Sunday Recruiting Rundown: Army All-American Bowl Wrap-Up
By Michael Chung
On the 12th day of Christmas, Cleveland gave Ohio State one final holiday gift. Giving some relief to hurting heart Buckeye fans, defensive help is on its way to Ohio State in the form of Erick Smith and Marshon Lattimore. Both made official what recruiting analysts long believed, that both would commit to the Buckeyes.
Both had nice Army games but Smith in particular showed that he can hit hard as a safety but cover like a cornerback. Smith could be the next great DB along with his teammate Marshon Lattimore and Damon Webb.
Here are some more final thoughts from the Army All-American Bowl:
* I asked current Notre Dame OL commit Quenton Nelson if he had talked to OSU coaches recently. He said there is no contact and no chance he will flip from Notre Dame. He also told me that if Brian Kelly bolted for the NFL, it would not influence him to de-commit but if his OL coach—Harry Hiestand—left, then he would consider de-committing from the Fighting Irish.
* Myles Autry still has an OSU offer and tells me OSU is still recruiting him. When I asked him if Johnnie Dixon’s commitment influenced him at all, he said it did not and there would be competition anywhere he went.
Autry says he is an ATH and can play anywhere OSU would want if he committed. I asked Autry if OSU was in his top 2 and he was a little apprehensive. When I asked if they were in his top 3, he seemed more upbeat. This tells me he will likely not be part of the 2014 class, but he said he does plan to visit so one never knows with Urban Meyer.
*I talked to top OL Damien Mama, a really nice guy. He said OSU was recruiting him but then they stopped calling for a while. He seemed a bit perturbed when he told me this. Then he mentioned OSU started calling again a few weeks ago but it was too late and Ohio State was officially eliminated in Mama’s mind.
* Malik McDowell is very tall and has the body to really grow into a top DL. Demetrius Knox says he has improved since he last faced him in the summer. McDowell is still considering 7 schools and is scheduled to visit OSU January 31st with Solomon Thomas.
* It is hard to read TX DL Solomon Thomas. He has been spending time with OSU recruits but also Stanford guys as well. I asked a Stanford commit where he thought Thomas was leaning and he said he did not know. Thomas visits OSU on Jan 31 with Malik McDowell and says he will decide on National Signing Day. I think it is between Stanford and Ohio State.
Thomas had some strong feelings on Mack Brown and did not feel he should have been forced out of Texas. Seemed very emotional when the subject came up and clearly has a connection with Brown. Texas is still in his top 5.
* No one has Va DT prospect Derrick Nnadi to OSU but sources here say it is 50/50 between Ohio State and Virginia Tech. He has formed a close bond with Demetrius Knox, calling him on the phone while I was interviewing Knox.
Knox says that if Nnadi commits to OSU, he would be Nnadi’s roommate. Knox also says Nnadi is incredibly hard to block. Derrick visits January 17.
* It seemed like Johnnie Dixon will be at WR both outside and in the slot while Curtis Samuel will be in the slot and RB, much like Percy Harvin and Dontre Wilson.
Samuel did not seem fazed at all that he and Dontre Wilson will be at the same position.
Dixon and Samuel have not raced yet in San Antonio and do not plan to but look for the two to go head-to-head once they arrive at OSU. As far as speed goes, Parris Campbell will give them a run for their money as Dante Booker told me Parris is pure speed.
* I was very impressed when I interviewed Dante Booker. He has a commanding presence about him, much like that of a natural leader. He seems composed and confidant, good attributes to have along with superior athletic talent.
I would not be surprised if Booker did broadcasting or some type of film/acting after his football days are over.
This year I asked the fearless leader of the Ozone, one John Porentas, if I could bring my wife and child with me to cover the bowl game. The legendary Ohio State journalist graciously added on the extra “dinero” so they could come. Needless to say, covering the bowl was extra joyful this year.