Michael’s January 13 Sunday Recruiting Rundown
By Michael Chung
The recruiting weekend started off with a bang when Cleveland Glenville athlete Christopher Worley committed to the Buckeyes upon his arrival for his official visit. It ended with another big bang when Cass Tech DB recruit Damon Webb became No. 2 for Urban Meyer in the 2014 class.
A lot of fans of both Michigan and Ohio State felt we were out of our minds for printing that a kid like Webb from a Michigan football factory could have significant Ohio State interest but he proved the The-Ozone right when he gave Meyer an unexpected verbal commitment on Sunday.
The Buckeyes still have 2-3 spots left in this 2013 class, and they would like to add at least one more receiver, one offensive lineman and, of course, 5-star safety Vonn Bell.
After Worley committed, there are officially no open spots left on the roster but look for at least 2-3 players on the current roster to medically redshirt, transfer or be dismissed in the coming weeks and months. Call it oversigning or call it planning ahead. It wouldn’t be an issue if not for the 82-scholarship limit.
Less than a week ago, Alabama brutalized Notre Dame in the BCS championship game winning their second straight title. Las Vegas already has Alabama as the odds on favorite to three-peat.
For any team to dethrone the Crimson Tide, they must first win the battle of recruiting. Alabama has finished No. 1 in the Rivals Team Recruiting Rankings four of the last five years. The only year they were not No. 1 according to Rivals, they finished fifth. Currently, Alabama is ranked 4th on Rivals.com, right behind the Buckeyes with Florida and the Irish holding the top 2 spots. But Scout has the Crimson Tide ranked No. 1 overall for 2013.
Either school – Ohio State or Alabama – could win the Rivals Recruiting Championship., depending on what top ranked DB Vonn Bell decides. Bell was in Columbus this weekend for his official visit and reports are mixed but Buckeye Nation will not know for sure of where Bell will play until Bell himself makes his decision known to the public. We did out best to try to gather first-hand information on how the weekend visits went.
Shelton Gibson (WR, 2013, Cleveland Heights, OH)
It is looking like Shelton Gibson may not be part of this class after all, for whatever reason. There are reports that Ohio State is actively pursuing wide receiver James Clark out of Florida. At this stage, if Clark is being pursued, it could spell doom for Gibson. He was on his official visit this weekend and was hosted by his good friend Kyle Dodson. Sources were not able to indicate whether or not Gibson gave his verbal commitment but it is looking like this one time OSU lock may not be a lock after all. But if Bell does not go OSU and Corey Smith leaves without a commitment then Gibson could be part of the class.
Ohio scouting expert John McCallister had this to say about Gibson: "He is one of the best true football players in Ohio. He's tough, he's got excellent closing speed. He's got good hips, he runs fast, he can play wide receiver or defensive back. Or even outside linebacker eventually. I just think he's one of the best players. He's just a tough guy. He's a very, very good football player. He can run. 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." This one-time clear OSU commit is now looking murky. Tune in for further development.
Vonn Bell (DB, 2013, GA)
If Vonn Bell chooses not to be a Buckeye, it was not the fault of Ohio State. Everyone who had inside sources on Bell’s recruitment said his visit started fantastic. His older brother tweeted lots of positive remarks about the visit, but as the trip progressed, there appears to be conflicting reports about Bell’s time. Though his brother did tweet that the visit was an A, it sounds like the Buckeyes did not quite blow Bell away like they needed too. Saban has an in-home visit tomorrow and Bell goes on his official visit next weekend to the Crimson Tide. At this point, I am thinking Bell will be in the SEC and most likely for Nick Saban. A source did indicate to me that Bell will not decide until Feb. 6 so until Bell announces which school he attends, OSU has a chance and the Buckeyes will hold a place for him. Vonn’s brother let me know no one has the lead for Vonn right now and that he had a great visit. This one will go right down to the wire.
