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California DB still talking to Buckeyes, DL target commits elsewhere

Jeff hafley-jeff hafley ohio state-jeff hafley clark phillips
Buckeyes co-defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley continues to impress recruits. (BIrm/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State Football Recruiting

California DB still talking to Buckeyes, DL target commits elsewhere

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’s edition catches up with star California defensive back Jaylin Davies and continues to examine what could come next at running back in 2020.

Jaylin Davies continues to be impressed by Ohio State

With his former teammate — and secondary counterpart — Elias Ricks now playing football at the IMG Academy, 2021 4-star cornerback Jaylin Davies is focused on proving he’s capable of being the man for Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei, one of the country’s most dominant high school football programs.

“Elias is Elias and I’m Jaylin,” Davies told Lettermen Row about his former 5-star teammate. “So people are going to have to understand that off the top. There are huge shoes to fill and I know teams are going to try me but I’m built for this. I’ll get the job done and I know no other defensive back in my class has a tougher schedule ahead of them than I do.

“I’m hyped over the challenge. This is fun for me.”

Recruiting has also been fun for the 5-foot-11, 165-pound defensive back who is ranked currently as the nation’s 11th-best cornerback.

“I’m just waiting for the season to start,” he said. “Sept. 1 will be fun. The Buckeyes have kept in touch and it looks like they’re recruiting Southern California so hard. The secondary is looking nice, especially after they picked up boys (Ohio State commitments) Clark Phillips and Kourt Williams.”

Though Davies isn’t particularly close with either Phillips or Williams — he’s closer to Phillips — he has grown familiar with Jeff Hafley, the coach that has been primarily responsible for the decision those players made to attend Ohio State.

“Coach Hafley is mad cool,” Davies shared. “I like keeping in touch with him. He tells me Ohio State is coming for me. I’m hoping to get to a game or visit this year. Ohio State? That’s DBU.”

Kedrick Bingley-Jones commits to North Carolina

2020 prospect Kedrick Bingley-Jones made his college decision on Saturday and picked North Carolina over Florida, Duke and Ohio State.

The Buckeyes hosted Bingley-Jones for an official visit in June but there was not much momentum in their favor following that trip and sources close to the Ohio State program have made it clear that the country’s 16th-ranked defensive tackle was not being aggressively pursued by the Buckeyes and that there are other players higher on “the board” for Ohio State along the defensive line right now.

Larry Johnson continues to recruit in 2020 and is looking for another pair of linemen to join Darrion Henry and Ty Hamilton but the focus seems to be on finding edge rushers as opposed to locating another tweener-type of defensive tackle with players like fellow North Carolinian and 5-star prospect Desmond Evans as the prototype for that endeavor.

While there was not much energy being put into recruiting Bingley-Jones by Ohio State, his commitment is likely to have some residual effects on what happens from here.

North Carolina now has five defensive linemen committed and while I’m not intimately aware of their plans at the position, it will be interesting to observe whether or not Bingley-Jones’ teammate at Charlotte Providence Day School, Jacolbe Cowan, is all but removed from their plans at this time. Cowan has been to Ohio State three times and the Buckeyes — along with Georgia — seem to be in a good position in his recruitment moving forward.

Of course, a player like the aforementioned Desmond Evans, he’s going to have a spot at any school he chooses no matter the numbers already committed, so it’s safe to assume there will be nothing about Bingley-Jones decision that impacts him.

Trying to make sense of running back recruiting

The running back position is going to be a hot topic for Ohio State all the way through signing day after the wild twists and turns of the last week that resulted in the Buckeyes going 0-for-2 on running backs that they had received dreaded “silent” commitments from just weeks before.

So, after speaking to sources around the program over the last few days, I think it’s a good time to shed some light on what to expect at the position moving forward, not necessarily who the Buckeyes will recruit but how.

First, don’t expect any sort of knee-jerk reaction from Ohio State that leads to any sort of quick addition to the class. The decisions by Jaylan Knighton and Bijan Robinson mean that the process for the Buckeyes is going to, basically, start over. Yes, there are players they’ve already gotten to know that they’ve been in contact with this past week and those players, guys like E.J. Smith, Mike Drennen, Deamonte Trayanum and others, will require less evaluation than new offers that come out (Tre Bradford, for example, who was offered Thursday) but there’s a reason the Buckeyes hadn’t gone all in on those guys to this point: they’re still being evaluated.

Second, expect a number of players to get a look from inside of Ohio and everywhere else. Iowa State commitment Miyan Williams has some real support inside of the Woody Hayes Athletic Center and the Buckeyes will watch him closely. They’ll do the same with Torrance Davis and Jutahn McClain, who are each committed to Kentucky. There will be all kinds of names coming into the fore.

Third, sources at Ohio State have indicated the desire remains to sign two running backs in 2020.

There are months ahead for the Buckeyes to find two players they covet and that can help the program moving forward. There will be no pity or desperation offers or takes. Ryan Day, Tony Alford, Mark Pantoni and others get paid good money to find and recruit the players that fit their program and the Ohio State offense and that’s what they’ll find.

Eventually.

Need more Ohio State recruiting #Stuff? Check out the Lettermen Row forums and let us know what’s on your mind. Don’t forget to sign up for the tri-weekly recruiting newsletter, just in case there’s anything you’ve missed during the week.

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Emilio P San Martin
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Emilio P San Martin

Thank you for continuing to keep all of us updated, Birm. You are the best and I am very grateful for your continued insight. For the record, I have not committed yet, myself, though many think I should be committed…somewhere. I have an explosive first step, very evident when I’m at my favorite watering hole and last call is announced. Also, my last 40 timed out at 4.0. Granted, I was in my Honda Accord at the time, but still. My serious question is, what do you think the chances are the Buckeyes will aggressively try to flip Robinson or… Read more »

dave scott
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dave scott

Good article. An Ezekiel Elliot wins you games other backs wouldn’t, but lots of teams have won national titles without a 5 star running back. OSU just needs a couple of very good ones, and I share your confidence they will get them.

Birm

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.

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