The Hurry-Up: Jermaine Mathews Locks In Ohio State Commitment, Keenan Bailey Makes Visit to 2024 Four-Star TE Michael Smith

By Garrick Hodge on December 9, 2022 at 5:30 pm
Jermaine Mathews

Less than two weeks before the Early Signing Period, four-star Ohio State cornerback commit Jermaine Mathews took a page from the playbook of Leonardo DiCaprio’s interpretation of Jordan Belfort in the film The Wolf of Wall Street

Amid rumors Miami’s collective was preparing to offer him an incentivizing NIL package if he flipped, Mathews put those rumors to bed Thursday evening and announced he’s sticking to his commitment.

Mathews will be an early enrollee and participate in spring football for Ohio State, and it probably was a telling sign he was never going to waver from his Buckeyes commitment that Ryan Day and other OSU coaches visited him the day before the dead period lifted last week because Mathews had already enrolled into the university. 

But keeping Mathews in the class is a big win for the Buckeyes considering there’s perhaps no prospect in the 2023 class that has seen as significant of a rise in the past few months as Mathews. Since this summer, the Ohio Division II Defensive Player of the Year went from a three-star prospect to a four-star talent ranked within the top 150 players nationally in 247Sports' composite rankings. He earned his Ohio State offer after one of the best recruiting camp performances of any prospect all summer on June 1, with a small contingent of OSU players screaming “offer this man” in-between reps.

Mathews ended his prep career in style with a standout senior season that proved he was one of the best players in Ohio. In 12 games for Winton Woods this year, Mathews had 51 total tackles (5 for loss), four forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, six interceptions (three returned for touchdowns), 20 pass deflections and both a punt and kickoff return touchdown.

Bailey visits 2024 TE Michael Smith

With offensive coordinator and tight ends coach Kevin Wilson now set to be Tulsa’s head coach following Ohio State’s College Football Playoff run, his recruiting duties have shifted to OSU senior advisor to the head coach Keenan Bailey, a potential candidate to take Wilson’s place on staff.

Bailey was on the road recruiting for the Buckeyes on Thursday, stopping at Calvary Day High School in Georgia to check in on four-star 2024 tight end Michael Smith

Bailey’s visit to Georgia was crucial as Smith intends to commit on Jan. 24, the 6-foot-4, 225-pound tight end told On3. Smith will choose from a top three of Ohio State, South Carolina and Arkansas.

The Georgia prospect told the recruiting network Wilson’s departure will have no impact on his decision because he believes a family environment will be in place despite the coaching vacancy. 

“It was really like a family environment with all three of them,” Smith told On3 of his upcoming decision. “I felt at home when I visited, it didn’t feel like a first time thing. I felt like I belonged there and the atmosphere felt like it was built for me. Plus the communication was always there. We always communicated. I always had a coach to talk to; if I wasn’t on the phone with one coach, I had another coach that I could talk to.”

Wheelock appreciates OSU visit

Before Wilson officially accepted Tulsa’s offer on Monday, he made one final recruiting visit on behalf of OSU. Wilson checked in on three-star 2024 offensive lineman Jake Wheelock at Stebbins High School and quickly caught up with the Ohio prospect. 

“Coach Wilson (stopped by),” Wheelock told Eleven Warriors. “He came in to tell me that he’s trying to get me with coach Justin Frye to get set up for a practice visit.” 

Wheelock attended two OSU home games this fall, stopping in Columbus for both the Toledo and Indiana games. The 6-foot-4, 275-pound prospect continues to have significant interest in Ohio State and will likely make another visit to Columbus for a spring practice. 

Jeremiah Smith makes highlight-worthy catch

One year ago, Ohio State’s Kenyatta Jackson Jr. and Ryan Turner helped Chaminade-Madonna Prep win a state title. On Thursday, five-star Ohio State wide receiver target Jeremiah Smith ensured the school earned back-to-back titles, flourishing in the team’s 48-14 victory. 

Smith finished the win with six catches for 104 yards and two touchdowns, but there was one catch in particular that took the internet by storm, a highlight-worthy one-handed grab that’s one of the better catches you’ll see all year from a high school player. 

Ohio State wide receivers coach Brian Hartline and Bailey both sent out tweets seemingly reacting to Smith’s catch minutes after it happened as they continue to pursue Smith as their top priority for the 2024 class.

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