Sunday Recruiting Rundown for December 9, 2012
By Michael Chung
It was an exciting week to be Buckeye. About two weeks after beating Michigan in “The Game,” Ohio State beat them again, flipping Massillon DB/WR star Gareon Conley to the Scarlet and Gray. Urban can really pour more salt in the Wolverine wounds if he can flip David Dawson to the Buckeyes but that one will be tougher. With the recruiting dead period around the corner, Buckeye coaches are feverishly scouring the nation, trying to bring the very best to Buckeye Nation.
Trey Johnson was offered by Oregon but reports are that they were too late. Mike Farrell of Rivals has always felt it was between Ohio State and Florida and it looks like that is the battle for Trey that is shaping up. Until Trey verbals, I am still a little hesitant to proclaim him an OSU lock as I remember Shariff Floyd a few years back.
The University of Cincinnati hired current Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville away from the Red Raiders quelling the rumors of Kerry Coombs to UC. But does Tom Herman become a possibility in Lubbock? Ohio State hosted some important recruits and it looks like it was a fruitful weekend. Donovan Munger became #19 for 2013 and reports are that Mike Mitchell had a great visit. After all the dust has settled in college football this week, here is this week’s rundown.
Gareon Conley (6-2, 165, 2013, DB/WR, Massillon, OH)
Conley came to Ohio State on a Wednesday instead of the traditional Friday-Sunday due to the ACT college entrance exam. Mike Farrell of Rivals believes Conley goes to Ohio State. Steve Wilfong writes, “The former Michigan commit will take his official visit to Ohio State this week. The Buckeyes have emerged as the team to beat but the Wolverines coaching staff continues to recruit Conley hard in hopes of getting him back in the fold.”
As of Friday, Bill Greene was first to report that Conley has indeed committed to the Buckeyes to be #18 in the 2013 class. Conley can lay both DB and WR and is an Ohio kid, which Urban Meyer has gone public in stating these kids are never off limits. With the uncertainty of prospects like Vonn Bell and James Quick, Conley was a must get for Urban Meyer and company.
Bill Rabinowtiz of the Dispatch writes, “'Michigan was the first top program to show an interest in Conley', Hall said, 'and he committed to the Wolverines in March. But Ohio State’s interest in him grew. When Meyer visited Conley while in Canton for the high-school state championships, the courtship gained steam. I know he very, very much enjoyed his visit with coach Meyer,' Hall said.”
Conley gives OSU some insurance in case they cannot get Quick or Bell so his role will be influenced by how the class ends.
David Dawson (6-4, 282, 2013, OL, Detroit, MI)
Dawson was suppose to be on an official visit this weekend but postponed it due to taking ACT test for college entrance. Usually, these tests are scheduled in advance so the timing leads me to believe that Dawson is staying in Michigan at either Michigan State or Michigan. Mike Farell believes Dawson goes back to Michigan, especially since his trip to Florida, which originally was the reason UM pulled the scholarship, was a bust. He told the-Ozone that MSU lead slightly but also that UM was eliminated. It looks like the school up north is back in the picture. You can read his Ozone interview here.
Mike Mitchell (6-4, 215, 2013, LB, Plano, TX)
He was on his official visit this weekend. Some thought he would have committed back in July at the Opening but he has finally made it to campus. Steve Wilfong of 247 Sports writes, “Rumors swirled at The Opening during the summer that Mitchell was close to committing to the Buckeyes then. He'll finally visit Columbus for the first time on an official visit this weekend with Ohio State as the team to beat.”
People were concerned about his parents not accompanying him on the visit but with eight other siblings and nieces and nephews along with his father having issues with flying in airplanes, it was not too concerning not having his parents there.
A source close to Ohio State indicated to me that Mitchell’s visit went really well. Source felt good about Mitchell and how he felt about Ohio State. Source did not indicate whether or not Mitchell verbally committed but his communication to me was: “it will be good, trust me.” The same source mentioned that he did not issue his verbal over the weekend.
