Recruiting Rundown—Recapping a Big Week and Moving Forward

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Last updated: 01/23/2012 1:15 PM
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Football Recruiting
Recruiting Rundown—Recapping a Big Week and Moving Forward
By Tony Gerdeman

The Buckeyes had a pretty fair recruiting week last week, landing five commitments in the span of six days.

Last Sunday, Vandalia Butler offensive lineman Taylor Decker got the ball rolling by decommitting from Notre Dame and committing to Ohio State.

Then on Tuesday, they added another piece to the offensive line puzzle when Colorado product Joey O'Connor committed to Urban Meyer following an official visit.

Wednesday brought with it a commitment from South Bend, Indiana linebacker David Perkins, who is so athletic that some schools wanted him as a running back.

Thursday came with a bit of a twist, as the Buckeyes got their first commitment of the 2013 class in defensive back Cameron Burrows, out of Trotwood-Madison.

On Friday, the attention turned back to the 2012 class, as Meyer and his staff added their second linebacker of the week in West Roxbury, Massachusetts' Camren Williams, who was once a Penn State commitment.

It was a tremendously successful week for the Buckeyes, and one that even contained the reaffirmation of a couple of committed players. Wide receiver Ricquan Southward, who was rumored to be visiting Florida, had to address the rumors, stating that “I’m still very solid to the Buckeyes and ready to sign."

Cleveland Glenville safety Devan Bogard had some questions to answer following his official visit to USC last weekend, and did so when he tweeted on Thursday "I'm a solid commit to the Buckeyes!! I kept my word!"

If coffee is for closers, Urban Meyer should be afforded a lifetime supply.

But it's not over yet. There is still a shade over a week until National Signing Day, which is when most prospects will make things official.

However, the Buckeyes are also in on a few guys who will make their decisions after Signing Day, so the 2012 class won't likely be finalized for two or three more weeks.

The Visitors

The Buckeyes hosted three official visits this past week, and surprisingly have yet to receive any verbal commitments.

Armani Reeves (5-9 185), the cornerback out of West Roxbury, Massachusetts, visited with his teammate Camren Williams early in the week. When he visited, he was a Penn State commit, but he has since officially decommitted from the Nittany Lions.

This will be a battle between Ohio State and Michigan until the end, which is expected to occur prior to Signing Day.

Reeves, the nation's sixth-ranked cornerback per Scout, was visited in his home by the Michigan coaches this past weekend. Urban Meyer will visit Monday, and Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison is slated to visit again on Tuesday.

The allure of playing with his teammate will be a strong one, but Ohio State will have to beat out Michigan on its other merits as well.

The Buckeyes had two weekend visitors in North Carolina linebacker Jamal Marcus (6-2 230) and Pennsylvania safety Demetrious Cox (6-1 192).

Marcus, the 16th-ranked defensive end in the nation according to ESPN, appeared to be having a good time on his visit, even tweeting a picture of himself and his sister with Urban Meyer.

He told PirateIllustrated that he is now down to Ohio State and East Carolina. Per most accounts, his family would like him to stay close to home, so this might be a tougher fight for the Buckeyes than you would expect.

Still, in the end, it would be a surprise to see anybody choose East Carolina over Ohio State.

Demetrious Cox, out of the same high school as Terrelle Pryor and Jordan Hall, was originally scheduled to visit the Buckeyes two weekends ago, but Ohio State canceled on him. It was thought by most that that meant the end for Cox and the Buckeyes.

However, Cox was undeterred and did in fact make it to Columbus this past weekend. Rated as a four-star prospect and the 13th-best safety in the nation, Cox also played quarterback for his Jayhawks team this year, rushing for 1,180 yards and leading his team to the WPIAL championship game.

He has now visited Michigan State, Penn State and Ohio State, and has one more free weekend before Signing Day for one last visit.

The reconnection with Cox may have quite a bit to do with how the staff feels they stand with Trotwood safety Bam Bradley, who appears to be trending away from Ohio State.

Who's Next?

Currently there are two official visits scheduled for this coming weekend.

Keilin Rayner (6-3 220), a linebacker out of Leland, North Carolina has been on North Carolina's radar, and subsequently Everett Withers' radar for a while now. Per Rivals, Rayner does not have an official offer yet. This visit may have as much to do with Rayner as it does putting pressure on Jamal Marcus to hurry up and decide.

The other visit scheduled at the moment is Reggie Northrup (6-2 218) a linebacker out of Jacksonville, Florida. Northrup, rated a four-star prospect and the 28th-ranked outside linebacker in the nation, is currently a Miami commit, but is still obviously looking around.

Northrup is coming off of a Florida State visit, but the Buckeyes will get the final shot at making a lasting impression. It's clear that Urban Meyer wants to bring in one more linebacker in this class, but it would appear that he wants that linebacker to be Jamal Marcus.

One last thing to keep an eye on this week will be Stefon Diggs (6-0 185), the five-star receiver out of Olney, Maryland, who told that he wants to visit Ohio State.

Per, he will be announcing on February 10th. Right now it looks like he is a Florida lean, but if this visit happens, anything is possible with Urban Meyer closing things out in the ninth.

But don't get your hopes up until the kid is actually on campus.

Snake Oil Masters Battling for Davonte Neal

Chaparral, Arizona receiver Davonte Neal (5-10 175) visited Arkansas this weekend. He visited Ohio State the weekend before, and has a visit to North Carolina scheduled this coming weekend. He also has a visit to home state school Arizona set for February 10th.

One thing to watch in this, however, is that Rich Rodriguez hired Chaparral head coach Charlie Ragle to be his assistant director of football operations, so there will be some familiarity for Neal at Arizona.

Neal is listed as ESPN's top-ranked athlete in the 2012 class, and their eighth-best prospect overall. He rushed for over 1,000 yards last season, and caught passes for over 1,000 yards as well. He is exactly the type of player that Urban Meyer's offense is tailored towards.

Even with four receivers already in the fold, Neal would be an incredible addition to this class.

Bunch of Tall Linemen Are Still on the Line

Apologies up front for the terrible Glen Campbell (6-0 168) pun. Clearly I need a small vacation. (No apologies for that one, however.)

The Buckeyes are still holding out for offensive tackles Kyle Dodson (6-6 315) and Jordan Diamond (6-6 289).

Dodson, the Cleveland, Ohio prospect, visited Michigan State this past weekend, which marked his final official visit. He has now seen Auburn, Ohio State, USC, Michigan State, and Wisconsin, where he is still currently committed.

He is planning on making his decision prior to Signing Day, so it could even happen sometime this week. Ohio State is still in a good spot here.

ESPN ranks Dodson the 81st-best tackle prospect in the nation, while Rivals, Scout and 247 all rank him in the top 25.

Jordan Diamond, out of Simeon high school in Chicago, has announced that he will announce (yes, it's come to that) on February 3rd at 7:00 pm at his high school.

He visited Arkansas this past weekend and is scheduled to visit Wisconsin this coming weekend. He will have visited Arkansas, Auburn, Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin.

Scout ranks him as a five-star prospect and the eighth-ranked tackle in the class.

Doing the Math

The Ohio State class now stands at 23 commits, with six of those players backdated to the 2011 class. That means there are currently 17 players who will count towards the 2012 class. So, in theory, the Buckeyes have room for eight more commitments.

Don't expect that number to happen, however, as the Buckeyes would need considerable attrition to make it work.

But as I've said before, with Ohio State already playing shorthanded with 82 scholarships for the next few years, Urban Meyer will get as close to the line as possible, knowing that attrition will continue through the spring and beyond.


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