The Hurry-Up: Tyseer Denmark Puts Ohio State in Top 12, Desmond Umeozulu Sets Aug. 29 Commitment Date, Buckeyes "not As Involved" on Oluwatosin Babalade

By Garrick Hodge on July 25, 2022 at 5:30 pm
Tyseer Denmark

A lot sure can happen in the recruiting world when you take a week off.

In the last week, top Ohio State targets Olaus Alinen and Tackett Curtis committed elsewhere, and top priorities Caleb Downs and Desmond Umeozulu set commitment dates. 

While I’ll be in Indianapolis this week with the rest of the Eleven Warriors beat team for Big Ten Media Days — which I always call the unofficial start of football season — we’ll still have daily coverage of all things happening in the recruiting realm.  

In the meantime, here’s other news items you may have missed in the last week or so.

Denmark includes OSU in top 12

Earlier in June, four-star 2024 Pennsylvania wideout Tyseer Denmark told Eleven Warriors Ohio State was “at the top” of his list. So when he dropped a top 12 Friday, it was no surprise to see the Buckeyes featured. Other teams making the list included Notre Dame, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Rutgers, Oregon, Penn State, South Carolina, Texas, USC and Michigan. 

OSU offered Denmark in December, then the 5-foot-11, 180-pound wideout visited Columbus on April 16 for the spring game and again on June 16 for a seven-on-seven tournament. 

“Columbus, it feels like home,” Denmark said of his visits in June. “It feels like a good place for me. I always feel love with coach (Brian) Hartline and coach (Ryan) Day. So it feels great to be back on campus.” 

Denmark doesn’t think his recruitment will last past his junior football season and plans on making a commitment sometime in November or December. He hopes to visit OSU for either the Notre Dame or Michigan game, but is eyeing the latter as the best opportunity for his third visit. 

“Definitely, I have to come back for the team up north game,” Denmark said. “I want my brothers to see that experience. That’s the game I really want to be at. I want to be at a couple games but that’s the one I really want.” 

Umeozulu to commit Aug. 29

Five days before OSU’s season kicks off, the Buckeyes will know whether or not they’ll have landed one of their top remaining defensive line targets. Four-star Maryland defensive end Desmond Umeozulu set a commitment date for 11 a.m. on Aug. 29 on Wednesday and will make the announcement at his high school, Charles Herbert Flowers (Upper Marlboro, Maryland).

OSU has already landed two defensive linemen in 2023 in Will Smith Jr. and Jason Moore, and will find out shortly if John Walker will be joining them (more on that later). The Buckeyes are considered the clear front runner to land Umeozulu, who took an official visit to Columbus June 24-26.

Buckeyes “not as involved” on Babalade

After missing out on Alinen, it was unclear where Justin Frye would pivot, as the Buckeyes would still like to add one more premier offensive tackle this cycle. Three offensive linemen took official visits to OSU this summer: Alinen, Miles Walker (who committed to OSU earlier this month) and Oluwatosin Babalade. But it may be that Frye and OSU don’t view Babaladade as a premier talent. 

According to a report from SportsTalk Media Network, Babalade has said the Buckeyes are not as involved as they once were in his recruitment. Babalade has his commitment scheduled for Sunday, and unless things change quickly, it’s likely his commitment is going to be to one of Rutgers, South Carolina, Maryland or North Carolina.

Should the Buckeyes not land Babalade as expected, it remains to be seen whether they'd pivot to someone like Monroe Freeling, or whether they'd be content with taking four offensive linemen in the 2023 class. 

Downs, Walker to commit this week

Shortly after Ryan Day takes the podium Wednesday at Big Ten Media Days, Ohio State will have its answer on its biggest remaining target in 2023. Five-star Georgia safety Caleb Downs announced Friday he’ll make his decision at 1 p.m. Wednesday at Mill Creek High School (Hoschton, Georgia). 

Downs is likely to choose either Alabama or Ohio State and the Crimson Tide are currently considered the favorite to land him, though OSU won’t be going down without a fight and will stay in touch with Downs through Wednesday. 

Meanwhile, four-star defensive tackle John Walker has a commitment scheduled for Thursday and will pick one of OSU, UCF, Florida, Michigan or Miami. While the Buckeyes have built a strong relationship with Walker, he may desire to stay close to home. Of the three Florida schools on his list, it’s believed in the recruiting industry he has the deepest connections with UCF. As crazy as it sounds, that may be Walker’s final destination. If the desire to stay at home doesn’t win out, the Buckeyes are expected to be Walker’s choice. 

Aguero, Collins commit elsewhere

Four-star 2023 safety target Joenel Aguero and four-star 2024 tight end Martavious Collins have both committed elsewhere over the past week, but neither’s choice was terribly surprising. 

Aguero, who has been predicted to join Georiga for what seems like an eternity now, stuck to the script and committed to the Bulldogs. Meanwhile, Collins committed to Alabama, his dream school. 

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