Sunday Recruiting Rundown Jan 26
By Michael Chung
Cincinnati Reds baseball fans can remember the late Joe Nuxhall’s radio sign-off: “This is the old lefthander rounding third and headed for home.” Urban Meyer can be saying this phrase this weekend (Is he left-handed btw?) as the 2014-recruiting season is winding down and National Signing Day is less than two weeks away.
The recruiting week was not without its drama, the big ones being the possible UCLA visit on Jan 31 for the-Ozone contributor Demetrius Knox and the MSU visit by Jamarco Jones over the same weekend.
Buckeye nation was panicking when it was announced that Knox would first visit UCLA and then later added that he would visit Texas, the school he previously de-committed from. But UT visit was off as Knox tweeted: “I will be chilling at my house this weekend... No worries.”
The UCLA visit is also off as Knox tweeted he will not be coming, but Jim Mora Jr. and the Bruins will likely keep pressing him.
Another surprise per @SWiltfong247 , Steve Wiltfong, was first to report that long time OL verbal commit Jamarco Jones would be visiting Michigan State the same weekend of Knox’s potential UCLA visit. Jones has been an OSU verbal since late June so this eleventh hour visit comes as a surprise (but so was Ezekiel Elliott’s last year).
Jones and Knox are probably the two most important verbal commits for 2014. They are at a position of highest need and are the two most likely OL to see playing time for 2014. At this point, I would be surprised if either de-committed, but in recruiting, one learns anything can happen. It is late in the game and though Jones had a close relationship former DL coach Mike Vrabel, his primary relationship on OSU would be with Ed Warinner who is still on staff.
I believe Jones is over 90% certain he will sign with the Buckeyes but this late weekend official visit possibilities are probably to clear the remaining 5-10% of “what ifs” in his mind. He is about to make the biggest decision of his young life and probably wants some clarity. It would be a huge surprise if Jones would de-commit, but this is recruiting, a Reality TV show for men.
Michigan suffered its own drama this week. No. 1 ranked RB by Rivals for 2015 Damien Harris officially de-committed from TTUN. OSU coaches Stan Drayton and Tim Hinton quickly pounced on Harris, both following him on Twitter.
The-Ozone’s Tony Gerdeman believes Michigan still leads for Harris but the 2014 Michigan offense, especially their run game, will be a deciding factor in Harris’s recruitment. Gerdeman writes, “Damien Harris will have a decision to make once again, and while Michigan may still be in good standing at the moment, it will be the running that will be the ultimate decider. If the Wolverines can't run the ball in 2014, and the Buckeyes can, the decision would seem to be simple.”
Ohio State was hoping to add another DL into the fold but a source this week revealed to me that Derrick Nnadi, a DT out of VA, would not be in this class. Call it the “Mike Vrabel Effect” but OSU was once in really good shape to add one more DL but without the three time Super Bowl Champion DL coach, the OSU chances of adding one more DL are next to nil.
A source also reported to me that surprise OL prospect Roderick Johnson will not be in the 2014 class either. Ohio State reserved five spots for OL in 2014 and all five have been filled but the source revealed this to me before it was reported that Demetrius Knox and Jamarco Jones would be headed for possible official visits.
With less than two weeks remaining in the 2014-recruiting season, Ohio State coaches are already turning much of their attention toward 2015. OSU spent a lot of time in the NY/NJ area during 2014. 2015 promises the same, visiting the likes of Brandon Wimbush, Minah Fitzpatrick, Steven Gonzalez, and Chris Clark who lives in NY/NJ area but goes to school in CT. But there is still much to do for 2014 and with that, here is this week’s rundown:
Malik McDowell (6’7” 290 DL, 2014, Detroit, MI)
It looks like the “Mike Vrabel Effect” has hit its trifecta with McDowell. Though reports are that McDowell has eliminated OSU and cancelled his Jan 31 visit, there is always a chance he could show up. Most think Malik moves to Michigan State and there is some evidence this is true as he was originally scheduled to visit LSU this weekend but visited Michigan State instead, essentially eliminating the Tigers. Unless a minor miracle occurs, McDowell will not be a Buckeye.
David Njoku (6’4” 215 ATH/WR, 2014, Cedar Grove, NJ)
If there is one more for 2014, it will likely be Njoku. He has been offered by Ohio State and will visit Jan 31. Depending on when he will announce, Ohio State is in really good position with Njoku. With Marcus Baugh’s uncertain future, and Mike Gesicki reaffirming his PSU allegiance, securing the pledge of Njoku will be crucial. He visits January 31st and I believe shortly afterwards, he will commit to the Scarlet and Gray. Ed Warinner visited Njoku for his basketball game and the momentum of the NY/NJ pipeline to Ohio State is picking up. Through the years the Buckeyes have had significant recruits from each of those states like Doug Worthington, Malcolm Jenkins, and Sam Maldinado. Going back even further, All-American defensive back Jack Tatum played his high school football in Passaic, New Jersey, while All-American running back John Brockington came to OSU from Brookyn, N.Y. Former OSU linebacker and assistant coach Glen Mason also hails from The Garden State. Others from New Jersey include linebacker Bruce Elia (1971-74) and running back Calvin Murray (1977-80). The Buckeyes would love for Njoku to be an eleventh hour commit much like Brian Robiske and Donald Washington were years ago under Jim Tressel.
Torrance Gibson (6’4” 200 QB, 2015, Ft. Lauderdale, FL)
With 2014 winding down, it is time to turn our focus to 2015. OSU wants at least one QB in this class, maybe even two, and Gibson is top of the list. He revealed his top 8 and Ohio State is in it. It includes Ohio State, LSU, Tennessee, Florida, Notre Dame, Clemson, Miami, and UCF. The Buckeyes want at least one QB and would love to add Gibson.
That is all for this week, the-ozone.net is working on an interview with David Njoku, Scott Patchan and a whole lot more in the-ozone.net recruiting coverage.