The Hurry-Up: In-State Target Blake Miller Breaks Down Top Five, All-American Bowl Canceled, Derrick Davis to Visit Georgia

By Zack Carpenter on October 20, 2020 at 6:30 pm
Blake Miller

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.

Miller breaks down top five

When Ohio State offered Strongsville offensive tackle Blake Miller on April 24, the second day of the NFL draft that saw Jonah Jackson become yet another former Buckeye to become a high-round selection, most believed it would only be a matter of time before he cemented his name as a 2022 commit.

Fast forward almost exactly six months later, and we’re still waiting. Miller, then a three-star when Greg Studrawa and the Buckeyes offered, has seen his recruitment continue to rise this summer and fall, as teams love his size (6-foot-6, 315 pounds), his footwork and the way he uses his hands as a run blocker and in pass protection. He has risen into the No. 212 overall slot, No. 23 spot at offensive tackle and No. 9 in Ohio’s 2022 cycle, and he has racked up nearly 20 total offers.

On Monday night, the Mustangs’ standout junior whittled that last of almost two dozen schools to just five, releasing a top schools list that includes Ohio State, Clemson, Michigan, Auburn and Florida.

As he posted on Twitter, that top five list comes in no particular order, though we could probably presume the Buckeyes, Tigers and Wolverines to be a bit higher up the list just for the simple fact that those are the only three of those five that he has visited thus far.

Miller tells Eleven Warriors that he wants to make a commitment prior to his senior year, maybe earlier, as he continues to be forced to make essentially a blind decision with the recruiting dead period extended through January 1, 2021.

“I just wanna look at the decision from all angles. I really don’t wanna leave any stone unturned, so to speak,” Miller said. “Obviously, it’s not ideal not being able to visit all of these places multiple times and really see what’s going on. But I’m just looking at it as God does everything for a reason so there’s nothing I can do about what’s going on right now. So I’ve just gotta respond how I can.”

Miller broke down his top five and his overall recruitment with us, and that includes a little The Price is Right bonus spin talking about some AP Chemistry.

On his top five: “The programs I chose are all great programs, all have great coaching staffs. They just really stuck out to me as the program or team that they’re building is really one that I feel like I would wanna be a part of.”

No particular order: “Not really. I just narrowed it down to the schools that I just wanna continue to pursue looking at and really go through and look at those schools with a fine-tooth comb, so to speak, and really find out as much as I can about them. I’ll kind of go from there.”

Ohio State: “My dad went to school at Ohio State, my mom didn’t. But as a kid, both of my parents weren’t die-hard Buckeye fans, but they definitely were rooting for the Buckeyes every Buckeye game. So that’s been a team that I’ve supported all my life.

“I definitely try and stay unbiased. I grew up and I always watched the Buckeyes. I can’t let that sway my decision. If they’re the right place and I figure that out down the line, then they’re the right place. But I wanna come at this unbiased.”

Is it difficult to stay unbiased? “Yeah, a little bit. I’ve gotta just try to look at it from, if football was taken away and I didn’t have football anymore, would I still wanna go to that school? That’s how I’m trying to look at it right now.”

Why you could see yourself at Ohio State if football was taken away: “Ohio State’s a great school. They definitely do a lot of great things academically there. I know I said I’m not gonna look at football, but it’s really not a part of the football side of things. It’s the Real Life Wednesdays program that Coach Day and, before, Coach (Urban) Meyer had going. I feel like it’s something that’s really special. Not a lot of places are doing anything really like that so it’s something that really stands out to me. Teaching not just how to become a better football player throughout that program but also how to be a better person outside of football.”

Feeling like a priority at Ohio State: “Yeah, I definitely feel like that. I probably talk to them once a week, maybe more, just to catch up and see how everything’s going with each other. Just continuing to develop a strong relationship with those guys.”

Position Ohio State projects you at: “I think they like me at tackle, but I’m not opposed to playing any position on the field. If it means that I’m helping the team, then if I’m getting on the field I don’t care if I’m playing guard, center or tackle. To me, it doesn’t matter. I’m willing to learn any of them to help out whichever team I’m a part of.”

The traits Greg Studrawa and Co. like: “They told me they like that I’m aggressive when I’m playing and they like the technique with which I play, the footwork, where I place my hands, all that.”

Clemson: “Obviously, they’re definitely a very, very strong program. Apart from that, Clemson you can tell that they really care about their players. They look at it from a family aspect at Clemson which, to me, is really awesome.”

