Buckeyes open up 2021 communications, commits in action

On3 imageby:Jeremy Birmingham09/09/19


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. Monday’s notebook updates some of the biggest news from Buckeyes commitments over the weekend and checks in on a few of the players that received early contact from Ohio State.

Ohio State opens up contact for 2021 prospects

The Buckeyes are officially on the clock in the Class of 2021, at least with most of the country’s top junior prospects. A week after the rest of the country was permitted to reach out to players for that cycle, Ohio State had the lines of communication opened up for them on Sunday starting at 12:01 a.m.

Not for everyone yet, though.

There are still a handful of top targets who the Buckeyes are forced to wait another week to contact. But that holdup didn’t stop them from reaching out to many more when the clock struck midnight after the win over Cincinnati on Saturday.

One of those players was Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway target Derrick Davis Jr. The defensive back has actually been on the Ohio State recruiting radar now for the last two years, but with three cornerbacks coaches in the last three years for the program, there’s a possibility for losing a guy in the shuffle. Jeff Hafley and Matt Barnes are not going to let that happen and immediately reached out to the country’s second-ranked 2021 safety prospect.

Davis has been to Ohio State a handful of times and camped for Urban Meyer in the summer of 2018.

The Buckeyes also reached out to Bellaire (Texas) Episcopal offensive lineman Donovan Jackson, who included them in a top-schools list that was released in June. The 6-foot-4, 310-pound junior has been to Columbus before and has family ties to the area since both of his parents hail from The Great State of Ohio.

There are a lot of names to watch in the Class of 2021, but there are two others Ohio State made a point to connect with over the weekend. Recent defensive back offer Hunter Wohler, who was offered last week, and New Jersey defensive lineman Tywone Malone, the country’s fifth-ranked defensive tackle and that state’s top-ranked player, both heard from the Buckeyes.

Ohio State commits shine across the country

Last weekend was another big one for a handful of Ohio State commitments who had a chance to put on a show and did not disappoint in their efforts.

2021 quarterback Kyle McCord and his St. Joe’s (Philadelphia) teammates continued their tough pre-conference slate with another matchup against a national power. One week after falling to Marietta (Ga.) on a last-minute touchdown, McCord helped his team bounced back and toppled St. John’s College (Washington D.C.) 34-31.

The No. 4 Cadets have a number of major stars, including a pretty well-known trio to the Buckeyes. But they couldn’t withstand an early push by St. Joe’s that saw it up 21-0 before the end of the first quarter. McCord — playing at Rutgers where his father suited up in college — finished with three scores and almost 300 yards passing. St. Joe’s will take on the IMG Academy next Friday.

Cameron Martinez, one of the country’s most versatile and productive 2020 football players, led Muskegon to a big win over Detroit Martin Luther King on Friday. Martinez rank for 179 yards and two scores, completed 6 of his 7 passes for 90 yards and a touchdown — and added a 90-yard kickoff return for good measure in the 41-18 win over last year’s state champ.

“We came out to play and went at them,” Martinez, who beat King last year in the regular season before losing in the state title game, told Lettermen Row. “They weren’t really expecting the pass, so we were able to get them on that too. Now we just have to stay the course.”


The future of Brian Hartline’s Zone 6 looked the part this weekend as well. Gee Scott led Eastside Catholic (Sammamish, Wash.) to a big win in its season-opener and snagged 13 receptions along the way. Julian Fleming scored twice — including once on a blocked field goal — in a 50-7 Southern Columbia (Catawissa, Pa.) victory over Selinsgrove. Fleming surpassed 4,000 receiving yards for his career early this season and continues to prove himself as the nation’s top receiver prospect.

Buckeyes 2021 verbal Jayden Ballard caught two scores for Massillon Washington as the Tigers laid it on Glen Oak (Canton) 55-7.

Is Jack Miller going to be missing some time?

After a big game in the second week of the season, Ohio State 2020 commitment Jack Miller did not play on Friday in a 70-35 Chaparral (Scottsdale, Ariz.) win over La Joya (Avondale, Ariz.) Community.

Miller, who ran for 100 yards and two scores while throwing three additional touchdowns in the Firebirds week-two win over Desert Mountain, has been running for his life in the first two games of the year for Chaparral behind a young offensive line. The Firebirds, with an off week ahead of them, may have been playing it safe with their star quarterback knowing that the La Joya game was one they could win comfortably without Miller in the lineup — and they did, obviously.

The concerns around Miller’s health have been well-documented. He missed half of his junior season with a knee injury and was forced to sit out of this summer’s Elite 11 quarterback camp because of a back injury, but he was 100-percent healthy and ready to go for his senior season.

Miller, his family and his coaches are all going to be under a microscope as the final few months of his prep career unfold, though. He plans to be on campus at Ohio State in January, and he wants to start his time with the Buckeyes in good health. But he also wants what any senior leader wants for his final year of high school football: A state title. Can he be protected by the Firebirds offensive line and will he get his primary receiver options back in time for that to matter?

The balancing act between what’s best for Miller, what’s best for his future and what’s best for his current team will be interesting to watch.

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