Dec. 23 Recruiting Rundown, Odds and Ends
By Mike Chung
This is supposed to be a dead period in recruiting but it has been anything but dead. Coaches are allowed one contact per week and Urban Meyer has been contacting. Chris Worley, Braxton Berrios, and Jeb Blazevich all tweeted that they had phone conversations with the head coach.
The Oregon Ducks look like they could become Peking Duck by the NCAA, opening up the possibility of current commit—TX Speedster WR Dontre Wilson— to Ohio State and Chip Kelly doing his impression of Pete Carroll and jumping ship to the NFL.
One time OSU target—WR Robert Foster out of PA— stunned all the experts and picked Alabama. OSU cooled on Foster after his visit in the Fall.
Though it is a “dead period” Ohio State added two more preferred walk-ons in long snapper Nick Sharick out of Worthington, OH and just before he roasts by an open fire— LB Jake Chestnut from West Chester, OH. This Urban Meyer guy does not know how to quit. I thought he was suppose to slow down. Better revisit this pink contract or better not burn out. Ohio State has added 5 preferred walk-ons in all, most of them shunning scholarships from MAC type schools to come to OSU.
Verlon Reed announced that he would leave the team, which leaves Ohio State with 2 open scholarships but do not be surprised if 2-4 more spots open up. Look for the 2013 class to have 22-24 scholarship athletes and counting preferred walk-ons, 27-29. In this issue of the recruiting rundown, I will discuss Ohio State’s remaining targets and their likelihood to end up Buckeye.
Mike Mitchell (6-4, 215, LB, TX) 90%
I do not think there is a person in America who thinks Mitchell is going anywhere else but Ohio State. A source during his official visit texted me concerning Mitchell’s status: “it will be good, trust me.” With Texas A&M picking up JuCo star Tommy Sanders, I doubt the Aggies have any room for another LB and Mitchell, with no scheduled visits until he announces at the Army All American Bowl, would be nothing short of shocking if he donned any hat other than Ohio State.
Trey Johnson (6-1, 220, LB, GA) 90%
The biggest competitor is Florida but the Gators appear to be full at LB and Johnson has not visited. With his announcement on January 4 at the Under Armour Game, it looks good that he will be a Buckeye and leave the SEC for the B1G. Mike Farrell of Rivals believes Johnson is a near lock to OSU and I agree with him. You can read his O-zone interview here.
Chris Worley (6-2, 185, ATH, OH) 90%
Expect Chris Worley to be another Cleveland-Glenville star to flow down the pipeline to Columbus. Buckeye fans have been waiting for his commitment and thought it would have already happened. He is close with Marcelys Jones and Marshon Lattimore, two more Glenville stars of 2014 that could flow shortly after. He talked to Urban Meyer this past week on the phone and will likely phone in his verbal commitment to the Buckeyes on NSD, Feb. 6.
Shelton Gibson (6-1, 175, WR, OH) 90%
Reports are that Ohio State is just awaiting his eligibility requirements but it looks like this Cleveland Heights star will rejoin his former teammate and good friend Kyle Dodson in the Scarlet and Gray. Was off the radar over the summer until Friday Night Lights, when he clearly dominated the competition and put his name back in Urban Meyer’s recruiting hat. He has stated Ohio State is his leader but rumors are that grades are the issue. O-zone contributor John McCallister raves about his athletic ability: “He is one of the best true football players in Ohio. He's tough, he's got excellent closing speed. . . . He's fast with excellent burst. An excellent ball catcher. Excellent hips. Excellent range. I saw him run a kickoff back in 11 seconds. He changes direction well. Most of all, he's physical."
Corn Elder (5-11, 175, WR, TN) 50%
It becomes a space issue for this Tenn. Speedster. If James Quick commits, then Elder is out. If Quick goes to Louisville, then Elder’s stock rises to above 50%. Unsure whether or not he will also pursue basketball but would not be surprised if Thad Matta welcomed him with open arms, especially since he does not need to waste a Basketball scholarship and have Elder for at least three years. Another name talked about is KY speedster Ryan Timmons but it looks like he will remain in the Bluegrass State and play for another coach Stoops.
