Michael’s January 6 Recruiting Rundown
By Michael Chung
Christmas is supposed to be celebrated for 12 days. Many churches in the Orthodox and other traditions were still singing Christmas carols during today’s service. Christmas came in the Orthodox tradition to the Buckeyes this weekend, as Urban Meyer got some much-needed depth at linebacker for 2013.
Having just spent a few days immersed in the world of recruiting, being surrounded by some of the top high school athletes in the country, I have a new perspective on coverage.
With the additions of these two linebackers, the Buckeyes are moving on up in the recruiting rankings and could challenge for the No. 1 spot if they can land a few big targets – including 5-star safety Vonn Bell – before National Signing Day.
I cannot help the fact I’m still in deep thought over the stories of all our men and women who serve our country and risk their lives so citizens of this country can enjoy the many freedoms billions around the world are not privy to.
The fact high school recruiting is now a multi-million dollar business is a testament to our freedom as a nation. While many other countries enslave and embattle their children, our society turns them into celebrities, blowing up Twitter whenever these 17-18 year olds make news.
So with that caveat, her is this week’s news on some of the top 17-18 year-olds in the country:
Trey Johnson (LB, 2013, GA)
It became pretty obvious over the last few weeks Johnson was going to be a Buckeye, but that did not prevent controversy early in the week regarding his big announcement. Auburn coaches talked to Johnson, but the rumor he might consider delaying his announcement was proven untrue during Friday night’s Under Armour All-American game. Auburn coaches did talk to Trey, but he in no way was considering delaying his commitment to Ohio State. On Friday, he confirmed what many were thinking and chose the Buckeyes by putting on a scarlet ball cap with a Block O in the middle. On the 10th day of Christmas, Johnson became Ohio State’s first weekend gift a much-needed linebacker.
Mike Mitchell (LB, 2013, TX)
Ever since Mitchell visited Ohio State a month ago, experts were predicting he would end up at Ohio State. There was nothing I uncovered down in San Antonio to dispel this thought. Every source I talked to was solid that Mitchell was all about Ohio State. Mitchell himself tipped his hat to me when I was talking to him off the record and asked him about Vonn Bell. He did not really know him but mentioned to me: “we can use some more safeties.” Mitchell made it official and picked Ohio State on Saturday, ending the speculation. On the 11th day of Christmas, Mitchell became gift No. 2 to a team that still desperately needed linebackers. As the Christmas season winds down, Ohio State has two of the best in the country
James Quick (WR, 2013, KY)
Like any great mystery novel, one is left in suspense with no certainty of how things will end. James Quick became this year’s great mystery. No one seemed to have a beat on what he was thinking. Reports were all over the place for Quick, some saying he was OSU, others saying he was Louisville and others saying he was 50/50. James made it 100 percent on Saturday, picking the Louisville Red Birds over the Buckeyes. Charlie Strong showed the nation that Louisville is anything but a second rate program with his win over Florida, and that seems to be the one thing that pushed Quick to stay home instead of moving to Columbus. Don’t be surprised if they are in the national title hunt next year. Quick makes these BCS title aspirations more likely as he will be an instant addition to their special teams and could provide another option for Teddy Bridgewater to stretch the field. He was named MVP of Saturday’s Army Bowl in San Antonio.
Tony Stevens (WR, 2013, FL)
The Tony Stevens saga is finally over, or at least we think. He was really interested in Ohio State at one point, then recommitted to FSU then de-committed. Up until the Army Bowl, OSU was not even in contact with Stevens and I did not really bother to pursue an interview with him. He had an OSU hat on the table during his announcement, but chose Texas A&M on Saturday over FSU and OSU. Who knows if this will stick. TAMU has nine WRs in this class, so maybe Stevens will wake up and change his mind and give Urban Meyer a call. While I was at the practices, I noticed A&M media asking for interviews with Stevens which tipped me off not to waste time to pursue him. Good luck Tony, wherever you end up.
Vonn Bell (DB, 2013, GA)
Many positive reports on the 5-star safety out of Florida. After talking to his high school coach, Scout.com’s Bill Greene stated on the radio that if Bell had to sign today it would be Ohio State and not Alabama. Bell seemed pretty certain where he was going at one point but then one Urban Frank Meyer decided to make a visit to his state championship game with his daughter Nicki and co-defensive coordinator Everett Withers. The visit completely turned the tide towards Ohio State and now he will be on campus next weekend. If Bell is blown away, Urban will ask for a commitment right there. If he makes his Alabama visit, then the Buckeyes chances decrease as the only coach in the country I believe that can go toe-to-toe with Urban Meyer in recruiting is Nick Saban. Meyer knows he must strike while the iron is hot and is sending four assistant coaches to visit Bell after the Under Armour game. He will be on campus Jan. 11-13.
Sebastian LaRue (WR, 2013, CA)
This one time Ohio State target was a solid Trojan commit when The-Ozone interviewed him, but he recently de-committed from USC. I asked him why and he told me he did not want to get into it but USC is not completely out of it for LaRue. With Quick out of the picture, does LaRue come into focus? He told me that Ohio State has not been in contact since his Michigan visit was cancelled, but he also told me that if Ohio State called him, he would be open to listen. Right now, he is looking at Texas A&M, Notre Dame and USC. With Tony Stevens committing to TAMU, I doubt there is any room for LaRue in College Station, but then again the SEC uses different math, so maybe they could make a spot for him.
Dontre Wilson (WR, 2013, TX)
With Chip Kelly possibly (probably?) out at Oregon, reports are mixed with Wilson. Some reports have him firmly committed to the Ducks no matter what, while others have him open to other schools with Ohio State being at the forefront. From the intel I am receiving from Marc Givler of BuckeyeGrove.com and others, Wilson does have OSU interest. It sounds like the Ducks may look to promote offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich if Kelly does leave, which would be a good thing for them if they want to keep this class together. Bringing in an outside hire would certainly shake things up in Eugene. With J.T. Barrett already signed sealed and delivered – he’s enrolling early at OSU – look for this native Texan to be in Wilson’s ear to come north with him to Columbus.
* That is all for this week. It has been a very eventful week for recruiting, with the Buckeyes filling much needed needs at linebacker. Tune in next week when The Ozone hopes to have more info on weekend visitors, with the most important one being Vonn Bell.