The Hurry-Up: Damarion Witten Puts Ohio State in His Top Five, Cai Bates to Make Unofficial Visit Thursday and Sammy Brown Commits to Clemson

By Garrick Hodge on June 6, 2023 at 5:30 pm
Damarion Witten

Ohio State’s top remaining tight end target has narrowed down his recruitment.

Four-star Ohio tight end Damarion Witten released his top five schools on Tuesday, narrowing his recruitment down to Ohio State, Kentucky, Wisconsin, Texas and Oregon. 

At the moment, Witten has two official visits scheduled, one to Kentucky for this weekend and another to Ohio State for June 23-25.

The Buckeyes have been searching for a two-tight end class for several years now and have a good chance to pull off that feat in the 2024 cycle with Max LeBlanc already in the fold for the Buckeyes. Witten has visited OSU numerous times over the past year-and-a-half and displayed versatility as both a pass catcher and run blocker last season en route to helping Glenville win its first-ever state championship.

Cai Bates to take unofficial visit to OSU Thursday

A 2024 Ohio State cornerback target will be making a trip to campus this week. Four-star Florida prospect Cai Bates confirmed to Eleven Warriors he plans on taking an unofficial visit to OSU on Thursday. Bates likely won’t stay in Columbus for the weekend, as the 6-foot-2, 180-pound cornerback has an official visit scheduled with Florida State on June 11. 

Bates visited Alabama last weekend and also plans on taking trips to Tennessee and LSU this summer. He recently placed OSU in his top 10 schools list on May 31 and has developed a strong relationship with cornerbacks coach Tim Walton. 

“Ohio State is a staple in the Big Ten and the opportunity to practice against the best receivers every day in practice and get better is a big thing for me,” Bates told On3 of the Buckeyes.

Sammy Brown and TJ Moore commit to Clemson

Two prospects with Ohio State offers committed to Clemson within the last 24 hours, as five-star linebacker Sammy Brown and four-star wide receiver TJ Moore both gave their verbal to the Tigers. 

From an OSU perspective, Brown’s commitment to Clemson is the bigger sting. The Buckeyes were never seen as the favorite for the Georgia linebacker but were hoping to turn the tide in his recruitment later this month as Brown had an official visit scheduled to Columbus. OSU instead will turn its attention toward three other linebacker targets: Kyngstonn Viliamu-Asa, Edwin Spillman and Nicholas Rodriguez

Moore had been fading away from the Buckeyes for quite some time, so his commitment elsewhere was to be expected. OSU hosted Maryland wideout Elijah Moore on a visit last weekend and four-star Missouri wideout Jeremiah McClellan will be in Columbus this week for an official visit starting Friday, and they are the top two candidates to join five-star commits Jeremiah Smith and Mylan Graham in Ohio State’s 2024 wide receiver class.

Ohio State boasts second-highest blue-chip ratio for 2023

A few months away from the start of the 2023 season, 247Sports has released its annual blue-chip rankings. Ohio State ranks second on this year’s list with an 85% blue-chip ratio of scholarship players. For context, a blue-chip player is an athlete that finished his high school career as a five- or four-star recruit in the 247Sports composite rankings.

Alabama has the most blue-chip players on its roster this year, with 90 percent of the Crimson Tide’s scholarship players being five- or four-stars. The other schools with a blue-chip ratio of 50% or better include Georgia (77 percent), Texas A&M (73 percent), Clemson (72 percent), LSU (71 percent), Texas (70 percent), Oklahoma (70 percent), Oregon (67 percent), Notre Dame (65 percent), Florida (64 percent), Miami (61 percent), Penn State (55 percent), Michigan (54 percent), USC (52 percent) and Auburn (51 percent).

This is the second straight year OSU was second in the blue-chip ratio standings, as 80 percent of the Buckeyes’ roster last season was composed of four- and five-star players, trailing only Alabama (89 percent).

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