The Hurry-Up: Coaching Changes Will Have “Big Impact” on AJ Harris' Recruitment

By Garrick Hodge on January 13, 2022 at 1:35 pm
AJ Harris

On Thursday, Ohio State hired two new secondary coaches: Tim Walton and Perry Eliano

Those hires mean two current staffers are reportedly on the way out: Former defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs and linebackers coach Al Washington. 

While Ohio State has not officially confirmed either the hirings or departures yet, word of the coaching changes has trickled down to recruits. Five-star cornerback AJ Harris has been the past regime’s top priority at cornerback for the 2023 class and had a commitment date scheduled for Jan. 11, his birthday. The Harris family pushed that decision back last week, though, partly because of the coaching uncertainty surrounding his top colleges, including the status of Coombs, Harris’ lead recruiter at OSU. 

Now, the Harris family has its answer. And the impact of Coombs reportedly leaving is significant. 

“Big impact,” AJ’s father Daniel told Eleven Warriors of the effect Coombs’ departure will have on his son’s recruitment. “Haven’t heard from (newly hired defensive coordinator Jim Knowles) and he’s been on the job for over a week. We have no clue if he even likes defensive backs like AJ, because he never got an Oklahoma State offer even though he got an Oklahoma offer.” 

Should Knowles decide to reach out to the Harris family, they would of course listen. But the call would be met with some skepticism. 

“I look at you kinda sideways when you’ve been in the building for 10 days, the next class is your class and you haven’t reached out to someone who’s supposed to be a priority,” Daniel said.

If there's one area Ohio State can regain ground with Harris, it may be through Walton, who is originally from Columbus, Georgia, which is a five-minute drive from Harris’ home in Phenix City, Alabama. It will be interesting to see how long it takes Walton to reach out, and what effect, if any, it may have.

Harris is ranked as the 18th-best player and the third-best cornerback in the 2023 class, per 247Sports’ composite rankings. Other schools he is considering include Alabama, Georgia, Clemson and North Carolina. He visited Ohio State last June and in October for the Maryland game. 

Thomas picks up OSU offer

For the second time in as many days, Ohio State has extended an offer to a recruit. Thursday’s offer went out to four-star 2024 Georgia tight end Landen Thomas

Thomas becomes the 19th recruit and the first tight end to pick up an OSU offer in the 2024 cycle. The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Thomas is ranked as the 18th-best player and the top tight end in the 2024 cycle. He now has 16 Division I offers including Georgia, Penn State, Tennessee, Miami, Florida, Florida State, Auburn, Arkansas, LSU and South Carolina. 

In 11 games for Colquitt County High School (Moultrie, Georgia) as a sophomore, Thomas caught 31 passes for 516 yards and hauled in seven touchdown receptions. On the blocking side, he recorded 10 pancake blocks in 2021.

Jean-Baptiste pranks freshmen

Ohio State’s most notorious riddler is at it again. Known for his videos that are almost always amusing at this point, Javontae Jean-Baptiste has made many teammates and coaches alike fall victim to his riddles.

On Wednesday, it was the early enrollees’ turn to be quizzed. Unfortunately for C.J. Hicks, Caleb Burton and George Fitzpatrick, none could effectively answer Jean-Baptiste’s latest riddle. In their defense, I probably only would have gotten it because I lived in Mississippi for two years and memorized the spelling of it by heart on my fourth day. 

View 262 Comments