More Random Thoughts: San Antonio Day 2 of Army All-American Bowl
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).
SAN ANTONIO — Day 2 here in San Antonio allowed me more of an inside look into what goes on here at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
One thing that has stood out is all the service men and women in uniform on the grounds, walking around the hotel. These heroes of war are all very approachable and have a story of valor to tell. Many have been deployed multiple times to both Iraq and Afghanistan. They have seen death far beyond what any normal citizen would experience. They are living heroes who are good examples to our young men who will do their own battle on the gridiron next year.
After two days on the football fields, there were no practices for Saturday’s all-star game on Wednesday. Instead, these young men went out into the community today performing various projects serving children, the elderly and war veterans, while doing charitable work.
It was a good way to remind these kids that life is more than football.
Here are some more random thoughts from Day 2 in San Antonio:
* WR James Quick is this year’s Stefon Diggs. I’m not comparing them as people, or even as athletes, but simply because so many people are reporting, and expecting, conflicting things. Some adamantly say he’s headed Louisville and others say Ohio State. Just this morning, I spoke to another source who has been talking to James Quick this week and he believes the Louisville product will become a Buckeye. Others, like Rivals.com recruiting analyst Marc Givler, are not so confident. Rivals national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell is also predicting Quick to Louisville, but there are plenty of others reporting Quick is headed to OSU. It’s easy to speculate one way or the other, but all will have to wait until Jan. 5 when he decides.
* LB Mike Mitchell was a lot of fun and very personable as I interacted with him in person today. He has a rocket for an arm, launching a pass that traveled at least 60 yards. He told me he was a QB in the 10th grade. He also told me he can punt and says he is consistently in the 50-yard range. The kid is just a pure athlete, running consistently in the 4.4 range. He expects to start and can sense his best opportunity is at OSU. Nothing is ever done until it’s done, but I feel very confident he will announce for Ohio State come Saturday.
* Mitchell was paired with Sergeant Matthew Senna out of California. Senna has done multiple duties in Iraq and Afghanistan and has many stories to tell. Kids get to interact with heroes like Matthew and here real life stories of courage, honor and valor. That is what I believe separates the Army All-American Bowl from the other high school all-star games.
* DT Michael Hill has not been present at the bowl practices, but he is expected to arrive on Thursday. He has a shattered right ring finger that he has been rehabbing twice a week, an injury that will certainly keep him out of the all-star game on Saturday. Hill will play DT at Ohio State and will be fully recovered by March. He plans to enroll in the fall.
* As I mentioned previously, Marc Givler of Rivals and BuckeyeGrove.com took some of his time down here in San Antonio to sit down and talk to me about the world of recruiting and offer me some helpful tips to hopefully help me become a better journalist. Now I know why he is one of the best in the business, and to top it off, he is a really great guy.
* Like most people, Givler is having a hard time reading James Quick and is hearing all the conflicting reports too. If he had to guess, Givler would pick Quick to Louisville at this point. Last year, when everyone was having Stefon Diggs to OSU, he was one of the first to write that Diggs would end up at Maryland, and he was right. He is not sure about Quick and would not be shocked if Quick picked OSU. Like I said before, this will come down to Jan. 5 before anyone really knows for sure.
* Givler also believes safety Vonn Bell is torn at the moment. Bell once was certain where he would go but something changed after Urban Meyer visited for his state championship game. That really turned the tide (pun intended) and brought OSU back into the picture. This one may come down to NSD.
* Much better news on LB Trey Johnson from Givler, who is hearing a lot of the same things we have heard as of late. There were reports today that Auburn coaches were causing Johnson to doubt his decision, ultimately delaying his announcement, which was scheduled for the Under Armour game on Friday. But these reports are false and Johnson will indeed announce on Jan. 4. According to Givler, the former Auburn commit will pick the Buckeyes Friday evening, meaning Ohio State will likely have two commits at LB for 2013 and they are much needed.
* One interesting thing Givler told me is that he works many more hours now that Urban Meyer is at the helm. He felt covering Jim Tressel and Luke Fickell was much easier than Meyer. This Urban Meyer guy just does not stop and thinks he can get anybody. He is all over the map, and nobody is safe. Even if a kid is committed, Meyer wants his guys to at least make a call to see if there is any interest in Ohio State.
* While I was down here, I spoke to many USC commits today who also had OSU offers. Two of them – Su’a Cravens and Kenny Bigelow – were brave enough to tell me that the main reason they did not want to come to Columbus was that it was too cold. I wonder if OSU can open up a branch/extension campus in SoCal or the South. Of course, recruits would still have to play in the Fall but could take classes at the warmer branch campuses after the season. It sounds far-fetched, but don’t put anything past Urban Meyer if it means getting the top kids in America to play for the Buckeyes.
* That is all from down here by the Alamo. I will likely head home tomorrow to see my lovely wife, as I think I have uncovered as much as I can over the last few days. If something breaks down here, I will try to be on it, but stay tuned for more updates. Friday and Saturday will be big days for Ohio State as the Buckeyes try to close out Urban Meyer’s second class with another bang.