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.
Hartline's impactful call just before Clemson game
Hours before he hit The Griddy dance to celebrate with Chris Olave after the bomb Olave hauled in for a 56-yard touchdown catch against Clemson, Brian Hartline was already looking to the future. He was working his feet by doing some ground work with a priority receiver in the 2022 class just before kickoff of the most important game of the Buckeyes' season.
About an hour and 15 minutes before Ohio State began its demolition of Clemson, says four-star Lambert (Georgia) receiver Kojo Antwi, Hartline was busy on the phone FaceTiming Antwi. It came as a major shock (of the good variety, of course) to the nation's No. 162 overall player and No. 19 receiver that Hartline would take that kind of time to speak with him.
“It was crazy. I wasn’t really expecting him to do that,” Antwi told Eleven Warriors. “He texted me at first, and he was just asking if I could get on the phone with him. I was like, ‘really?’ They’re about to play the semifinals game so I was really surprised when he texted me that. Just getting on the phone with him was great.
“It’s a big deal. No other receivers coach has done that with me. No other receivers coach has got on the phone with me just before game time except for Georgia. That’s only two schools that have really got on the phone with me before a game so it really means a lot.”
If anyone needed an indication of how big of a priority Antwi is for Hartline and the Buckeyes – or if you needed another example of Hartline being arguably the country top recruiters – you don't need to look much further than that quick call.
“(During the FaceTime before the Clemson game) he was telling me that I’m a big priority, that I’m the one that he wants and stuff like that. He’s always fired up when he’s talking to me and in a good mood and stuff like that,” Antwi said. “Coach Hartline is a great dude. He recruits the best, and he’s one of the best receivers coaches in the country. Just trying to be a part of that, you know?”
Antwi feels like a priority and a take by the Ohio State staff, and some of that stems from the traits the coaches love about him. That includes his versatility as a receiver, his big-play ability with the propensity to rattle off explosive plays and his speed. That overall game is why Hartline has been taking time on the side to give Antwi tips that he learned during his days in the pros.
“He’s been giving me a few tips,” Antwi said. “I’ve sent him a couple videos of the routes I run, and he’s been giving me some pro tips because he used to play in the NFL. So he’s been giving me tips and stuff like that, and I’ve been learning from him. That’s what I like.”
Evals during Clemson game, top schools list
It was during the Buckeyes' 49-28 Sugar Bowl victory that the 6-foot-1, 185-pound Antwi – who hails from the same Suwanee, Georgia hometown as Ohio State's four-star 2021 cornerback signee Jordan Hancock – that he was doing some evaluations of Olave, Garrett Wilson and Co. to implement some of their moves into his own game.
“I was like, ‘man, they’re really looking in sync right now,” Antwi said. “I saw that they missed Olave on the post route, and I knew they were gonna come back to it and they finally hit him. I was just like, man, I knew they were gonna come back and make some plays. It was really excited to see Ohio State’s receivers in sync and looking really good.
“I really look at the way that they adjust to the ball and their releases as well, how they get off their presses and their breaks. That’s what I’m really looking at.”
Our interview with Antwi, the state of Georgia's 18th-ranked prospect in the 2022 cycle, came on the same day that a Crystal Ball prediction was placed for him to land with the Buckeyes and a week after he put Ohio State in his top eight.
Top 8. No order pic.twitter.com/vcMUBdfe8g— Kojo Antwi (@Kojo_Antwi2) December 30, 2020
However, the Buckeyes do not have this recruitment wrapped up. Antwi has family in Ohio and has visited both Cincinnati and Columbus, saying he really likes the city though he hasn't been to campus before. He hopes to make a visit to Columbus in April in addition to making "the majority of my other visits" in the spring and summer as long as the dead period doesn't get extended.
He plans on making his college commitment before his senior year with a decision likely coming in July.
As of right now, though, the Buckeyes have some stark competition with Georgia and Alabama as the other two programs gunning after him the hardest.
“They're probably my top three,” Antwi said. “I think Georgia and Ohio State are the two schools really coming at me hard.
“(Georgia is) the home-state school. I really like the coaching staff, I’ve gotten on the phone with Kirby Smart a few times. He’s really fired up about as well. Says the same things that I’m a big priority and that I’m someone that he wants.”
And in regards to the Tide, Antwi says, "It's either Bama or OSU for Receiver U. Bama’s been showing me love as well. I’ve gotten on the phone with (Nick) Saban a lot and talked with Coach (Holmon) Wiggins and Coach (Charles) Kelly a lot. I’ve seen a couple of their practices and FaceTimed with Jaylen Waddle, actually, which was crazy. Bama’s been showing me a lot of love, and that’s something that I like.”
So, when Alabama and Ohio State throw down on Monday night for the national championship, will the winner automatically get Antwi's commitment?
“Maybe. We’ll see,” Antwi said with a laugh.
That's not how it works, but wouldn't that be fun if just one time a highly rated recruit came out before the national title game and said he would commit to whoever won? Oh well. We can dream.
Davis trims list, sets commit date
We've known for a while that Ohio State is one of the final potential landing spots for four-star 2021 prospect Raesjon Davis, the No. 45 overall player and No. 4 outside linebacker in America.
But now it's official.
The former LSU commit, who decommitted in December after not signing during the early period, has Ohio State, LSU, Oregon and USC in a final four that he confirmed on Wednesday, and he tells 247Sports' Greg Biggins that he will be committing and signing with a program on National Signing Day on Feb. 3:
Ohio State - "Ohio State is a great program. When you look at what they’re doing now and how well they’re recruiting, it’s almost a sure thing if you got there, you’re going to make it to the playoffs and have a great shot to get drafted. They win and develop, that’s who they are as a program. Their class this year is crazy and the ’22 class is already strong. I don’t talk to the coaches as much as Oregon or USC right now but I still have a really good relationship with them. Coach Day is really involved and I talk a lot with coach Washington and coach Coombs too.
“I watched their game with Clemson and was really impressed. I love the way they play and really like watching Justin Hilliard a lot. I think I play a lot like him so I was enjoying watching him out there making plays. I’ll be watching the National Championship game for sure and I think they have a shot to win it. Once the season is over, hopefully I can find a time to visit out there. I’m not just saying that, I really do want to visit and even though I don’t have a date yet, it has to happen. My parents really want to check out the place and my interest is definitely real.”