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.
Grimes picks UNC
Five-star cornerback Tony Grimes, the nation's No. 1-ranked player in the 2021 class at the position, has made it official – the Princess Anne (Va.) star has committed to North Carolina, he announced on Tuesday.
BREAKING: Tony Grimes, the No. 1 CB in the class of 2021 commits to @TarHeelFootball@CoachMackBrown and the Tar Heels have a top 5 class in 2021@757EliteDB | @247recruiting | @InsideCarolina pic.twitter.com/DHPIT9DSPn— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) June 30, 2020
For head coach Mack Brown, cornerbacks coach Dre Bly and the Tar Heels, that's about as massive of a get as possible in this class. In the modern recruiting era, dating back to 1999, Grimes is the third-ever composite five-star prospect North Carolina has landed, according to 247Sports' rankings, and he is the third-highest ranked recruit the Heels have landed in that same time span.
T-1: Marcus Hands (No. 4 overall; No. 1 strongside defensive end in 2004)
T-1: Marvin Austin (No. 4 overall; No. 1 defensive tackle in 2007)
3: Grimes (No. 7 overall; No. 1 cornerback in 2021)
4: Donte Moss (No. 26 overall; No. 2 weakside defensive end in 2009)
*Hands is the lone player who was not a composite five-star on this list
With Grimes’ commitment, North Carolina has leapfrogged Tennessee for the No. 3 spot on the 247Sports team rankings, as the Heels now have 259.73 total points with 17 commits. Grimes is only the second out-of-state commitment in the Heels' class.
For Ohio State, landing Grimes was always going to be a difficult task, but with Kerry Coombs leading the charge, there was still a shot the Buckeyes would be able to pull him from the East Coast. But that was always going to require another visit to Columbus from Grimes and his family, as they had not been back for a visit since April of 2019.
“That’s our objective. Tony wants to get back there one more time,” Grimes’ father, Deon Glover, told Eleven Warriors in the first week of June, after Grimes had trimmed his list to a final four. “We try to visit programs three or more times. In light of everything that’s going on around the nation, we have to take that into consideration and think, OK, maybe next time we go we just have to try and cram everything in that we need to know in that one visit.”
However, after long having set a commitment date of Dec. 1, Grimes announced on June 21 that he was putting his commitment on the fast track, having a mid-summer change of heart, and he set the date to June 30. Ohio State needed much more time with Grimes, so once that decision date was set, it unofficially sealed the Buckeyes' fate as being on the outside looking in.
Other than Ryan Day, Coombs and Al Washington were the two coaches heading this recruitment. Grimes told Rivals' Adam Friedman this week that Coombs is “really the only person I talk to and Coach Washington a little” from Ohio State and that “if I do go to that school it's because of him.”
June has not been a fruitful month in recruiting for Ohio State, and though Grimes was very unlikely to end up with the Buckeyes, he adds to the growing list of top targets who have committed elsewhere this month:
- JC Latham (committed to Alabama)
- Hudson Wolfe (committed to Tennessee)
- Troy Stellato (committed to Clemson)
- Jaylin Davies (committed to Oregon)
- Devonta Smith (decommitted from Ohio State; committed to Alabama)
Latham and Wolfe are the only two on this list who are substantial losses, with the loss of Smith also hurting, though the Buckeyes should be able to recover from that one a bit easier.
Now, the Buckeyes have their sights set on the two top remaining prospects on their board at defensive back – safety Derrick Davis Jr. and Clemson cornerback commit Jordan Hancock – in addition to other players who we may see pop up over the next few weeks.
Commits back on the trail
After being the hottest team on the national recruiting trail in the spring – after gaining eight 2021 commit and three 2022 commits from March-May – the Buckeyes have cooled off a bit and lost some momentum. At one point, it did feel like that momentum was never going to be broken and that Ohio State was going to be able to get anyone it wanted.
However, it's far from panic time, obviously. The Buckeyes still have the No. 1-ranked recruiting class in the country, and though the greatest class of all-time is looking more like a longshot than reality at this point (though it's still possible), they are still the favorite for their top-three highest remaining uncommitted targets in the 2021 class.
And they have a group of commits in this class who are hungry to add another – with the cream of the crop the ones being zeroed in on.
“I think we’ll land J.T. (Tuimoloau), Emeka (Egbuka); all those big targets that everyone always talks about. Derrick Davis,” Henderson told Eleven Warriors this week.
We working on gettin another BOOM just be patient . We got yall— Jantzen Dunn (@JantzenDunn) June 30, 2020
There's always been heavy optimism coming from the Buckeyes’ bevy of rising senior commits that they will be able to land other players who hold their same vision. Once one player commits to the class, he instantly begins his own recruiting to get someone who fits at Ohio State.
“It’s hard to explain it but it’s essentially being elite and not being average,” said Henderson when asked what the coaching staff wants in its players. “That’s basically the message. Ohio State wants elite people that wanna be great. They don’t want average. They want people who wanna be great and who wanna be leaders and wanna show other people the way.”
McCord struggles out of the gate
Five-star Ohio State commit Kyle McCord is one of 20 quarterbacks who is competing in the Elite 11 Finals this week down in Nashville.
If McCord is going to join Justin Fields (2017) and C.J. Stroud (2020) as Buckeye quarterbacks who recently earned MVP honors at the competition, he will have to bounce back from his day one struggles.
McCord was reportedly a bit inconsistent on Monday's opening night of the three-day competition. In ranking each quarterback's day one performance, Rivals ranked McCord at No. 11, and Sports Illustrated ranked McCord at No. 13.
Top photo: Jantzen Dunn