The Hurry-Up: Quinn Ewers Slides Into No. 1 Overall Ranking, C.J. Hicks is a Five-Star, Relationship Grows Between Emeka Egbuka and Caleb Williams

By Zack Carpenter on December 7, 2020 at 6:30 pm
Quinn Ewers

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.

Ewers now No. 1 overall

Quinn Ewers has been hailed as the best high school quarterback prospect since Trevor Lawrence.

Soon enough, he's likely going to be ranked in the same composite spot as Lawrence was when he sat at the No. 1 overall spot in the 2018 recruiting class.

On Monday afternoon, Rivals released its latest rankings for the 2022 class, and the Buckeyes' five-star quarterback commit came in at the No. 1 overall spot.

When Eleven Warriors had caught wind of Ewers' impending commitment in October, we started digging into the film to prepare for the eventual announcement (which actually came a few days later than we had anticipated, for what it's worth) and couldn't stop rewatching some of the throws he was making on his highlight tape. And that was just from his sophomore season – when he had a similar touchdown-to-interception ratio (45:3) that Justin Fields had (41:3) during his first season at the helm of the Buckeyes' offense.

When taking a longer look at some of Ewers' plays from his junior season, it was clear to see the progression and growth he had made in another year playing for one of the state of Texas' powerhouse programs in Southlake Carroll High School.

As I said in the analysis piece we published shortly after his commitment, Ewers can make damn near every throw on the field and make it look routine. He can throw from multiple arm angles, can throw off-schedule and on time, and he can throw off-platform.

Ewers is the No. 2-ranked all-time recruit in Ohio State history, behind Terrelle Pryor and ahead of Ted Ginn Jr. And if the move into the top overall spot on Rivals helps him move up in the composite, he will be Ohio State's first-ever No. 1 overall prospect in the modern recruiting era (dating back to 1999), as Pryor was No. 2 overall in the 2008 class.

Ewers is as good of a quarterback prospect as can be expected coming out of high school, and the folks at Rivals, including Mike Farrell, agree with his ceiling:

Farrell's Take: Quinn Ewers is a special quarterback with great anticipation and touch. The Ohio State commit throws players open. He’s starting to remind of 
Matt Ryan because of his field vision.

In an interview with Lettermen Row's Jeremy Birmingham, Ewers talked about how at an Ohio State camp in the summer of 2018, he vividly remembers his conversations with Urban Meyer that day but didn't quite recall his interactions with Ryan Day. If there was any hopes of Texas flipping Ewers' commitment back to them, those hopes almost certainly went out the window with the reported news that Meyer will not be taking the Texas job.

The Buckeyes – led by Day and quarterbacks coach Corey Dennis – are obviously going to do what they do best and continue to recruit Ewers as if he's uncommitted (something Mark Pantoni has talked about in the past as being one of the primary responsibilities for the staff all the way up until signing day). But it appears the threat of Meyer entering the fold is gone.

Hicks likely a composite five-star soon

Yes, we've been beating this drum now for months, ever since seeing him twice in August, and you're probably getting tired of hearing it over and over. But, frankly, I don't care.

C.J. Hicks is worthy of being vaulted into five-star status in the composite rankings, and that day could be coming very soon.

In addition to Ewers coming in at No. 1 overall in Rivals' latest release, Hicks was also listed as a five-star prospect by the folks over there, as he's ranked No. 10 overall in the 2022 class.

Hicks has garnered comparisons to former Buckeye Darron Lee, and he was bestowed a comparison to Clemson's Isaiah Simmons by 247Sports' Allen Trieu just a couple weeks ago:

Long defender who added good weight between his sophomore and junior seasons. Is growing more towards a true linebacker, but still shows the athleticism to play all over the field including out in space and even returned punts and played running back still at his size. Excellent blitzer who has explosive ability to shoot gaps or come off the edge. Additional strength was noticeable on his senior film. Ball skills are good, which he shows on offense and he should be a great coverage linebacker at the next level. Physically, he has it all. Next steps on his game will be to keep adding the weight and strength he already has, and continue to work on diagnosing offenses. But a high level prospect who fits well in today's defenses because he never has to come off the field and can line up in multiple spots.

From Rivals' Farrell, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Hicks earned another high-level player comparison:

Farrell's Take: CJ Hicks, an Ohio State commit, is a freak athlete and so good in coverage. He reminds me of Jaylon Smith in 2013, who headed to Notre Dame.

“I feel like I've known him forever”

Relationships is the key word we've said since the dawn of time when talking about the most important aspect of any given recruitment.

Over the weekend, as we touched on Sunday night, a pair of five-stars in Emeka Egbuka and Caleb Williams were able to bond over the weekend during Egbuka's visit to Oklahoma.

In his latest blog entry for Sports Illustrated All-American, Williams wrote about Egbuka's visit and the friendship they've created. I've been told Egbuka's visit went well in Norman, and I do think the relationship between him and Williams matters quite a bit. Does it matter more than the relationship he's had with Brian Hartline for nearly two years? We wait to find out. From those I've spoken with, there still doesn't appear to be a clear sense of where Egbuka is leaning coming out of the visit, which is right on brand with where his recruitment has stood for months now. A bit of mystery.

To end tonight's Hurry-Up, here is what Williams wrote about Egbuka's visit:

I spent time with Emeka, throwing probably for an hour. I went on Instagram live for a little bit and then I took some videos of me and him throwing. He's a really smooth receiver, like really smooth. He's also a smart receiver. An understanding receiver. He understands what his QB wants, which is always good. So our connection, when we first started throwing, it was pretty easy to throw to him. Just understanding where the QB wants you -- when that happens you normally get the ball way more than usual. He understood his routes, where I wanted him and like I said he ran really smooth routes and has really good hands. 

It was fun throwing with him, we had a connection in the sense of on the field and off the field. We went and got some food, drove around the campus and we just kinda hung out, joked around and things like that -- things you do as 18 and 19-year olds -- chillin' out, joking around other than school and working out. So that's what we did. It was an off the field connection, too. We were in the car like we already knew each other in a sense. That doesn't happen too often. You don't always find somebody and connect as if you feel you've known him forever. I feel like I've known him forever and I feel like I've been throwing with him forever, too. It was awesome. I was super happy he got down here, we got some work in and he could finally see OU. 

Header photo: Quinn Ewers – Collin Kennedy/247Sports

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