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.
Singleton talks decision date, official visits
Nicholas Singleton has been one of Ohio State’s priority running back targets for more than a year, ever since the Buckeyes extended an offer to the Governor Mifflin (Pennsylvania) running back in January 2020.
That has never really changed over the past 14 months, and neither has Singleton’s overall view of the program. That’s why Singleton set Ohio State as one of his five official visits this summer, and the Buckeyes (as fate would have it) are getting the luck of being the final visit in a handful that includes Wisconsin (June 4-6), Penn State (June 11-13), Northwestern (June 15-17) and Notre Dame (June 18-20) with his Columbus official visit coming June 25-27.
Those are five of the schools in his top nine (which also features Alabama, Auburn, Michigan and Texas A&M), and he is excited to finally get a chance to put some names to faces on those five respective trips.
“I can’t wait. It’s finally happening,” Singleton told Eleven Warriors in reference to the fact that the NCAA recruiting dead period seems to be inches away from coming to a close. “I’m happy for it to be over and we can finally go see schools and meet coaches and build better relationships with them. So it’s gonna be good. Half of these schools I haven’t been up to because of COVID, so these five officials are in my top nine schools. So I’ll go around, see those places, have fun, and that’s gonna be a big part of my decision, honestly, is getting to see those.
“Building a relationship with the coaches, obviously it has to be a good team, academics are good for me too. And just building a relationship with everybody is what I’m looking for.”
TOP 9!!! @AlabamaFTBL @AuburnFootball @UMichFootball @NUFBFamily @NDFootball @OhioStateFB @PennStateFball @AggieFootball @BadgerFootball @Hayesfawcett3 @SWiltfong247 @RivalsFriedman pic.twitter.com/xjyqe4ylA5— Nicholas Singleton (@Nichola14110718) March 9, 2021
The fact that Ohio State is the final school he is going to see is definitely a plus for Tony Alford, Ryan Day and Co., but Singleton tells Eleven Warriors that setting up the Columbus visit last was not done on purpose to give the Buckeyes his last look.
“It’s really just how it happened,” Singleton said. “I can go anytime I want to those schools. The order didn’t really matter.”
The nation’s No. 5 running back and No. 98 overall recruit tells us that he has a decision timeline in mind; that he will take those five visits and about two weeks or so later he plans on making a commitment after going over all of his options with his family.
“I wanna take my officials first and see some of the places and have my family see them,” Singleton said. “I’m thinking mid-July is when I’m gonna make my decision.”
It has felt like an Ohio State-Penn State battle for the four-star running back for quite some time, with Notre Dame heavily in the mix. These official visits are the last straw, so to speak, in order for Singleton and his family to get the best gauge of who he vibes with the best and which coaches are for real.
Thus far, Tony Alford is one of those coaches who does feel real, and the Buckeyes’ running backs coach has built up one of the better relationships Singleton has with a coach.
“Our bond’s real good. We’ll talk about anything, man,” Singleton said. “That’s the type of relationship we have. We’ll talk about football and literally anything. We’ll text each other, call each other and be on the phone sometimes. We, honestly, have a really good relationship.
“Really just talking about things like what I wanna study in school, what TV shows I watch, if I have a girlfriend, really anything – and just funny stuff. … One time we had a film session, but it was a long time ago. He was just showing me plays they run, what hole to hit, what to look for in blocking, and he was showing me some drills they run in practice.”
Alford is not the only Buckeye whom Singleton has bonded with.
Anyone who followed the recruitment of TreVeyon Henderson knows he wanted to be part of a two-running back system in order to save some tread on his tires – not just during his college career but also to save his legs for his future in the NFL.
Henderson and Evan Pryor helped recruit each other, and even though Singleton is in the class below him, Henderson has been doing some recruiting of the Pennsylvania running back, too.
“Really, he’s just been telling me that Ohio State produces great running backs, to come join and make us the best running back duo in America,” Singleton said. “He’s a really good player, and I like him a lot. Him just telling me that is real amazing.
“(A two-back system) looks good. I like to split reps too. You don’t wanna be tired going into the next game. It’s real good, and I wouldn’t mind that.”
Now, the waiting game will continue until Singleton arrives for his official visit, one that follows the latest visit he made to campus during a self-guided visit in January.
“The campus was amazing,” Singleton said. “It was a beautiful campus, went to see the stadium for the first time and got to see the outside of the facilities. Got to see campus. It was obviously a great visit. Great visit.”
An itinerary for that official visit is nowhere near completion. It hasn’t really even been talked about, obviously understandable as we sit nearly three full months away from that visit. The most important thing is that Singleton gets on campus and that he gets a chance to see more of the city of Columbus itself as he hopes to do that this time around after not seeing it much on his last trip.
“We haven’t talked about (what will happen during the visit) yet, but they’re really excited to get me up there,” Singleton said. “They’ve been really telling me their main priority for a running back, they really like my speed, my built, my acceleration, cutbacks and my vision. They’ve always been telling this, and they show a lot of love.”
247Sports releases new rankings
As we hinted at yesterday, 247Sports released its latest rankings today with the Top 247 for the 2023 class.
All four Ohioans in the class with Ohio State offers made the list of 247 prospects:
- Brenan Vernon (Mentor) – No. 17
- Sonny Styles (Pickerington Central) – No. 40
- Luke Montgomery (Findlay) – No. 51
- Josh Padilla (Wayne) – No. 161
Other notables in the top 20:
- Lebbeus Overton – No. 1
- Malachi Nelson – No. 6
- Caleb Downs – No. 8
- Brandon Inniss – No. 10
- Anthony Hill – No. 11
- Tony Mitchell – No. 14
- Matayo Uiagalelei – No. 15
- Malik Bryant – No. 16
- Alex Birchmeier – No. 19
- Kadyn Proctor – No. 20
Turner at Clemson
As expected, one of Ohio State's top targets at cornerback in the 2022 class, Ryan Turner, is taking a self-guided visit to Clemson this week.
— Ryan Turner (@RyanTurner_20) March 31, 2021
Turner is coming off a four-day visit to Columbus over the weekend, and we expected him to take a trip to Clemson's campus soon after.
We talked about this at length before and nothing has changed – Turner's recruitment has become an Ohio State vs. Clemson battle, and he may commit sometime in April or early May.
Header photo: Nicholas Singleton – Mark Brennan/247Sports