Another Huge Recruiting Weekend On Tap for Michigan Game
By Michael Chung
The Ohio State-Michigan game will have served as the anchor for two of the biggest weekends for football recruiting in the class of 2013, when it’s all said and done.
No event on the Ohio State campus attracted more recruits than “The Game” back in November, when Ohio State defeated the Wolverines 26-21 in front of nearly 80 of the top football prospects in the country.
Now, the basketball Wolverines invade Ohio State’s campus on Sunday, just in time for Urban Meyer and his staff to host another huge recruiting weekend in Columbus. With National Signing Day less than a month away, and the 2013 class sitting at 21 scholarship players and five preferred walk-ons, the pace will be furious.
Ohio State will welcome a host of big-name 2013 targets – Shelton Gibson, Chris Worley, Corn Elder, Ryan Timmons, and the big fish, Vonn Bell – to campus this weekend. They will also bring in a number of key 2014 targets: LB Kyle Berger, DL Dan Cage, DL Eric Smith, DB Damon Webb, and ATH/DB Marshon Lattimore.
A number of Ohio State’s 2013 commits – Marcus Baugh, Joey Bosa, Jalin Marshall, and Vonn Bell’s childhood friend Darron Lee – will also grace the weekend visitors along with 2014 commit Marcelys Jones.
Vonn Bell, a top 50 player by most recruiting services, was rumored to have already made his college decision before he would even schedule official visits but one Urban Frank Meyer decided to pay a trip to Bell’s state championship game in Atlanta. All of a sudden, Bell was not so sure about his decision.
It will be a battle between Nick Saban and Urban Meyer for Bell’s services, but if history repeats itself, Tennessee could also be a more significant player for Bell than people realize.
Last year, recruiting experts had Stefon Diggs to OSU or the University of Florida but in the end, hometown Maryland won out. Tennessee holds a similar place in Bell’s heart as the Terrapins did for Diggs, so do not count out the Vols completely for Bell. Here is a closer look at the remaining 2013 targets coming to campus this weekend and discuss the odds of them signing with the Buckeyes.
Shelton Gibson (WR, Cleveland Heights) 90%
The story continues to be that grades are in question for Gibson and that he may not meet academic requirements. He recently told The-Ozone that grades are not an issue and if he wants to commit to OSU, he can. He is a dynamic playmaker and Ohio’s No. 1 rated WR for the 2013 class. Gibson had a good week of practice in San Antonio for the Army All American Bowl. He says OSU and WVU are tied but I think he is all Buckeye in the end. It would not be surprising if he left Columbus with a commitment to Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes.
Chris Worley (DB/ATH, Cleveland-Glenville) 90%
I am not sure why Worley has not committed yet but I would not be surprised if he made one this weekend. With no one from Cleveland-Glenville pipeline in the current 2013 class, Worley will likely fill the tenured position on the squad. Marcelys Jones has already taken the C-G post in 2014 and I know he and Chris are very close, so do not be surprised if the pipeline for 2013 flows with Worley flowing down to Ohio State. It’s only a matter of time here unless there are academic concerns in play.
Corey Smith (WR, Akron, OH) 50%
Sort of a wild card for the Buckeyes this weekend, Smith decided to make a last-minute visit to Columbus. He is currently committed to play for Meyer’s former assistant Dan Mullen down at Mississippi State, but the East Mississippi Community College star was originally a product of Akron Buchtel High School. He was hoping to take an OSU visit even when made the initial commitment to Mississippi State and now the Buckeyes will have another chance to impress the 6-foot speedster who holds offers from a number of big programs, including the likes of Alabama, Georgia, Michigan State, Nebraska, Tennessee and West Virginia. If he pulls the trigger this weekend, it would send a ripple effect through some of the other visitors. If he ends up sticking with his Mississippi State commitment, it opens the door for some of the guys below.
Cornelius Elder (WR/RB, Nashville, TN) 50%
Elder’s stock has risen off the charts for Ohio State ever since James Quick committed to Louisville. Right now, Elder is torn between Ohio State and UCLA. He has become plan B now that Quick is no longer on the market and again. Do not be surprised if Urban turns up the heat and Corn pops his commitment to the Buckeyes soon. That all depends on what happens with guys like Gibson and Smith. One wild card here is the fact Elder might want to play football and basketball at the next level. Jim Mora, Jr. and the Bruins are in stiff competition and Elder may opt for the sunny warm weather of SoCal over the cold of Columbus. Of course that depends on whether Elder has a true offer from the Buckeyes or one that is contingent on guys like Gibson and Smith not pulling the trigger first.
Ryan Timmons (WR, Kentucky) 40%
This guy is the people’s choice on Buckeye forums for an offer. Rivals.com/BuckeyeGrove recruiting analyst Marc Givler told me he thought Timmons was worthy of an OSU offer, but the Buckeyes seem to be waiting to see how things shake out with a few of those aforementioned receivers this weekend. Givler was at Timmons’ game where he battled 2014 target, QB Drew Barker, and came away impressed with his skills. The Buckeyes will only take one or two from the group of Smith, Elder and Timmons. If Elder commits to UCLA or gives Meyer the sense he’s not ready to make a decision then do not be surprised if Timmons is offered. If either Smith or Elder decides to commit this weekend, Timmons is probably out.
Vonn Bell (DB, GA) 40%
Reports swirled online that Ohio State was in the lead for Bell while he was at the Under Armour All-Star game down in Florida, but Buckeye Nation has heard this tune before with a lot of other prospects, including James Quick. Bell was reported to have already made up his mind before his high school football season ended but Urban Meyer’s last-minute visit changed everything and Bell has now scheduled three official visits. Ohio State is first up this weekend, followed by Alabama and Tennessee. Despite reports from the UA game, I still believe Bell will have to be blown away by his OSU visit to commit. I feel the Buckeyes’ chances drop drastically the moment he steps foot onto Alabama’s campus, fresh off a beat down of the Irish in the national championship game. Let’s face it, the Crimson Tide are smoking hot right now and Nick Saban is every bit the recruiter that Meyer is. Alabama has finished No. 1 in four out of the last five years in the Rivals.com final recruiting rankings, and top five every year since the Barrett Jones class back in 2008.
*That is all from here. O-zone will do its best to try to get the latest information on the weekend visitors in the Sunday Recruiting Rundown. With less than a month from National Signing Day, the Buckeyes are in a sprint to finish out this class.