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.
Hall breaks hand
In Friday's preview of Week 4's Ohio high school football scene – and the slate of out-of-state Buckeye commits who would be playing – there was a bit of a footnote that Streetsboro (Ohio) four-star defensive tackle commit Mike Hall was likely not playing. Over the weekend, we found out why.
Cleveland.com reported that Hall, the nation's No. 54 overall player and No. 3 player in Ohio's 2021 class, suffered a broken right hand during practice ahead of Friday night's game:
“I went to pancake the defensive back, and he rolled over me,” Hall told cleveland.com. “I heard it pop, but I really didn’t think about it when it happened. I talked to my trainer, and she was saying it didn’t look broke, but she was just saying that to be optimistic really.”
Hall will reportedly miss the final two games of the regular season but is hopeful that he will make a return for the playoffs of his final high school season while wearing a cast.
“He wants to play, but it’s all up to the doctor,” Streetsboro head coach Pete Thompson told cleveland.com. "He’s communicated with Ohio State. They’re encouraging him to play. As long as the doctor gives him the OK, he’ll be back.
As stated above, Hall suffered the injury while practicing on the other side of the ball as an offensive tackle. We just wrote on Tuesday about Hall's willingness to be a leader and continue playing on both sides of the ball in order to help Streetsboro as best he could. Can't fault the nation's No. 5 defensive tackle for wanting to suit up as an offensive tackle as well just to try and get his squad some extra juice during a playoff push.
Crazy I cant play the game I love so much...— (@MichaelHallJr_) September 17, 2020
“It was just a crazy feeling because, you know, you've got to treat your quarterback like your mom,” Hall told Eleven Warriors previously. “You would never want anybody to hit your mom. So I treat my quarterback like my mother. I would never let anybody do nothing. You've just got to treat it as that. You've just got to take that leadership.”
Givens trims list
Speaking of offensive tackles – though Hall obviously will not be playing that spot at Ohio State – it's a position that is going to be critical for the Buckeyes in the 2022 cycle. Linebacker is the spot that I have writing about for months now as being perhaps their No. 1 position of need in 2022, but that need has been almost completely filled with three top-75 overall composite players.
If things keep trending the way they have been for the last several weeks, it's looking like the Buckeyes are going to miss out on landing a top-tier offensive tackle in the 2021 cycle (Ben Christman can play offensive tackle, but he's listed as an offensive guard, the spot he's more likely to play as a Buckeye) after they swung and missed on JC Latham and appear to be headed the same direction with Tristan Leigh trending toward LSU.
That's going to add further importance to the position in the 2022 class, and right now Ohio State is in a good position with five-star Lord Botetourt (Va.) prospect Gunner Givens, the nation's No. 21 overall player and No. 1 offensive tackle in America. The 6-foot-6, 275-pounder released a trimmed list of 12 schools on Sunday. That list includes Ohio State, Clemson, Penn State and Virginia – the latter three of which 247Sports analyst Brian Dohn believes are the top three in contention as of today.
And, yes, that graphic includes a photo of him looking like a skill position player and it has him listed at athlete. That's because he used to play tight end before he made the transition to offensive tackle, and that's the position he's being recruited at by most schools and the position he will play at the college level.
Givens broke down his top 12 with Dohn, telling the analyst about the Buckeyes:
"That speaks for itself, also. They have one of the best teams in the country every year as well. Their coaches have done a lot on video, showing me technique and stuff. They play for national championships all the time as well. I have (relatives) right next to Ohio State."
Givens, whom we are told by his head coach is a “once-in-a-lifetime” type of prospect, will be a name you hear about constantly over the course of the next several months as he will become one of the most sought-after recruits in the cycle regardless of position. Givens has family in the Columbus area, but Ohio State will need to continue to make a strong push and make inroads with the five-star prospect.
Bailey, Dennis named rising stars
Every Ohio State fan knows about quarterbacks coach Corey Dennis, but some are likely less familiar with Keenan Bailey. The Florida native worked with the Buckeyes receivers for the last two years, but he made the transition over to working with quarterbacks this season.
Bailey and Dennis are two assistants who have emerged as key recruiters for the Buckeyes (Bailey in a much more under-the-radar spot), as we have heard their names frequently among players and high school coaches as impressive relationship-builders. But the secret about those two appears to be out, as they each cracked 247Sports' recent list of 30Under30 rising stars in the industry:
Keenan Bailey, Ohio State, Quality Control Coach (25): Last year, Corey Dennis made this list in the role Bailey now occupies. Considering Dennis is now Ohio State's QB coach, it's a good place to be. Bailey had a few on-field offers this offseason but turned them down to remain on Ryan Day’s staff for another season. He previously worked with Ohio State’s receivers – both as a GA and quality control coach – and transitioned to quarterbacks this offseason. One Buckeye source said of Bailey: “He will be the next guy to get a big job from Ohio State.” Bailey started his career at Notre Dame, where he was a recruiting analyst for two years.
Corey Dennis, Ohio State, Quarterbacks Coach (27): In need of a replacement for the departing Mike Yurcich, head coach Ryan Day tabbed Dennis as the team’s next QB coach. Dennis had spent the previous five seasons in Columbus as an off-field assistant, largely working as Day’s right-hand man and tutoring quarterbacks. “He’s like my personal QB coach when Coach Day is not around,” Dwayne Haskins said in 2018. Now, Dennis takes over a QB room that includes Justin Fields and 2020 five-star CJ Stroud. Dennis is on a quick coordinator track.
A pair of former Ohio State assistants, Sean Duggan and Kenny Guiton, also made their way onto the list.
Header photo credit: Mike Hall – 247Sports