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 edition checks in on top 2020 targets Darrion Henry and Kendall Milton.
Kendall Milton includes Ohio State in Final Four
On Friday evening, the country’s third-ranked 2020 running back, 5-star California product Kendall Milton, released his final four schools. Ohio State made the cut.
FINAL 4❤️ pic.twitter.com/9CQ90ZAtG2
— Kendall Milton (@_KendallMilton) May 17, 2019
The Buckeyes have surged in recent weeks in this recruitment thanks to a steady communication effort by Tony Alford that lasts more than a year and the continued presence of Ryan Day. Milton, 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds, visited Ohio State in early April and has begun scheduling official visits starting with a trip to LSU that is set for June 7.
“Ohio State is a school that has a reputation for developing running backs,” Milton told Lettermen Row about the Buckeyes inclusion on his final list. “Coach Alford has let me know the opportunity there is for me at Ohio State. Overall it was a great experience (when I visited) and I can’t wait to get back.”
There’s no planned official visit yet to Ohio State but the Buckeyes remain very much in the mix for Milton. Earlier this week, Lettermen Row touched on the recruitment of Milton and why it’s worth considering Ohio State a top contender moving forward.
Ohio State is almost certainly going to have only more year of J.K. Dobbins and then a wide-open running back competition for starting reps in 2020. Milton is planning to enroll early and is a player capable of starting at any school in the country regardless of the depth chart, but he’s not going to find one that has less experience in front of him than he would in Columbus. No matter how it’s packaged and sold by other program, facts are facts.
Every school Milton visits will lay out a plan for his future. Can the Buckeyes present the best opportunity for him on and off the field?
Ohio State target Darrion Henry hinting at possible commitment?
Another top Ohio State target in the Class of 2020 made waves with a tweet on Friday night.
Cincinnati Princeton 4-star defensive lineman Darrion Henry, the country’s third-ranked strongside defensive end and Ohio’s second-ranked prospect behind future Vikings teammate Paris Johnson, announced on Twitter that he could end his college recruitment sooner than expected.
Commitment coming sooner than later !!!!!
— D Hen🤡 (@darrion_henry) May 17, 2019
Now here’s the bigger question: what the heck does that mean? Henry has never actually announced a decision date in the past — and he didn’t now — so a commitment coming “sooner” could mean “sooner than December” or “sooner than September.” So, I’d caution anyone from getting too excited or assuming that choice is coming in the next week or anything like that.
I’d also suggest not letting the timing of his tweet freak you out too much. Yes, that proclamation coming a week after his official visit to LSU is interesting but I’m reluctant to call it bad news or good news or any other kind of news for Ohio State and its pursuit of the 6-foot-6, 260-pound in-state priority. In fact, I’ll say something here that may make people turn their heads: I think Cincinnati is a bigger threat to Ohio State for Darrion Henry than LSU is.
The Buckeyes have 100-percent of the 247Sports.com crystal ball selections for Henry and despite the push from LSU — for him, Johnson and Jaheim Thomas — it’d still be a major upset if his eventual commitment is given anywhere other than Ohio State.
Mookie Cooper visits Ohio State and intends to return
The Buckeyes have officially entered the Mookie Cooper sweepstakes. The country’s 12th-ranked wide receiver, a former Texas commitment, made his first visit to Columbus over the weekend and it’s pretty clear he’d prefer it not be his last.
— Mookie Cooper (@uheardof5) May 18, 2019
“Yeah, for sure it was a good visit,” Cooper told Lettermen Row. “They have great coaches and its an exact fit for me in their offense.”
A 5-foot-9, 193-pound receiver, Cooper is a player in the mold of Rondale Moore or Wandale Robinson and is emerging as one of a handful of young slot receivers being seriously evaluated by Brian Hartline and the Buckeyes as they look to round out what could be a truly special group of 2020 receivers. Cooper said he intends to return to Ohio State for an official visit in the fall, likely in October for the Buckeyes home game against Michigan State or Wisconsin.
Buckeyes impress Joseph Johnson during first visit
A quick-rising cornerback prospect also made his first Ohio State visit over the weekend.
Life Christian Academy (Colonial Heights, Va.) standout Joseph Johnson, a 3-star defensive back who recently decommitted from N.C. State.
— Joseph Johnson lll (@joseph_johnson7) May 17, 2019
As he told Lettermen Row ahead of the visit, Johnson has been in regular contact with the Ohio State coaching staff in the last few weeks and is quickly growing a tight-knit bond with a pair of Buckeyes assistants.
“Jeff Hafley and Matt Barnes are both really cool,” Johnson shared. “I’ve talked with Barnes face-to-face and I really like him. They’re pretty straightforward and I can appreciate that.
“It’s a great program and they consistently put out talent at my position. I just want to learn more about the defense and my fit.”
On Saturday, Johnson stopped at Penn State on his way home but took a moment to reflect on the Ohio State visit with Lettermen Row.
“Ohio State was great,” he said. “I loved my visit. I definitely learned more about the defense and how I fit. I plan to return this summer.”
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