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, including updates on in-state linebacker Jestin Jacobs, a pair of defensive tackles in the 2020 class and running back EJ Smith.
No decision yet for linebacker Jestin Jacobs
Ohio State is still waiting to find out if it did enough last weekend to earn an official visit from Clayton Northmont 4-star linebacker Jestin Jacobs. The Iowa commitment did visit the Buckeyes on Saturday, taking in the sights and sounds of the Horseshoe as Ohio State throttled Michigan.
“It was a great time, the atmosphere was crazy,” Jacobs said. “I did not spend a lot of time with the staff, but we had multiple conversations.”
Wondering whether or not detailed focus on a recruit during a game-day visit is vital? It’s not. Most kids understand, especially with a game the magnitude of The Game, that coaches have more to their job than just platitudes. Jacobs buys into that.
“It didn’t impact the impression [of Ohio State],” he said. “They had a big game to prepare for.”
For the 6-foot-3, 210-pound Jacobs, this visit to Ohio State wasn’t about that anyway. It’s about a kid who has been committed to another program for a while now taking a moment to make sure of his choice. It might be hard to fathom for some, but Jacobs is trying to learn if a lifelong dream will intersect with what’s in his best interest. That’s why he’s still not decided whether or not he’ll take an official visit to Ohio State. He is trying to figure out if Iowa presents him the best path for his best future — or if the dream of being a Buckeye is worth chasing.
To do that, he will need to get back to campus for an official visit. And if the Buckeyes want him to do that, he likely would.
“The relationships I have with the coaches and where I feel like I can succeed and fit in more, that will be the deciding factor,” he said. “If they would like me to take an official visit, I will probably go on it. It’s not something that has been talked about yet.”
For the Buckeyes, there’s still a little bit of an uphill battle. Iowa has a longer, stronger relationship. Ohio State hasn’t been absent from his recruitment, but it’s only been in the last month or so that linebackers coach Bill Davis and Urban Meyer have really started to know him. Jacobs, the country’s 16th-ranked outside linebacker and Ohio’s No. 7 prospect in 2019, has remained in regular contact with the pair.
“Both [Davis and Meyer] are equally involved,” he said. “Urban Meyer is cool to talk to. He often checks how I am doing rather than going on about football and the program.”
Ohio State has made a decision to recruit Jacobs hard in the last month. The question from here is whether it’s too little too late. Stay tuned.
Ohio State standing out to Tre Williams
The Sunday-night Dotting the ‘Eyes mentioned the weekend visit that 5-star linebacker Mekhail Sherman and 4-star receiver Rakim Jarrett made to Ohio State over the weekend. That duo was just two-thirds of a St. John’s College (Washington, D.C.) contingent that trekked to Ohio’s capital. The third member, 4-star defensive tackle Tre Williams, came away just as thrilled about the Buckeyes as his teammates did.
— TGroovy🏄🏾 (@_TreWilliams) November 27, 2018
“Everything there stood out to me,” Williams said. “The atmosphere of that game is unmatched. The outcome of the game surprised me. I thought it would’ve been closer, with Ohio State coming out on top, of course.”
As the country’s ninth-ranked defensive tackle, Williams has offers from almost 30 different schools. He has the Buckeyes in his top group, telling Lettermen Row he thinks they’re in his top two schools at the moment. A major reason for that is the production and reputation of legendary Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson.
“He lets his dogs go,” Williams said. “They play fast and aggressive. I would definitely fit in that system.”
As of today, 100-percent of the 247Sports.com crystal ball predictions for Williams are slanted in Ohio State’s direction. What’s holding him back from announcing a college decision?
“My mom hasn’t been to Columbus,” he said.
That’s a narrative similar to what Rakim Jarrett expressed on Sunday. Ohio State is no doubt working to get the D.C. trio back to campus with their families as soon as possible.
Jacolbe Cowan thrilled by Ohio State visit
Another big-time 2020 defensive line prospect that spent his weekend at Ohio State was blown away by what the Buckeyes presented him.
“Man, overall, I really enjoyed my visit,” 4-star prospect Jacolbe Cowan told Lettermen Row. “I think there were a multitude of things that stood out this weekend, but the thing that stood out the most was the environment and atmosphere in Columbus.”
Cowan is the country’s 55th-ranked overall prospect, and he has 29 offers already to his name. At 6-foot-5 and 265-pounds, he’s ready-made for college football and projects well as a strongside defensive end. He also visited Ohio State in the spring, so he’s become quite familiar and comfortable with the Buckeyes coaching staff.
“I got to spend a good amount of time with the staff on Friday and Saturday before and after the game,” he said. “The message was basically to keep working hard and to continue to use the gifts that God has blessed me with, whether those be athletically or academically.
“Larry Johnson just told me to continue to use the size that God has given me to my advantage. He also said he noticed a big change in the way I play from my sophomore year to now. His main message was just for me to continue to grind and work on my craft.”
When he wasn’t with the Ohio State coaching staff, Cowan spent most of his weekend with 2020 commits Paris Johnson and Lejond Cavazos and the aforementioned group from Washington D.C. He’s part of the famed group message that includes almost three dozen 2020 prospects and was glad to get a chance to actually hang out with the guys he’s been communicating with.
“It was definitely cool getting the opportunity to hang out with the guys,” he said. “Especially since we rarely see each other.”
Cowan has no plan for a commitment anytime soon, but the Buckeyes are in a good spot as he looks to narrow his list to a more manageable number sometime soon.
“Ohio State is definitely a school that will be considered on down the road in my recruitment,” he said. “There is no set commitment date yet, but I will be narrowing things down soon.”
Texas running back E.J. Smith makes Ohio State trip
Ohio State has one running back committed in 2020. But the Buckeyes are on the prowl for a second, and Dallas (Texas) Jesuit 4-star prospect E.J. Smith has been a high-priority target for months. His famous father, Emmitt Smith, knew Urban Meyer during his Florida days and visited the Buckeyes for their spring game in April. He returned to Ohio State for the Michigan game this past weekend — and, no surprise, he had a good visit, too.
“I enjoyed it,” the country’s second-best all-purpose back in the Class of 2020 told Lettermen Row. “The unity that they have there is special. The number of alumni that came back shows how much they care for each other and the school, and it was a very loud stadium. It was cool to see.”
Running backs coach Tony Alford has been leading the charge for Smith, but he’s also become close with the 2020 commits and was glad to spend time with that group this past weekend.
“I’m pretty good friends with Paris and the other guys,” the 6-foot-tall, 190-pound Smith said.”It’s cool to know their perspective and why they committed to Ohio State.”
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Birm is Lettermen Row's Director of Recruiting and the site's primary Ohio State sports photographer. A Toledo, Ohio native, Jeremy has been in similar roles for elevenwarriors.com and Landof10.com and has been covering the Buckeyes for seven years.