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 previews Ohio State visit
Raesjon Davis’ phone over the past week has essentially been over-heated to the touch.
Makes sense. Davis is one of the most highly prized recruits left in the 2021 class. And ever since he dropped his top five of Ohio State, LSU, USC, Oregon and Vanderbilt on Sunday, the communication has been overwhelming at times.
“My messages have been blowing up with all these coaches,” Davis told Eleven Warriors on Wednesday night. “After I dropped my top five, everybody’s been texting me. I put it on ‘do not disturb.’ I just had to get my head right to see where I actually wanna go. I try to stay off social media, too. That’s why I’ve been going to practice and lifting weights, just trying to get my head right.”
So there’s a lot of stress in Davis’ decision, but two weeks from now he will have cemented his decision as he tells us that he still plans on signing with one of those five schools on Feb. 3’s National Signing Day.
My overwhelming opinion is that the Mater Dei (California) four-star prospect – ranked No. 45 overall, No. 4 at outside linebacker and No. 3 in the state – is choosing between either Ohio State or USC.
Though Oregon is in good standing as well, it’s those two programs that are neck-and-neck in the race to land Davis. This weekend, Columbus and Ohio State’s campus will get their chance to make one last impression on Davis and his family, as he will be making a visit to the city with his parents.
“It’s the last step because it’s the last school so we’re just waiting to see how this goes,” Davis said.
“(This Visit is) critical because I just want my parents to see it. So once they see it, I’ll know exactly how I feel.”– Raesjon Davis
The plane tickets were bought on Tuesday, as Davis, his parents and his uncle will be flying out on Friday before returning on Sunday. And you wouldn't be making an expensive visit on your own dime, flying across the country in the 11th hour, if you weren't serious about picking that school.
“My uncle went to Toledo out there so he knows a lot about Ohio State. He’s going out there with us also, so he said he can show us around out there,” Davis said.
There hasn’t been any sort of detailed itinerary that Ohio State’s coaches have given Davis on what spots to hit, but that’s likely to come once he gets on a planned Zoom call this week with Al Washington.
“I guess we’re gonna figure out (what spots to hit) when we get there, really,” Davis said. “(My mom) was just trying to see if we could talk to some of the players, the early freshmen, to see if they could show us around.”
Ohio State’s 2021 early enrollees will have either already arrived on campus by the time Davis is in town or will be getting there over the weekend. Davis is hopeful he will be able to meet up with guys like TreVeyon Henderson, Evan Pryor, Jack Sawyer and Kyle McCord, and he has been in contact with non-early enrollee Jaylen Johnson, who should be able to meet up with him this weekend.
One player Davis won’t be able to meet up with, however, is Buckeye quarterback C.J. Stroud, a fellow SoCal guy who Davis has known for a long time.
“That’s my dude. We’re real cool. I’ve known him since eighth grade,” Davis said. “We’ve always been super cool. He told me, ‘you’d love it here. But it’s business.’ He just said to come in with a business mindset at all times because that’s how it is. He knows that I’m a business dude because I come from out here so he knows I’d be ready to work there. He said it’s super fun, but he said it’s very serious, too.
“I talked to C.J., but he said he’s at home right now so he’s gonna see what he can do.”
Contrary to what I wrote on Wednesday, Davis says he has actually only visited Ohio State once (not twice). That was back in March 2020, but he says “it was only for a few hours. It wasn’t a whole visit deal. That’s why I wanted to get back out there and check out the campus and the city.”
He ran into Paris Johnson Jr. during that visit while walking on High Street and got some more information about the inner workings of Ohio State from a player who had spent about two months in the program at that point. But it remains of utmost importance that Davis’ parents get to see the city and the facilities.
When we spoke with Davis in the summer, while he was still committed to LSU, he was hoping to get to campus for a visit to see if there was a “spark” for his family like there had been in Baton Rouge.
“That’s critical because I just want my parents to see it,” Davis said. “So once they see it, I’ll know exactly how I feel. Because my parents are a huge part of my decision so I always ask them about (what they think about a school).
“That’s what I’m trying to see (is that spark). Because I knew after that visit they were excited about it, so I’m trying to see if they get that same feeling about Ohio State. They’re super excited. My mom’s been trying to go up there for the last, like, three weeks. So we’re just happy to finally get out there.”
Again, this recruitment appears to be coming down to Ohio State vs. USC. Dave Aranda was the coach recruiting Davis for LSU, and once he left to become the head coach at Baylor, new defensive coordinator Bo Pelini (who was fired after just one season) didn’t step up to the plate in making an impact on Davis. The Tigers lost Davis’ commitment, and they won’t be getting it back.
If this visit goes well, I think the Buckeyes could pull off what would be a bit of an upset over the Trojans and their pull of being close to home.
Washington has one of the best relationships with Davis of any coach recruiting him. Perhaps the best. Same goes for Davis' father, who has built a tight bond with Washington as well.
USC being closer to home is a factor at play here, and so is the Trojans' lack of linebacker depth. Davis wants to play early and make an impact as a freshman before competing for a starting spot as a sophomore, and the potential to see the field sooner than later at USC is intriguing.
Ohio State, meanwhile, has its four top linebackers leaving for the NFL. With Teradja Mitchell, K’Vaughan Pope and Dallas Gant set to hit their fourth year in 2021, the Buckeyes could see even more turnover at the position after next season. The opportunity is there for an early role as a freshman and, more importantly, as a second-year player with Reid Carrico and Jaylen Johnson (who could still slot as a defensive back) as the only other linebackers coming into the 2021 cycle.
Those are all options for Davis to ponder as he takes this last step.
Header photo: Raesjon Davis – Ken Ruinard/USA Today