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 notebook catches up with a host of Ohio State commitments in action for the first time this season
Ohio State commits in action
Though we’re a week away from Ohio State kicking off its season, a number of future Buckeyes opened up their year this weekend to mixed results.
Jack Miller and his Chaparral (Scottsdale, Ariz.) Firebirds fought valiantly but were overmatched by Hamilton (Ariz.) and fell 37-21. Miller threw for 269 yards and a touchdown, but was without his top three receivers and forced to scramble most of the night against a bigger, faster Huskies program. Miller eclipsed 8,000 passing yards in his illustrious prep career.
For Miller, it was the first step in what has all the makings of a big bounce-back season after a disappointing summer camp circuit that ended earlier than he expected after a back injury just prior to the Elite 11 quarterback camp.
The end result was much better for a pair of future Buckeyes cornerbacks.
Clark Phillips picked off a pair of passes — including a game-sealing interception — to help La Habra (Calif.) knock off Upland (Calif.),Â a huge upset win for the Division 3 Highlanders over the Division 1 power. Phillips outshined Justin Flowe, a 5-star linebacker and running back, in a game full of star performances.
.@ClarkPhillips28 intercepted two passes to help @LHHighlanders earn a 21-14 win over Upland. Here he discusses how he did his homework, which lead to the win. @SGVNSports @OhioStateFTBL @Buckeyes pic.twitter.com/Ggi2C6mPUL
— Connor Morrissette (@C_Morrissette) August 23, 2019
Speaking of star-studded, Lejond Cavazos and the IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) rolled in its season-opener 46-7 over Venice (Fla.) The Ascenders offense was led by sophomore tailback Kaytron Allen, a recent addition to their roster from Norfolk (Va.) Norview High School. Allen ran for three scores and was complemented by a solid defensive effort that included an interception return for a touchdown from 5-star cornerback Elias Ricks. Cavazos did his part, collecting seven tackles and forcing a fumble.
In California, Ohio State verbal Kourt Williams helped lead the St. John Bosco Braves to a national TV win over DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.). The Braves, one of the country’s deepest and most talented rosters, knocked off the Stags 35-7. Williams played a solid game, flashing in both a traditional linebacker role and also showing an ability to line up on the outside and defend wide receivers.
5-star Buckeyes receiver commitment Julian Fleming and the Columbia (Catawissa, Pa.) Southern Tigers traveled to Hammond (Columbia, S.C.) High School and took on 5-star defensive end Jordan Burch and the Tornadoes. That game kicked off at 2:00 p.m. ET on Sunday afternoon, live on ESPN2.
Jamari Buddin open to all, eager to hear more from Ohio State
The Detroit area is loaded with high-Division 1-type talent and one of the region’s rising stars is Belleville (Mich.) 2021 linebacker Jamari Buddin. A 6-foot-2, 195-pound junior, Buddin was among the most impressive performers at Massillon (Ohio) Washington High School in May whenÂ The Opening regional came into the Midwest.
With 12 early offers, including one from Michigan, Buddin isn’t flying under-the-radar. He’s going to be national recruit if schools around the country don’t back off because of that early Wolverines offer. Why would national powers recruit a player they believe already has his mind made up?
“There’s no pressure at all to go to Michigan,” Buddin told Lettermen Row. “And I’m 100-percent open to everyone. Pass the word out because all the schools are asking me that.”
Recruiting requires resources and despite the crazy dollars being spent on the recruiting trail, football programs aren’t keen on wasting money on a player who is locked in elsewhere. Ohio State is one of the schools trying to figure out if recruiting Buddin is worth the chase. He’s teammates with major defensive tackle prospect Damon Payne — who is very high on the Buckeyes — and has been to Columbus in the past with Payne.
“I thought it was pretty cool actually,” Buddin said of visits to Ohio State. “The campus is really nice, the stadium is just beautiful. I would like to go back and see the rest of the facilities.”
To do that, Buddin will need to continue to get to know linebackers coach Al Washington. There’s been some contact to this point and Buddin hopes it increases when Sept. 1 comes around.
“I’ve not heard too much from Ohio State,” he said. “I’m hoping it will pick up come September. Iâ€™m very interested in hoping to get to know more about the program and the university, but most importantly I need to get a good relationship with some of the new coaches there. Al Washington seems like a really cool dude. You can talk to him about anything and he seems really down to earth.”
Linebacker Ethan Calvert willing to leave West Coast
Another junior linebacker that has been in some contact with Ohio State is Oaks Christian (Westlake Village, Calif.) 4-star prospect Ethan Calvert. Lettermen Row spoke to the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Calvert in May when the Buckeyes offered and he’s continued to chat with the Ohio State staff whenever he’s been able.
“We’ve talked a couple of times, here and there,” Calvert told Lettermen Row. “Coach Al Washington mainly. He seems like a good guy. You can tell he’s competitive and takes care of his guys.”
The nation’s 104th-ranked 2021 prospect, Calvert says he’s hoping to get a visit made to Ohio sometime this season. He says that knowing players like Kourt Williams and Clark Phillips are leaving the West Coast for Columbus shows the Buckeyes are serious about recruiting California but that he’d be interested in the Ohio State program either way.
“I havenâ€™t planned a visit yet but Ohio State is definitely going to be one of my visits for sure,” he said. “It’s just how successful the players have been that go to Ohio State, they really buy-in. It just seems like a really cool atmosphere to be involved in.
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