James Quick (6-1, 180, WR, KY) 45%
Mike Farrell of Rivals thinks Quick goes to Ohio State, which is a good sign but Quick has stated that U of L leads. This sounds very similar to Dorian Johnson, a PA prospect that OSU hotly pursued. Quick stated he will announce Jan 5 at the Army All American Bowl and it looks like he stays home to play for Charlie Strong at this point but would also not be surprised if he turns Scarlet and Gray.
Vonn Bell (6-1, 190, DB, GA) 33%
It was reported that Bell had already made up his mind and many thought Alabama was in the lead, including myself. But Urban Meyer visited his playoff game along with Everett Withers and it seemed like Ohio State was back in play. Bell has scheduled visits to all three of his top choices and OSU gets the first visit. Meyer will undoubtedly try to get a commitment from Vonn that weekend and he would be accepted on the spot. I think OSU’s chances decrease as Bell visits the other two schools. Butch Jones may have made some inroads as Bell goes to UT on Jan 25, two weeks before NSD. Hopefully for the Buckeyes, his recruitment ends after the OSU weekend visit.
Dan Skipper (6-10, 295, OT, CO) 30%
It seems like Urban Meyer is determined to get one more O-lineman in this class. David Dawson re-committed to TTUN and Kenny Lacy reaffirmed his commitment to UCLA after scheduling an OSU visit. Now, new OL are on the radar. They recently offered CO OT Dan Skipper and it sounds like he will visit, though none has been scheduled. Skipper is currently a commitment to the Tennessee Volunteers but reopened his recruitment once Derek Dooley was fired. He has a little more filling out to do but at 6-10, has time to grow. Thad Matta may also try to get him to be a back-up center/power forward in the football offseason. If Skipper skips back to UT, Dylan Wiseman maybe another option. Kerry Coombs spoke with this UC de-commit who does not have an offer but will visit Jan 11-13. It has been reported that if Butch Jones has room for him at UT, Wiseman would follow. Do not be surprised if Wiseman trades the red and black for Tenn. Orange.
James Hearns (6-3, 230, LB, FL) 30%
He told the-Ozone he would visit and has so far kept his word. Unlike Daniel McMillian, which I felt OSU had no shot at, OSU has a slim chance with Hearns. He has told the-Ozone that Florida’s commitment to him through his injury meant a lot and will likely keep this LB down south but he is coming and Urban would love to flip him, especially since they lost Tommy Sanders to Texas A&M. He visits the weekend of Jan. 11-13 along with Vonn Bell so all eyes will be on Hearns. If both Mitchell and Johnson commit, would Urban tell Hearns to stay down South? I am sure OSU would love to have 3 LBs after having zero prior to January. You can read his O-zone interview here.
Tony Stevens (6-3, 175, WR, FL) 20%
This kid changes his mind like the wind changes direction. He de-commits from FSU then seems to have OSU high. He then re-commits to FSU only to de-commit again. He has visits scheduled and OSU is not yet one but now it appears OSU is #3 in the pecking order behind Florida State and Texas A&M. At this point, he likely stays Seminole. Bill Kurelic reported that Tony Stevens will visit in January but nothing is in the books officially. I bet his interest will peak if he comes on campus.
David Williams (6-0, 185, RB, PA) 0%
I do not think either side is considering the other right now.
Summing it Up
With 19 scholarships already accounted for and possibly 5 left, I see the final commitments as: Mike Mitchell, Trey Johnson, Chris Worley, Shelton Gibson for sure and one more from the group of Corn Elder, Vonn Bell, James Quick, Dan Skipper and James Hearns. I do not think Tony Stevens and David Williams are realistically in play. Ohio State takes Quick and Bell no matter what.
That is all for this week, no matter what Urban Meyer does, the Rundown will take Christmas off and return after the recruiting dead period is over. I will also be in San Antonio to cover the Army All American Bowl and will be giving updates from there when Ohio States 2013 class will really become clearer. Buckeye nation should know the final destination of Mike Mitchell, Trey Johnson, and James Quick once Jan 5 is over and have a handle on Shelton Gibson.
On an unrelated note, if you are interested in some non-sports related writing by yours truly, you can browse this link here.