As far as we could tell, it did not appear Mitchell verballed but OSU looks to be in good shape.
James Quick (6-1, 180, 2013, WR, Louisville, KY)
Charlie Strong will stay at Louisville, which means Quick will likely stay in the Bluegrass State. Urban Meyer, I am sure, will not give up but even he can appreciate how great it is to be around Charlie Strong. Earlier in the week, UT wanted Charlie but Louisville renegotiated with Strong extending his contract. Steve Wilfong still believes Ohio State is the team to beat for Quick, “Took his official to Ohio State over Thanksgiving weekend and says he'll compare his trip to see the Buckeyes with his upcoming official at Louisville. Oregon remains in the fight as the third team. I like Ohio State in the end.” But I disagree and think Quick stays in Louisville.
Donovan Munger (6-2, 290, 2013, DL, Shaker Heights, OH)
There was a bit of a misunderstanding on Friday. Munger tweeted that he was working out. I asked him via twitter if he was at Ohio State. He replied no. Then I asked him more details like whether or not he would reschedule. He did not reply. But then it was reported that he was not coming until Saturday. Marc Givler reported that Munger’s visit did not start until then. Though the visit started late, it ended with a bang. Givler reported that the DL from Shaker heights OH became the 19th commitment of the 2013 class (22nd if you count preferred walk-ons). I was surprised but excited because OSU needs to put a fence around the border for its top talent and Munger was one of them.
Vonn Bell (6-1, 190, 2013, DB, Rossville, GA)
Bell’s team won their semifinal game, besting Marist 28-27. Bell had a 57-yard touchdown catch. Reports are the same, Bell will decide soon but after the playoffs, which will be next week. Do not be surprised to see Urban Meyer flying down south to witness this final match. If Urban is staying put, then he may already know where Bell is leaning and it would not be good for Buckeye nation. If Urban gets on the plane, I think OSU has a good chance at Bell but if Urban is not visiting Bell, then it looks like Nick Saban has won. I would doubt that Butch Jones’ hiring at UT is influencing Bell one way or another, but in the end, it looks like the Crimson Tide will be ringing this Bell. OSU has insurance in Conley.
Jimmy Byrne (6-5, 280, 2014, OL, Cleveland, OH)
It looks like Ohio State has lost another recruiting battle to Brian Kelly and the Irish. After flipping players like Taylor Decker and David Perkins and raiding the coaching staff for Ed Warinner and Tim Hinton, Ohio State has lost on Malik Zaire, Alex Anzalone, Hunter Bivin, John Montelus, Jaylon Smith, and Mike Heuermen to name a few who had OSU offers but chose the Fighting Irish. It was reported by some that Jimmy Byrne made a commitment to Notre Dame early in the week. Others, including myself, texted Jimmy and he responded by neither confirming nor denying the rumor which lead me to believe he was all Irish. He mentioned that he would confirm once he receives the OK to do so. He has been stating that ND was his leader but that the process was early.
On Saturday, it was confirmed that Jimmy indeed committed to Brian Kelly and the Irish by Tim May of The Dispatch.
I asked Byrne if Urban Meyer and coaches have been in contact recently and his response was “not really.” He felt the coaches would call between now and national signing day but he indicated that his commitment to ND was solid. Jared Shanker of ESPN quoting Byrne writes, “I started off as a heavy Ohio State lean. For the longest time I thought I’d go there,” Byrne said. “But as time went on you grow to like other schools and Notre Dame continued to impress me and recruit me the hardest. [They] talked to me about the benefits of Notre Dame, and I grew to love it.” You can read his Ozone interview here.
That is all for this week. We will have interviews with Clifton Garrett and Parrker Westphal and one last rundown before the recruiting dead period Dec. 17-Jan.3. I am sure things will heat up big once Jan.4 hits.