Michael’s January 27 Sunday Recruiting Rundown
By Michael Chung
This Urban Meyer guy just does not quit and he does not give up. He’s never satisfied until he’s satisfied. With only 2-3 spots left for 2013 class, Meyer is still feverishly working to find one more playmaker, one more OL and, ideally, Vonn Bell.
A pair of playmakers – James Clark and Dontre Wilson – were in Columbus this weekend for official visits and offensive lineman Kyle Trout had a 9 a.m. Saturday morning meeting with Meyer that turned into an offer to join Ohio State’s 2014 class.
The Buckeyes would love to add Clark or Wilson (maybe both), and either Cameron Hunt or Dan Skipper to finish out 2013. Ryan Timmons, a speedy wideout from Frankfurt, Ky. is also a possibility, especially now that he has an OSU offer. He will wait until Feb. 5 to make his announcement
The last weekend before National Signing Day has Darren Carrington scheduled for a Columbus visit. Carrington is another Oregon commit who Meyer is trying to pillage from the Ducks. The Ozone tried hard to get the latest info on current targets for this week’s Sunday Recruiting Rundown. You can also check out our Recruiting Rundown from Friday for more information about this weekend’s visitors.
Ezekiel Elliott (6-0, 195, RB, 2013, St. Louis, MO)
Who would have ever thought Ezekiel Elliott would make this thread but he found himself back in the headlines this week with news he would be taking an official visit to Missouri. After being committed to OSU for almost nine months, then battling rumors from Notre Dame, Elliott did make a visit to Columbia this weekend. I spoke to his dad shortly after the news broke and Ezekiel’s dad assured me that he remains solidly committed to Ohio State. Being 17, Ezekiel’s parents will have to sign the NLOI on Feb 6 and Stacy Elliott – Ezekiel’s father – told me that his son is solid but that Zeke grew up in a Mizzou environment with dad playing football and mom running track. It sounds like the main reason Zeke took this last visit to see the Tigers was more due to nostalgia. But the old adage is that if you get someone on campus, there is always a chance and Zeke was on campus so the Tigers have a chance, albeit a very slim one. He did however, tweet not to call or text his phone on Sunday seconds after I tried to call and text him, so we will have to wait on an update from this dynamic playmaker.
Ryan Timmons (5-10, 185, WR, 2013, Frankfurt, KY)
After months and months of campaigning from OSU fans across the internet, Ryan Timmons finally received the offer he has coveted for so long. The Kentucky speedster has stated that he will make his decision on Feb. 5, which means Ohio State may be asking him to wait until after this weekend before he makes a final decision. If OSU gets a verbal from either James Clark, Dontre Wilson or Darren Carrington, Timmons may again be on the outside looking in as far as OSU is concerned, which could explain his late announcement date. Timmons was reportedly visiting the University of Kentucky this weekend and is also being pursued by Florida and Will Muschamp, so this once OSU lock is being shown significant attention from the SEC.
Devin Lauderdale (5-11, 170, WR, 2013 Houston, TX)
The phrase no news is good news does not necessarily apply here. There just is no news on Lauderdale and it looks like there will be no OSU news in the future. With Urban Meyer hotly pursuing guys like James Clark, Dontre Wilson, Darren Carrington and Ryan Timmons, it looks like this Texan will not come north. Ozone staff wrote: “The Houston product was offered by OSU offensive coordinator Tom Herman and was reportedly trying to schedule a visit to Columbus. It doesn’t sound like that’s going to happen. He recently told Texas Prep Report that he is down to two schools, Texas Tech and Oklahoma, and he will make his announcement on National Signing Day.” And on National Signing Day, Devin will not be announcing for OSU.
Dontre Wilson (5-10, 175, DeSoto, TX)
Of all the Oregon commits that Urban Meyer is trying to pillage, Wilson is the one most likely to deep six the Ducks and head north from Texas to be a Buckeye. Even before Chip Kelly left Oregon, I was told Wilson had legitimate interest in Ohio State. Despite the Robinson twins cancelling their OSU visit, Wilson did not, braving the cold and snow of Ohio to see if Columbus could be a home. The O-zone staff wrote: “New Oregon coach Mark Helfrich flew his staff down to Texas to meet with Wilson before his OSU visit, which shows exactly how good this kid might be…or at least how badly they want him. He would be Meyer’s first choice to fill that last playmaker spot in Ohio State’s 2013 class, and would really give the Buckeyes a wealth of offensive firepower in Meyer’s second class. The latest we are hearing is that Ohio State has a slight lead, but it wouldn’t be smart to count out Oregon as of yet.”
