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 down to five
And then there were five. After there was already only four.
Just two weeks ago, four-star Mater Dei (California) prospect Raesjon Davis – the No. 4 outside linebacker, No. 45 overall prospect and No. 3 player in California's 2022 class – told 247Sports' Greg Biggins that he was down to just four schools in Ohio State, LSU, USC and Oregon.
On Sunday, however, Davis announced that he has added one more school to the mix. It's a bit of a wild card on the surface, but Vanderbilt has snuck into the final group for the Buckeyes.
Visiting Ohio State with his family remains of utmost importance for Al Washington and the Buckeyes if they want to pull off what would be a pretty big upset win over USC at this point.
Davis has visited by himself, but getting his family to Columbus would be the next step for the program if it wants to land a second linebacker in the class to pair with Reid Carrico.
"Ohio State is a great program,” Davis told Biggins in early January. “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 (Kerry) Coombs too.”
USC remains the overwhelming favorite to land Davis, who has compared himself to a Justin Hilliard-type of linebacker, and as of today that's the move we expect him to make when he commits and signs on February 3.
Buckeyes offer Bryant
Ohio State landed a massive home run in 2022 linebacker recruiting, landing a trio of borderline five-stars in C.J. Hicks, Gabe Powers and Dasan McCullough with Shawn Murphy and Jalon Walker also in the mix to potentially land in Columbus.
That came at the perfect time with the position being either No. 1 or No. 2 on the hierarchy of importance for the cycle.
However, linebacker will remain a need in the 2023 class (albeit not as big of a need as it was in 2022), and the Buckeyes have gotten an early start over the weekend.
Malik Bryant, a 6-foot-3, 220-pounder from Florida's IMG Academy – is the No. 2-ranked outside linebacker in 2023, and he's ranked No. 57 overall and No. 13 in the Sunshine State.
Working on the weekend like usual pic.twitter.com/8cxgqH2KWp— IK YT (@Malik5Bryant) January 16, 2021
Bryant already has a strong reputation in Florida, already being projected to a day two or day three NFL draft pick and being compared to two-time All-Big Ten selection Kwity Paye out of Michigan by 247Sports' Andrew Ivins:
Promising frame with some bulk already showing in the arms. Should only get bigger over the next few years. A twitchy edge rusher that creates plenty of issues for opposing quarterbacks. Uses quick first step to freeze offensive tackles. Well-timed spin move frequently leads to sacks. Fluid in his movement patterns and able to move laterally in space. Spent time the spring following freshman season playing linebacker on the camp circuit. Transferred into IMG Academy as a sophomore and instantly became one of the team’s top players totaling a pair of sacks against a talented Duncanville squad. Will need to keep progressing, but early body of work suggests that he’s one of the top pass rushers in the class of 2023. Could eventually push for five-star status.
Bryant finished last season with 78 tackles, 14 sacks and nine tackles-for-loss. Bryant has about 20 offers already, highlighted by Arizona State, Florida, Florida State and Oklahoma in addition to the Buckeyes.
Ewers falls in state title game
Ohio State's five-star quarterback commit Quinn Ewers got to the finish line, but he came in second place in the race.
Over the weekend, Ewers and his Southlake Carroll (Texas) teammates lost to Westlake, 52-34, in the Texas 6A state championship game.
WHAT A THROW. WHAT A CATCH. #Gophers commit Brady Boyd hauls in an impressive pass from #Buckeyes commit Quinn Ewers to even the game at 21 apiece!#TXHSFB | @uiltexas | #UILonFSSW | #UILState pic.twitter.com/ofsgNv01Hl— FOX Sports Southwest (@FOXSportsSW) January 17, 2021
That was as clean as it gets— FOX Sports Southwest (@FOXSportsSW) January 17, 2021
Southlake Carroll goes for it on 4th down, and Quinn Ewers finds RJ Maryland to move the chains!#TXHSFB | @uiltexas | #UILonFSSW | #UILState | @CarrollDragonFB | @RJMaryland1 pic.twitter.com/diDfAlimCP
Ewers grabbed headlines by flashing the "O-H" to Alabama signee Kendrick Blackshire following Southlake Carroll's upset win in the semifinals, and he followed up the semifinals performance by finishing 23-of-39 for 350 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions.
Header photo: Raesjon Davis – Andrew Ivins/247Sports