Random Thoughts from the Recruiting Trail
This past weekend’s Nike Football Training Camp saw seven of the nine 2014 commits present—Damon Webb, Kyle Trout, Lonnie Johnson, Kyle Berger, Dante Booker, Dylan Thompson, and Parris Campbell—only Sam Hubbard and Marcelys Jones were absent.
Sounds like a good core of friendship is developing among the 2014 class. Urban Meyer and his glitz and glamor are important but it is ultimately the relationships between coaches and players that get recruits to stick. Urban Meyer himself said that current commits are the best recruiters and these guys in the 2014 class are going at it.
Kyle Trout is growing as a man and as a player. When I first started talking to him, I felt he was a “gentle giant,” kind and sweet but after talking to him this week, I can tell he is growing in confidence and self-assurance. His showing against the nation’s number one player—DaShawn Hand—may have earned him the spot in the prestigious football camp/competition in Oregon: The Opening.
Trout told me he was not intimidated by Hand’s five-star rating and felt it gave him an edge when he went up against him. Trout said that Hand clearly beat him once in drills but Trout won once and the two stalemated another. Hand tried to trash talk with Trout but Kyle did not let it get to him and mentioned to me that he is looking forward to going up against Hand again in Oregon at The Opening.
Most schools have cooled off on Damon Webb, believing that he is solid to Ohio State but a source revealed to me that Alabama might try to jump into the picture. Webb and his fellow Cass Tech teammates will go down to Alabama to participate in a 7 on 7 competition and a source felt that Alabama may offer Webb. But the source felt there was nothing to worry about: Damon is solid Buckeye.
Turn about is fair play in recruiting. Urban Meyer has offered Elizabethtown, Kentucky DT prospect Matt Elam. The reason this is significant: Elam has an Alabama offer. After Nick Saban seemingly has offered every OSU verbal commit under the sun, Meyer is turning the tables and telling Nick Saban that two can play at that game. The early returns for Elam is that he will go SEC or Louisville—close to home like James Quick—but you never now in this world of recruiting.
A source revealed to me that he felt OSU was holding off on a few players while they wait a decision on WR prospect Derek Kief out of Cincinnati. Kief will be visiting Alabama June 8-11 and after this visit, his final destination should be clearer.
Don’t count Texas OL prospect Demetrius Knox a Buckeye yet, he communicated to me that he loved his visit to the University of Miami. He messaged me, “I love their coaching staff. They don't come at you with just a coaches angle but instead they are like father figures, best friends and coaches all in one.” Knox is planning on taking his official visits so the recruitment of this Texan is far from over.
On why Knox de-committed from the Longhorns, he messaged me: “I just felt like I was growing apart from the coaching staff. Felt like they seemed different as time went on.” The 2014 Buckeye class is actively recruiting him, as there is a lot of action on Twitter.
The chase for PA LB Chase Winovich has ended and with a shocking turn. This past Saturday, Winovich pledged to the University of Michigan. I had a source that was interacting with Winovich very closely until his decision and from their perspective, was shocked Chase chose Michigan. I later asked the source why Winovich chose Michigan and the source felt Dante Booker’s commitment may have been a factor in choosing UM. He mentioned to me that Booker’s name did come up in conversation but Chase did not directly mention Booker’s commitment as an issue.
Land-Grant Holy Land’s Zach Clark reports that OSU has offered another Juco OL in Avery Gennesy. Clark writes, "I spoke with Coach [Tom Herman] on the phone, and he told me that they had decided to offer me a scholarship. . . . Ohio State is one of the schools I like right now, but I want to take my time and see how it plays out. I plan on announcing the school I choose on signing day."
Gennesy is listed at 6-5 and 318 lbs and is one of three Juco OL the Buckeyes are actively pursuing along with Chad Mavety and Jermaine Eluemenor.
That is it for this mid-week report; tune in this Sunday for another addition of the Sunday Recruiting Rundown.