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What’s in a name?
So, youÂ may have noticed a little change in the title of this column.
When we began Lettermen Row, we went over a list of possible names for this nightly recruiting notebook, and though I think #StayCrootin is hilarious, I don’t know that it hit every mark I was looking for.
Dotting the ‘Eyes was the name of my notebook when I worked with the now defunct Landof10.com, and I thought the name was pretty great when I came up with it in a hotel in Portland, Ore. That was just days after I began that Land of 10 adventure and at the beginning of the 2016 version ofÂ The Opening.Â So, now days after the end of the 2018 edition of The Opening, and about a month after we launched Lettermen Row, I’m taking it back.
I hope you will all welcome back Dotting the ‘Eyes with me.
Doug Nester’s experience at The Opening
Ohio State had four commitments in Frisco, Texas at The Opening last week, including 4-star offensive tackle prospect Doug Nester. Nester came into the event ranked as the country’s 11th-ranked offensive tackle and No. 75 overall player. He worked at tackle and at guard during the week and told Lettermen Row he actually preferred to be on the inside of the line.
“I like inside more than I do tackle,” Nester said during the event, before noting that he’s not had any discussions with Ohio State about his eventual position.
If there’s a reason for preferring tackle, it’s likely the fact that Nester’s offense at Spring Valley High School in Huntington (W.V.) is run-heavy. He says he struggled in pass protection during The Opening, and that is a part of the reason.
“For sure, I learned a lot about myself,” Nester said. “I need to work on pass blocking a lot more.”
I’m not an expert talent evaluator. But I think there was plenty to like about Nester, especially his frame, which keeps getting bigger every time I see him. That said, I do agree that he’s a bit raw as a pass protector, and I’ve said a few times I believe guard would be his eventual position at Ohio State.
Events like The Opening are about much more than just recruiting though, and Nester really thinks he’ll become a better player thanks to the coaching he received there.
“It was really fun and competitive,” he said. “It was definitely a good experience.
“Going against the greatest competition you can. The atmosphere here is insane, thereâ€™s great coaching.Â Youâ€™re getting the best of the best coaches.”
Rakim Jarrett thrilled with Ohio State offer
The Ohio State 2020 recruiting class is off and running thanks to the recent additions of 5-star offensive tackle Paris Johnson and 4-star prospects Lejond Cavazos and Jack Miller. Cavazos and Miller have teamed up with fellow verbal Jake Wray to give Ohio State a formidable team of prep-level recruiters.
A new target for the Buckeyes has emerged following an early-week offer: wide receiver Rakim Jarrett.
Jarrett is the country’s 45th-ranked prospect and a 6-foot-tall, 182-pound athlete from Washington (D.C.) St. John’s College High School. His family roots, though, are in Ohio.
“My mom’s side of the family is from Ohio,” Jarrett told Lettermen Row. “It would kind of be like going home if I went there.Â I always spent the [Thanksgiving] holidays up in Canton, and thatâ€™s usually the time where Michigan and Ohio State plays each other. So, I was kind of rooting for the â€˜hometownâ€™ team. My whole family is huge Buckeyes fans.”
Because of recruiting, Jarrett is no longer rooting for any specific team — and the Ohio State offer is now his 29th. But there’s no doubt that the Buckeyes are going to be a major player in his decision, whenever it comes. He will visit Columbus for the first time at the end of July.
“I have not been to Ohio State,” he said. “They want to see me on campus, so I plan on going up later this month. The offer was kind of unexpected, but it’s great news.”
Larry Johnson was the coach who offered Jarrett, but as mentioned, there’s a group of his peers intent on getting his commitment.
“Some of the 2020 guys committed already reached out to me and said congrats and gave a small little recruiting pitch on Ohio State,” Jarrett said. “Paris Johnson said small stuff like â€˜Come join the famâ€™ and that â€˜Ohio State is the place to be.’ I haven’t talked to Jack Miller yet, but I plan on it in the near future.”
Buckeyes in final two for big-time 2020 OL Luke Wypler
Speaking of that group of 2020 commitments, there’s a pretty good chance they could add another priority member in the near future. Montvale (N.J.) 4-star offensive guard Luke Wypler has narrowed down his school choices to just two and a decision will come by the end of the summer.
— Wypler (@LukeWypler) July 5, 2018
Wypler is the country’s third-ranked guard and 75th-overall prospect in the Class of 2020. He told Lettermen Row he’s been in regular contact with the Buckeyes 2020 verbals.
“A lot,” he said. “Paris, Jake, Jack, Lejond and I talk almost every day.”
Going head-to-head against a school like Stanford is a daunting task for any program in America, and the relationships Wypler is forming with future Buckeyes is just one reason he’s considering the school so heavily.
“Itâ€™s definitely something special,” Wypler said. “That really makes this process so much fun.
“Ohio State as a school has everything that I am looking [for], with the Fisher School of Business. On the field its coaching staff all have extreme experience breeding, working with and creating the best football players in the country. Itâ€™s one of the few places, along with Stanford, where the football is excellent and the academics are just as good.”
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