Dec. 30 Recruiting Rundown – All-Star Season
By Ozone Staff
As you might know if you read our Recruiting Rundown each and every Sunday on The-Ozone, our recruiting guru Michael Chung was taking this week off to spend some much-needed time with family and friends down in Texas.
Michael will also be gearing up for his coverage of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl down in San Antonio, where Ohio State will be represented by a number of committed players. That group includes safety Eli Apple (formerly Woodard), running back Ezekiel Elliott, defensive tackle Michael Hill, offensive lineman Evan Lisle and punter Johnny Townsend.
They aren’t the only all-stars Ohio State could walk away with this week. Highly-coveted linebackers Mike Mitchell and Trey Johnson are both expected to announce their verbal commitments this week, along with Louisville WR James Quick, who is down in San Antonio with Mitchell and the four OSU commits.
Michael might have the week off, but he wanted to share a few thoughts, so we put together a few things we are hearing this week as we head into a huge recruiting stretch for Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes.
Mike Mitchell (6-4, 215, LB, TX) 90%
As Michael reported last week, things are looking better and better for Mitchell to become a Buckeye as we draw closer to National Signing Day. The 5-star LB out of Plano, Texas was considered to be a Texas A&M lean at one point, but now it would be surprising to see him end up anywhere but Ohio State. He is currently down in San Antonio at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, which is where he will be making his public announcement on Jan. 5th. There are four future Buckeyes in San Antonio with Mitchell, and he recently told Rivals.com that is picking a school where he can come in and compete for a starting spot right away. That certainly sounds like Ohio State, where the Buckeyes have no clear replacement for Zach Boren at middle linebacker.
Trey Johnson (6-1, 220, LB, GA) 90%
Along with Mitchell, Johnson might be the single most coveted player in the 2013 class for the Buckeyes when it comes to uncommitted prospects still on the board. That says a lot about where things are at for Ohio State when it comes to the linebacker position, but this former Auburn commit has been linked to Meyer and the Buckeyes since the moment he de-committed from the Tigers. Meyer’s former team, the Florida Gators, loom large here, but all signs point to Johnson picking the Buckeyes at the Under Armour All-American game on Jan. 4 (5 p.m. ET). As Michael pointed out last week, Johnson never made it to Gainesville before all-star season, and Rivals.com analyst Mike Farrell is making it sound like Johnson is all but locked in for the Buckeyes.
Chris Worley (6-2, 185, ATH, OH) 90%
We already figured it was only a matter of time before Worley pulled the trigger for Ohio State, but an early commitment from 2014 teammate Marcelys Jones should all but put this one to rest. He recently received some good news with his ACT scores, and it seems like the only thing Worley is waiting for at this point is picking the right time to make his announcement. Glenville kids have a history of waiting until the very end to make their decisions public, but it’s never done until it’s done.
Shelton Gibson (6-1, 175, WR, OH) 80%
Gibson is another high school all-star who is in San Antonio for the big U.S. Army game this week, and Michael will have a chance to catch up with him at some point to find out where things stand with Ohio State. The good news for the Buckeyes is that Gibson showed up in Texas wearing his black Ohio State winter cap and it seems like the only thing that could stop this wideout from becoming a Buckeye is grades. Make no mistake about it, Gibson is a dominant player and an excellent talent at a position of need for the Buckeyes, but eligibility concerns stand between him and an opportunity reunite with former HS teammate Kyle Dodson in Columbus. He will be on campus on Jan. 11 for a big visit with some other big name players, including Vonn Bell, when the Buckeyes host Michigan at Value City Arena. He is officially still considering West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee along with Ohio State.
James Quick (6-1, 180, WR, KY) 50%
This one continues to be one of the more interesting recruitments of the 2013 season, at least for Ohio State fans. The speedy wideout from Louisville seems like a perfect fit in Meyer’s new offense in Columbus, but for the longest time it has looked like he was only going to tease the Buckeyes before sticking with his hometown Louisville football program. Charlie Strong’s decision to stay appeared to be the clincher for Quick to end up with the Cardinals, but we’re hearing this one is neck and neck as they make the turn down the home stretch. Strong certainly has the inside track, but it’s hard to completely discount Meyer’s ability to close in these situations. Quick will make his announcement on Saturday during the U.S. Army All-American game, and is expected to pick between Louisville and Ohio State, though he says Oregon also remains in the mix. He recently told Rivals.com that Ohio State is his slight leader heading into the big decision, but he will sit down with his parents before making a final choice.
Vonn Bell (6-1, 190, DB, GA) 50%
What once looked like a long-shot is becoming more and more of a reality for Meyer and the Buckeyes, who could really shock the world with another incredible close to the recruiting season. Meyer reportedly made a tremendous impact on Bell when he showed up in Atlanta for the state championship game earlier this month, and now Scout.com insiders are reporting that Ohio State may, in fact, have the lead over Alabama heading into the Under Armour All-American game. Bell was a Tennessee fan growing up, and he still has the Volunteers in his final three, but this probably going to come down to a battle between Nick Saban and Urban Meyer. He is not going to announce this week, but instead will take visits to Columbus (Jan. 11), Tuscaloosa (Jan. 18) and Knoxville (Jan. 25) before making his final decision.
James Hearns (6-3, 230, LB, FL) 10%
Hearns has been on Ohio State’ radar for a while, and Meyer wasn’t afraid to go after a kid who was committed to his former school down in Gainesville. He told the-Ozone he plans to visit Columbus for that big recruiting weekend on Jan. 11, along with Vonn Bell and Shelton Gibson, but it seems unlikely he will end up anywhere but Florida. He recently tweeted that the next time he puts on a helmet it will be with the Gators. Sounds like he’s already made up his mind, but who knows what a trip to Columbus could do to shake things up.
Tony Stevens (6-3, 175, WR, FL) 10%
Another guy who was high on Ohio State at one point but seems to have cooled recently is Stevens, a WR out of Orlando. The former Florida State commit will pick between OSU, Florida State and Texas A&M on Saturday during the U.S. Army All-American game, but it looks like the Buckeyes are just about out of this one. He showed up wearing an Aggies hat in Texas, but insiders have him heading back to Tallahassee.
*That is all for this week’s Recruiting Rundown. Michael will be back next week, but keep an eye out for his coverage down in San Antonio, where he is on the ground for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. This will be an important week for Ohio States 2013 class, as Buckeye Nation should know the final destination of Mike Mitchell, Trey Johnson and James Quick once Jan 5 is over.
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