The Hurry Up is your nightly dose of updates from the Ohio State football recruiting trail, keeping tabs on the latest from commits and targets from around the country.
AND THEN THERE WERE FIVE
With Ohio State holding as many as 18 commitments by week’s end, numbers are becoming increasingly tight for the current recruiting cycle — particularly at defensive end. So it should come as no surprise, then, that Clemmons, North Carolina, West Forsyth five-star defensive end K.J. Henry did not include the Buckeyes in his Top 5 on Monday evening and instead listed Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia Tech.
The 6-foot-6, 235-pound Henry — who is considered the second-best defensive end and No. 15 prospect overall in the Class of 2018, as he recorded 17 sacks and six blocked punts for the Titans last season — had been to Columbus twice in the last nine months. He attended November’s double-overtime win over Michigan and then returned to campus the day prior to Friday Night Lights as he made his way to a 7-versus-7 tournament in Canton that weekend.
Five-star defensive end Brenton Cox and four-star Andrew Chatfield have already pledged their services to the Buckeyes, who also remain among the favorites — if not the favorite — to land five-star Micah Parsons and four-stars Tyreke Smith and Jayson Oweh later in the cycle. And with that said, the staff really never went all-out for Henry, and it shows.
CAN THEY SQUEEZE HIM IN?
In an odd series of tweets Sunday night, Erie, Pennsylvania, Cathedral Prep four-star center Fredrick “Juice” Scruggs announced that he would make his college decision later this week — or did he?
He initially tweeted that he would host a commitment pool party on Aug. 4, then followed that up with a correction saying his decision would come on Aug. 5. Scruggs then deleted both tweets before adding there would be no pool party, only an announcement this Friday. That tweet was also deleted, with everyone left to wonder whether an announcement will actually occur.
Well, sources tell Eleven Warriors the 6-foot-3, 270-pound Scruggs — who is considered the second-best center and No. 196 prospect overall in the Class of 2018 — will in fact make his decision on Friday afternoon. As to why he deleted the tweets? I can’t tell you, but I know there’s plenty of times where I’ve tweeted something and messed it up numerous times to the point where I just give up on the tweet altogether.
It happens, and I expect Scruggs to make a more formal announcement later in the week.
As for the decision, Scruggs is down to Ohio State and Penn State, and that has been the case seemingly all the way through his recruitment. I honestly expected him to commit to the Buckeyes during the Spring Game, but a visit to Happy Valley for the Nittany Lions’ intrasquad scrimmage muddied the water a bit.
Scruggs dealt with some unspecified family/personal issues this summer — and that, plus the fact that both programs were still trying to see how he fit in their plans — put his recruitment on the back burner for a while. It appears, though, that one of the programs gave him the green light on Sunday night to make the call.
Which one? It appears to be Penn State, as Ohio State seems confident in closing out its offensive line haul — that already includes four-stars Max Wray and Matthew Jones — by chasing Jackson Carman and William Barnes through signing day. With Jones’ versatility and ability to play the center position, Scruggs was no longer necessity along the interior of the offensive line.
This morning, a flood of Crystal Ball predictions have been place in favor of the Nittany Lions, backing up my thinking when it came to Scruggs’ recruitment. And though it seems crazy for the Buckeyes pass on a player that’s ranked among the Top 2 players at his position, that’s just where the staff is right now in terms of recruiting at an elite level — only the best of the best end up in Columbus.
ON A SIMILAR NOTE
Just a few weeks after he included Ohio State in his Top 8 alongside Arkansas, LSU, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Ole Miss, Texas A&M and TCU, Justin, Texas, Northwest four-star offensive tackle Darrell Simpson is now set to make his college decision on Aug. 12.
Stay tuned..@kae_annette @chic1987simpson @simplyCoachO @cooks_simpson
— Darrell Simpson (@king_simpson34) July 31, 2017
The 6-foot-7, 336-pound Simpson is considered the 13th-best offensive tackle and No. 17 prospect overall in the Class of 2018. He was on campus for the Buckeyes’ double-overtime win over Michigan last November and also attended the blowout of the Sooners in Norman last September.
Oklahoma is the overwhelming favorite in his recruitment and this point in time, though, and his announcement comes just days after he attended the Sooners’ ChampU BBQ.
With high school football teams all across the country starting fall practice in earnest this week, it seems as if top prospects are releasing their top schools list left and right in order to not be a distraction to their teams.
Among them, Allen, Texas, four-star wide receiver Theo Wease Jr., who included Ohio State in his Top 14 on Sunday night alongside Arizona State, Colorado, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, Oregon, Texas, TCU, Utah and Washington.
Blessings… #Royal pic.twitter.com/uA9tswjPke
— Theo Wease Jr (@_TheoWeaseJr) July 30, 2017
The 6-foot-3, 189-pound Wease is considered the sixth-best wideout and No. 35 prospect overall in the Class of 2019, as he hauled in 35 receptions for 421 yards and eight touchdowns for the Eagles last season. He committed to the Sooners back in February following a trip to Norman for Junior Day, but reopened his recruitment in April because he felt his decision came too early in the process.
Ohio State offered Wease and his teammate, four-star quarterback Grant Tisdale, in May following a practice visit from quarterbacks coach Ryan Day during the spring evaluation period. He’s never been to campus, but the Buckeyes were one of his favorite teams growing up. If and when he does make the trip to Columbus this fall, I expect the staff to make a push to land both him and Tisdale.
REGULATORS, MOUNT UP
It was a clear black night, a clear white moon. Warren G.’s son was on the streets, trying to resume his search for a school. So he can play ball. Rollin’ in his ride, chillin’ all alone.
So he hit the west side of UCLA, on mission trying to find Mr. Jim Mora. Saw the Bruins mascot and started to freak, “All you other schools know what’s up with 310.”
So he hooked a left on Rose Bowl Drive, some brothers throwin’ the ball and he said, “Let’s do this.” He jumped out the ride and said, “What’s up.” DTR pulled a jersey and he said, “Fours Up!”
…and that concludes me brutally destroying one of the worst rap songs ever (NSFW).
Anyway, if you didn’t catch on, Warren G.’s son, Olaijah Griffin — a four-star cornerback from Mission Viejo, California — pledged his services to UCLA last night.
All Gas No Brakes! pic.twitter.com/sYBM0UXWdV
— G-CHILD (@OlaijahGriffin) July 31, 2017
He becomes the third son of a famous rapper to commit to UCLA within the last five years, joining Snoop Dogg’s son Cordell Broadus and P. Diddy’s son Justin Combs. Both have since left or been kicked off the program.