Recruiting never stops, and if you take a day off, you fall behind. Join us every night for a daily recap of Ohio State recruiting news, insight on what’s happening behind the scenes, and for a glimpse at what’s coming next.
You’re my boy, Blue
If you’re keeping track at home, the recruitment of L’Christian Smith may have you shaking your head a little bit. The Huber Heights (Ohio) Wayne High School receiver has been as tough to figure out as any player in the Class of 2018.
Back in May, after an unscheduled visit to Ohio State with Urban Meyer, “Blue” went from being on the periphery of the Buckeyes’ radar to being in its center.
“It was great,” Smith, rated a 4-star prospect by the 247Sports composite, told Land of 10. “Coach Urban Meyer assured me that I’m a priority. Ohio State is tops on my list.”
Rumors of a pending decision began to swirl after what Smith’s father told Land of 10 the Columbus trip was an “eye-opening” visit. Ohio State had zeroed in on Blue Smith, Kamryn Babb and Jeremy Ruckert as its 2018 group of pass catchers.
But no decision came. Ohio State, Kentucky and Cincinnati were the three schools Smith mentioned as finalists in July at Nike’s The Opening Final. Somehow, without ever announcing a decision date, Smith regularly posted on social media that his decision date was being pushed back. In Oregon, he told Land of 10 that those tweets and timeline adjustments were just meant to be fun.
“Honestly, it’s just to keep people guessing,” Smith said from Beaverton. “Like I said at the beginning, when all this started, I was going to take as long as I needed. I am not going to have a date, I’m going to commit when I am ready to commit. Because you know what? It’s fun.”
Fun or not, Blue told Land of 10 that day he was likely going to make a decision on Aug. 27, the night of the Warriors’ first game (and a nationally televised battle on ESPN). On Tuesday night, Smith threw another potential wrench into things by again taking to Twitter to suggest that date was no longer firm.
There has been a change in my commitment date…
— BLUE📿 (@bluesmith_) August 1, 2017
However, on Wednesday morning, his father Lorenzo said there’s been no change.
“We are keeping our original date,” Lorenzo shared with Land of 10. “Aug. 27. His coach wanted him to make an announcement at the school on Aug. 25.”
No matter when Smith makes his decision, there’s a lot of uncertainty right now as to which school he will choose. Ohio State is the one that makes the most sense to people on the outside looking in, but his relationships with the Kentucky staff and Wildcats commitments are strong. Kentucky never wavered in its pursuit of him and has told him from the start that he’s going to be a wide receiver in Lexington. Buckeyes coaches have suggested that continued physical growth could lead to a position evolution for the already 6-foot-6, 210-pound athlete.
Ohio State fans can’t imagine a scenario where a football player from Ohio actually chooses Kentucky over the Buckeyes, but as long as the Wildcats keep chipping away in the state the way they have through the years, it’s going to happen eventually.
Is this the year? It looks like there are 25 more days of #BBN tweets to digest before anyone finds out for sure.
Speaking of wide receivers, decision dates and Ohio State, St. Louis 4-star wideout Cameron Brown will make his college decision, again, on Monday. That was first reported by Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports.com.
St. Louis Christian Brothers explosive WR Cameron Brown will commit on Aug. 7. #Nebraska is @247CrystalBall leader: https://t.co/uQKjT1pyfv
— Steve Wiltfong (@SWiltfong247) August 2, 2017
Most of the smoke around Brown, a former Nebraska commitment, has him heading back to the Cornhuskers. The country’s 54th-ranked wide receiver is a teammate of Kamryn Babb at Christian Brothers College High School and visited Ohio State with Babb on June 9. That was the day the Buckeyes offered him, and while there’s been some relationship building in the last two months, there hasn’t been enough to keep him from making a decision again, soon.
So, unless Brown pulls of the super rare commit-de-commit-re-commit-de-commit with the same school, it may be hard to see how he ends up in Columbus.
Ohio State and the linebacker group
While we’re talking about pending commitments, let’s move to linebacker. More specifically, K’Vaughan Pope. The Buckeyes are expected to add linebacker commitment No. 3 on Friday when the Virginia 4-star athlete announces his college choice.
If Pope does commit to Ohio State, I suspect the first questions every recruitnik will ask are these: What about Solomon Tuliaupupu? What about Palaie Gaoteote?
How do I know that? Because nothing ever satisfies you savages.
Anyway, rest assured Ohio State fans, players such as Tuliaupupu and Gaoteote are just too good to stop recruiting. Scholarships open up all the time and if the Buckeyes can get a fourth linebacker out of that duo, they’ll do so happily and without a second thought.
Urban Meyer dishes on recruiting and preventing a flip
One area in which Ohio State has excelled in recent recruiting cycles? Preventing players the Buckeyes want from flipping to other schools. Yes, they’ve suffered de-commitments at times. Yes, they’ve lost long-time pledges as class needs evolved, but rarely have they felt a crippling defeat at the hands of rival recruiter.
When Meyer was asked about that by TheAthletic.com’s Ari Wasserman on Monday in a brief media appearance following an Ohio State practice, he stated that is by design. He says that often times he’ll ask players not to commit if there’s any inclination of uncertainty.
“We don’t try to be over forceful one way or the other,” Meyer said. “I always make sure, ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’ ‘Well, I’m kind of sure.’ ‘Well, hold off.’ We’re not a very pushy program.”
That policy has paid off in the past and it will be tested again this fall. The Buckeyes have already had to hold off major programs for players including Emory Jones, Jaiden Woodbey and Josh Proctor, and those who are chasing them won’t stop anytime soon.
When it comes to fighting off some schools, including Alabama, a different approach is necessary. You can’t just flex your muscle against the Tide and programs of that ilk. It often comes down to which school has the best relationship with the prospect, period.
“Honesty is the best policy,” Meyer said. “Do the very best you can. The recruiter has a hell of a responsibility. The position coach, and obviously me, to make sure you maintain a great relationship.”