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.
Another boom in 2022?
When both five-star quarterback Quinn Ewers and five-star receiver Caleb Burton committed, it set Twitter ablaze with reactions, and that was no different on Monday night. But this time, the Buckeyes' latest commitment was getting some major attention from uncommitted prospects that the program is keeping a keen eye on.
That includes five-star Philadelphia defensive end Enai White and five-star Virginia offensive tackle Zach Rice – two of the Buckeyes highest-priority targets in 2022 – in addition to Florida defensive end Kenyatta Jackson Jr. and another highly sought-after target in five-star Texas cornerback Denver Harris.
Ohio state 2022 up to something— Enai White (@younggbenji0) November 24, 2020
O State going crazy— ZACH RICE (@od_zach) November 24, 2020
Ohio State going crazy, y'all need to chill— Kenyatta Jackson Jr (@_21shotz) November 24, 2020
Well, there's a chance Ohio State fans will have to get their popcorn ready once again, as another 2022 boom could be coming soon. C.J. Hicks and Dasan McCullough – Ohio State's top two peer recruiters in the 2022 class, and maybe regardless of class – hinted at such on Tuesday.
Yall think were done?? Whos ready for another boom— CJ Hicks (@imcjhicks) November 24, 2020
its just getting started... WHOS READY FOR ANOTHER BOOM!!— Dasan Mccullough (@Dasan2022) November 24, 2020
While there's been some message board scuttle that it could, in fact, be Harris who pulls the trigger, there's been no information we've gotten that that is the case just yet.
We did get word that the likely player to announce a commitment sometime soon is four-star receiver Armani Winfield, yet another player out of Texas who would be the Buckeyes' third commitment from the Lone Star State in the past week if he decides to join Ewers and Burton.
A group of Crystal Ball predictions were placed on Tuesday for Winfield to wind up as a Buckeye, and I would drop my own prediction for him to join Ohio State as well. However, while I was supremely confident on Monday that Burton would soon announce his commitment to the Buckeyes, I would like to settle the flames just a tad here.
I do know that the Buckeyes' staff loves Winfield, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him get the green light here. But we will wait to see on whether or not that happens just yet.
OSU's Texas surge
If Winfield does commit to the scarlet and gray, he will be the latest Texan to come to Columbus. And though he's a four-star prospect, Winfield would still continue a pipeline that has now netted an absurd seven five-star prospects from the Lone Star State since 2017:
Ohio State has now landed commitments from seven five-star prospects from Texas in a six-year span:— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) November 24, 2020
CB Jeff Okudah (2017)
LB Baron Browning (2017)
WR Garrett Wilson (2019)
WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba (2020)
OG Donovan Jackson (2021)
QB Quinn Ewers (2022)
WR Caleb Burton (2022) https://t.co/3a4qZzMU0M
Shepard focused on getting in shape
We've talked often about Hicks' teammate at Archbishop Alter, four-star defensive tackle Derrick Shepard, and we still think he could one day earn an Ohio State offer. And if he does, that recruitment is almost certainly over.
Before he gets that coveted offer, though, Shepard admits that he needs to get in better shape this offseason, and that will be his focus as he looks to make even more physical improvements over the course of his final year and a half in high school.
“]I’ve lost a lot of weight since my sophomore year,” Shepard told Eleven Warriors. “I played at 320, now I’m down to 290-295.”
Shepard believes that weight loss has aided in him getting a bit more agile as he played both 3-tech and offensive tackle on the Knights' run to the Division III state semifinals this season.
“I think I’ve proved that I’m a lot more versatile, not only being a more dominant defensive player but coming on offense and having the ball run behind me the majority of the plays,” Shepard said. “People have been looking at me for offense, but nobody has pulled the trigger on offense. The offers that I do still have are for defense.”
LSU, Alabama, Missouri, Baylor and a few other schools remain in contact with Shepard, who says he has also “been in contact with (Ohio State) at least once a week. I know they’ve been very busy with their season, but I know it’ll start picking up.”
NFL Buckeyes offer yet another recruiting pitch
It wasn't on purpose, obviously, but Ohio State had another big recruiting chip on display Sunday in the NFL. When Joe Burrow went down with a knee injury against the Washington Football Team, a trio of former Buckeyes went over to him while he laid on the cart to give him some words of encouragement.
Terry McLaurin on why he, Chase Young and Dwayne Haskins wanted to say something to Joe Burrow before he left the field: "Still got that Ohio State brotherhood... Under that jersey, you still got that Block O close to your heart."— John Keim (@john_keim) November 22, 2020
Outside of relationships with the coaches and a strong pathway to the NFL, Ohio State's brotherhood is one of the things we hear all the time from recruits when asking why the Buckeyes' program is under strong consideration for them. That was another example of it, as the relationships between the players often extend well past their college days.
Header photo: Armani Winfield – Mike Roach/247Sports