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.
OSU commits in action
Despite six Ohio State commits not being in action due to receiving a bye week for the first round of the playoffs (Jayden Ballard, Mike Hall, Reid Carrico, Jaylen Johnson, Ben Christman and C.J. Hicks), it will still be a heavy week of action as 12 Buckeye commits are set to take the field.
That includes cornerbacks Jakailin Johnson and Denzel Burke and tight end Sam Hart, each of whom is set to make their season debut after fall football was reinstated either in their respective states or counties. Also, Jordan Hancock's North Gwinnett (Georgia) team is set for a Friday night game, with Hancock having opted back into his senior season.
Donovan Jackson played in his fourth game of the season on Thursday night, while Gabe Powers and the duo of Tegra Tshabola and Jyaire Brown are the only three in Ohio who are set to play in a playoff game this weekend. Jantzen Dunn will be returning following a bye week after he had been nursing a quad strain through the first few weeks of the season.
Here's a snapshot of who is in action this week:
|OG DONOVAN JACKSON (2021)||EPISCOPAL (TEXAS)||@ BEAUMONT WESTBROOK||L, 49-10 (1-3)|
|CB JAKAILIN JOHNSON (2021)||DE SMET (MO.)||CHRISTIAN BROTHERS (MO.)||Noon, Saturday|
|CB JORDAN HANCOCK (2021)||NORTH GWINNETT (GA.)||NORTH COBB (GA.)||7:30 p.m.|
|S/CB ANDRE TURRENTINE (2021)||ENSWORTH (TENN.)||WESTVIEW (TENN.)||7 p.m.|
|ATH DENZEL BURKE (2021)||SAGUARO (ARIZ.)||@ BROPHY PREP (ARIZ.)||7 p.m.|
|TE SAM HART (2021)||CHEROKEE TRAIL (CO.)||@ EAGLECREST (CO.)||7 p.m.|
|OT ZEN MICHALSKI (2021)||FLOYD CENTRAL (IND.)||@ BEDFORD NORTH LAWRENCE (IND.)||7 p.m.|
|LB GABE POWERS (2022)||MARYSVILLE||DUBLIN JEROME||7 p.m.|
|ATH DASAN MCCULLOUGH (2022)||BLUE VALLEY NORTH (KAN.)||BLUE VALLEY NORTHWEST (KAN.)||7 p.m.|
|CB JYAIRE BROWN (2022)||LAKOTA WEST||WEST CLERMONT||7 p.m.|
|OT TEGRA TSHABOLA (2022)||LAKOTA WEST||WEST CLERMONT||7 p.m.|
|TE BENNETT CHRISTIAN (2022)||ALLATOONA (GA.)||@ OSBORNE (GA.)||7 p.m.|
Michalski peer recruiting
Zen Michalski has officially been a part of the 2021 class for only two weeks now, but he's already seen how close-knit the group is. He's already been welcomed into it with open arms, and he's already become a part of the group by starting to do what many of the other commits have done – peer recruiting.
He's already hitting the ground running in that department, and it's not something he's uncomfortable with as he had already been doing that at the school he decommitted from.
“That’s what I did a lot at Louisville,” Michalski told Eleven Warriors. “I was kind of a recruiting guy for us, and I loved doing it so I hope I’ll get to do it again.”
Michalski has already started doing that, and he will probably grow more comfortable in that role as we progress over the next few weeks.
Just some extra snippets here from my interviews with Michalski and his parents last week:
I spoke with Michalski's father, Lennon, and his mother, Tamara Ware, about how blown away they have been my this whole process and how surreal the past 2-3 weeks have been.
“Oh, my gosh. I am just in awe,” Ware said. “It’s taken me a while to comprehend just how incredible it all is, and I’m still – my jaw is dropped every day on the floor. When I see him and he walks in the room, I’m like, ‘Oh, my gosh. That’s my baby. My first-born.’ He’s incredible.”
Michalski's grandfather, on his mother's side, played football at Wayne State on a scholarship, and Ware played tennis on scholarship for a year at Eastern Kentucky.
Meanwhile, Michalski's grandfather, on his father's side, is a massive Browns and Buckeyes fan who is heavily invested in both teams. So when Michalski was even offered a scholarship by Ohio State, “our whole family was just shook by it,” Lennon said. “We can’t believe he’s going there. When you see something like that from afar for so long, you can’t believe that you’re gonna be a part of it.”
Lennon is the one who accompanied Michalski on the impactful four-hour visit to campus and the city of Columbus that helped cement his decision to commit to the Buckeyes.
But that wasn't Michalski's first-ever visit to Columbus. His dad is actually from Ohio (and still has a lot of family that lives in the area) and took Michalski to Columbus when he was 3 years old to see his great grandmother. That was the last time he had been to the city, but when he made his return trip that sealed the deal.
“As we were walking around and just loosely talking, he was like, ‘Dad, I can really see myself here. Not just for the football but for the campus and learning as well,’” Lennon said.
One of the biggest selling points (other than Buckeye Donuts, of course) was seeing the history at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center, even if he could only look at it from the outside.
“Seeing the trophy room, he’s big into history. He’s big into knowing that it’s coming from some sort of bigger place and being part of that history and seeing all those trophies and how much they’ve achieved, he feels like he has that opportunity to excel. Not just for himself but bringing others with him,” Lennon said. “We were starting with these small schools at first, and we would always tell him, ‘It’s OK if we don’t get to the Ohio State level.’ And next thing you know, I still can’t believe it, he says, ‘Ohio State just contacted me.’ He’s been talking about them for a while as something that could maybe, possibly happen. But probably not. And now that it’s here, he’s pretty overwhelmed with it.”
Hicks earns All-American honor
Ohio State has 11 commits in its 2021 class who are slated to play in the All-American Bowl. In its 2022 class, it now has its first potential commit who could elect to play in the game.
C.J. Hicks, who is committed to playing in the Under Armour All-America Game, announced on Thursday that he has received an invitation to play in the All-American Bowl.
We will certainly see plenty more All-American Bowl announcements from the Buckeyes' 2022 cycle in the future. Really going out on a limb with that prediction.
Malone explains OSU exclusion
On Monday night, four-star defensive tackle Tywone Malone officially (well, unofficially, I guess) put Ohio State out of contention in his recruitment with a top-six list that featured Rutgers, USC, Ole Miss, Florida State, Texas A&M and Tennessee.
In an interview with Rivals' Adam Friedman, Malone explained why the Buckeyes were left off the list:
On why Ohio State, a perceived favorite, didn't make the cut: "The big key was the baseball part of things," he said. "I really haven't been talking to Ohio State's baseball program as much as these other schools. Coach Day, coach Johnson, and I were calling and texting a lot and that's what I really liked about Ohio State but, like I said, baseball is a big thing in my recruitment and that was making it tough.
Header photo: Jakailin Johnson