Michael’s Recruiting Rundown
By Michael Chung
Buckeye nation is one week removed from “the game” and still savoring an Ohio State victory over Michigan. Though the regular season is over, recruiting is getting into high gear. After hosting some 80 recruits for the Michigan game, coaches headed out all over the country covering such places like Ohio, Texas, Illinois, and Georgia. Even 2015 offers are being doled out. Here is this week’s Recruiting Rundown.
James Quick (6-0, 180. WR, 2013, Louiville, KY)
OSU commit JT Barrett mentioned to me that he believes James Quick is leaning to Ohio State and that is good news for him as his career will be impacted by having talent like Quick around. But he told Jody Demling, a writer for the Cardinal Authority, that Louisville still leads after his official visit. He also has a visit scheduled for Oregon so this battle for Quick is far from over. Would Quick do a Dorian Johnson and commit after his official? Quick has an official to Louisville but will likely not commit due to Charlie Strong’s tenuous status and likely departure to the SEC.
Drew Barker also told me that he believes Quick is coming to Ohio State. We will know January 4 when he announces.
Gareon Conley (6-1, 170, DB, 2013, Massillon, OH)
This has shaped up to be a much more dramatic saga than once thought. This quiet kid who does not talk much was at the center of a mini-firestorm this week. It was reported that Conley affirmed his commitment to Michigan. The UM site TreMendous writes, “ I think fans can breathe easy for the time being. Conley is a very valuable recruit to this class and his loss would have been a bigger loss IMO than David Dawson's decommitment. To be 100% honest, I got pretty lucky with Conley responding (he doesn't usually).” But on the same day, literally less than 24 hours after the site posted the story, a different story was published, “Stories like these are why recruiting is not a ton of fun to cover sometimes. Less than 24 hours after telling us he was still committed to Michigan, CB Gareon Conley has decommitted from the Wolverines. The belief is that Michigan is still in the race for him though. Coach Mattison was rumored to have visited him today, leading me to believe that a mutual separation, perhaps for the time being, was in the best interest of both parties at this point.”
But the initial inklings are that Conley is Ohio State’s to lose, as it seems that Oregon will not offer him. Marc Givler of Rivals writes, “When I asked Gareon Conley this evening to list the schools he is still considering, he only provided one, #OhioState.” It is too early to call this race so I will let time do the talking before making a prediction on where Conley will end up because it is obvious that things can change in a flash, especially if Oregon changes their minds and offers.
But now Michigan has reoffered Conley and he has scheduled an official visit. He will visit Ohio State Dec. 6 and return to Michigan Dec. 14. This will be a fight to the end and Ohio State can pour some serious salt in the Wolverine’s wounds if they can flip Conley.
David Dawson (6-4, 282, OG, 2013, Detroit, MI)
In chatting with Dennis Finley, he mentioned that he believes Dawson will go to Michigan State based on their personal conversations. They are good friends who play on the same line so it looks like Dawson could be headed to East Lansing instead of Ohio State. Dawson mentioned to the-Ozone that his friendship with Finley could give Michigan State a slight advantage. Urban and Co. must blow him away on his official visit. You can read his Ozone interview here.
It appears that Brady Hoke and company is reevaluating their recruiting philosophy and has reoffered a scholarship to Dawson. It is now a three horse race between MSU, UM, and OSU. This one could go down to NSD.
James Hearns (6-3, 235, ILB, 2013, Tallahassee, FL)
Hearns was not able to make it to the Michigan game due to his team being in the playoffs. Luke Fickell and Tim Hinton visited Hearns this week during practice and in-home. Hearns told the-Ozone earlier that he is 70/30 Florida/Ohio State. He sounds like he wants to be loyal to UF because they stood by him after he had a knee injury. He is planning to visit Ohio State in January on an official. Look for Ryan Shazier to be his host and be in his ear to come up North as well. I think Ohio State is in much better position with Hearns than they are with Daniel McMillian, who also visited this weekend for the Michigan game. At this point, Ohio State will have to blow Hearns away on his official visit but it will be a tough fight with the Gators. You can read his the-Ozone interview here.