Chris Worley (ATH/DB/LB, 2013, Cleveland Glenville)
It was only a matter of time before Worley became a Buckeye. OSU coaches should just have a tenured chair in each recruiting class reserved for a Cleveland Glenville Tarblooder. Since 2002, 18 Tarblooders have signed NLOI to play for the Buckeyes and Worley will make 19. Marcelys Jones has pledged for 2014 and look for Marshon Lattimore to follow Worley and Jones to Ohio State. Worley will likely be a strong safety at first. John McCallister, an Ohio scouting expert and O-zone contributor had this to say about Worley:
“Chris Worley is a really good athlete. He's going to get bigger and stronger. He's got really good closing speed. He's a football player. I don't know exactly where he's gonna play. He can do a lot of things. I'd probably play him at strong safety, until he outgrows it. He's got good hips. He's a strong run stopper. I think he's a lot like Jermale Hines, but I really like Jermale. He probably runs better and has better hips than Jermale, but Jermale was a heck of a football player. He's not Jermale Hines yet.”
Cornelius Elder (ATH/WR/RB, 2013, Tennessee)
He arrived on Saturday and will leave on Monday so there is not much news as of today and a lot depends on Corey Smith and Shelton Gibson situations. A source did talk to him and indicated that Elder is still considering UCLA and West Virginia, but it is early and Corn leaves Monday.
Corey Smith (JuCo, WR, East Mississippi Community College)
Smith was on the radar but really shined this weekend as far as Buckeye priorities. Reports are that if Smith leaves campus without a commitment, OSU either did not offer or that the coaches needed an immediate answer given the scholarship issues. OSU is at 82 as of now but I am aware of at least one scholarship opening due to medical issues and another may open due to transfer. That being said, it does not appear Smith verballed to Urban Meyer making it look like he will not be part of 2013.
Ryan Timmons (WR, 2013, KY)
Timmons’ visit was cancelled. The story is unclear who cancelled who. There were reports that Timmons himself cancelled the visit due to not wanting to burn an official visit on a school that has not offered and that OSU coaches want him to reschedule, which he may do. But with limited scholarships and more pressing needs, it looks like Timmons will stay in his home state and form a solid nucleus at the University of Kentucky with fellow Ohio linemen Lovell Peterson and Kyle Meadows.
Marshon Lattimore (DB/ATH, 2014, Cleveland-Glenville)
With Chris Worley committed for 2013 and Marcelys Jones committed for 2014, it seems highly likely that Lattimore will follow his fellow Tarblooders to play at Ohio State. I was not able to connect with sources about specifics on Marshon’s time but I am guessing he will pledge for 2014 class sometime in the future.
Damon Webb (DB, 2014, Detroit, MI)
A long-time Michigan fan growing up in the state, Webb has legitimate Ohio State interest. So much so, that he visited Ohio State on an unofficial visit for the weekend and made his commitment official. The three other schools that were vying for Webb’s services are: Michigan, Michigan State, and LSU but after talking to Webb’s father, it sounds like Damon is solid to OSU. Damon really liked coach Kerry Coombs, the atmosphere, the academics, and according to his father, everything fell into place. I asked Webb’s father if he felt there was any chance Webb would flip to Michigan, his childhood favorite as well as having good friends at/from Cass Tech who are going to Michigan and Mr. Webb indicated to me that he felt Damon’s commitment was solid and that he will not change.
Kyle Berger (LB, 2014, Cleveland St. Ignatius)
Berger had an OSU offer early on, even before MAC schools offered. Ohio State already has a head start over the competition. He has interest in Michigan and Stanford but neither has offered. Cincinnati, Illinois, Michigan State, and West Virginia have offered as well. Ohio State will probably take up to four linebackers in this class and would like to have them from the group of: Raekwon McMillan, Dante Booker, Clifton Garrett, Dillon Bates, and Berger with Davonte James also a possibility. He arrived in Columbus Sunday morning for an unofficial visit. I have not been able to reach him to hear how things are going but hope to talk to him sometime in the near future.
*That’s all for this week. Tune in next week and throughout the week as we try to bring more clarity to where this 2013 class will end up.