The future stars of Ohio State football officially begin their college careers, as standouts from all over the country put pens to their National Letters of Intent.
A commitment is not binding until a prospect signs his letter of intent. Nobody understands this better than Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, who has flipped more than a dozen recruits during his time in Columbus.
The Gardiner File
SIZE: 6-foot-5, 185 pounds
SCHOOL: Kemp (TX)
COMPOSITE RANKING: ★★★
COMPOSITE RANK: 172 (WR)
But with the likely introduction of an early signing period this spring, it's possible Kemp, Texas, three-star wide receiver Elijah Gardiner will be his last this late in the process.
Gardiner's flip isn't as impressive or as high-profile as some of Meyer's other conquests, namely Dontre Wilson and Mike Weber, especially considering his pledge to the Tigers went so far under the radar some outlets didn't find out about it until a month later.
Apparently, back when Missouri landed the commitment of Louisiana defensive end Chris Turner, many folks missed a second commitment from 6-foot-5, 185-pound wide receiver Elijah Gardiner from Kemp, Texas.
Ohio State seemed set at wide receiver, meanwhile, as it held commitments from Trevon Grimes and Tyjon Lindsey and awaited a decision from Jaylen Harris. But Lindsey reopened his recruitment out of nowhere in mid-January, leaving the Buckeyes to comb the country for another wideout just three weeks ahead of signing day.
- The Hurry Up: Assessing Ohio State's Remaining Options at Wide Receiver While Staff Extends Offer to Four-Star Safety
Oliver Martin, Josh Palmer and James Robinson all got a hard look from the staff, the last two were even invited to campus for an official visit. But each fell through for its own reason, leaving Gardiner as the only viable option.
Gardiner is the least likely of the three to end up in Columbus, considering Ohio State has not offered nor has any plans at the moment for an-home visit. He's certainly entertaining the idea of playing for the Buckeyes, however, and will be a name to remember if the staff strikes out with Martin, Palmer and Robinson.
Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer and offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson traveled to Texas to meet Gardiner for the first time last week, and convinced him to take an official visit.
— Ellijah (@ellijahgardiner) January 25, 2017
Ohio State offered him a scholarship over the weekend, and the writing was on the wall from there. Gardiner shared the news on Twitter Monday morning and flipped his commitment that evening.
The visit was mostly for the two sides to get to know each other, but with National Signing Day just around the corner, the Buckeyes had to be proactive with an offer. Shortly after it was extended, Gardiner made the flip.
The fam and I. pic.twitter.com/nMVVAz0QwW
— Ellijah (@ellijahgardiner) January 28, 2017