The Hurry-Up: Ohio State Target Justin Hill Says He Picked Alabama Because He Trusts in the Staff's Development Plan for Him and WR Daylan McCutcheon Sets July 13 Commitment Date

By Garrick Hodge on July 3, 2024 at 5:46 pm
Justin Hill

Early Wednesday morning, Ohio State was still seen as the favorite nationwide to land Justin Hill.

Then as the hours went by, more and more smoke about Hill being Alabama-bound started to creep in. Thirty minutes before the four star 2025 edge rusher's announcement at Winton Woods High School, all the buzz in the audience was centered around the Crimson Tide.

Hill made the pick official after delivering an emotional speech, culminating with an announcement he'd play for the Crimson Tide.

"I just see myself striving in Tuscaloosa more than anywhere else," Hill said after his decision. "That's what made me make my decision."

He said he made his decision final late Tuesday evening after plenty of thought and kept it private from almost everyone until he went public with his choice on Wednesday, his birthday. There was no question he was a priority to the Buckeyes for two years and the team treated him as such, hosting him on many visits over that timeframe. Hill felt a strong connection to OSU too, but ultimately felt it was a better fit with the Crimson Tide.

"When I started my process, I thought Ohio State was going to be the school (I picked)," Hill said. "But I went in with an open mind and really realized that it's more than just being a fan of a school. You have to pick the best place for you. I just had to mature." 

Hill said he was impressed by Alabama's development of Dallas Turner and Will Anderson, each of whom eventually became first-round picks. Had he chosen Ohio State, Hill would have played the Jack position in Jim Knowles' defense. That position hasn't seen much use in Knowles' first two seasons in Columbus, which ultimately made it a harder sell from the Buckeyes' end in comparison.

"Dallas Turner, Alabama showed me his weight, his vertical and his height going into Alabama," Hill said. "They showed me how they developed him. I was literally almost the same size as him going into college. And then add Will Anderson. They've done it with a bunch of linebackers and edge guys throughout the years and have been playing great defensive football. They've shown they can develop guys like me and take me to the next level."

Hill was a unique recruit to OSU, mostly because there isn't a backup prospect with his skillset the Buckeyes have identified that can fit that Jack position in the 2025 cycle. So, it's a good bet despite his commitment to Alabama, the Buckeyes will still aggressively pursue Hill until he signs with Alabama in December.

Nonetheless, the Buckeyes will have to operate under the assumption Hill will play collegiately in Tuscaloosa for now, and have shifted their focus in trying to secure the commitment of linebacker Riley Pettijohn, who will announce his commitment at noon on Saturday.

McCutcheon sets commitment date for July 13

One of Ohio State’s wide receiver targets in the 2025 class is narrowing in on a decision.

Four-star 2025 Texas wideout Daylan McCutcheon has announced a commitment date of July 13 and will choose from five finalists consisting of Ohio State, Texas, Florida State, USC and SMU.

McCutcheon took his official visit to Ohio State on May 31 and visited each of his other finalists throughout the summer. Brian Hartline and the Buckeyes made a favorable impression on the 5-foot-11, 175-pound prospect on his trip.

“My visit overall was good,” McCutcheon told Eleven Warriors after the visit. “Being able to hang out with coach Ryan Day, coach Hartline and being able to talk to coach Chip Kelly and hang out with the players was great. The overall experience and what they had to say, being able to be coached up and being around the players and hearing what they like about Ohio State was great.”

In his junior year, McCutcheon recorded 92 catches for 1,423 yards and 19 touchdowns.

“Playing for Ohio State, it would be a great opportunity and platform to reach the NFL,” McCutcheon said. “I know I’d be around players that would give me an opportunity to get better each and every day.”

Samari Matthews puts OSU in top 11

An Ohio State cornerback target in the 2026 class has started to narrow down his recruitment. Top-100 prospect Samari Matthews put out a top 11 on Monday consisting of Ohio State, South Carolina, Notre Dame, Florida State, Penn State, Oregon, North Carolina, Clemson, Florida, Tennessee and Virginia Tech.

Tim Walton offered Matthews on May 22 and he had been on the Buckeyes’ radar for about a year prior to receiving the offer.

“It feels good,” Matthews told Eleven Warriors after receiving his offer. “Of course it’s a big program, so getting an offer from there is always big. Coach Walton, he’s always got great defensive backs coming out of the program so I’m truly blessed by that. They offered me after my spring practice, and they said I have the physicality and the height and weight to be an Ohio State DB. They told me to just keep working and that they hope to continue building a relationship with me and eventually get me to commit there.”

Per 247Sports’ composite rankings, Matthews is the No. 88 prospect and No. 8 cornerback in the 2026 class. In Matthews’ sophomore season, he was named a first-team defensive all-star for the Charlotte region by The Charlotte Observer after he recorded 25 tackles and one interception while helping lead Hough to an 11-2 record with his excellence in coverage.

“I’m very physical, and I can run with anybody,” Matthews said of his on-field game. “I can also be physical with anybody and shut down my side of the field. I think that aspect of the game where I’m not going to let you get your hands on me or block me separates me.”

View 56 Comments