Michael’s Sunday Recruiting Rundown
By Michael Chung
(Editor’s Note: This is the latest contribution to the-Ozone for Michael Chung. He has provided OSU recruiting information to several websites in the past, but now will be exclusive to the-Ozone as we look to bring more football recruiting coverage in the coming months. You can follow him on Twitter @MChungOzone).
With the Michigan game coming up at the end of the month, it was a relatively light recruiting weekend for the Buckeyes. The big name this week was North Carolina TE prospect Jeb Blazevich, who drove up to Ohio after his game on Friday night and arrived on Saturday in time for the Skull Session. Blazevich was accompanied by his parents and his church pastor on his visit to watch the Buckeyes dismantle Illinois.
We have interviewed Blazevich in the past and will try to catch up with him this week to update his visit. He has already made unofficial visits to Clemson, South Carolina and LSU to name a few.
The big weekend is three weeks from now during the Michigan game. Close to 45 recruits from the 2013 and 2014 classes will be attending and more likely will commit to come.
The Buckeyes have also dipped into the Junior College ranks by recruiting LB Auston Johnson out of Torrance, Calif. Ohio State has looked to California for JuCo linebackers before, snagging current San Francisco 49ers LB Larry Grant out of the Bay area.
The linebacker everyone is curious about, however, is Mike Mitchell, and the Texas product recently told Rivals.com that Ohio State is still No. 1 on his list and the Buckeyes will get the final official visit. Here are updates of other recruits.
Dorian Johnson (6-6, 275, OL, 2013, Belle Vernon, Penn.)
It was reported earlier in the week by WPIAL_Insider that Ohio State has a lock on Dorian Johnson and that he will commit soon. I texted Dorian and asked him who his leader was, and he texted back saying Pitt was still his leader for now. It looks like this is a two horse race between Ohio State and Pitt. With a great need at offensive line, Meyer and coaches will go after Johnson hard. He is coming back to Ohio State for the Michigan game in three weeks and there is even a possibility he may visit a third time. Ohio State has Johnson as a priority one. After next season, there will be a serious issue with depth on the offensive line, so Johnson is key to recruit from the Keystone state. You can read his Ozone interview here.
David Dawson (6-4, 280, OL, 2013, Detroit, Mich., Cass Tech)
Dawson has an unusual allure. First, he is an offensive lineman, a position that Ohio State desperately needs. Second, he was once upon a time committed to Michigan, which makes him even more appealing. Third, he goes to Cass Tech high school in Detroit, which is a similar pipeline to UM as Cleveland-Glenville is to Ohio State. Suring up his commitment could not only hurt Michigan this year but could also sway some potential UM recruits down South to Columbus in the future.
He told The-Ozone that Michigan State and Ohio State are neck-and-neck. Current MSU commit and friend —Dennis Finely— is at the same high school as Dawson, which Dawson said gives MSU a slight advantage. He wants to stay close to home and mentioned this after a visit to University of Florida, which is a good sign for the Spartans and Buckeyes. Wisconsin is another possibility but a source close to Cass Tech indicated that MSU are OSU equal. You can read his Ozone interview here.
Gareon Conley (6-1, 170, CB/WR, 2013, Massillon, Ohio, Washington HS)
Ohio State has recently offered this Massillon Ohio product and it appears his days as a Wolverine maybe numbered. With rumors swirling that he wants to visit Oregon and Brady Hoke having the policy that if a verbal commit visits another school, it is an automatic de-commitment, and it looks like Meyer maybe trying to flip this former Wolverine. He has Mike Vrabel in his ear so hopefully this Buckeye legend and Super Bowl champion can turn this Ohio product from the heart of Ohio HS football towards Columbus. Bill Kurelic is reporting that Conley will visit Ohio State, effectively ending his commitment to Michigan. The Michigan site, MGoBlog, reports that Conley’s stepmother has stated that Conley will visit Oregon and Ohio State.
It looks like Michigan is moving on without Conley as former Central Michigan WR commit Da'Mario Jones pledged his verbal to Michigan.
One weakness Urban Meyer has exhibited is his “lateness” in offering scholarships to Ohio stars. Already behind on players like Mike McCray out of Trotwood-Madison, Michigan seems to be getting the jump and hopefully Meyer can offer Ohio kids sooner rather than having to try to flip them later.
Corn Elder (5-10, 170, WR/ATH, 2013 Nashville, Tenn.)
The news keeps pointing and trending Ohio State with this southern speedster. He stated that Ohio State is at the top of the list and Buckeye coaches want to use him as a Chris Rainey/Percy Harvin type RB. He stated he wants to play offense, which is where Ohio State wants him. This was an interview conducted before his visit and news was that his visit went really well. Looks like OSU is in a good position for this speedster, which Urban Meyer has stated OSU needs more of.
Robert Foster (6-3, 170, WR, 2013, Monaca, Penn., Central Valley HS)
Ozone fans have been asking about this one-time must-get target. Foster has visited and afterwards, news on him soured. This ship sailed for the Buckeyes a long time ago. Reports are that Ohio State stopped recruiting him. But services still list his top three as Pitt, Alabama, and Ohio State even though OSU has reportedly pulled their offer. Mike Farrell believes the longer Foster delays his decision the better Pitt is looking to secure Foster. It is down to Alabama or Pitt and we should know soon where he chooses. Jared Shanker of ESPN reports that his parents are split, father wants Alabama and mother wants Pitt. Shanker believes Foster ends up at Pitt. You can watch his ESPN interview here.
Drew Barker (6-4, 210, QB, 2014, Hebron, Ken., Connor HS)
Ohio State is looking at 4-5 QB targets and one of the main ones is Drew Barker. He lives in Kentucky and has Ohio State interest but recently he visited South Carolina and had a great visit. Phil Kornblut of PalmettoSports.com writes,
“Barker was so impressed, he said, he thought briefly about committing. "I thought about it a little but I wasn't tempted because I knew I wasn't going to do it," he said. "They have drilled into my head that they want me." Barker said his decision could come as soon as December or January.”
It looks like Barker may not be an OSU lean and if they want this Kentucky QB, they’d better offer soon. You can read his Ozone interview here.
Raekwon McMillan (6-3, 235, LB, 2014, Hinesville, Ga.)
In another interview with Raekwon McMillan, it is clear that Ohio State is starting to separate themselves. He states that his top 3 are Ohio State, Clemson, and Georgia. It sounds like Nick Glass is a lock to Georgia as he is trying to recruit Raekwon to the Bulldogs. Nick is coming to Ohio State for the Michigan game so maybe things can change for both Georgia recruits. You can see Raekwon’s ESPN interview here. He told Ozone that Ohio State was his leader and it has continued but he has stated that he will not make his decision until the Under Armour All Star game in 2014. Could Urban get him to announce Jan 4. 2013? You can read his Ozone interview here.
*That is all for this week. All seems calm until Nov. 24, when recruits from all over the country will descend on Ohio State for “The Game.” Check back next week for more updates on that big recruiting weekend, and Ozone we will also have an inside look at Ohio State football with Courtney Smith, wife of WRs coach Zach Smith.