Trey Johnson (6-1, 222, ILB, 2013, Lawrenceville, GA)
Before Trey Johnson set foot on Ohio State’s campus, Gene Chizik was the Auburn coach and Trey was an Auburn commit. But things change in a hurry. After the game, Gene Chizik was fired, Trey Johnson de-committed, and Ohio State was trending way upward. The Buckeyes timing could not have been better.
Though many are acting as if Trey is a Buckeye lock, he still has official visits left and two of them will be to Florida and to USC. Some say Johnson is leaning Florida but this will also be a battle to the end. Would not be surprised if Johnson’s tone changes after his Florida and USC visits.
Mike Mitchell (6-4, 220, LB, 2013, Plano, TX)
From all the reports, Mitchell’s in-home visit with coach Fickell and coach Herman went extremely well. He will visit Ohio State Dec. 7 and do not be surprised if he commits after the visit. Ohio State has been recruiting him early and his family has a lot of respect for what OSU is doing. Though schools like Texas A&M and Oklahoma could narrow the gap, it looks like Mitchell is Ohio State’s to lose. Look for Mitchell to fill one spot at linebacker and the other spot to be filled by either James Hearns or Trey Johnson, which would move Chris Worley to strong safety. Worley could also make it s 3 LB class but come National Signing Day, Ohio State should be in good shape at LB.
Devlin McDaniel (6-1, 195, WR/DB, 2013, Marion, OH)
With scholarship limits ending after the 2014 class, it will be vital for OSU to compensate with preferred walk-ons beforehand. One such player is Marion Pleasant high school star Devlin McDaniel who has accepted a preferred walk-on offer and will likely receive a scholarship after 2014. McDaniel is on the first team of the Associated Press’s Division V All-Ohio defensive unit and carries a four point GPA in school so maybe he can earn an academic scholarship beforehand. Denny McPherson of the Marion Star writes, “Devlin is an extremely gifted and talented football player,” Cook said. “He did everything for our football team. He was on our special teams and played offense and defense.”
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound McDaniel was honored as an All-Ohioan as a defensive back.
As a defensive back, McDaniel recorded 53 tackles, six interceptions, 16 pass breakups, one forced fumble and 12 batted balls.
“He is definitely a lockdown defender,” Cook said.”
Demetrius Knox (6-5, 300, OL, 2014, Ft. Worth, TX)
Like any cliffhanger, it is nice to not have resolution and end speculation. Knox has done his best to try to keep people guessing on where he is leaning but there was never any doubt where he was going from the-Ozone’s perspective. When he was vague to the-Ozone and other recruiting services on whether or not he would be visiting Ohio State that lead me to believe that he was not on the visit. Sources confirmed Knox was not there and a few days later on Nov. 26, Demetrius Knox announced what everyone thought he would: Texas. I for one will miss covering him. There are rumors circulating in Texas that Mack Brown maybe on his way out so if this is the case, would Knox reopen his recruiting? He told the-Ozone that he was looking forward to learning from Mack and if he is no longer in Austin, would Meech consider following his big brother figure in Braxton Miller up north to Ohio? You can read his the-Ozone interview here.
Jabril Peppers (6-1, 205, CB/S/RB/ATH, 2014, Paramus, New Jersey Catholic)
This New Jersey cornerback is already a five-star recruit by Rivals. With offers from Alabama, Florida, Notre Dame, South Carolina, and Michigan, this Peppers will be hot. Steve Wilfong of 247 Sports writes, “The five-star Peppers says that Ohio State and Stanford are the two programs recruiting him the hardest and that he plans to visit both in the spring.”
Do not expect a decision too quickly from the NJ star. Maybe OSU can ask fellow NJ star Malcolm Jenkins to let Peppers know that OSU is the next step to the NFL.
The season maybe over but recruiting is just starting to heat up. Tune in next week when the-Ozone has interviews with Parrker Westphal, Kyle Berger, and Clifton Garrett and hopefully a whole lot more.