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.
Johnson sets commit date
Five-star Detroit cornerback Will Johnson's decision will be known publicly in due time. The No. 8 overall player and No. 4 cornerback in the 2022 class, Johnson has set a commitment date of Feb. 28, and he is officially down to Ohio State, Michigan and USC.
BREAKING: 5 CB Will Johnson will announce his Commitment Sunday, February 28th— Hayes Fawcett (@Hayesfawcett3) February 19, 2021
The Top 10 Player in the Class of 2022 tells me that will choose between Michigan, USC, and Ohio State
Where Should He Go? pic.twitter.com/1y4lINVbQ9
There were rumblings that Johnson had previously been close to making a decision in December, but we were told by those close to his recruitment that it was still weeks away. If he had made a decision in January, it's likely that the Buckeyes would have found themselves on the right side here.
But when Johnson and his family gave the new Michigan defensive staff, namely defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald and cornerbacks coach Maurice Linguist, time to build a relationship with them, it poured some new hope into the Wolverines' efforts. Looks like that is going to lead to them keeping their most-prized in-state target home.
Grayes' visit still a go
Just a small item of note here in that 2022 receiver target Kyion Grayes is still set to visit Columbus next weekend.
Columbus Ill see you next weekend pic.twitter.com/ztAm57eiRv— Kyion Grayes II (@KyiongrayesII) February 19, 2021
Grayes, a four-star wideout out of Chandler (Arizona), told Eleven Warriors on Feb. 2 of his plans to visit in the last weekend of February, and that visit is still a go. This will be Grayes' first-ever visit to Ohio State and Columbus, and I would bank on it being the cherry on top that will set his commitment to the Buckeyes in motion. I wouldn't necessarily be surprised if he silently commits during his visit and then announces soon afterward.
“Even if I just get to go up to the city and walk around, it’ll be the experience I need,” Grayes told us previously, later adding, “I know where my heart is. Just wanna make sure that it’s 100 (percent).”
Would be pretty neat for the five-star corner Johnson to commit to Michigan around the same time that his future adversary across from him commits to Ohio State. The two may find themselves matched up with each other in one-on-one coverage one day in a Big Ten bout.
Buckeyes offer first 2023 TE
After finally getting their two-man tight end class in 2022 with Benji Gosnell and Bennett Christian, the Buckeyes probably aren't going to have to do as much hunting in the 2023 cycle for a tight end.
It's obviously early, but it's probable Ohio State shoots for just one in 2023. Early on, Ryan Day and Co. have their eyes on at least one target, as they extended an offer to Independence (Tennessee) High School's Ty Lockwood on Wednesday.
Very blessed to be offered by THE Ohio State University! @IndyFootball_TN @CoachTBarr @BuckFitz @CSmithScout @NatlPlaymkrsAca @d1highlights @CadillacJBlack @DreamTeam7v7 @MglTraining @CoachByrd84 @ChadSimmons_ @CoachTonyAlford pic.twitter.com/UIr5fP2O9x— Ty Lockwood (@TyLockwood7) February 17, 2021
You won't have to dig too hard to find some enthusiasm from the 6-foot-5, 220-pounder, whose offer from Ohio State was his 11th total to add to the likes of Florida State, Penn State, Tennessee and Texas A&M.
“My first reaction was true excitement and some shock to be honest,” Lockwood told Eleven Warriors. “I was super hyped to hear Coach Tony Alford announce that they had offered.
“Coach Alford was super excited about me on the call and was reminding me to stay humble and keep working hard, which I really appreciate.”
Lockwood just wrapped up his sophomore season at Independence, where he led the Eagles with a team-high 43 receptions, which was good for 606 yards receiving and three touchdowns. Throughout the campaign, he used what he believes to be some of his best on-field assets to help him attain that production.
“I feel like I do a great job as a tight end getting open in empty spots and scanning the field. I feel like from playing a whole lot of basketball my field vision is very good,” Lockwood said.
He believes that skillset makes him a good fit in Columbus, where he has kept a keen eye on how Day and Kevin Wilson have utilized the tight end position, especially with them having used more 12 personnel in the past two seasons.
“I think they have a great offense, especially for all the weapons they always have,” Lockwood said. “And I loved seeing the use of Jeremy Ruckert those last two games, he made great plays in big moments.”
That response is similar to the one Gosnell gave us in the fall following the Nebraska and Penn State games, a usage of which helped seal the deal for him to pick the Buckeyes.
There's a long way to go in Lockwood's recruitment, though, as he is just getting started. But Ohio State is certainly in the mix among the favorites to start his recruiting process.
“I love the culture and tradition that Ohio State holds. They are a very prestigious university,” Lockwood said. “Coach Day and Coach Wilson are great coaches who did a great job keeping the program up after Coach (Urban) Meyer left. I have a ton of respect for those two.”
Notable Crystal Ball predictions
On Wednesday, there was a heavy host of Crystal Ball predictions laid out by the good folks at 247Sports.
Here are some of the notables in regards to Ohio State targets:
- Four-star Salisbury (North Carolina) OLB Jalon Walker = two Crystal Balls for Clemson
- Four-star Lambert (Georgia) WR Kojo Antwi = two for Georgia, one for Texas A&M
- Four-star Hardaway (Georgia) DT Mykell Williams = four for Georgia
- Four-star Cedar Grove (Georgia) DT Christen Miller = two for Georgia
- Four-star West Bloomfield (Michigan) athlete Dillon Tatum = one for Michigan
- Four-star Bishop Gorman (Nevada) safety Zion Branch = two for USC
- Four-star West Brook (Texas) safety Bryce Anderson = three for Texas
(And as a bonus, one prediction was dropped for Penn State to land five-star offensive tackle Gunner Givens, but consider us quite skeptical of that happening with Clemson being the leader.)
A lot of Georgia red on that list. The most notable of those, in my opinion, are the predictions for Walker to Clemson and the two for Antwi to pick Georgia.
Those two fall in line with what I discussed on Wednesday in my rankings of the top positional needs remaining in Ohio State's 2022 class for each player. I believe it will be very hard for the Buckeyes to pull Antwi out of Georgia, though with Brian Hartline and Al Washington heading that recruitment it's impossible for me to say Ohio State will be out of it until he signs with the Bulldogs. (Or Alabama.)
With Walker, there had been a prevailing feeling that he may soon come to a decision, but I had been believing Clemson had a good line on him with Alabama and North Carolina lurking. I believe Ohio State's staff has him higher on its board than it does Shawn Murphy and will continue making that strong push for Walker while maybe playing a bit from behind.
Header photo: Ty Lockwood – Andrew Nelles/USA Today