range and an explosive first step with a good motor and pursuit as an edge rusher in his program's 3-4 scheme in which often pounces off the line with two hands in the dirt. Cooper has good vision and sheds blocks well using that length, which he used to accrue 14 tackles-for-loss (second-best on his team), 61 total tackles (46 solo), 3.0 sacks, four forced fumbles and three passes defensed.
Cooper has an impressive 22-team offer sheet, including Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, LSU, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas and USC.
Communication increases with dynamic Chicago WR
While the Buckeyes will likely be making defensive line another top priority in the 2022 cycle, receiver is one in which they will be business as usual with arguably the country's best recruiter overseeing the operation.
Brian Hartline brought in the heralded four-man 2020 receivers class, has a shot at bringing in a star-studded three-man haul in 2021 and in 2022 another three-receiver group is expected.
One of those players could wind up being a talent who does not yet have an Ohio State offer but who has seen increased communication with Hartline, Keenan Bailey and Greg Mattison.
Chicago St. Rita four-star receiver Kaleb Brown is a 5-foot-11, 180-pound versatile receiver who is ranked No. 35 overall, No. 5 at wide receiver and No. 1 in the state of Illinois. Brown has been talking more with that Buckeye trio, and the conversations have been positive.
“I hope to receive (an Ohio State offer) soon, but I’m not too sure how soon,” Brown told Eleven Warriors. “I’ve talked to them a couple of times. I’ve spoke with (Hartline, Bailey and Mattison) so far, and we have been connecting. So the relationship have increased over the last week. They went through my coach to get to me, and he had me call them. So far, the relationship between the coaches and I have been developing.
“I like how they run their organization, from what I see. The three coaches make me feel comfortable. I like that they eat and sleep football.”
Brown might not be a physically imposing receiver, but he shows off some physical traits that the Buckeyes like – especially in his versatility out of the slot and out of the backfield.
“I’m gifted at running back and my running abilities, and I’m also gifted at wide receiver. Very explosive and fast,” Brown said.
Again, this relationship between Brown and the Ohio State coaches is in the beginning stages, but things are positive right now as the two sides get to know each other. It's possible we see the Buckeyes add to Brown's offer sheet that includes Notre Dame and fellow Big Ten programs Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota and Nebraska.
On Tuesday morning, 247Sports rolled out a new tool that it has been talking about for a while now: a Crystal Ball confidence meter.
It’s pretty self explanatory, but here are some extra details via 247Sports CEO Shannon B. Terry:
Confidence meter now live on @247Sports Crystal Ball. Another change ... only "lead expert(s)" predictions will show up in company lists/modules. Non leads will still be available and can be released by recruiting experts at their discretion. ( image below w/ live data) pic.twitter.com/w9AN5nkvD8— Shannon B. Terry (@sbterry247) May 19, 2020
Making 1 more tweak to Crystal Ball formula. Non lead experts predictions will contribute 25% weight to the "% to school", w/ leads contributing 75%. Right now, formula is 100% leads. This will give a voice to all experts & avoid profiles like this one... My bad. coming soon ... pic.twitter.com/ME2bafKaZ6— Shannon B. Terry (@sbterry247) May 19, 2020
On Monday, we discussed the top-eight targets on the Buckeyes’ 2021 board. Here are those players’ Crystal Ball consensus projections and confidence meter listings, ranked from highest confidence to lowest that they will end up at Ohio State:
- Emeka Egbuka: Ohio State, 6.8
- JC Latham: Ohio State, 6.3
- Jager Burton: Ohio State, 6.0
- Hudson Wolfe: Ohio State, 6.0
- Jaylin Davies: Ohio State, 6.0, and Arizona State, 4.0
- J.T. Tuimoloau: Ohio State, 3.7 confidence rating
Ernest Cooper photo courtesy of Collin Kennedy/247Sports