Michael’s Sunday Recruiting Rundown: February 17
By Michael Chung
After National Signing Day was over the first official weekend of the 2014 class began with a bang when OL Kyle Trout, DE Lawrence Marshall, and ATH Parris Campbell committed to the 2014 class. Close to a fifth of the spots were already taken (or so we thought) and there are still 50 recruiting weekends to go.
Then, three days later, Marshall announced he would be de-committing from Ohio State, taking the 2014 class back down to four. Marshall was first spotted at the MSU vs. Michigan game in East Lansing and then was reportedly at Michigan for a visit.
Wednesday night he de-committed officially. He told me that he was going to slow down the recruiting process and Ohio State is by no means out of it, but he was back in East Lansing again this weekend for another visit with the Spartans.
The Rivals 250 list for 2014 was also released and it was impossible to miss the fact there was a slew of players with Ohio State offers. Damon Webb (32) and Kyle Trout (217) are the only two of the four commits on this list but look for that to change.
With almost a whole year left for the 2014 recruiting season and already a year’s worth of drama. Here is this week’s rundown:
Clifton Garrett (LB, 6-3, 220, 2014, Joliet, IL)
The big news this weekend was a visit from Clifton Garrett, one of Ohio State’s top linebacker targets in the class of 2014. At 6-3, 220, Garrett is a kid out of the Chicago area the Buckeyes have been targeting since long before the 2013 class was even finished. Garrett, rated 53rd in the Rivals100, told The-Ozone his visit went “really well” and it sounds like the Buckeyes are in great shape to land one of the better linebacker prospects in the country. He also holds offers from Illinois, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Wisconsin. The Buckeyes are considered the “team to beat” at the moment, but Garrett’s recruitment is only getting started.
Lonnie Johnson (6-3, 180, WR, Gary, IN)
Johnson was also expected to be a visitor this weekend and some felt that if he visited he would have verbally committed to Ohio State. But his coach told me that they did not visit this weekend and will try to reschedule. Originally, he was going to visit Feb. 2 but Johnson’s parents could not get off work. He did appear at the Core 6 Athletes event in Cincinnati on Sunday and had a good showing playing both receiver and defensive back.
Jamarco Jones (6-5, 285, OL, Chicago, IL)
Jones had a great visit to Columbus the weekend Kyle Trout committed. He had dinner with coaches Mike Vrabel and Ed Warinner on Saturday night with some other players. Urban Meyer told Jones he really liked him and that Ohio State was emphasizing offensive lineman this year. Meyer will recruit Jones hard. Jones believes his best position is offensive tackle because of his athleticism and length. He will decide before the start of his senior season. He seems high on Ohio State, thinks the coaches are great and believes Ohio State can make him a better player and person. He was picked as the MVP of the Core 6 Athletes event in Cincinnati on Sunday and should end up being one of the top offensive tackles in the class of 2014. The-Ozone will have an interview with him this week.
Andrew Gantz (K/P, 2013, Centerville, OH)
Well 2013 is not completely finished; there is still a little drama left over. Ohio State needed a punter after Johnny Townsend de-committed, so Meyer called Andrew Gantz. In speaking to Andrew this week, it did not seem that he would pick Ohio State despite the fact he’s from down the road in Centerville, where he grew up rooting for the Buckeyes. Ohio State called on Thursday after National Signing Day but Gantz was already committed to Tennessee as a preferred walk-on. He said he is 90 percent sure he will end up in Knoxville, where he will have a chance to kick field goals instead of punt.
Josh Ward of WNML-FM 99.1 in Knoxville, Tenn. writes, “He said . . . via Facebook that he's undecided on which school he will attend. ‘Still trying to make the best decision for me and my family,’ said Gantz, who's free to attend the school of his choosing because he has not signed a National Letter of Intent.Gantz said Ohio State and Tennessee have both offered him an opportunity to compete for a starting position with a scholarship to follow if he wins a job. He said Ohio State would like him to compete for the punting job this fall with an opportunity to become the team's placekicker to follow in 2014.”
Caleb Henderson (6-4, 223, QB, Burke, VA)
Ohio State will take one quarterback for this upcoming class, which means they are going to be very selective in who they offer. The only true QB offer is to DeShaun Watson (the top-rated QB in the Rivals100), a Georgia kid who is currently committed to Clemson. Another prospect at the top of their list is 4-star Caleb Henderson out of the Virginia/Washington D.C. area. He told me that there maybe an offer coming in May or June and he plans to visit Ohio State in March. Henderson is rated No. 65 in the first Rivals100 and already has offers from Virginia, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Illinois, Michigan State and North Carolina.
Thaddeus Snodgrass (6-1, 170, WR, Springfield, OH)
It was once thought Ohio State was in the lead for Thad but recently he tweeted that the Buckeyes had dropped to No. 5 on his list with Penn State being his new leader. There was some talk that maybe the OSU coaches backed off on Snodgrass and asked him to delay his commitment, but Thad told The-Ozone that was not the case and he could have committed if he wanted to. It sounds like, at least at the moment, the relationship between Snodgrass and Ohio State has become fractured. He recently picked up offers from Kentucky and South Carolina so do not be surprised if Snodgrass ends up in the SEC, but you never know what will happen if Ohio State comes back into the mix.
Lawrence Marshall (6-4, 225, DE, Southfield, MI)
In talking to Marshall, the impression was that it was too soon for him to think about his final destination and that he is still considering Ohio State. After making an impulse commitment to Ohio State, only to de-commit less than a week later, Marshall will take his time in deciding this time around. He has already visited Michigan State and Michigan since his OSU visit earlier this month, so he has been busy. Marshall said he had a really good trip to OSU and was not pressured by the coaches to commit. He took another trip East Lansing this weekend and seems to have a strong relationship with mark Dantonio. Look for Urban Meyer and his staff (mainly Kerry Coombs) to wait on Marshall and give him whatever time he needs.
Mark Andrews (6-6, 225, TE/WR, Scottsdale, AZ)
Andrews says he will visit Ohio State in a month or two. He plans to fly into Notre Dame for a visit and likely rent a car to drive with family to Columbus from South Bend. He is also visiting Oklahoma soon – his favorite childhood team – but he tells me it will not effect his decision. Andrews thinks his high school teammate Kyle Allen has the best arm in the country and is a freak. He is hoping to play with Allen in college but they are not a packaged deal. Allen has contact with Tom Herman and could be in line for an offer if the Buckeyes move on from DeShaun Watson.
Dillon Bates (6-3, 220, Ponte Vedra, FL)
Bates is telling me he “sort of” has a few schools that are turning his head but has not mentioned them to me. His dad played at Tennessee and he currently lives in Florida but he also has Texas roots. He visited Florida this weekend and is hoping to see Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Texas, UCLA and USC. He is also hoping to visit Ohio State again.
Eric Guimaraes of Palmetto Sports writes, “The increased attention has him reevaluating his future. ‘I kind of had an idea (who my favorites were) but now that these new schools are offering and showing some interest, I want to see how it plays out,’ said Bates. ‘South Carolina is still definitely involved.’
*That is all for this week. Stay tuned as we begin a whole new year of recruiting coverage for 2014. It should be another exciting class to follow.