Midweek Recruiting Rundown
By Ozone Staff
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Recruiting is an ever-changing landscape, especially with Urban Meyer in town.
Ohio State’s head coach is not shy about shaking things up, even with only weeks to go before National Signing Day. With only 2-3 spots to fill in the 2013 class, Meyer is being extremely selective with how he closes out his second recruiting class with the Buckeyes.
He has been traveling around the Midwest this week, with stops in Michigan, Chicago and St. Louis as he tries to get an early jump on the 2014 class as well as closing things out for 2013.
We normally do our Recruiting Rundowns on Sunday’s, but we felt there was just too much action to keep up with coming off a big recruiting weekend in Columbus.
Vonn Bell (DB, 2013, Rossville, GA)
No news is good news with Bell, sort of. At least the news of his verbal commitment to Alabama turned out not to be true (although we wouldn’t know for sure if it was supposed to be silent, right?). Since leaving Ohio State, Bell had an in-home visit with Nick Saban and has had frequent interaction with the staff at Tennessee. Urban Meyer already used his visit, but we’re hearing the Buckeyes made a great impression on Vonn and his parents over the weekend. Maybe the nightlife will keep him away from Columbus, but in our experience, players typically select a school based on where they feel most comfortable. Ohio State and Alabama are both comparable for getting Vonn to the NFL, and both programs are actually pretty hot right now, so it’s really going to come down to comfort level with the coaching staff and with the other guys he interacts with on his visit. We’re told Ryan Shazier was a great host for Bell, but the one factor that could weigh most heavily in Bell’s mind is the fact Saban works closely with the defensive backs while Meyer is primarily an offensive guy, even though he did play corner at UC.
Taivon Jacobs (WR, 2013, District Heights, MD)
The latest on Jacobs, who has been committed to Ohio State since July, is, well, that’s he’s still committed. Jacobs is a speedster out of District Heights, Md. just outside Washington D.C. and he was recently telling some people he may want to take one official visit to Maryland before Signing Day. That’s obviously not going to sit well with Meyer, especially after what happened with Stefon Diggs last year. Definitely keep an eye on this, but we’re hearing Jacobs is unlikely to waver on his Ohio State commitment.
Corey Smith (JuCo, WR, 2013, East Mississippi CC)
The Buckeyes are already planning to take another receiver in this class, even if Jacobs is still firm with his decision to leave his home state. Ohio State hosted a handful of their primary targets at the wideout position over the weekend and it sounded like Smith was the closest of the bunch to becoming a Buckeye. There was a little misunderstanding over what Scout.com analyst Bill Greene had to say on the radio this week. Michael Chung was under the impression Bill called Corey Smith a “done deal” after his weekend visit, but it sounds like it was more along the lines of “close to being a done deal” with some i's to dot and t's to cross before Smith can officially join the 2013 class. Apologies to Mr. Greene for any confusion.
James Clark (WR, 2013, New Smyrna Beach, FL)
Another development in the receiver situation was Ohio State’s decision to offer Florida wideout James Clark, one of the top remaining uncommitted players at his position in 2013 class. Offensive coordinator Tom Herman delivered the offer personally, which caught Clark’s attention. His top schools appeared to be Clemson and Florida, with Nebraska and Northwestern also in the mix, but Clark may try to visit Columbus before Signing Day.
Kyrin Priester (WR, 2013, Snellville, GA)
Another new name that emerged at the receiver position this week – there seems to be a new one almost every day – is Priester, a 6-1 wideout from down in Georgia who is currently committed to play for N.C. State. A one-time UGA commit, Priester had re-opened his recruitment again after the coaching change, with plans to visit Auburn and Ole Miss. Now he’s getting attention from both OSU and Clemson, which could really make this a much tougher decision for the 3-star receiver, who received an offer from the Buckeyes on Monday. According to Rivals.com, he plans to take official visits to both Clemson and Ohio State before Signing Day.
Shelton Gibson (WR, 2013, Cleveland Heights, OH)
What does this all mean for Gibson’s chances to become a Buckeye? It can’t mean anything good. Gibson was in Columbus last weekend and he already has an offer from the Buckeyes. There was a feeling he would have to pull the trigger while he was on campus if he was going to be a part of the 2013 class at Ohio State, but now things are very much up in the air. Gibson was a U.S. Army All-American and one of the top players in the state of Ohio, but grades have always been a concern with Ohio State. With the new offers to Clark and Priester, it may signify that Gibson is on his way to West Virginia or somewhere further south.
Dan Skipper (OL, 2013, Arvada, CO)
Another name to keep an eye on for the 2013 class as we get close to Signing Day is Dan Skipper, a 3-star offensive lineman out of Colorado. At 6-10, 300 pounds, this is a kid who grabs your attention and he did enough to merit an offer from the Buckeyes. He committed to Tennessee last summer, but that was before Derek Dooley was replaced by Butch Jones. Skipper is still committed to the Vols, but he is very much open to other schools. He already took a visit to Ann Arbor, and, according to Rivals.com, is expected to visit both Arkansas and Ohio State in the next week.
Drake Harris (WR, 2014, Grand Rapids, MI)
One name that had cyberspace all a twitter on Tuesday was Drake Harris, a 6-4 wideout in the 2014 class who is committed to play football and basketball at Michigan State. Harris has been committed to the Spartans since last summer, but he is reportedly open to looking at other options. Urban Meyer was up in Michigan on Monday with Kerry Coombs and decided to stop in and pay Harris a visit. That seems to grab every kid’s attention and now he is telling people he would like to visit Ohio State. It’s going to be tough to pull him away from MSU, especially if he wants to play basketball at the next level. He has a close relationship with Tom Izzo, and that could be the clincher for Mark Dantonio if he has to battle Urban Meyer again.
Michael Weber (RB, 2015, Detroit, MI)
The big news in the recruiting world on Monday was the sudden commitment of Damon Webb, a blue-chip corner form Cass Tech High School who picked the Buckeyes after his visit to Columbus. Cass Tech is a feeder school for U of M and the equivalent of a Glenville kid picking the Wolverines. Now word comes down from Bill Kurelic of Bucknuts.com that 2015 tailback Michael Weber also has high interest in Ohio State. Weber is a teammate of Webb’s at Cass Tech, and he is considered one of the top sophomores in the state of Michigan. He grew up rooting for the Wolverines, but says OSU, Alabama and Notre Dame are all head of Michigan at this point.
*That’s all for now, and as usual, thanks for reading. Be sure to check back on Sunday for Michael’s weekly Recruiting Rundown, where he will try to update you on these prospects and more as we close in on National Signing Day.