The Hurry-Up: Corey Dennis Discusses Difficulties of Recruiting Quarterbacks During Dead Period, Kyle McCord and Marvin Harrison Jr. Light It Up in Season Debut

By Zack Carpenter on October 13, 2020 at 6:30 pm
Corey Dennis

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.

Difficulties of QB recruiting during dead period

We have talked about this for what feels like a dozen times over the course of the eight-year dead period…

Skrt. Check that.

Eight-month* dead period, as it were.

…the Buckeyes remain stuck in a bit of limbo when it comes to recruiting quarterbacks in their 2022 class. They have only offered four quarterbacks in the cycle with two of them committed elsewhere (Quinn Ewers, Gunner Stockton), another falling lower on the board (Steve Angeli) and another in California (Maalik Murphy) who they still stand on solid ground with but who getting to campus will continue to be a challenge during the dead period.

Ohio State offered 17 quarterbacks across the 2020 (10) and 2021 (seven) classes, but it has yet to offer anyone new at the position since offering Stockton on Jan. 30 when first-year quarterbacks coach Corey Dennis was able to see Stockton throw.

Without being able to see prospects throw in person since the first dead period began on Feb. 3 (eventually followed by the dead period we’re still in now that began on April 15), it’s forced the Buckeyes to essentially make recruiting the position all about building and maintaining relationships without taking the next step of extending any new offers.

We’ve discussed it ad nauseam, but Corey Dennis spoke on Tuesday about the challenges he and the staff are facing when it comes to talent evaluation at the position during the past eight months.

“It’s definitely a lot harder,” Dennis said. “At the quarterback position, you hope you get to see guys throw. You hope you get to meet a guy, talk with a guy. So you’re trying to do the best you can. Everyone’s kind of adapting to the new norm with this Zoom calls and watching things on film. It definitely is a challenge, but we’re definitely finding ways to figure it out; keep finding kids, keep evaluating and meeting kids, talking to kids and trying to progress the best way we can.”

At this point, the top candidates to earn an offer down the road are Georgia’s Jaccuri Brown (No. 122 overall, No. 6 dual-threat) and Ohio’s Drew Allar of Medina (No. 447 overall, No. 23 pro-style), and perhaps Chase Harrison of Centerville (No. 415 overall, No. 20 pro-style).

There is at least some potential for the Buckeyes to bring in two quarterbacks in the 2022 class, but without being able to evaluate in person, that would add another challenge for Ohio State. Don’t expect, however, that the program will bring in a second quarterback in the cycle just for numbers, Dennis says.

“I think recruiting, as you guys know, always changes,” Dennis said. “We’re definitely not gonna take a guy just because we need to take a guy at this time. … But we’re definitely gonna do what’s best for Ohio State, especially in the quarterback room.”

In the end, despite the Buckeyes not being able to get out on the road to do the types of quarterback evaluations that they would like, Ohio State will continue to be a destination spot for quarterbacks looking to be developed into pros. That’s especially true, Dennis says, as long as Ryan Day is the head coach.

“I think that the system is definitely pretty similar to an NFL passing game type of system,” Dennis said. “I kind of walked through when I heard Justin Fields talking, but he and I are both in agreeance that Coach Day is arguably one of the best quarterbacks coaches in the United States of America. What he does with the offense is unbelievable. How he takes care of his quarterbacks is unbelievable. Ultimately, when you have a play caller who is also the head coach and who also has a quarterback background, that’s unbelievably valuable for a quarterback.”

McCord and Harrison not missing a beat

And since we’re on the subject of quarterbacks, both Day and Dennis will one day be two beneficiaries of getting a five-star with as high of a ceiling as any in his class in 2021 commit Kyle McCord.

Finally, after a lot of doubt and worries about whether or not he would have to forgo his senior season to enroll early at Ohio State (which he told Eleven Warriors he would do if it came down to that), McCord finally got back onto the field this weekend and led St. Joseph’s Prep (Philadelphia) to a season-opening win.

In a 41-24 victory, McCord threw for 361 yards and three touchdowns and completed 23-of-34 passes. He also benefited from this nice catch-and-run by teammate and future Buckeye receiver Marvin Harrison Jr., who finished with 212 yards receiving and two touchdowns on eight catches.

Of Ohio State’s six receiver commits in the 2020 and 2021 classes, Harrison is the lowest-ranked and the least-heralded of the bunch. Even so, he is looking like a dynamic weapon after putting on some weight and growing to nearly 6-foot-5 coming into his final high school semester before enrolling at Ohio State in January along with McCord.

Each of them looked like they have not missed a beat despite the long layoff.

Buckeyes No. 3 in Team Talent Composite

Ohio State might have the best team in college football, and the journey to finding out if that’s true begins in 11 days. For now, though, the Buckeyes come in ranked at No. 3 in the 247Sports Team Talent Composite:

The Buckeyes have dropped slightly since 2018 when they peaked at No. 1 in the Team Talent Composite, but they remain really talented. Ohio State’s 14 five-star players trails only Georgia, and they more than double the number the rest of the Big Ten has (6) combined.

If you’re wondering why the gap between Ohio State and Michigan has seemed so large recently, the Team Talent Composite is a decent place to start. Ohio State’s average player rated as a 92.89 in high school while No. 17 Michigan’s checked in as an 89.17. For perspective, that 3.72 difference is nearly the same gap between the Wolverines and No. 37 Pittsburgh (85.44).

View 10 Comments