Recruiting Rundown: What’s Left for Ohio State
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Who is still out there for the Buckeyes?
That is a question we get every day, if not every hour, as National Signing Day draws ever closer. Michael will have a closer look at some of the kids Ohio State is still positioning itself to sign for the class of 2013, but this expected to be another big weekend for Urban Meyer and his staff.
Here’s a rundown of where things stand and who is still out there in the 11th hour.
The Big Three (Four?)
DB Vonn Bell (6-1, 190, Rossville, GA)
Bell has been the big name on the board for Meyer and the Buckeyes for quite some time. He recently received a 5th star from Rivals.com in the final top 100 rankings for the 2013 class. We didn’t need to know that to realize Bell is one of the elite defensive players in the country. The safety out of Georgia has Urban Meyer and Nick Saban – maybe the two biggest names in college coaching – fighting for his signature and this one is going to come down to the bitter end.
He’s been to Columbus and Tuscaloosa. He has had in-home visits with both Meyer and Saban. Butch Jones and the Tennessee Volunteers will get the last crack at Bell, who visits Knoxville this weekend, before he has to make a final decision. He is also expected to have a visit from OSU secondary coach Everett Withers, but this one is going to be a tight finish. If we were odds-makers, the smart money would still be on Alabama, but it’s never prudent to count Meyer and his staff out until it’s over.
ATH Dontre Wilson (5-10, 175, DeSoto, TX)
Another big name who suddenly emerged on Ohio State’s radar this month was Dontre Wilson, a dynamic playmaker out of Texas. He was on the Buckeyes’ radar back in the spring of 2012, when he committed to Oregon over Ohio State. That was supposed to be the end of it, but Wilson immediately re-opened his recruitment when Chip Kelly bolted for a $6 million pay day with the Eagles. Wilson is still committed to the Ducks, but he is taking an official visit to Ohio State this weekend, with the possibility of another one to Oklahoma State next weekend.
New Oregon coach Mark Helfrich flew his staff down to Texas to meet with Wilson before his OSU visit, which shows exactly how good this kid might be…or at least how badly they want him. He would be Meyer’s first choice to fill that last playmaker spot in Ohio State’s 2013 class, and would really give the Buckeyes a wealth of offensive firepower in Meyer’s second class. The latest we are hearing is that Ohio State has a slight lead, but it wouldn’t be smart to count out Oregon as of yet.
WR James Clark (5-11, 170, New Smyrna Beach, FL)
The other big name scheduled for an official visit to Columbus this weekend is James Clark. The speedster out of Florida is a relatively new name for Ohio State. He only recently picked up an offer from the Buckeyes, but Clark already had an in-home visit with Urban Meyer and Tom Herman this week. He is visiting Columbus this weekend and will likely make an announcement on National Signing Day. Florida is believed to be the frontrunner here, although Nebraska, Northwestern and Clemson all remain in the mix.
RB Ezekiel Elliott (6-0, 198, St. Louis, MO)
While the Buckeyes are busy looking for that last playmaker in the 2013 class, they might want to keep an eye on one of the guys already committed. Elliott is a 4-star prospect out of St. Louis who verballed to the Buckeyes back in April. The U.S. Army All-American has been all about Ohio State since his commitment, but recently decided to take a last-minute official visit to Missouri. Both his parents are Mizzou alums and Elliott apparently wants to get a final look at the hometown school before Signing Day. It doesn’t sound like this is too serious, but the timing is a little strange considering his visit coincides with Dontre Wilson’s trip to Columbus. His father has told a number of people that Zeke is still committed to the Buckeyes.
Ryan Timmons (5-10, 186, Frankfurt, Ky.)
The other big news this week was the offer that went out to Kentucky speedster Ryan Timmons. This is a kid who was supposed to visit Ohio State a few weeks ago, but he didn’t have an offer at the time. The visit was postponed, but the Buckeyes apparently decided Timmons was the kind of kid they wanted in this class. Maybe part of that was the fact none of the other receivers who visited have given a verbal commitment yet, but Timmons seems like a kid Ohio State should have offered a while back. He is an absolute burner who won the 100 meter state title the last two years down in Kentucky. If they don’t get Wilson or Clark, Timmons might be the next guy on their list.
Shelton Gibson (6-1, 175, Cleveland Heights, OH)
Gibson is a kid who looked like an Ohio State lock at one point. He was wearing OSU gear out in public and the Cleveland native was expected to commit following his visit to Columbus. That never happened and he eventually pulled the trigger for West Virginia, although he is still taking visits to Tennessee and Kentucky. For whatever reason, Gibson and Ohio State haven’t been able to get on the same page. There were initial academic concerns, but that doesn’t seem like the reason this hasn’t happened. It’s still out there as a possibility, but it seems unlikely Gibson will end up in Columbus.
Cornelius Elder (5-11, 170, Nashville, TN)
Elder visited Columbus a few weeks ago, but there hasn’t been much movement since then. Unlike Smith, Elder is uncommitted heading into National Signing Day. He was strongly considering UCLA along with the Buckeyes, but now it appears Auburn and Georgia Tech have both entered the mix. Ole Miss could also be involved depending where he decides to visit over the next week or so. He has talked about wanting to play basketball as well as football at the next level, but he’s also looking for a high-powered offense. Right now, it’s impossible to tell what’s going to happen with Elder between now and his signing day announcement. A lot may depend on what happens with guys like Dontre Wilson and James Clark.
Darren Carrington (6-3, 180, San Diego, CA)
With Elder, Gibson and Smith all in limbo right now, the Buckeyes have been very active about pursuing other options. Their top picks right now are Wilson and Clark, but Meyer and his staff also offered fellow Oregon commit Darren Carrington. He is the Ducks’ top-rated receiver in the 2013 class, but Ohio State recently sent Tom Herman and Zach Smith to visit him in San Diego. The 4-star wideout is expected to visit Columbus next weekend, but that could change if OSU gets a commitment from either Dontre Wilson or James Clark before then.
Devin Lauderdale (5-11, 175, Houston, TX)
Another name that emerged suddenly at the wideout position is Devin Lauderdale – not to be confused with former Ohio State center Dallas Lauderdale. The Houston product was offered by OSU offensive coordinator Tom Herman and was reportedly trying to schedule a visit to Columbus. It doesn’t sound like that’s going to happen. He recently told Texas Prep Report that he is down to two schools, Texas Tech and Oklahoma, and he will make his announcement on National Signing Day.
Who Else is Out There?
OT Dan Skipper (6-10, 295, Arvada, CO)
Ohio State would really like to add one more offensive lineman to this class, especially if Donovan Munger doesn’t end up signing. Munger is listed as a d-lineman, but there was always a decent chance they would move him over to the other side of the ball. The transfer of Joey O’Connor makes it even more import for them to find a lineman before signing day, and fellow Colorado native Dan Skipper appears to be their top target. He was in Columbus last weekend for a visit, but Skipper is still softly committed to Tennessee. He is also strongly considering Arkansas, which means this could come down to a battle of Urban Meyer against Bret Bielema.
OL Cameron Hunt (6-4, 270, Corona, CA)
The other lineman who has been on Ohio State’s radar in recent weeks is California native Cameron Hunt. The 4-star prospect is softly committed to Cal but actively looking around since Jeff Tedford was fired. He is seriously considering Oregon, and recently made a trip up to Eugene, but Hunt is also talking to OSU line coach Ed Warinner about making a visit to Columbus before signing day.
Related Article Today on the-Ozone: Looking for Playmakers by Tony Gerdeman
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