Sunday Recruiting Rundown
By Michael Chung
Recruiting is like a soap opera: expect the unexpected. After weeks of the experts predicting Chase Winovich to the Buckeyes, he turned an about face and pledged to the Michigan Wolverines. His recruitment changed like the wind changes directions. Winovich stated that he felt most comfortable at Michigan though it seemed for a long time he was headed to Columbus, but this is the recruiting world. Things alter fast-fast-fast.
Tim Settle and DaShawn Hand were in Columbus last weekend. Both are highly rated defensive linemen with Hand being the #1 ranked prospect in the nation. Hand has gone on record that Ohio State is not in his top 5 but do not count Urban Meyer out, ever.
Last year at The Opening, Ohio State had four players but this year they will have at least six: Damon Webb, Dylan Thompson, Kyle Trout, Kyle Berger, Dante Booker, and Parris Campbell. Looks like Urban and Co. know what they are doing.
Though Buckeye nation is still three months away from kick-off, the world of recruiting never ends and if one happens to be covering Urban Frank Meyer, then recruiting is literally a 24/7 job. With that short montage, here is this week’s rundown.
Jamarco Jones (6’5” 290, OL, 2014, Chicago, IL)
Time is ticking and in less than three weeks, the world will know where this O-lineman will pledge. Right now, he is scheduled to decide on June 27, 2pm EST at his school. The Buckeyes are in his top 4 that also include Michigan State, Notre Dame, and Michigan. Unless he postpones his announcement, the Buckeyes are sitting in very good shape and I would not be surprised if he pledges Buckeye. Jones plans on visiting all four schools before June 27 but many believe he is a Buckeye lean.
Alex Bookser (6’6” 295, OL, 2014, Lebanon, PA)
It is hard to get a good gauge on where Bookser stands. Some sources say he has high Ohio State interest while others say he is more interested in other schools. At this point, it looks like Alex will not cross over to Ohio and most believe he ends up at Penn State under Bill O’Brien. His top eight are: Penn State, Pitt, Tennessee, Ohio State, Alabama, MSU, Virginia, and Northwestern with Virginia trending upward.
Brandon Harris (6’3” 195, QB, 2014, Bossier City, LA)
Harris was in Ohio last weekend and wowed people with his ability to throw the ball. He is one of two OSU QB targets that have not committed elsewhere. Kyle Allen committed to Texas A&M and Deshaun Watson has been a long time Clemson commit. Most believe that Harris will stay south at LSU, Auburn, or Alabama. 247Sports rates him as the top dual threat QB for 2014, which could be a detractor because OSU already has the top dual threat QB of 2013 in JT Barrett. Most experts expect Harris to end up at either his hometown LSU or Auburn but one person— 247Sports director of recruiting JC Shurburtt—believes Harris will end up Buckeye. Does he have some inside info that others don’t? A source a while back felt that OSU was in good shape for Harris but he also backtracked on Bookser so time will be our best source. I think it would behoove OSU to offer in-state star Deshon Kizer ASAP before it gets too late.
Demetrius Knox (6’4” 300, OL, 2014, Fort Worth, TX)
Knox is a Texas de-commit and told me that he felt he was growing apart from the Texas coaches and that they seemed different. Many believe OSU is the front-runner but he recently visited the University of Miami and said he loved it, that he felt the coaches were like father figures. The decision will not be an easy one. He is also looking at UCLA, Oregon, FSU. Some say Miami also has the lead for his closet friend—Daniel Gresham—a FB who has an OSU offer. If Gresham decides Hurricane, he could sway Demetrius like Camren Williams helped sway Armani Reeves away from Michigan to Ohio State. Gresham has offers from Knox’s entire top 5 except Oregon so the Ducks maybe have quacked on Demetrius. Knox was in IL this weekend for the Rivals camp and all reports had him winning all three times against 5-star DT and OSU target Andrew Brown. This makes Knox that much more a priority.
Jonathan Hilliman (6’0” 200, RB, 2014 Jersey City, NJ)
Hilliman was in Columbus this weekend. From all accounts, he was having a great visit. He referred to Urban Meyer as a “class act” and also said, “It's so live over here man !!! #BuckeyeNation is def worth the hype” He also tweeted: “Day two of this amazing. If its anything like day one I will be overjoyed !!✔✔✔”; “Heading to the "HorseShoe" so many legends have grace that field. Can't wait to see it !!!” His visit appeared to go really well via his twitter. In April, Hilliman named Ohio State his leader. There is no indication anything has changed. Though only possessing a 3 star rating, Hilliman has offers from top schools like Michigan, Florida, Georgia, Stanford, and Alabama. Many compare him to Carlos Hyde and Bri’onte Dunn.
Derek Kief (6’5” 185, WR, 2014 Cincinnati, OH)
A source told me this week that he believes Ohio State is holding off on a few guys and waiting on Kief. Nick Saban will have something to say about that as Kief is currently in Alabama visiting the Crimson Tide and will be there until June 11. This visit is crucial, as many believe OSU leads for Kief but the tide could turn quickly if Derek is dazzled by the SEC and national champs.
Poona Ford (6’0” 285, DT, 2014, Hilton Head Island, SC)
Urban Meyer never stops recruiting the DL and traverses the country looking for talent. Michael Hill of SC is already in for 2013, so why not another South Carolinian for 2014? It is split on Ford but most think he stays home and plays for Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks.
That is all for this week. Will try to have a midweek update from sources as well as another edition of the rundown next week.