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.
Carter could be in play following Hancock decommitment
North Gwinnett (Ga.) High School teammates Jordan Hancock and Barrett Carter have been dreaming of playing together at the collegiate level for years, and they appeared to be headed that way following their commitments to Clemson in March and May, respectively.
Now that Hancock, who has long been the Buckeyes’ top cornerback target on their board, has decommitted from the Tigers, his high school teammate could be back on the board and with it would put Ohio State’s top 2021 linebacker target back on the market.
That’s not me reporting that Carter is on the verge of a decommitment. Just that there is some optimism stemming from some of the Buckeye commits that Carter could wind up in play again, so we will have to leave it at that for the time being unless we dig up some more concrete information.
As we have discussed plenty of times before in this space, even if the Buckeyes don’t land a linebacker in this cycle, it’s not necessarily a problem. Defensive back has always been a major need in the 2021 class, but getting a linebacker such as Carter or LSU commit Raesjon Davis, who we’ve reported plans to make an official visit to Columbus with his family in the fall, would be a major luxury.
They have plenty of depth at linebacker going forward, and linebacker is on the bottom row in the hierarchy of positional needs in this cycle, especially with the firm commitment of the nation’s No. 2 inside linebacker, Reid Carrico, to hold down the Mike linebacker spot. That won’t be the case in the 2022 class, with at least three or four linebackers being the target goal and a handful of talented players available – including commit C.J. Hicks at OLB/bullet, Gabe Powers at Sam linebacker/defensive end, Dasan McCullough at Sam linebacker and Justin Medlock at Will/Mike linebacker.
McCord moves up rankings
Kyle McCord started off slow at the Elite 11 Finals, but finished strong at the event, making a strong case for MVP by showing off what 247Sports analyst Barton Simmons called “one of the strongest arms in the country.”
After the first day of action, we had some questions about McCord. He’s big and strong with an effortless arm but ball path and trajectory raised some concerns for a guy that is primarily an in-pocket passer. The next two days McCord really started to separate in terms of arm talent though. He’s just a big dude with big features that generates a lot of horsepower without digging too deep. He’s more Dwayne Haskins than Justin Fields for Ohio State but given all the talent Ohio State has been recruiting at wide receiver, he seems like a perfect trigger man to just sit back, stand tall and deliver.
On Wednesday, McCord saw a slight rise in his ranking because of his performance in Nashville, as he rose nine spots from No. 52 to No. 43 in the 247Sports rankings, which boosted him from No. 24 to No. 22 in the composite rankings.
After his performance, I thought McCord put himself in a great position to move up the board into top-20 range, but he finds himself on the outside of that in the composite rankings, trailing Caleb Williams (Elite 11 MVP winner; ranked No. 4 overall and No. 1 dual-threat QB), Washington commit Sam Huard (No. 9 overall; No. 1 pro-style), Georgia commit Brock Vandagriff (No. 13 overall; No. 2 dual-threat) and Michigan commit J.J. McCarthy (No. 14 overall; No. 2 pro-style).
Via @Elite11 Instagram live stream, here are Kyle McCord's final two throws at the Pro Day Competition. He's currently the leader in the clubhouse with 45 points.— Zack Carpenter (@Zack_Carp) July 1, 2020
Ohio State 2020 signee CJ Stroud won the competition last year with 50 points en route to winning Elite 11 MVP. pic.twitter.com/5mZuYEmMlk
In December, when detailing how Ohio State evaluates its quarterback prospects in recruiting and what the Buckeyes specifically target, Ryan Day said that the template begins with zeroing in on one thing – whatever that one thing may be.
“The first thing I think you look for is an extraordinary quality,” Day said. “That’s what you want. And then you can tailor the offense based on what that quality is, and hopefully you can find two or three, and if you have, you probably have a great one, and that’s what we look for.”
There are obviously many other factors that go into it, and Day detailed those as well, saying that “there’s certainly the aptitude of being able to handle information, see the field, accuracy, athletic ability, size, ability to handle adversity, family situation, what’s it going to be like when they’re not named the starter? Are their parents going to come in and ask to transfer right away? There’s a lot of things that go into play. We do the best we can to make that decision and go from there.”
