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.
OSU cracks Murphy's top list
Well before C.J. Hicks and Shawn Murphy finally met in person at this past summer's Elite Underclassmen Camp in Obetz, Ohio, Murphy admitted that Ohio State's borderline five-star 2022 outside linebacker commit had been in his ear "damn near every day" about becoming a Buckeye.
Murphy, a five-star linebacker out of Unity Reed (Virginia) High School, told Eleven Warriors that "it helps a little bit" but that he's "not really gonna lean to a school because of other players. I’m really just looking at the whole program as is."
That's undoubtedly true, but having a good friend and fellow blue-chip linebacker in Hicks carrying the flag for Ohio State certainly helps Al Washington and Co.'s cause. On Wednesday night, we got official word from Murphy that the peer recruiting from Hicks and the relationship building with Washington got the Buckeyes into the next step in Murphy's decision.
Murphy released his list of top-eight schools, and as expected Ohio State cracked the list amongst a who's-who of national powers and Penn State.
Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Oklahoma, Florida and Oregon are the other six suitors for the nation's No. 17 overall player and No. 1 inside linebacker in the 2022 cycle.
There had been rumblings in October that Murphy had already made a silent commitment to Ohio State, but the people we spoke with said his decision had not been made even privately just yet. Murphy is still holding out to make visits with the dead period hopefully being lifted in April. Or, he may elect to try and get on campus on a self-guided tour (or whatever the hell phrase you want to call it) to check out Columbus or some of the other college towns in his top eight.
Either way, Ohio State is no doubt in the upper echelon here, and if a top-three list was released the Buckeyes would be on it.
Obviously, there's still work to be done here, but with Washington leading the way, the Buckeyes are in good hands as the third-year linebackers coach will be looking to make a splash with his first major national recruiting win at the position.
"It’s really like a bond – a spiritual bond, a mental bond,” Murphy told us this summer in regards to his relationship with Washington. "Because that’s what’s most important for an athlete through a coach. Family matters more than anything. Because no one wants to play for somebody if they feel like they’re getting used. It just messes up all the chemistry."
Murphy says that he has a genuine relationship with Washington built on honesty and Washington "not sugarcoating everything" and telling him only positives.
"He don't really say how good of a player I am. It’s just sometimes – maybe once a month or every three weeks he’ll remind me I’m a good player, but other than that he’s not really going on about how good I am," Murphy said. "He’s telling me what I can do and what he’s gonna develop me on; what he wants to develop me on. Everything he wants to do to make me better as a player and as a person."
That bond he has with Washington is something he touched on further with 247Sports' Brian Dohn in an interview in which Murphy broke down his top-eight schools:
Ohio State: "Me and (assistant) coach Al (Washington) have a really nice bond. Everything he showed me is nice and I know I can fit in. Everything he does on the field is nice. He's really knowledgable. I've seen all of his drills. All the things he does can translate to the field. He really develops players. He is really good at what he does. He really develops your hands. Since he was a running backs coach, he understands both sides of the ball and it really helps."
Jackson sets commit date
Murphy was not the lone five-star 2022 prospect to announce a major update on Wednesday night.
Mater Dei (California) High School's Domani Jackson, ranked as the No. 1 cornerback and No. 3 overall player in America, has locked in a commitment date of January 23.
January 23rd all Im going to say....— domanijackson (@domanijackson1) January 13, 2021
Jackson's father, Randy, told Eleven Warriors last night that Domani "is going where he feels is the best fit for him and the relationship that he has established with the coaches."
OK, so not much to glean off that answer, obviously.
Though the Buckeyes remain a slim Crystal Ball favorite, Jackson has never visited Ohio State's campus and will likely not be making a visit prior to his commitment date.
“I’m ready,” Jackson told 247Sports' Greg Biggins. “I’ve been to ASU, USC and Michigan and done zoom calls and virtual tours with the other schools.
“In terms of the timing, the main thing is I’m already becoming a little tired of the recruiting process. It can be a hassle and I feel confident with my school choice. I just feel if you know what you’re doing, why waste anyone’s time. This way, the schools can move on and I can start recruiting for the school I choose.”
Jackson is set to (very likely) make a visit to USC this weekend alongside fellow five-star, top-10 overall prospect Will Johnson, who is the No. 4-ranked cornerback in 2022. We spoke with Johnson's father, Deon, who said that Jackson was likely to join the Johnsons on that visit but that nothing was confirmed yet.
The two favorites to land Johnson remain Michigan and Ohio State, but this coming weekend could be big for USC if the visit makes a big enough impact on either of the two or both of them.