The Hurry-Up: Zen Michalski’s “Absolutely Incredible” Virtual Visit Could Lead to Campus Visit, Several Recruits Make Push to #LiftTheDeadPeriod

By Zack Carpenter on September 23, 2020 at 6:35 pm
Zen Michalski

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.

Michalski's recruitment progressing fast

The recruitment of Floyd Central (Ind.) three-star offensive tackle Zen Michalski to Ohio State is happening at a lightning-fast pace.

After being offered by the Buckeyes on Sept. 8, the 2021 riser – a 6-foot-7, 280-pounder who has been a Louisville commit since April – has become one of the staff's top priorities. If the perfect storm of the offer, the major positional need for a tackle in the cycle and the trending away of Tristan Leigh weren't enough of a combination to already make it clear how much the Buckeyes value Michalski, then the constant communication will do the trick.

“It was right after our Week 1 game,” Michalski told Eleven Warriors when asked the timeline of when Greg Studrawa and assistant offensive line coach Kennedy Cook increased their communication with him. “I posted some highlights on Tuesday (Aug. 25) from the Friday before, and I guess they reached out to my head coach that day. Coach Cook actually texted me and introduced himself. We got on the phone the next day and talked, and then I had a call with Coach Stud that day too. That was probably the first time I really talked to him. Just from there, we really got things going.”

From that point forward, it's been basically nonstop back and forth communication between the two sides, especially between Studrawa and Michalski.

“Coach Stud’s awesome. He’s my guy,” Michalski said. “We’ve been talking probably almost every day the past month and a half. He’s just an awesome guy. I talk to Coach (Ryan) Day probably every other day too. I’m always talking to those guys.”

Michalski admits he's privy to some of the criticism Studrawa has taken, notably the rumblings that he doesn't communicate as often as he should with recruits. But with Michalski, he says it's been the opposite.

“With me, it’s not like that. I’m always talking to him, it feels like,” Michalski said. 

Michalski has not yet met Studrawa in person. However, literal seconds after our Tuesday night interview with him, he had plans to break down film with Studrawa on a Zoom meeting. Whenever the two have watched film together – or whenever Studrawa tells Michalski some of the positive traits he likes about the senior – a few things typically come up. 

For one, Studrawa loves that Michalski could play guard or tackle for the Buckeyes. For another, he loves the athleticism of the Indiana product and that he has the potential to tack on a lot more weight without losing any of that athleticism. And he loves that Michalski hasn't had much time to develop bad habits, since he's only been playing football since eighth grade, and he's only been playing offensive line for two years.

He's progressed quickly in that amount of time, though, and despite the low rankings (No. 625 overall, No. 48 offensive tackle, No. 10 in Indiana), the Buckeyes believe Michalski would be a great fit for them.

Virtual visit leaves strong impression

With its recruitment of him quickly progressing, Ohio State is hoping Michalski will make a trip to campus sometime soon on his own dime. That visit could happen in the near future, and if it does, I like the Buckeyes' chances of leaving a strong enough impression on him that it would get him to reconsider his commitment to Louisville. (Even without the coaches being available to show him around campus, if Michalski is able to visit and likes what he sees, perhaps that would serve as an icing-on-the-cake deal.)

That would be the likely next step in Michalski's recruitment, though last week the Buckeyes landed another punch by getting him on a Zoom call for a virtual visit. He called that virtual visit “absolutely incredible,” and one of the things that stood out the most was “just how much time and effort they put into making sure their players are set up for life after college.”


Moments before we spoke with Michalski on Tuesday night, he tweeted out a graphic with the hashtag #LiftTheDeadPeriod.

Michalski has never visited Ohio State. He's never been able to visit Louisville, either, and the only school he's been able to visit was Indiana State in early February. Instead, Michalski made the decision to secure his spot in the Cardinals' class before he ever visited.

He's one of many recruits nationwide who have been in limbo during the recruiting dead period that is approaching eight months and will eventually grow to 11 months with the NCAA Division I Council's recent decision to push the dead period to January 1, 2021.

So Tuesday night saw many recruits – committed or otherwise – take to Twitter to make a push for the NCAA to lift the dead period with that hashtag. That contingent included support from Ohio State commits Ben Christman and Bennett Christian, in addition to targets such as Damari Alston, Walter Nolen and Nick James.

Be on the lookout

Just a quick note to drop in here: Ohio State's five-star offensive guard commit Donovan Jackson is about to join fellow future Buckeye Jordan Hancock in being one of the featured athletes in the All-American Bowl’s Road to the Dome series.

At 8 p.m. tonight, the Episcopal (Texas) star out of Houston will be receiving his All-American jersey in a virtual presentation, just as Hancock did last week.

Jackson is ranked No. 1 at the offensive guard position and No. 22 overall in the 2021 class. He is one of 11 commits in this cycle for the Buckeyes who is set to play in the All-American Bowl.

Header photo credit: Zen Michalski – Michael McCammon/247Sports

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