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. Sunday night we talk with newly offered Cameron Martinez and Ryan Watts while introducing one of the state’s top 2022 prospects.
Cameron Martinez lands long-awaited Ohio State offer
After a year of back-and-forth relationship building affected by coaching changes and school changes, Muskegon (Mich.) 2020 athlete Cameron Martinez was offered by Ohio State on Friday.
Martinez is 5-foot-11 and 175-pounds and has been talking to the Buckeyes for a while now, but that communication started with Kerry Coombs, then turned into Taver Johnson and now he’s hearing from receivers coach Brian Hartline and secondary assistant Matt Barnes.
“I’ve been talking to Matt Barnes quite often,” Martinez said before he learned of the offer. “He’s a really cool dude and a good recruiter. He sent me the spring practice schedule, so I was gonna go in April. But he texted me [last Thursday] saying I needed to get up there ASAP. So, I’m going try to go sooner.”
The Buckeyes helped make that trip more necessary by offering on Friday afternoon. That decision came after a group of Ohio State coaches sat down one more time to review Martinez’s game tape.
“I called Coach Barnes today and he said they watched my defense film — the whole defensive staff did. He said they really fell in love with it,” Martinez told Lettermen Row. “Now the next step is they want to get me and my family up there and build a relationship with the other coaches. They still like me a lot for offense too, and being a return guy as well.”
Martinez is a Michigan native but has grown up dreaming of an Ohio State offer thanks in part to his older brother.
“My older brother, Christian, loved Ohio State growing up, so when he watched them I was watching them with him,” he said. “We went to the football camps there as little kids and I loved going up there for those.
“I started to love watching Ohio State play on Saturdays when Christian would watch them, and it’s always been a dream to have an offer from Ohio State. Now it’s a dream come true.”
The Buckeyes offer is the 21st for Martinez, but the program will be a major player in his recruitment if they choose to recruit him aggressively. His final decision isn’t coming anytime soon, but three Big Ten schools are going to be involved until the end.
“Despite having offers from Ohio State and Michigan, I really love Northwestern,” he said. “And I’m going to make it up to some other schools this spring, but those two will definitely be up.
“It’s all about a place that feels like home and the relationships I have with the coaches, and how much in love I fall in with one school. I’ve got a great relationship with Northwestern.”
Keep an eye on this one moving forward.
Henry Gray releases top-eight schools, Ohio State included
Ohio State has been a major contender for Miami Central (Hollywood, Fla.) 2020 defensive back for months, and it appears that the school remains near the top of his list — which he’s now made somewhat official with the release of his latest top-eight schools.
Top 8‼️‼️‼️ pic.twitter.com/TaUhJ9HOJ2
— Goated🐐🤯 (@D1bound_zay2121) February 16, 2019
Gray is the country’s fourth-ranked cornerback and right now the Buckeyes are the co-leader on the 247Sports.com crystal ball for his services with Miami, the school he was once committed to. But Clemson is also very much in the mix for the 6-foot-1, 175-pound prospect.
A visit to Ohio State is expected in the next month or so, and Gray intends for that trip to be an official visit. A decision isn’t expected until the end of the 2020 recruiting cycle, so buckle up.
Dallas defensive back Ryan Watts has Buckeyes in top group
The Buckeyes offered Dallas-area cornerback Ryan Watts on Friday night.
— Ryan Watts (@RyanwattsIII) February 16, 2019
Watts is the country’s 28th-ranked cornerback and a 3-star prospect according to the 247Sports.com composite rankings. He has offers from 26 schools, including big-name programs like Oklahoma and Texas. The offer from Ohio State is a big one, according to the 6-foot-2, 187-pound Watts, and it instantly vaults the Buckeyes into a spot near the top of his list.
“I’ve been talking to them for about a week now,” he told Lettermen Row. “Ohio State is definitetly a ‘bigger’ offer to me. They’re already a top-five school for me.
“The tradition of winning and putting so many defensive backs in the league, but not only getting to the NFL, but for them to carry on with successful careers there.”
Watts intends to get familiar with new Buckeyes defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley soon and wants to visit Columbus. The Little Elm, Texas native is curious to see how things unfold with the new coaching staff at Ohio State.
“I will be closely evaluating Ohio State because I do know most of their old staff is gone,” he said. “I’ll be talking to the defensive backs coach soon.”
2021 running back Corey Kiner worth watching
Ohio State has spent a lot of time working with and recruiting Perry native Jaylen Anderson, the country’s sixth-ranked running back in the Class of 2021. But there’s another big-time talent at running back in Ohio who just finished up his sophomore season.
Meet Cincinnati’s Corey Kiner, a 5-foot-10, 205-pound tailback at Roger Bacon High School with 10 early offers — including one from Michigan. The Wolverines have been all over Kiner, according to the young standout.
“I’ve really been getting the Michigan blast,” Kiner told Lettermen Row. “It’s easy to contact me through my coaches. I talk to Cincinnati and Michigan coaches every week. It’s early, so I guess I will be talking to Ohio State next year. I hope.”
Kiner visited the Buckeyes for Friday Night Lights last summer, spending some one-on-one time with Tony Alford. He also recently had a conversation with Ryan Day, and the Ohio State coach preached patience.
“They like how I performed at Friday Night Lights, and they said they will keep recruiting me,” Kiner said. “I’ve talked to the head coach and they’re recruiting me. I just have to be patient and keep working harder each year.”
Check out this clip from Kiner’s eighth-grade season to get a good sense of what kind of athlete is developing down in the Queen City.