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.
What's going on with the 2022 barrage?
In August, when I met with Captain Buckeye himself, outside linebacker commit C.J. Hicks, the Archbishop Alter four-star prospect talked up a big game about what the ceiling for Ohio State's 2022 class could be and what his expectation was.
He didn't mince any words.
“My goal is to be better than the 2021 class,” Hicks said, referring to the Buckeyes' star-studded group that is ranked No. 2 in the nation as it was at the time. “They have 18 or 19 commits, so I’m just telling them if they wanna be great, let’s be better than them. They’re setting a record or something over there with the guys they’ve got committed.
“It’s not intimidating. I look at it as a challenge. I think we can break their record.”
It looks like Hicks and Co. are gaining some steam in that massive endeavor.
Ohio State commits and top targets are hinting as something coming in the near future— Hayes Fawcett (@Hayesfawcett3) October 28, 2020
Will the Buckeyes end up with Back to Back #1 Classes in 2021 and 2022 ? pic.twitter.com/jIxkKY0SNS
On Tuesday night – in an extension of the first Twitter barrage that came our way Sunday night – Hicks, Dasan McCullough and Bennett Christian led a second bevy of tweets in which the Buckeyes' group of 2022 commits indicated that something “huge” is about to happen in the cycle.
That was already what we found out over the weekend, but last night we got even more smoke kicked up as a group of high-priority, uncommitted targets started following that triumvirate's lead with tweets of their own – highlighted by five-star cornerbacks Domani Jackson and Will Johnson (the respective No. 3 and No. 7 overall players in the country), four-star and top-110 safety Xavier Nwankpa and four-star running back Damari Alston. And we even got at least one player (four-star cornerback Bobby Taylor) tweeting about Ohio State who doesn't even have an offer yet.
Boom.— domanijackson (@domanijackson1) October 28, 2020
Hmmmmmm— Xavier X Nwankpa (@xaviernwankpa01) October 28, 2020
boom— 3 (@TheBobbyTaylor) October 28, 2020
On Sunday night, we were able to confirm that these guys were working on something big in the class over the next month, though we weren't told exactly what. And then, the crypticness was washed away a bit with the public onslaught of tweets. This 2022 group looks like it's hoping to land multiple big-time commitments in a short amount of time, but will it be “the biggest thing you're ever gonna see in recruiting” like we've been told by one player? Well, color us skeptical about that. It's definitely not out of the question, but these types of things typically seem to under deliver.
Could it be something massive like five-star receiver Caleb Burton and/or the five-star Jackson – each of whom had Crystal Balls placed for them to end up with the Buckeyes on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, respectively – eventually committing? Or even the Jackson-Johnson cornerback duo pulling the trigger? Certainly possible. I'm just not sold on it being a six-, seven- or eight-man haul in the next 2-4 weeks.
yoooooo https://t.co/UHKLeijMw9— domanijackson (@domanijackson1) October 28, 2020
Of course, with Ohio State having already had a barrage of commitments between March and August in its 2021 and 2022 classes, and with Hicks and McCullough leading the way as terrific peer recruiters, I guess it's certainly at least possible.
“I talk to most of (the 2021 commits) and just trash talk that, ‘We’re gonna get more commits than you when things open back up,’” Hicks said in August. “They think I’m lying or that it’s not gonna happen, but I just tell them to wait and see. We’re gonna get a whole bunch of commits once things open back up.
“They’re like, ‘It’s not happening.’ They think that they’ve got it set and that we can’t get nowhere near. But it’s gonna happen. Just wait.”
Ewers on verge of reopening recruitment?
Another huge recruit not listed above is five-star quarterback Quinn Ewers out of Southlake Carroll (Texas) High School.
Ewers has been committed to Texas since mid-August, but he was one of the players rumored to be a part of this big group of potential commits to the Buckeyes' class. Ohio State was the program recruiting him the hardest up to a month before his commitment, but 247Sports' Mike Roach reported on Wednesday evening that Ewers' commitment may not be solid anymore:
After speaking with multiple people around the country, I can report that the rumors surrounding the 2022 passer are starting to show some real substance. So where are things as of now? Here's what I know.
—Those closest to Ewers are maintaining that the family has no problem to make any changes. As it was stated by a source to me, "There's no reason to make a change unless something changes." In speaking with other sources, I was told that they heard the same from his camp. After all, Ewers committed to Texas at a time when he knew the coaching situation might be a bit unstable with a make or break year on the horizon. It would make sense the family would wait to see what happens with the program before making a move with that in mind.
—I heard today from a reliable source that there is talk Ewers could be close to opening his recruitment and looking at his options. When I spoke to him last week, he said he was glad to have the recruiting attention off of him but he did still speak to a few schools here and there. I was told that he is indeed still talking to programs like Clemson, Ohio State and Alabama. Nobody I spoke with confirmed anything regarding a decommitment, and most of the talk came from rumors around the family. As I mentioned when he originally committed, the family is fairly private and closed off.
Pryor to be featured on NBC Sports
As the All-American Bowl continues to roll out its honorees in a virtual jersey presentation, yet another Ohio State commit will be featured on the weekly NBC Sports Road to the Dome series.
This time, at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, it will be four-star William Amos Hough (North Carolina) running back Evan Pryor.
Buckeye Nation Make Sure to Support— All-American Bowl (@AABonNBC) October 27, 2020
Evan Pryor (@evanpryor3) will be virtually presented his All-American jersey tomorrow at 8 p.m. ET.#AAB21 #GoBucks #AllAmericanBowl @GEICO pic.twitter.com/3Fj0qRktQD
Pryor will join Donovan Jackson, TreVeyon Henderson, Jayden Ballard, Mike Hall, Jordan Hancock and Reid Carrico as the latest in the Buckeyes’ 2021 class to be honored with an All-American Bowl jersey.
Header photo: Will Johnson