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Analyzing tailback drama, Georgia LB impressed by Ohio State visit

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Tony Alford may need to start over with running back recruiting in 2020 after surprising weekend events. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State Football Recruiting

Analyzing tailback drama, Georgia LB impressed by Ohio State visit

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 notebook has more thoughts on the Buckeyes running back situation, an update on a recent Georgia visitor and more.

Tony Alford didn’t forget how to recruit 

It’s time to take a step back from the ledge.

After one of Ohio State’s most successful recruiting runs in recent memory, there was a spell of bad news that hit the program this weekend when things changed dramatically in the running back recruiting efforts.

It was, in a word, unsettling. It was unexpected. It was shocking.

It was not something that Ohio State could have prevented.

At different points in the last month, Bijan Robinson and Jaylan Knighton had both given very strong indications to the Buckeyes that they were heading to Columbus for college. Both players chose to do that during a recruiting dead period following their only visits — both of them official — to Ohio State.

There was no indicator that things were heading awry, even as recently as last Friday. Then Knighton decided to visit Florida State because one key member of his family wanted him to, and things got murky. Saturday, Robinson informed Ohio State that his mind had changed for unspecific reasons.

Tony Alford didn’t forget how to recruit. Ohio State didn’t do anything wrong to lose its position in these recruitments. On the recruiting trail, it’s a fight against every school in the country along with a host of variables seen and unseen. The Ohio State program is one of the few big enough and respected enough to combat nearly every threat and win the majority of the time.

But families that are divided aren’t easy to overcome. When asking a young man to leave his family and go to school 1,000 or 2,000 miles away from home, there can be no doubt or division inside the family unit. If there is, no matter what the player himself wants to do, that’s probably a losing battle.

The beat has to go on for the Buckeyes. This is where Urban Meyer excelled and where Ryan Day and his staff will face their next challenge, because when Meyer lost a recruit, he almost always found a way to replace him with someone that fit the program even better.

Georgia 2021 linebacker enjoys Ohio State visit

An early candidate for the best name of the 2021 recruiting cycle, Hassan “Chief” Borders visited Ohio State over the weekend.

A 6-foot-3, 211-pound linebacker from McEachern High School in Powder Springs (Ga.), Borders stopped in Columbus following a trip to Purdue and Illinois. A Chicago native, Borders moved to Georgia when he was a young child and was eager to make a visit to see the Buckeyes as a recruit.

He was not disappointed.

“The best part was just to see Ohio State,” Borders told Lettermen Row. “I got to chop it up with [linebackers coach] Al Washington and Greg Mattison. Just seeing how I fit into the defense.

“Coach Washington has seen me in action, and he sees an athlete that can do it all. I can cover or rush the passer, and he thinks I can be leader on the field from the linebacker position.”

Borders has 22 early offers, but he does not yet have one from Ohio State. He’s hoping that happens in the near future.

“I will be on the phone with the head coach soon,” he said. “I have to call them on Monday. Ohio State has all the things I’m looking for a college to have. I want to be a pediatrician, and they have a medical center for Pre-Med students and the education there is big for me.

“And, of course, Ohio State is known for winning football and the brotherhood.”

Buckeyes offer 2021 Texas defensive back

On Friday, Ohio State offered Katy (Texas) 2021 cornerback Hunter Washington.

Washington is the country’s 20th-ranked cornerback and a 4-star prospect according to 247Sports.com. He visited Ohio State in June and left that visit impressed by what he saw in Columbus.

“[The trip] was really good,” he told Lettermen Row. “It was something different compared to all the schools I’ve been to.

“I like how they have their Real Life Wednesday program and what they do for the players to get them at a high level. There was nothing I saw there that I could say I didn’t like.”

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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Colortv1967cesmitBrutus0717Tracy BrownAZ Buckeye Recent comment authors
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JO JO
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JO JO

There’s gotta be a happy medium between Alford hasn’t forgotten how to recruit and it’s not his fault and we should all feel bad for him. Any insight on what Texas and Florida State recently did right and what we recently did wrong to change what looked to be two locks – – outside of family and proximity?

AZ Buckeye
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AZ Buckeye

I read that Robinson may be going to USC, not Texas.

Tracy Brown
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Tracy Brown

I don’t hear anyone saying we should feel bad for Alford. But to blame him for family based issues is just plain stupid.

Brutus0717
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Brutus0717

It’s my understanding that Knighton’s dad told him he was not leaving the state of Florida for college.

Brunstar
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Brunstar

Any chance we see a repeat of Alex Collins where Bijan commits to Ohio State and his mom steals his LOI to stop him from signing? I’d also settle for a Landon Collins disappointed mother head shake.

Aaron
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Aaron

I just feel bad for Coach Alford.

yourbuck
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yourbuck

Birm, if both those guys are indeed gone, give us a few RBs to keep an eye on that OSU has a legit shot at now. I know it’s still early and things can change drastically again. thanks

AZ Buckeye
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AZ Buckeye

Maybe Knighton will eventually come on board knowing that he won’t have to compete with Robinson for playing time. Even Trayanum might reconsider his commitment to ASU.

cesmit
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cesmit

I would think that EJ Smith would jump to the top of our list. And Michael Drennen?

Tracy Brown
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Tracy Brown

Thank you for your calm rational. It was KILLING me hearing people trash Tony Alford. How fans who have NO idea what in the HELL is actually happening can jump to conclusions and blame Alford is just beyond me. It’s an embarrassment.

Colortv1967
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Colortv1967

It’s not reasonable to “blame” Alford or the rest of the staff. It is reasonable to ask why they were caught unaware. They are dealing with high schoolers who change their minds all the time.

Bill
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Bill

Can’t take a step back from the ledge if you’ve already jumped off! 0-12 here we come! Time to join the MAC!

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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