Feb 24 Recruiting Rundown
By Michael Chung
Urban Meyer is on a cruise for cancer, which has made this weekend quieter than normal for visits. Damon Webb was planning to drive (actually his dad) QB Jayru Campbell and RB Mike Webber down from Detroit to Columbus but they will wait another weekend when Meyer comes back.
While Meyer was cruising for cancer, Nick Saban was cruising for Buckeyes, offering the number one player in Ohio—Marshon Lattimore—DB Erick Smith, and OL verbal commit Marcelys Jones scholarships for 2014. All three are planning a visit to Alabama together.
Just like Meyer is trying to weaken Hoke by going after the top talent in Michigan, Nick Saban is trying to weaken Urban Meyer, offering three of the top 10 Ohio prospects and one happens to be a verbal commit. If Urban Meyer is not on the phone from his cruise ship, he will certainly be working them once his vessel hits port.
Recruiting season never ends and this week had some of news.
Quin Blanding (6-2, 185, DB, Virginia Beach, VA)
It has been reported that Quin will make his decision this Wednesday, Feb 27. Ohio State is one of the schools in the mix but it would be a huge coup if they landed Blanding. With Everett Withers at the helm, one never can count Ohio State out for any safety prospect. Along with the Buckeyes, Blanding’s other nine schools are: Virginia, Notre Dame, North Carolina, Miami, West Virginia, Clemson, NC State, Florida State, and Michigan. It would be a surprise if he chose anywhere else other than UVa. Justin Ferber of Cavalier Sports Now writes:
"Blanding plays at Bayside High School in Virginia Beach, meaning he is plenty familiar with the Cavaliers’ program. Bayside has sent Demetrious Nicholson, Henry Coley and Anthony Cooper to Charlottesville in recent years, as well as being home to star running back and Virginia signee Taquan Mizzell. Blanding has been to Grounds quite a few times, and as recently as last weekend."
Ferber goes on to write,
"The timing of this decision seems to be good news for the Cavaliers. There were rumblings that Blanding wanted to end the recruiting process early, but this is probably earlier than anyone expected. Blanding is much more familiar with the Virginia program than any of his other finalists, and already has friendships and relationships with players on the team. It will not come as a shock if the 5-star safety chooses the Cavaliers next week, and becomes one of Virginia’s highest rated commits ever."
With players like Vonn Bell ahead of him, it will be a great coup for Ohio State to land Blanding. There was a report a few weeks ago that Blanding had OSU on top but those reports have gone deafly quiet since Blanding released his Feb 27 announcement date. Look for Virginia to pick up their most highly rated players in a long time.
Damon Webb (5-11, 170, DB, Detroit, MI)
It is no secret that Damon Webb is in the heart of Wolverine country and is surrounded by Wolverine fans and UM commits. One person in Webb’s ear trying to flip him to UM is David Dawson. Despite Dawson’s and other’s efforts, Webb remains solid to OSU. A source mentioned to me that UM is still recruiting Webb hard, sending him mail and messaging him via means like Facebook. He was offered a chance to attend the UM vs. MSU basketball game but chose not to attend. Webb was a Buckeye fan as a youth but his father was a Michigan fan and swayed his son to the hometown team. Now, Damon Webb Sr. wears an Ohio State hat everyday and says he is all about his son. When OSU meets UM on the field, Webb Sr. is all out Ohio State. Damon Webb Jr. is active in communicating to Michigan prospects like Drake Harris and Lawrence Marshall as well as bringing Cass Tech prospects for 2015—Jayru Campbell and Michael Webber—down to Ohio State for visits. Though Webb is receiving love from the hometown Wolverines, look for this Cass Tech commit to come to Columbus in 2014.
Jermaine Eluemunor (6-6, 300, OL, Scranton, PA)
Jermaine grew up in England until he was 14 and started playing American football his sophomore year in high school. Coach Ed Warinner told him he has an offer and can play right away. Ohio State loses four offensive linemen after next season and will need linemen that are ready. Eluemunor being a JuCo player could step right in. Eluemunor attributes a lot of his success to wrestling and would even go up against Luke Fickell. He plans to announce his choice in the Fall.
