COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Buckeyes will be losing tight ends Jeff Heuerman and J.T. Moore after the 2014 season, which means that they will be hoping to add two tight ends in the 2015 recruiting class.
Sunday Recruiting Rundown — March 9
By Tony Gerdeman
Their top target at the position might just be Chris Clark (6-6 247) out of Avon, Connecticut. Clark, a four-star prospect, is rated the #3 tight end in the nation per Scout. He has one of the more impressive offer lists you'll see, with the likes of Ohio State, Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Miami (FL), Notre Dame and Nebraska all vying for his services.
Clark has had a busy March, visiting schools seemingly every weekend. He will be visiting Penn State at the end of this week, and then will head to Ohio State and Michigan the week after. Earlier in the week, Mike Farrell of Rivals tweeted that he was hearing that the top schools for Clark were Ohio State, North Carolina and Arizona State.
Clark isn't the only tight end on the Buckeyes' radar, however, as they are also looking at Hale Hentges (6-5 235), out of Jefferson City, Missouri. Hentges is a top five tight end per all four recruiting services, and has an offer list every bit as impressive as Chris Clark's, if not more so.
Hentges is scheduled to make an unofficial visit to Ohio State in early April. At that point, 'The Chase' for Hentges will truly begin.
Two other tight ends have been offered as well. Jackson Harris (6-5 240) is a four-star prospect out of Columbia, Tennessee. Like the previous two tight ends mentioned, Harris has his pick of the top BCS programs in the nation. Garrett Williams (6-4 225) is Rivals' #3 tight end in the 2015 class. He is from Orlando, Florida and is a long shot for the Buckeyes at this point.
While on the Subject of Pass Catchers
Receiver Juwan Johnson (6-5 200) out of Glassboro, New Jersey revealed his top five this week, and the Buckeyes found themselves in the company of four other schools. Currently, Johnson's top five (in no order) is Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State and Boston College.
Johnson is ranked the #8 athlete in the nation per 247Sports and the #13 receiver per Rivals. He is the #4 player in the state of New Jersey per NJ.com, and has already been selected to play in the Army All-American Bowl in 2015.
At 6-foot-5, Johnson is also a lockdown cornerback for his high school team. He dealt with injuries through much of 2013, which is why he only caught 26 passes for 421 yards. He is a 10.6 100-meter guy, and has been clocked in the 40-yard dash at 4.45 seconds. He isn't planning any visits in the spring and will wait until his official visits are done before making a decision.
A decision could be coming in the next six weeks or so for Brentwood, Tennessee receiver Van Jefferson (6-2 180). Jefferson is a four-star receiver with offers from Ohio State, Penn State, Clemson, Auburn, Georgia and South Carolina. He is very high on Ohio State, having both camped and visited in the past.
He will be making several unofficial visits over the next month, including one to Ohio State. He hopes to make a commitment after those visits.
On the Line
What good are pass catchers if the quarterback is never protected, right? You're not telling the Ohio State coaches anything they don't already know, which is why there are always a good number of offensive linemen being recruited.
One of those offensive linemen is Drew Richmond (6-5 315) out of Memphis, Tennessee. Richmond is the #5 tackle in the nation per Rivals, and he will be releasing his top 10 and commitment date via Twitter on Monday.
The Buckeyes are expected to make the cut, but many feel it will be difficult to get Richmond to leave the state. He has been offered by most of the SEC and Big Ten.
Another lineman that likes the Buckeyes is Patrick Allen (6-5 270) out of Reisterstown, Maryland. Allen is a four-star offensive line prospect that could play either tackle or guard. He has offers from Ohio State, Florida State, Florida, Penn State, USC, Wisconsin and Virginia Tech.
At the moment, this appears to be a battle between Ohio State and Florida State, with most leaning towards FSU. Allen will be visiting Columbus on March 22.
New Running Back Offered
One day after Ohio State offered Hubbard, Ohio tailback L.J. Scott, they went out and offered Ronald Jones II (6-0 185) out of McKinney, Texas.
Soon after OSU offered, the in-state Texas Longhorns did the same. Jones is ranked the #2 running back in the nation per Rivals. He is already slated to play in the Under Armour All-American Game in January.
The Buckeyes are absolutely on the outside looking in, and are just hoping to get Jones to make an official visit. If they can do that, then things can begin to progress. Until that happens, however, Ohio State is better suited to continue working on the targets that are already reciprocating interest, like Damien Harris and L.J. Scott.
Buckeye Quarterback Target Gets Auburn Offer
Deondre Francois (6-1 190), a dual-threat quarterback out of Orlando, Florida picked up an offer from the Auburn Tigers this past week. The offer made quite an impression on Francois, who told the Orlando Sentinel, "It's a great program. They are automatically in my top five."
While the Buckeyes have offered, the belief is that the OSU coaches still need to see him throw at one of their camps this summer. Last Sunday, Francois won co-MVP honors at the NUC Five-Star Challenge in Kissimmee, so competing in a camp environment is something that he can obviously excel at.
Torrance Gibson (6-4 200) is the top dual-threat quarterback in the nation and remains Ohio State's top target at the position. They could look to sign two quarterbacks in 2015, but as long as one of them is Gibson, they'll be happy.
Nick Conner, the nation's #6 inside linebacker per 247Sports visited Ohio State this past week. Conner, from Dublin, Ohio, has still yet to be offered by the Buckeyes, but he is undeterred at the moment. He is also scheduled to visit for the Spring Game. Ohio State is firmly in the mix for quite a few linebackers, and right now some tough decisions are having to be made about whom to offer and whom to wait on.
OSU safety commit Ben Edwards (6-0 196) was offered by the University of Georgia on Friday. Edwards, from Jacksonville, Florida, has previously stated that he still plans on taking additional visits despite his commitment to Ohio State. Given his proximity to Georgia, a visit to the Bulldogs isn't out of the question.
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