Michael’s January 20 Sunday Recruiting Rundown
By Michael Chung
It was a wild, wild week in the world of college football.
The stretch after the BCS national title game and before the Super Bowl is typically somewhat of a dead time for news, but sports outlets were as alive as they could be when Manti Te’o’s false girlfriend made national headlines.
The madness of the Te’o story overshadowed the fact Chip Kelly made an eleventh hour decision to become the Philadelphia Eagle’s head coach, and even Lance Armstrong’s moment of honesty. The former impacts Ohio State more than the later, as three Oregon commits are now taking official visits to Ohio State.
Kelly’s decision to leave his beloved Ducks and head east to the ‘City of Brotherly Love’ has some of his former recruits heading north to Columbus. Playmaker Dontre Wilson is visiting Columbus this month along with Tyree and Tyrell Robinson, a pair of twins out of San Diego. All three are still committed to Oregon, but Urban Meyer would love to get them all, especially if Vonn Bell decides to stay down south.
One thing we know about Meyer is the guy never stops. When you think one guy is in – Shelton Gibson, for example – he goes out and less than a month away from National Signing Day, has a slew of new names that are now in the mix.
WR James Clark out of Florida has an OSU offer but he was at Clemson this weekend with another OSU target, Kyrin Priester (who reportedly committed). Vonn Bell visited Nick Saban and company in Tuscaloosa, while California OL target Cameron Hunt made a trip up north to Oregon.
2014 LB target Kyle Berger (St. Ignatius) picked up big offers from Michigan and Penn State. OSU had a head start this time and is currently out in front but this will be a fight between Michigan and Ohio State and if Stanford gets involved, then the plot thickens. Corey Smith went from likely Buckeye to who knows what if, say, Wilson or Clark commit. Drake Harris could be this year’s Se’Von Pittman, flipping from MSU to OSU and further stoking Mark Dantonio’s fire against Urban. Here is this week’s rundown.
Donovan Munger (6-4, 290, DL, 2013, Shaker Heights)
Not many would have expected to see this current OSU commit in our Recruiting Rundown this week, but news leaked today that the Shaker Heights product was down in Tallahassee this weekend for an official visit at Florida State. According to what we’re hearing, Munger verballed to the Buckeyes back in the spring and then backed out the very next day because he was concerned about playing time with all the guys Ohio State has brought in on the D-line. Munger eventually did commit to the Buckeyes in December, but perhaps that concern about playing time has crept back in. This is definitely something to keep an eye on, because Munger was a kid would could have played either side of the ball at Ohio State.
Dan Skipper (6-10, 295, OL, 2013, Arvada, CO)
Ohio State wants one more offensive lineman for 2013 and they are hoping Skipper can be that one. A current Tennessee commit, Skipper has already visited Michigan and he made a stop at Arkansas this week as well. It sounded like his visit to Arkansas went really well and Skipper formed a strong relationship with O-line coach Sam Pittman. His parents were impressed by the academics of the University as well as the support programs available to student athletes. The boys up north are in for a fight with the SEC, as Skipper will also visit Ole Miss in addition to the Buckeyes. He landed in Columbus on Saturday and will stay through Martin Luther King Day before heading back to Colorado. The 6-10 tackle will have some choices to make when he gets home from Columbus, but it’s good for the Buckeyes that they got him on campus after his trips to Michigan and Arkansas.
Vonn Bell (DB, 2013, Rossville, GA)
Bell was in Tuscaloosa this weekend and it seems like the Buckeye chances are decreasing by the day. Mike Farrell of Rivals.com thinks Bell is all Alabama at this point. Of course Farrell also thought Stefon Diggs was headed to either OSU or Florida a year ago, but that still could mean bad news for the Buckeyes if history repeats itself.