Similarities in that the Tigers stole Jackson Carman out of Ohio in the 2018 class: “I’ve heard (the comparisons) made once, but I try not to look at it like that. Just because they got him doesn’t mean that I’m surefire going there. The same thing with Ohio State, just because I’m an in-state kid doesn’t mean I’m surefire going there. I just look at it as the place that’s best for me regardless of location.”

Michigan: “Obviously, they’re a great program. Even though they are the Buckeyes’ rivals, they’re a great program. Like I said, I can’t let the whole Ohio State thing kind of narrow my eyes. I wanna get a full look at everything regardless of rivalries or anything like that. They just have a great program going on down there, and the academic portion at Michigan is really, really good. They have a bunch of connections with CEOs of really great companies. They also produce a lot of NFL talent as well.”

What’s your plan for your college major? “I’m a really big science and math kid. Right now, I’m really liking chemistry, and I like engineering as well. This year, I’m taking AP Chemistry so I’m just trying to get further knowledge of that and see if it’s something that I wanna continue to pursue.”

What is it about science and math that you like so much? “I just think it’s amazing that so much of the world that we look at it as just being normal you can break down to a subatomic level, just seeing how and what makes things tick is just so amazing to me.”

Auburn: “They’re a program, right now, that’s on an upward trajectory it seems like to me. Coach (Jack) Bicknell is a great guy down there and great coach. He’s produced some guys throughout his career. He definitely has no shortage of experience coaching offensive line. That’s kind of what draws me to them.”

Florida: “Their coaching staff down there is also really great. Coach (John) Hevesy is a great coach. He seems very personable. He also seems like a coach who really knows his stuff. And, once again, he cares about his players.”

All-American Bowl canceled

Per a press release from NBC Sports, the 2021 All-American Bowl has been canceled, as has the 2021 National Combine at the All-American Bowl, the latter of which will be rescheduled for the spring.

The drills and other related week-of competitions leading up to the game are canceled, and as for the game itself, it has been replaced by a two-hour NBC special called "All-American Bowl: Declaration Day."

The show will include features and analysis, in addition to players' commitment announcements. It will be hosted by NBC Sports' Paul Burmeister with analysis from Chris Simms, Barton Simmons and Corey Robinson. 

“Our priority is on the health and safety of players, their friends and family, and everyone associated with the Bowl,” said Gary Quinn, Vice President, Programming & Owned Properties, NBC Sports. “While we will miss the Bowl in San Antonio this year, we look forward to celebrating all 100 athletes joining the All-American Bowl family and recognizing their hard work and dedication on Jan. 2 on NBC.”

On Dec. 6, NBC will broadcast “All-American Dream,” a one-hour special showcasing the All-American Bowl history and highlighting the stories of several players from this year’s All-American Class.

Ohio State was slated to have 11 players participating in the game, which was more than the 2020 All-American Bowl's 10 honorees. That number had the potential to climb to 12 or more depending on the college decisions of J.T. Tuimoloau, Emeka Egbuka and Tristan Leigh, and depending on Jack Sawyer's decision of whether to participate in the All-American Bowl or the Under Armour All-America Game. (Sawyer is listed as officially being committed to the All-American Bowl, but he has told Eleven Warriors multiple times that he had still not decided on whether or not he was going to play in either game.)

The Under Armour All-America Game has not yet been canceled.

The list of 11 Buckeye commits who had announced their decision to play in the All-American Bowl:

Davis to visit UGA

One of Ohio State final four targets in the 2021 class, four-star safety Derrick Davis Jr., recently moved up his commitment date from Nov. 14 to Nov. 7. And now, the Gateway (Pennsylvania) star has made the decision to make a key visit to one of his final schools.

Davis' father, Derrick Davis Sr., told 247Sports' Steve Wiltfong that Davis Jr. and his family will be making their first visit to the Athens campus this weekend.

“We’re just going to check out the campus,” Davis father told 247Sports. “That’s really all you can do, see what’s out there and check out the scenery.”

Georgia, Penn State, Ohio State and LSU are the top-four finalists for the nation's No. 53 overall player and No. 2 safety:

“The competition,” the elder Davis on what stands out about UGA. “Kirby and just they’ve been in talks for awhile. A lot of people haven’t known that but they’ve been talking for a while and they’ve kept the same stance from the beginning from when they offered.

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