Clifton Garrett (6-3, 220, LB, Joliet, IL)
After the Urban Meyer train rolled with four early commits for 2014, many fans were hoping for another huge piece to be added via star LB Clifton Garrett. He visited Ohio State over the weekend of Feb 15-17, his fourth visit to OSU. He feels he has seen all he needs to see from OSU. He told the-Ozone he will take his official visits and will decide sometime after the season. He is not sure exactly when he will decide but it will not be anytime soon. Garrett is the type of player OSU will wait on. Just as the coaches patiently waited for Vonn Bell in 2013, they will give Garrett all the time he needs.
Jamarco Jones (6-5, 285, OL, Chicago, IL)
It is no secret that OSU will recruit heavily at OL this class and with Kyle Trout and Marcelys Jones in; the Buckeyes hope to add at least three more OL if possible. One person they would like to add is Jamarco Jones who won the overall MVP this past weekend in Cincinnati at the Core6athletes Showcase. He visited OSU a few weeks ago and said he had a great visit and is being recruited by Mike Vrabel and Ed Warinner. Urban Meyer told Jones that he would recruit him hard. Jones will decide before the beginning of his senior season and really likes OSU a lot. Thinks it is a great school that will make him a better player.
Nic Weishar (6-5, 215, TE, Midlothian, IL)
Weishar told by Mike Vrabel and Tim Hinton that he would fit perfectly in the Tom Herman and Urban Meyer’s offensive system. OSU has only offered four tight ends and will only take one of the four. Has visits set up for Kansas, Missouri, Northwestern, Indiana, and Michigan but definitely plans to visit Ohio State. He knows what OSU is all about citing the great tradition and being in contention for championships as reasons he is interested but he has yet to visit. Tom Herman was utilizing the TE position is a creative way long before he and Urban Meyer hooked up so any TE that comes to OSU now will not be the traditional TE of OSU past.
Kyle Berger (6-3, 205, LB, Cleveland, OH)
Visited Michigan this weekend and will update Buckeye nation on where he stands after his visit. Berger has interest in Michigan with Jake Ryan attending there. Ohio State was in early for Berger and has a head start on the relationship. He talked to Urban Meyer soon after his Ohio State offer but found out about his Michigan offer via his high school coach. Berger has had Michigan interest so this one will by no means be a Buckeye lock. With OSU taking at least three linebackers but likely four, the staff would love to have Kyle as one of them.
Dominique Booth (6-1, 195, WR, Indianapolis, IN)
Booth won the offensive MVP this past weekend at the Core6athletes showcase. He does not have an offer from Ohio State but coaches are keeping in contact with him and seem to be indicating that an offer will be coming. OSU coaches need to get a move on as Booth is planning to decide in Mid-April. His top 5 is currently Mississippi State, Indiana, Michigan State, Missouri, and Tennessee. It sounds like Tennessee is in the lead, though he himself did not state it. He has a really good relationship with Tennessee head coach Butch Jones who has known him since his days in Cincinnati. Kerry Coombs has been in contact with Booth and has been showing Booth that OSU has interest but have yet to offer. Do not be too surprised if OSU offers soon.
Jeb Blazevich (TE, Charlotte, NC)
Blazevich is down to 6 schools: Alabama, Clemson, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Georgia, and Ohio State. He plans to try to visit them all again and hopefully will decide in May. He plans to take his official visits to the school he commits too. He mentioned to me that he has no leader. If I had to guess where he might end up, Clemson may have a slight advantage. Clemson is closest proximity wise to his home and he is very close to his parents. He also has an older brother who attends Clemson. But a chance to play for Urban Meyer maybe too tempting and Tom Herman was creatively using the tight end long before Aaron Hernandez hit the scene. Herman was innovative as way back as his days at Rice and Sam Houston State. James Casey out of Rice now plays fullback for the Houston Texans.
That is it for this week and that is it for me for a while. My wife and I will be picking up our adopted son and priorities will shift to him. I hope to get back in a month and half or so. In the mean time, the-Ozone staff will continue the rundown in my absence. You can read some non-sports related writing I have done here but I will not be doing much writing of any kind in the near future. Surely, when I return to the-Ozone (if they’ll have me back that is), the landscape of the 2014 season will have changed mightily. Urban Meyer is a recruiting machine that requires him to be on cruises for recruiting news to be quiet. He will be well-rested and ready to go and when the dust settles in my life, so will I.