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.
Next steps after McCullough's flip
Ohio State losing Dasan McCullough to Indiana is a big deal and a tough loss to take. The Buckeyes will survive it because they're the Buckeyes and they'll be able to find a way to replace McCullough with some more major talent because that's what they seemingly always do.
What makes this loss hurt is the fact that, for one, there wasn't much Ohio State could do about it. McCullough left to play for his father and with his two brothers, and, as McCullough himself said when he made his flip announcement, it's “family over everything.”
The flip hurts because McCullough, the No. 50 overall player in the 2022 class, is a tremendous talent and a borderline five-star prospect who I think is going to be a stud – now at Indiana instead of in Columbus.
The fact that he will now play for a Big Ten East opponent, instead of somewhere like Alabama (where former Ohio State cornerback commit Devonta Smith flipped) or Texas A&M (ditto, former Buckeye defensive end commit Tunmise Adeleye), adds another twinge of pain since the Buckeyes are guaranteed to see McCullough once a year. That includes the 2023 season opener, when McCullough will be in his second season and presumably set to take on a major role for the Hoosiers.
And, of course, it hurts because of how impactful of a peer recruiter McCullough was for this Buckeyes class. C.J. Hicks is "Captain Buckeye" and the No. 1 recruiter in this class. He'll continue going to work. But what made Hicks even more efficient on the recruiting trail is that he had his running mate, McCullough, around to help. McCullough had built up good relationships with key targets across the country in the 2022 class for nearly a full year. Hicks and McCullough were a great team in peer recruiting, and now there's a void.
So when it comes to that area of this flip, there needs to be a concerted effort from the other commits to step up, and they surely will. As for the next steps of where Ohio State turns to, there don't really appear to be any linebacker prospects who have been offered yet that would fill the type of role McCullough was recruited for.
Respect it or not. I do not care. pic.twitter.com/XyCDd1kshe— Dasan Mccullough (@Dasan2022) April 25, 2021
Shawn Murphy is Ohio State's top remaining linebacker target, but he is expected to come in as a Mike linebacker if he chooses the Buckeyes. Justin Medlock has the ability to play either Mike or Will, but there's really no one left on the linebacker board who has been offered that fits the versatile mold of Sam linebacker/potential safety McCullough, whose ceiling came as Ohio State's version of Isaiah Simmons.
The Will linebacker spot is where Medlock told Eleven Warriors previously that Washington sees him fitting best, but Washington also sees Medlock possibly transitioning to Mike linebacker down the road. Medlock says his “speed and coverage ability” are the skills that caught Washington’s eye and suit him for the Will.
Aside from Murphy and Medlock, Ohio State lost out on Jalon Walker to Georgia. Jihaad Campbell remains on the board as an intriguing option (though I believe the Buckeyes are playing from behind there) as a hybrid outside linebacker/defensive end. Beyond them, we'll wait to see if the Buckeyes go out in search of another linebacker who doesn't yet have an offer.
2022 target breakdown
We just broke down some of the remaining linebacker targets in the 2022 class above, and that's where we're taking this next item. Throughout the rest of this week, I'll be quickly running through some of the top remaining targets by position in this cycle and what Ohio State needs to do going forward.
Starting with the most important position and the most important recruit in this class – the No. 1-ranked all-time commit in Ohio State history. We can keep this short and simple because the mission here is obvious: Continue recruiting Ewers as if he's uncommitted, keep him firmly in the fold until signing day and get him on campus for the June Buckeye Bash 2.0.
So far, so good apparently:
For quite a while, we went back and forth between Hayden and Singleton for who was the Buckeyes' top running back target in this cycle. But Hayden has emerged as the No. 1 guy here, even if the margin is still a bit slim. Hayden already loves the Buckeyes, loves Tony Alford and enjoyed his time in Columbus when he visited on St. Patrick's Day.
Now it's all about getting him back on campus for his June 18-20 official visit, which comes the weekend after his official visit to Notre Dame.
Somehow landing both Hayden and Singleton would be an absolute slam dunk, but my money is on that not happening. The Buckeyes are already going to have a loaded running back room, talent- and numbers-wise, so I'm still (as of now) believing that they will only sign one.
Singleton is set for his own official visits to Notre Dame (June 18-20) and Ohio State (June 25-27), and after he returns from all five of his officials (the Buckeyes are set to get the last one in a contingent that also includes Penn State, Northwestern and Wisconsin visits earlier in June), Singleton plans on taking a week or two and then making his decision.
It appears Alston has slipped into the clear No. 3 spot on the Buckeyes' board, and you can make an argument that the next player on this list is making a run for it, too.
As of this writing, Alston has not yet scheduled the official visit to Ohio State that he had been planning. The only way Alston becomes a Buckeye is by getting that visit to happen, so we'll be in a holding pattern until it does. Two months ago, if you had told me that Alston had not scheduled an official visit a full week after the announcement of the dead period being over, I would have been very surprised.
Sawchuk is one of the running backs we have not talked about much, but with the borderline five-star and No. 2 RB in the country scheduling an official visit for June 11 in Columbus, there's certainly room for Alford and Co. here. It still doesn't feel as if this will happen, but that visit could mark a major shift.
As you can see from this common theme, four of the five running backs on this list have scheduled official visits to Ohio State, with Hampton's set for June 25-27. Florida and Penn State are the others scheduled.
More key visits set
Locked.! pic.twitter.com/Ot4pkPk58h— Ryan Turner (@RyanTurner_20) April 24, 2021
Turner and Jordan are two of Ohio State's top remaining cornerback targets in the 2022 class, along with Toriano Pride, who is making his official visit on June 4-6.