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.
Covil a nasty safety
Flip on Sherrod Covil Jr.’s game film, and there’s one aspect of his game that instantly jumps out at you.
The dude is nasty, and the dude can hit.
If you remember back to one of our fall 2020 interviews with Ohio State linebacker commit C.J. Hicks, the five-star prospect marked down former Seattle Seahawks All-Pro safety Kam Chancellor as one of three NFL players who he watches highlights of and wants to emulate as a player – both in his final seasons at Alter High School and his Buckeye career.
“When (Chancellor) hits somebody, he would hit them so hard that he would say, ‘I’m tattooing that on them. I’m leaving that Bam on them,’” Hicks said. “I’m coming with that this year.”
In Covil, the Buckeyes have offered a 2022 safety who holds a lot of the same mentality that Hicks – who certainly came with that during his junior season – did going into 2020.
“I am the hardest-hitting safety in high school,” a confident Covil told Eleven Warriors in a recent interview. “I have speed, I move quickly in short spaces, and I have killer instincts that can’t be taught.”
“It comes from watching players like Kam Chancellor,” Covil said.
Missile Runnin the Alley Boom pic.twitter.com/un9zW6PGBx— Sherrod Covil Jr (@rodZilla03) March 21, 2021
Of course, trying to play like Chancellor – or any other hard-hitting safety in the league – can come with its consequences sometimes. Like a couple of weeks ago when Covil came across the middle and put his forearm into a receiver to jar the ball loose. He made contact with the receiver’s helmet, though, and was ejected for hitting a defenseless receiver.
It’s all part of a learning process for the four-star Oscar Smith (Virginia) standout, who admits that it was a good call and that he’ll need to control his body a bit more.
But what you won’t be able to call into question is his motor or aggressiveness and willingness to stick his nose in to make a play like that.
That’s just one of the reasons that Ohio State extended an offer to the nation’s No. 203 overall player and No. 11 safety in the 2022 cycle two weeks ago to the day. On the flip side, the Buckeyes’ own reputation for having some defensive backs of his ilk in the past is why they have thrust himself into Covil’s recruitment that features nearly 40 offers – highlighted by Alabama, Clemson, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, Stanford and USC.
“I was excited because we are really talking about The Ohio State University,” Covil said. “It’s a top-five team year in and year out who just played in the national championship. The coaches sounded excited about the possibility of me joining the program and that made me excited.
“I know they are a part of the DBU debate meaning they make a lot of plays in college and perform well enough to send multiple guys to the league.”
And when it comes to his mentality on the field, the comparisons between Covil and other Buckeyes doesn’t stop with Hicks. Just like players such as Kourt Williams and Cody Simon who we have profiled in the past, Covil is able to flip a switch between the lines.
“I’m an entirely different person on the field as opposed to off,” Covil said. “Humble off, a monster on.”
(His "Pain Infliction" label at the beginning of his highlight tape is eerily reminiscent of the absolute banger of a quote that Williams gave us back in January 2020 about inflicting pain.)
Another major visit set
In continuing with our trend of keeping up with the Joneses and marking down the players who have set official or unofficial visits to Ohio State in June (it's, uhh, many visits so we're bound to miss a few), another five-star talent has picked his date to come to Columbus this summer.
I will be at Ohio State June 22nd & 23rd #GoBuckeyes— IK YT (@Malik5Bryant) April 22, 2021
Malik Bryant, the No. 13 overall player, No. 2 weakside defensive end and No. 3 player out of Florida in the 2023 class, is coming up from IMG Academy for a two-day trip June 22-23.
The 6-foot-2, 235-pounder is going to be a very difficult pull from the Sunshine State, where he has earned nearly 30 offers from the likes of Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Oregon. But getting in on Bryant with an offer before most of those other programs (of that list, only the three Florida schools and Oklahoma offered prior to the Buckeyes) and an unofficial visit may provide a boost.
Trio of Buckeye targets soar up list
We've touched on the soaring stock of Owasso (Oklahoma) defensive tackle Chris McClellan already last week, but just to double down – the stock of defensive tackle Chris McClellan is soaring. And so are another pair of Ohio State targets in Jihaad Campbell and Hero Kanu.
All three were listed among the biggest risers in Wednesday's release of the latest Top247 rankings.
McClellan jumped in the composite rankings from No. 650 overall to No. 244, Kanu went from off the board completely to No. 143 overall, and Campbell jumped from No. 297 to No. 173.
Header photo: Sherrod Covil Jr. – Keith Niebuhr/247Sports