Jim Knowles has made no qualms about his top preference at linebacker for Ohio State’s 2023 recruiting cycle: Four-star Louisiana linebacker Tackett Curtis.
Knowles has poured plenty of both time and effort into the recruitment of the 6-foot-2, 218-pound Curtis in his first six months as Ohio State’s defensive coordinator. He’s traveled to Curtis’ hometown of Many, Louisiana, a town with a population of 2,703 people, four times since being hired by OSU. His aggressive pursuit of the top-100 prospect has put the Buckeyes in Curtis’ top three schools with less than a month before he makes his decision, with most in the recruiting industry considering OSU the favorite to land him.
“I always put actions over words,” Curtis told Eleven Warriors. “So when somebody shows actions of coming down to see you, it shows ‘Hey, we’re actually interested.’ Rather than somebody who says they really want you but they don’t come. That’s how you know he’s interested, he does that. He’s been doing that throughout this whole process, it’s been a great ride with him.”
Curtis returned to Columbus last weekend for his final official visit before making a decision. The Louisiana linebacker said it was everything he could have hoped for.
I had an awesome time this weekend at Ohio State! I appreciate @CoachJimKnowles @CoachKMcFarland @MattGuerrieri and the rest of the staff for making it so special! They have a great program up in Columbus!!! #GoBuckeyes pic.twitter.com/Ja1bw3alyt— TACKETT CURTIS (@curtis_tackett) June 27, 2022
“It was great, the family and I really enjoyed it,” Curtis said. “They blew it out of the water. I had high expectations for them because I know that staff and I know what Ohio State is about, they won’t leave any stone unturned. They really didn’t. It was a 10 out of 10 visit. They went all out with everything.”
Considering the longstanding relationship between Knowles and Curtis, there’s already been plenty of discussion between the two about where he’d fit in with the Buckeyes. But Knowles still gave Curtis one final sales pitch in person.
“Just same kind of stuff, really,” Curtis said when asked what Knowles’ message was to him. “We both are on the same page of what he wants. He painted a picture of what he wants to do for me and how he wants to use me during my time there and the steps he’ll take to develop me. He wants me to be the man in the middle and the leader of his defense. I can see that.”
Curtis said he’s down to three schools in his recruitment: Ohio State, Wisconsin and USC, and he’s taken official visits to all three. He doesn’t have a specific decision date in mind yet but is planning on announcing a commitment near the end of July.
“They’re all in really good spots,” Curtis said. “I just have to give it some time and figure out who’s the best pick. Every one of them would be a great spot for me. But it’ll come down to wherever my heart’s pulling me to, wherever I could see myself for the next three to four years.”
Matthews picks up Ohio State offer
Apparently, offering six tight ends Tuesday wasn’t enough for Ohio State tight ends coach Kevin Wilson. Shortly after Tuesday’s Hurry-Up was published, the Buckeyes gave a scholarship opportunity to yet another tight end, four-star Georgia 2024 prospect Walter Matthews.
Honored to receive an offer from THE Ohio State University #GoBucks #BigTen @OhioStateFB @OSUCoachKDub @Landgrant33 @11WRecruiting @Bill_Kurelic @ChadSimmons_ @Mansell247 @adamgorney @TomLuginbill @RecruitGeorgia @GAVarsityRivals @hiramhornetsFB pic.twitter.com/KAL2RkG2Ga— Walter Matthews (@walteramatthews) June 29, 2022
Matthews is considered the 134th-best player and the sixth-best tight end in the 2024 cycle, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings. He’s picked up 19 Division I offers, including Arkansas, Florida, Florida State, Kentucky, Louisville, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Tennessee and USC. His 6-foot-7, 245-pound frame holds up well while blocking, and he contributed 12 catches for 235 yards and two touchdowns in the receiving game for Hiram (Hiram, Georgia) last season.
Babalade plans to commit the second week of July
One of Ohio State’s offensive tackle targets in the current class is nearing a decision date. Four-star Maryland prospect Oluwatosin Babalade told 247Sports Wednesday he’s planning on making a college decision in the second week of July. Babalade will choose from a group of Ohio State, North Carolina, South Carolina, Rutgers and Maryland.
“All of them are still in the running,” Babalade told 247Sports. “All of them are still in contact. Coach Frye called to check on me and see how it’s going. I’m trying to cut it to a top three or whatever. I plan to commit the second week of July.”
Babalade took his official visit to Ohio State on June 17-19. He’s considered the 283rd-best prospect and 26th-best tackle in the 2023 cycle.