Michael’s Sunday Recruiting Rundown
By Michael Chung
(Editor’s Note: This is the latest contribution to the-Ozone for Michael Chung. He has provided OSU recruiting information to several websites in the past, but now will be exclusive to the-Ozone as we look to bring more football recruiting coverage in the coming months. You can follow him on Twitter @MChungOzone).
After a less-than glorious non-conference showing the Big Ten began conference play over the weekend. National pundits have crucified the B1G as an inferior league and Big Ten teams did not do much to defend their honor. Bowl season will be an opportunity for the B1G to regain some notoriety but Ohio State and Penn State cannot help.
Recruiting can be a predictor of future success—see LSU and Alabama— as they hauled in consistent top recruiting classes that built the foundation for their championship runs.
Urban Meyer has brought that type of recruiting to Ohio State, as 10 out of the 17 commitments had offers from top schools like USC, Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Arkansas (before John L. Smith got there, it was a top tier program), and Florida. These are the athletes B1G teams will need to compete with the big boys and these are the athletes Urban Meyer is trying to bring to the Buckeyes.
Here is this week’s update on the future of Ohio State football.
Vonn Bell (6-1, 190, DB, 2013, Rossville, GA, Ridgeland HS)
No change here – it is still Alabama, Ohio State and Tennessee with some saying the Volunteers are in the lead. Yet ESPN’s Kipp Adams writes that Bell has high things to say about the Buckeyes:
“You saw what Coach Urban Meyer was able to do at Florida. He took a break, but all I see is a national championship in the Buckeyes’ future. I know he is going to bring in elite players and do it big there. I just spoke to Coach (Everett) Withers Thursday, and he wished me good luck in my game. As far as distance is concerned, you have to become a man one day, so at some point it is time to get out of the house.”
But recruiting services and even Ozone insiders living in the Chattanooga, Tennessee, area have indicated that Bell is likely leaning towards Vols. He visits Columbus for the Nebraska game this week, so expect Urban and his staff to bring a full court press on Bell.
Dorian Johnson (6-6, 280, OL, 2013 Belle Vernon, Pa.)
Rumors have swirled that Johnson lists Pitt as his leader and he recently confirmed it with The-Ozone. After interviewing him, it appears that Pitt is a clear No. 1 right now, but he will also visit Ohio State for the Nebraska game this week and has also indicated that he will make his official visits after the season to OSU, Virginia Tech, and Pitt then decide sometime in November or December. He really likes Urban Meyer and believes Ohio State will be destined to win but will he be a part of it? I believe, in the end, he will select Pitt right now but I do believe OSU has a good chance if they blow him away on his visits, which Meyer has a knack of doing. I see this as a two-horse race between Pitt and OSU. Virginia Tech is just too far away from home being almost twice the distance as OSU. You can read his Ozone interview here.
Jimmy Byrne (6-4, 275, OL, 2014, Cleveland St. Ignatius)
Byrne talked to The-Ozone recently and said his top 3 are Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Michigan, but UM has not offered yet. Michigan State recently offered so Byrne mentioned he would check them out. This recruitment is far from over but as of now, Notre Dame has a slight lead. If Ohio State wants this kid, they need to start showing more attention. Byrne’s team plays on Saturdays and his only free weekend, Byrne chose to visit Notre Dame. That was the week of the UAB game while ND was playing Michigan. Byrne says he will decide at the end of the season when he feels things are right. I would not be surprised if MSU got into the mix. This will be a tough call, but in the end, it will be Notre Dame or Ohio State. You can read his Ozone interview here.
Mark Andrews (6-6, 225, TE/WR, 2014 Scottsdale, Ariz.)
Mark Andrews told The-Ozone that he is extremely interested in Ohio State and will definitely visit. It also sounds like USC is recruiting him hard along with Arizona and Arizona State, but he grew up an Oklahoma Sooners fan. He sounds pretty open now, but I am guessing he will stay West and play for either USC, ASU or Arizona. He did sound high on Ohio State and Urban Meyer’s offense of utilizing TE/WR hybrids like Aaron Hernandez will make OSU more attractive. The more success and notoriety that Hernandez achieves in the NFL, the more attractive Meyer and the Buckeyes will be to players like Andrews. Meyer already name drops with Percy Harvin and look for the same with Hernandez when trying to lure Andrews away from Arizona. Ozone reader, Tom Janikis, told me that in his close to 40 years of watching high school football games, he has rarely seen a player dominant a game like Andrews. Sounds like a player Urban Meyer will go after hard. You can read his Ozone interview here.
Kyle Allen (6-1, 185, QB, 2014, Scottsdale, Ariz. Desert Mountain HS)
247 Sports reported that Allen was the top QB on Ohio State’s board for 2014. A source close to Allen reported that his interest in Ohio State is high. Mark Andrews told The-Ozone that he desires to play at the same school as Allen; they have been close friends since kindergarten. Allen does not have an OSU offer and is one of 4-5 QBs that Ohio State is deciding on. Meyer loves recruiting QBs but Allen would not be open to any position than QB. If Allen were open to play strong safety, Meyer would offer in a heartbeat. I look for Allen to stay home but if OSU offers, they have a good chance to land this top prospect and Mark Andrews may follow (or vice versa).
Mason Cole (OL, 2014,Tarpon Springs, Fla. East Lake HS)
Cole definitely has interest in Ohio State and will visit in the spring or after the season. He does not have a leader but lists USC, Michigan, Notre Dame and Clemson along with Ohio State as his early favorites. He seems to have developed strong relationships with Lane and Monte Kiffin out at USC, so do not be surprised if he goes out west and plays for the Trojans, who definitely need O-linemen. He has stated that it is early and did not seem to have a clear-cut leader. If I had to guess, I would think he ends up a Trojan but it is way too early. You can read his interview here.
Artavis Scott (5-10, 175, 2014, Tarpon Springs, Fla. East Lake HS)
Scott visited Ohio State over the summer along with Michigan, Florida State, Notre Dame, NC State and Florida. At this point, he has communicated that there is no leader and that all schools who have offered have a chance. He has indicated that Ohio State will be a school he will visit again, but he has mentioned that he grew up a Miami Hurricanes fan. The ‘U’ has not offered, but I would look for Miami to get in on this Florida standout and expect it will end up a battle between in-state rivals. A source told me that Scott is favoring Florida State and Ohio State but he did not reveal that himself in our interview. You can read his Ozone interview here.
*That is all for this week. Tune in next week when we try our best to update Buckeye Nation with the latest information on future recruits.