In our Midweek Recruiting Rundown, The Ozone staff wrote: “At least the news of his verbal commitment to Alabama turned out not to be true (although we wouldn’t know for sure if it was supposed to be silent, right?). Since leaving Ohio State, Bell had an in-home visit with Nick Saban and has had frequent interaction with the staff at Tennessee. Urban Meyer already used his visit, but we’re hearing the Buckeyes made a great impression on Vonn and his parents over the weekend. Maybe the nightlife will keep him away from Columbus, but in our experience, players typically select a school based on where they feel most comfortable. Ohio State and Alabama are both comparable for getting Vonn to the NFL, and both programs are actually pretty hot right now, so it’s really going to come down to comfort level with the coaching staff and with the other guys he interacts with on his visit. We’re told Ryan Shazier was a great host for Bell, but the one factor that could weigh most heavily in Bell’s mind is the fact Saban works closely with the defensive backs while Meyer is primarily an offensive guy, even though he did play corner at UC.”
The wild card in all this could Everett Withers. While Alabama has Saban as DB coach, Withers is considered to be an excellent DB coach and has mastered the position. He is charming, smart and Southern as the day is long. He makes a good impression and has one more in-home visit before National Signing Day comes. Expect this one to come down to the wire, but don’t be surprised one way or another.
Devin Lauderdale (5-11, 175, WR, 2013, Houston, TX)
With the uncertainty of Corey Smith and the exiting of Shelton Gibson to West Virginia (he is also visiting Tennessee and N.C. State), Urban Meyer and his staff again have cast a wide net reaching into the Lone Star State to try to snag this Texas Tech decommit. He is on campus this weekend and is being recruited by Tom Herman, who serves as Meyer’s go-to guy in the state of Texas. Ohio State has one spot, maybe two for a playmaker and Lauderdale has an offer to take that spot. After Tom Tuberville and Neil Brown left Texas Tech, Lauderdale left the Red Raiders. Now he is in Columbus and the Buckeyes would like to have one more playmaker in this class, but he is also looking at Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
The Fab Oregon Three: Dontre Wilson and the Robinson Twins
Dontre Wilson (5-10, 175, ATH, 2013, DeSoto, TX)
The Buckeyes have been after this speedster since J.T. Barrett committed way back in April of last year. Now that Chip Kelly has left, Wilson has reopened his recruitment and will visit Ohio State next weekend along with fellow Oregon commits, the Robinson twins. Wilson was hit hard when Kelly decided to take the Eagles job because the day before, Tuesday, Kelly was at Wilson’s school talking as if he was staying in Oregon. The sudden turn of events shook Wilson, so much so that he will be in Columbus next weekend and will visit Oklahoma State the following weekend. OSU coaches were at his house Thursday evening and Wilson really wants to play in a spread type offense like the one they run at Oregon and Urban Meyer’s offense at Ohio State. He is getting calls from all over the country, but reports from down in Texas are that Wilson has narrowed his list to include just Oregon, OSU and Oklahoma State.
Tyree and Tyrell Robinson (6-4, 192 and 198, ATH(s), San Diego, CA)
The brothers have stated publically they are solid to Oregon but are taking visits. They were just up north in L.A. visiting USC this weekend and will come east to Columbus next weekend with Dontre Wilson. One is considered an athlete while the other is a linebacker prospect. They are a packaged deal, and it still looks like they will be wearing the flashy uniforms of the Oregon Ducks, although USC and Washington could be in the mix here as well.
Kyrin Priester (WR, 2013, Snellville, GA)
A new name that emerged at the receiver position – there seems to be a new one almost every day – due to Shelton Gibson’s WVU commitment and the uncertainly of Corey Smith. That name is Kyrin Priester, a 6-1 wideout from Georgia who was committed to play for N.C. State, but now he has reportedly verballed to play for Clemson instead. Priester had re-opened his recruitment again after N.C. State fired their head coach, with plans to visit Auburn and Ole Miss. Suddenly he was getting attention from both OSU and Clemson, as well. He received an offer from the Buckeyes on Monday, but he was at Clemson this weekend with fellow OSU target James Clark and, according to Tiger Illustrated, he committed to play for Dabo Swinney while he was there. Will he still take his OSU visit? Would James Clark be more likely to be a Buckeye now that Priester is a Tiger?
*That is all for this weekend. The 2013 recruiting class is coming down to the wire and OSU would love to add one more playmaker, one more OL and Vonn Bell. One thing for certain, Urban Meyer will go all out to fill out the remaining spots for the class.