I have been doing my best to try to find out how Dontre’s visit went and the best I could find from a source was “he was enjoying it.” That’s what you expect to hear after a visit like this, but do not be surprised if Dontre follows fellow Texan J.T. Barrett to Urban Land. He did not commit this weekend but reports are that the visit went well. I would quantify his Buckeye odds as 50/50 right now, with Ohio State and Oregon being in a dead heat out in front of Oklahoma State.
James Clark (5-11, 170, WR, New Smyrna Beach, FL)
Clark visited Ohio State officially this weekend and will visit Florida unofficially before signing day. After meeting with Urban Meyer, Clark decided to visit Ohio. Ozone staff wrote: “He only recently picked up an offer from the Buckeyes, but Clark already had an in-home visit with Urban Meyer and Tom Herman this week. He is visiting Columbus this weekend and will likely make an announcement on National Signing Day. Florida is believed to be the frontrunner here, although Nebraska, Northwestern and Clemson all remain in the mix.” Clark was active on Twitter during his OSU visit but has not tweeted anything that would give Buckeye fans any insight into his recruitment. It sounds like the weekend visit bumped OSU up a notch in Clark’s eyes, so look for either Wilson or Clark to fill one of the 2-3 remaining spots for 2013. He texted Tim May of The Columbus Dispatch to say his visit was great and that he loved it.
Dan Skipper (6-10, 295, OT, Arvada, CO)
Skipper had a good Ohio State visit last weekend and is now visiting Ole Miss. Ozone staff wrote, “The transfer of Joey O’Connor makes it even more import for them to find a lineman before signing day, and fellow Colorado native Dan Skipper appears to be their top target. He was in Columbus last weekend for a visit, but Skipper is still softly committed to Tennessee. He is also strongly considering Arkansas, which means this could come down to a battle of Urban Meyer against Bret Bielema.” Buckeye fans are feeling confident about Skipper but I am hearing Arkansas will be more of a threat than people think. Bret Bielema can use his track record of great offensive linemen at Wisconsin to entice Skipper, as well as playing time and playing in the SEC. This one is by no means over and it will likely come down to a battle between Meyer and Bielema heading into NSD.
Vonn Bell (6-1, 190, DB, Rossville, GA)
It appears this safety’s ship may have sailed and will likely be a future opponent for National Championships, but don’t tell that to Urban Meyer, that guy never gives up. He will not rest until there is no chance. Michael Carvell of the Atlanta Constitution writes, “The Ridgeland High School standout planned on ending his drama after his senior season of football, but the team kept winning, with Ridgeland playing for the Class AAAA state championship. Since it was already December at that point, Bell decided to go ahead and make trips to all three of his finalists – Alabama, Tennessee and Ohio State. Bell has been tight-lipped about his feelings. Nearly every recruiting analyst has projected Bell to Alabama. Tennessee may be the darkhorse, as Bell grew up a die-hard fan of the Volunteers and has an emotional connection there.”
From the perspective down south, it appears that Bell is thinking with his head (Bama) or his heart (Tennessee); where does that leave Ohio State? The Ozone staff wrote, “He’s been to Columbus and Tuscaloosa. He has had in-home visits with both Meyer and Saban. Butch Jones and the Tennessee Volunteers will get the last crack at Bell, who visits Knoxville this weekend, before he has to make a final decision. He is also expected to have a visit from OSU secondary coach Everett Withers, but this one is going to be a tight finish. If we were odds-makers, the smart money would still be on Alabama, but it’s never prudent to count Meyer and his staff out until it’s over.” He was in Tennessee this weekend and we’re hearing the Volunteers could be more of a player for Bell than most expected.
* This update is now over, but this Urban Meyer guy is far from over when it comes to recruiting and will probably offer someone new this week. Who knows, he may decide to go after Robert Nkemdiche for all we know. How will this class finish? I will have to go with Dontre Wilson/James Clark, Dan Skipper/Cameron Hunt, and Ryan Timmons but I am sure this will change, Meyer never rests. Neither does recruiting.