Buckeyes Offer Two More 2014 Quarterbacks
By Tony Gerdeman
One day after offering Arizona quarterback Kyle Allen, Urban Meyer was back at it with offers to two more 2014 signal callers. Brandon Harris (6-2 186) out of Bossier City, Louisiana and Zack Darlington (6-2 207) out of Apopka, Florida are the two newest holders of Ohio State scholarship offers.
The offers come on the heels of a whirlwind road trip by offensive coordinator Tom Herman, who attended Harris's spring practice on Monday, Allen's on Tuesday and then Darlington's on Wednesday. After seeing each of them in person, Herman and Meyer felt good enough about all three of them to extend offers.
Harris, who was the second of the three to receive the offer, is one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation. Both 247 Sports and ESPN rate him the #5 dual-threat QB in the class, and both have him as a four-star prospect. Scout and Rivals both label him a three-star prospect, with Rivals calling him the #11 dual-threat quarterback, and Scout ranking him the #23 overall quarterback in the nation.
Harris, who claims 4.5 speed, ran a 4.64 at a recent combine. He has offers from Ohio State, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Nebraska, North Carolina and Auburn, among others. He has a huge arm, but has been called raw. He passed for 2,673 yards and 26 touchdowns last season, while rushing for 677 yards and 12 more touchdowns.
Harris plans to make his decision this summer, and as of right now the Buckeyes will definitely get a visit. He won't be the only quarterback visiting and hoping to make a decision this summer, however.
With spring practices now open, college coaches are coming to see Zack Darlington just about every day, and for good reason. He led his Apopka team to the 8A state championship last season, earning the player of the year award for his efforts, but is apparently even better now.
He spent the offseason speed and strength training, and it has paid off, particularly when he recently clocked a 4.43 40-yard dash.
"I’m not gonna lie … the 4.43 kind of jumped out at me," Darlington told the Orlando Sentinel. "I trained for it and I’ve gotten faster and stronger. I ran kind of like a practice 40 and ran a 4.5 and I wasn’t feeling my best. Then a week or two later we ran our team 40s and I ran four different 40s. I had a 4.43 twice, a 4.47 and a 4.45. I was surprised they were so consistent.
"I feel so much different in the pocket. When I drop back and something breaks down, I’m going and no one can catch me … it feels weird."
Darlington threw for roughly 1,800 yards and rushed for another 800 last year, and he put those numbers up even though he missed several games due to injury.
Darlington said that Urban Meyer told him that he reminded him of Tim Tebow. Those are tall words, but if Meyer said them to get Darlington's attention, he didn't need to. Ohio State already has his attention.
“It’s quite a big one,” Darlington told the Sentinel of his Ohio State offer.
"I was ecstatic. That’s the one I’ve really been working for, Ohio State. I’ve gotten so much stronger and faster and when they came down I was just hoping I’d impress them, and I guess I did. In less than 24 hours, Coach Meyer called and offered me."
The recruiting services are mixed on Darlington, though it stands to reason that with the growing attention that he is receiving, he will move up the charts.
Scout currently ranks him the #26 QB and a three-star prospect. He is also a three-star prospect per 247 Sports, who ranks him the #18 pro-style quarterback. ESPN calls him a four-star prospect, and is their #11 dual-threat quarterback. Rivals has him as a three-star prospect and the #14 dual-threat quarterback in the nation.
He currently has offers from Ohio State, Arizona, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Nebraska and Ole Miss. He would like to commit to a school before his football season begins.
The question now becomes whether or not the Buckeyes are done offering quarterbacks, and whether or not this is a case of the first one to commit gets the offer and the other two miss out.
All three quarterbacks are expected to make their decisions this summer, so there should be movement here in the next few months, if not sooner.
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