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.
Davis, Olave came to OSU for opportunity now in front of them
It’s a case-by-case basis, but the opportunity to win a national championship either ranks No. 1 or No. 2 (or 1A or 1B) in the hierarchy of why players choose to go to either Ohio State or Alabama. (Either right behind or just ahead of the opportunity to get developed into a multi-millionaire NFL player.)
In addition to Clemson, the Buckeyes and Crimson Tide have proven themselves to be the three programs that have a shot at winning a national title every single year, and Ohio State’s win over Clemson helped solidify them even further in that top tier. That legitimate every-year opportunity to win a national championship is a huge reason why Alabama and Ohio State are going to finish No. 1 and No. 2 in the 2021 recruiting rankings. It’s a huge reason why each has a strong chance of finishing in the top two in the 2022 class and beyond.
Take, for example, former five-star offensive guard Wyatt Davis, the Buckeyes’ formerly highest-rated interior offensive lineman (No. 24 overall, No. 1 OG in 2017) since Michael Brewster (No. 15 overall, No. 1 OC) in the 2008 class before Donovan Jackson (No. 17 overall, No. 2 OG) took that designation from Davis in 2021.
Davis had his choice of picking just about any blueblood college program in the country he wanted to attend when he graduated from high school powerhouse St. John Bosco in California.
But he said the chance to play in a game the magnitude of Monday night’s is why he chose Columbus.
“Honestly, at least for me, I know my reason for coming all the way to Ohio State was to have the opportunity to play in a game like this,” Davis said on Thursday. “For me personally, I just always was infatuated with programs like Ohio State.
“It was the easy decision for me, and I just feel like guys from out west, especially in California, if you're going to go through college football and put yourself through the type of commitment that it is, why not go to a school that puts you in the position to play for it all. So at least for me, that's what I think the reasoning is for why a lot of people are choosing where I'm from to go to these bigger schools is to have the opportunity to play in games like this.”
Davis was one of five five-star signees in that famed 2017 recruiting class, and he was the fifth-highest rated prospect in a class that had Chase Young, Jeff Okudah and current teammates Baron Browning and Shaun Wade in the Buckeyes’ haul.
On the flip side of the spectrum, star receiver Chris Olave was not nearly as highly regarded of a prospect – at least nationally – as Davis was coming out of high school.
Like Davis, Olave hailed from California out of Mission Hills High School, but he was the Buckeyes’ third-lowest-ranked recruit in their 2018 class as a three-star ranked No. 399 overall and No. 68 at receiver.
His options were much more limited than Davis’ on where he had the opportunity to go be a scholarship receiver, but nonetheless Olave (who had offers from USC, Michigan and Tennessee) picked the Buckeyes because he wanted to win a ring.
“That's what you come to Ohio State for, is to go to the national championship, win a national championship,” Olave said. “I know in recruiting that's why I wanted to come here and play with the best. We get to do that on Monday, and I'm thankful for the opportunity and I'm truly blessed.”
Battle’s thoughts on OSU-Bama recruitment
We talked about this earlier this afternoon but just wanted to rehash it here:
Jordan Battle, the No. 2 safety and No. 43 overall player in the 2019 class out of Florida’s St. Thomas Aquinas, had been committed to Ohio State since June of 2018 before decommitting and signing with Alabama toward the end of the cycle.
When asked about the fact that things have come full circle for Battle – in the fact that the two programs were the final two battling for his signing and now they’re taking the field against each other for college football’s crown – he laughed and reflected about the scenario.
“You know what's funny? My mom, dad and my brother, we were all talking about it in a group chat this past week,” Battle said. “It's kind of funny that – either school I would have went to, I would have been in the national championship.”
Tuimoloau comments on Bama, OSU
As was the case with Battle in 2019, JC Latham in 2021 and what will certainly be the case with other high-level recruits until the end of days, there is at least one more massive recruit whose decision is likely going to come down to Columbus or Tuscaloosa.
That’s five-star 2021 defensive end J.T. Tuimoloau, who rarely speaks on his recruitment but this week shared some thoughts with 247Sports’ Brandon Huffman about his final five schools – a list that features the perceived two favorites (Ohio State and Alabama), plus three Pac-12 schools in Washington, Oregon and USC.
Tuimoloau touched on why those latter three made his final list, citing his relationships with Jimmy Lake and Chris Petersen at Washington, the elite-level program Mario Cristobal is establishing at Oregon and the talent that USC is bringing into its program of late.
But in keeping our focus on Alabama and Ohio State, Tuimoloau said he will have a keen eye on Monday’s national title game and discussed why each program is getting strong consideration from him:
Alabama: "Just getting to talk to coach (Nick) Saban and coach (Freddie) Roach, and the culture that Bama has, its always been up there. Getting to talk with coach Saban more, talking with him frequently, he has a history, and I like what he’s doing and is continuing to do."
Ohio State: "Coach Larry Johnson has a history and he has a long tradition of putting people in the league. He knows what he’s doing and talking about. Talking to coach (Ryan) Day, we have built a strong bond with the both of them. Coach Johnson is considered the top of what he’s doing and he has a history and I've been able to watch it."
As a couple final notes, yours truly and the esteemed Matt Gutridge will have another extensive look at the comparison between Ohio State and Alabama’s recruiting rankings for you tomorrow just as we did before the Clemson matchup. And this will be the final Hurry-Up until the national championship game concludes as we focus up on the important football contest between those two football programs.