But it all circles back to having at least one elite trait, and for Kyle McCord, he flashed that in droves in Nashville.
Brown recruiting Mathews
We have detailed plenty in the past about the the fact that the Ohio State 2021 commits are continuing to work ‘round the clock to pull in another high-profile prospect to the class. (With the Big Three being J.T. Tuimoloau, Emeka Egbuka and Derrick Davis Jr., with Jordan Hancock high atop the board as well.)
The three commits in the 2022 class have not been quite as up to par with their peer recruiting, but it’s still very early. The 2021 class didn’t ramp things up until the summer and fall of 2019, but that eventually took off – so much so that Mark Pantoni said, in April, that “(the 2021) class may have done that better than any class I’ve ever seen of coming together and going after the top guys.
“Social media these days, it’s easy to connect with guys they’ve never met or met once at a camp or met here on campus. Those guys are building these relationships and getting the best players that wanna come here.”
So, the 2022 class has a lot to live up to in that department, and the first player committed in the class, cornerback Jyaire Brown, says that he is going to start stepping his game up.
“I do that on my own,” Brown told Eleven Warriors of recruiting fellow players in his class. “It’s kind of slowing down. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been slacking a little bit the last month and a half with being busy with the move, but early on, I was on it. I'm gonna get back on it, though.”
Brown, as he alluded to, has been quite busy in preparing to make his return to his home state of Ohio, as he moved from New Orleans to Cincinnati two weeks ago.
There will be plenty of time to start working on other players now, and his work will begin with a player he will no longer be playing against in high school.
Jacoby Mathews is a four-star safety from Ponchatoula High School in Louisiana who is yet to earn an Ohio State offer.
Mathews and Coombs have not spoken in a while, as Coombs and the rest of the Buckeye staff focus more on the day-to-day operations at the Ohio State facilities. There’s plenty of time for Coombs to get back in contact with Mathews, but in the meantime, Brown will be putting in some work on the 6-foot, 185-pound safety.
When it comes to 2022 defensive back recruiting, Brown says he believes two more cornerbacks is what the Buckeyes are shooting for in this class.
Hit and miss in rankings update
As we alluded to above, McCord saw a slight rankings bump, but there were no other noteworthy rankings changes for 2021 Ohio State commits – Jayden Ballard and Reid Carrico dropped one spot but stayed at No. 50 and No. 70, respectively.
Other than that, there is no one in the class who moved all that much.
That is not the same as the 2022 class, as Lakota West High School offensive lineman Tegra Tshabola saw the biggest change in his ranking, falling all the way from No. 69 overall and No. 2 in the state of Ohio to No. 238 overall and No. 8 in the state. That's a surprise to me, as Tshabola looked athletic and showed some burst in the time I saw him at Saturday's camp, but the 6-foot-6, 320-pound offensive tackle dropped substantially nonetheless.
On the other side of the spectrum, C.J. Hicks jumped from No. 166 overall and No. 15 at athlete to No. 101 overall and is now listed as the No. 7 outside linebacker and No. 3 player in Ohio. That follows Hicks' standout performance on Saturday in which he showed his impressive physical development and the abilities that make him a potential top-50 player down the road.
Other players from Ohio whose ranking changed were:
- Gabe Powers, who dropped four spots but remains ranked No. 47 overall and No. 1 in Ohio.
- Aamil Wagner, an offensive tackle from Wayne High School, is now ranked No. 83 overall and No. 2 in Ohio.
- Brown jumped from No. 122 to No. 115 overall.
- Running back Gi’Bran Payne jumped from outside the top 200 to No. 122 overall.
Henderson's senior season is canceled
We hit on all of this earlier today, so I'm just going to link back to the story, but Ohio State five-star running back commit TreVeyon Henderson's senior season in Virginia is over before it even began.
The Virginia High School League announced that there will be no football played in the state this fall, meaning that Henderson will not be playing another snap in the state. Henderson told Eleven Warriors last week that he would still enroll early at Ohio State in January even if his season was canceled or pushed to the spring. Transferring to another private school, such as IMG (Fla.) Academy or St. Frances (Md.) Academy are also options that are on the table.
Barrett Carter photo: Rusty Mansell/247Sports