Stay in touch or be left out because Ohio State recruiting is a 24-hour, seven-day-per-week obsession. What’s the latest news as the Buckeyes build for the future? Get that and more Sunday through Thursday on Lettermen Row. Today’s update has a final call on receiver target Julian Fleming, an official visit is set for Sam Adams and more.
Final call: Will it be Ohio State for Julian Fleming?
We’re within one day of a decision being made by 5-star receiver Julian Fleming, the country’s top-ranked prospect at the position.
A 6-foot-2, 210-pound wideout, Fleming will make his final announcement on Friday. There’s no specific time that has been made public for an announcement, but he’ll be deciding between Ohio State, Clemson, Alabama, Georgia and Penn State. The Southern Columbia (Catawissa, Pa.) standout has offers from every major program in the country, but his recruitment has been focused on a smaller group of schools since February.
Growing up within 90 miles of Penn State, it was always supposed to be the Nittany Lions that Fleming would pick. But Brian Hartline’s influence on this recruitment really changed the direction it was heading after his a visit he made to the school last November when Ohio State hosted Nebraska.
It’s hard to bet against the local school, but there seemed to be a desire on Fleming’s part to get away from home. He made springtime visits to Clemson and Georgia and also took his only official visit to Alabama — and then returned to Ohio State in March for a key two-day trip that had “Student Appreciation Day” as a backdrop.
That weekend, Fleming spent most of his time with Buckeyes commitment Lejond Cavazos. It seemed that the rest of the recruiting world began to see that Ohio State was positioning itself for a huge upset.
But that was two months ago and Fleming has made only one visit anywhere since: Alabama. It’s hard to discount what the Crimson Tide and Clemson are able to do on the recruiting trail. But this comes down to feel and Fleming’s reaction following his March trip to Ohio State has resonated with me as I’ve tried to analyze and evaluate the tea leaves that are his recruitment.
“The whole staff, they always show me love,” Fleming said after that visit. “It is starting to be an at-home feeling, especially with the players.”
It’s important for Fleming to feel comfortable because leaving home is a big deal for him. He’s incredibly close to his mother and his grandfather, and the idea of leaving them for a place he isn’t 100-percent at home is a non-starter.
Penn State isn’t going to go away, and neither will Clemson, Georgia and Alabama. But on Friday, Ohio State is likely to be the program celebrating.
Final Call: Buckeyes.
Sam Adams sets his Ohio State official visit
On Tuesday night, Sam Adams II, a 4-star running back from Eastside Catholic (Sammamish, Wash.) announced his top-six schools and included Ohio State in that list.
In Wednesday’s edition of Dotting the ‘Eyes looking at the country’s No. 16-ranked tailback, I cautioned that until a return visit to Ohio State was scheduled, there was little reason to get too caught up in the program’s place on the short list of contenders.
“The country’s 16th-ranked tailback has continued to build a relationship with the Buckeyes and running backs coach Tony Alford. But there’s been no plan for a return trip to Ohio State.”
That changed quickly. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound running back announced Wednesday evening that he was making an official visit to Ohio State in June.
And yes, it will be the huge June 21 weekend in Columbus.
— Sam Adams II (@SamAdamsII) May 29, 2019
Adams last visited the Buckeyes last October, a trip he made with current Ohio State verbal Gee Scott. Scott is expected to travel to Ohio for the June 21 weekend as well, so Adams will at least have one more familiar face around him.
Buckeyes offer tight end Blake Smith, make final schools list
Southlake (Texas) Carroll tight end Blake Smith has seen his recruitment take a major upturn in the last few weeks, picking up offers from Alabama, Michigan and now Ohio State.
— Blake (@blakesmith_11) May 29, 2019
Shortly after earning the offer from the Buckeyes with tight ends coach Kevin Wilson extending it, Smith also released his top schools list. Not surprisingly, it included Ohio State.
— Blake (@blakesmith_11) May 29, 2019
Smith visited Ohio State in March, and Wilson has visited and connected with him regularly since. But there had not been, apparently, enough evaluation to warrant an offer. Perhaps the recent slew of big-name offers forced the Buckeyes to expedite that process.
“Wilson was very interested in me from the beginning,” Smith told Lettermen Row. “He finally got to see more film of me and in-game action stuff. He had a discussion with [coach Ryan] Day and made the decision to offer.”
Ohio State watching a second Louisiana receiver prospect
Douglas is a 4-star receiver prospect at Terrebonne High School in Houma, and he has offers from almost 30 schools — including most of the SEC. He’s the country’s 33rd-ranked receiver and the seventh-ranked player in the state of Louisiana, a place that the Buckeyes have had very little success. Just two Ohio State signees ever have come from The Boot, and the program has generally shied away from going there.
Hartline is recruiting Douglas, and he apparently isn’t concerned by Ohio State’s lack of success in the New Orleans area.
“He’s a great coach,” Douglas told Lettermen Row. “I feel that I can fit in their program. He’s developed great receivers and I like what he is doing as a coach.”
A 5-foot-9, 190-pound receiver, Douglas is on the verge of visiting Ohio State and seeing how Hartline works in person.
“We’ve been talking for a couple of weeks, maybe a month,” he said. “I am coming up there June 11-13.”
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