On Jan. 17, Jess Curtis picked up his phone and contacted Jim Knowles.
Curtis, the uncle of four-star Louisiana linebacker Tackett Curtis and his head football coach at Many High School (Many, Louisiana), was simply hoping to check in with the newly hired Ohio State defensive coordinator. While Knowles was at Oklahoma State, he had recruited the younger Curtis hard, extending him an offer to play for the Cowboys. But the family hadn’t heard from him since he took the Buckeyes’ job.
“I shot him a text,” the elder Curtis said. “I said, ‘Hey coach, what’s the deal at Ohio State? Are you still interested in Tackett?’”
Knowles called Jess immediately. Coincidentally, Knowles had planned to fly to Louisiana one day later to visit Tackett in person. Following his visit with Knowles, the 65th-best player and sixth-best linebacker in the 2023 class per 247Sports’ composite rankings picked up an Ohio State offer.
“He was always on me at Oklahoma State,” Tackett Curtis said. “We took a visit out there to go see them during the summer, and we loved it. We had a great relationship throughout the whole year. When I saw him make the switch to Ohio State, he started getting back on me. He told me ‘It’s the same deal, just a different logo.’ So he still sees the potential in me.”
Ten days later, Knowles took another flight to Louisiana to visit Tackett again and told him he wanted to build his defense around him, quickly establishing him as the Buckeyes highest-priority target at linebacker for the 2023 cycle.
“His word was good,” Jess Curtis said. “For him to back it up the next week and come back, it really, really solidified in Tackett’s mind that he was for real. He’s got big plans for Ohio State. We love that guy. I’ve known him from prior years when he first started at Oklahoma State. He recruited our area hard for some kids prior to Tackett. His personality is so fun. He’s really got that brilliant mind, but a great personality that players love playing for. It’s infectious.”
It’s not hard to see why Curtis is such a hot commodity as a prospect. In 13 games for Many High School this past season, Curtis racked up 103 total tackles (12.5 for loss), a sack, an interception and a fumble recovery. His standout prep career earned Tackett the nickname of “Rambo,” a popular action movie character played by Sylvester Stallone, because the standout linebacker “has always been a silent assassin for us and takes everyone out,” according to Jess Curtis. The Buckeyes are recruiting Curtis as a Mike linebacker.
“He’s just got such a knack for finding the football,” Jess Curtis said. “Just instincts, true instincts. He’s so quick to the football. He gets there and he’s so violent. You watch his film and that highlight could go on for 30 minutes. Everything he hits goes backwards. That’s just a tribute to his progress in the weight room and the speed that he gets to the ball. I really feel like he’d be a natural fit at Mike linebacker (for OSU). And we play him in a free safety role a lot here, it helps him develop and we wanted to make sure he was ready to do both. I think you’re going to see a complete football player.”
Both Tackett and Jess hope to visit Ohio State sometime in the spring or the summer.
“We definitely plan on trying to get up there and seeing coach Knowles and the defensive staff and see how they run things up there,” Tackett said.
Montgomery to commit Thursday
At 3 p.m. Thursday, Ohio State will learn if it landed its No. 1 target for the class of 2023.
Four-star Ohio offensive lineman Luke Montgomery will make his college decision at Findlay High School, choosing from a final six of Ohio State, Clemson, Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State and Oklahoma.
Committing on February 17th at 3 pm est on CBS and will be live on Instagram (lukemonty_). This will be held at Findlay High school in the gym. Anyone is welcomed!— Luke Montgomery (@lukeMonty8) February 7, 2022
As recently as a month ago, there was reason to worry Montgomery might head elsewhere besides Ohio State, the team he grew up rooting for. But in the last few weeks, the Buckeyes have reclaimed nearly all the momentum in Montgomery’s recruitment and are the heavy favorite to land the 6-foot-5, 270-pound prospect Thursday.
OSU offensive line coach Justin Frye has visited Montgomery in person multiple times since he was hired last month and has had constant communication with Montgomery via phone.
“With coach Frye, what I’ll say is Luke had a really good rapport with coach Stud, and I’m sure he’ll land on his feet wherever he goes, but we trust Day to make the right tough decisions for the program,” Mike Montgomery, Luke’s father, told Eleven Warriors in January. “We’re really excited to see him in action when they start spring practice and we’re able to visit and watch him coach in person.”
If Montgomery picks Ohio State, he would become the fifth commitment in the 2023 class and the third from Ohio this cycle.
A fun way to preview a top five
There’s been no shortage of Kanye West holding a notepad memes floating around on the Internet in the last week or so. One of them has now found its way into the recruiting sphere.
Four-star California 2023 wide receiver Rico Flores, who picked up an Ohio State offer in November, announced he’ll be condensing his school list to five on Tuesday, and did so with the help of the popular musician.
Comin soon pic.twitter.com/1nNpBXtxmR— Rico Flores Jr (@lil_reek_) February 16, 2022
If Kanye memes become a new trend of announcing big recruiting news, I guess I’m here for it.