Donovan Edwards visits, Buckeyes offer nation's top tight end

Jeremy Birminghamover 1 year
Aritcle written by:Jeremy BirminghamJeremy Birmingham

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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 has feedback on the big Friday visit from two Michigan stars, looks at a recent tight end offer and wonders if Clemson is about to strike back in the Class of 2021.

Donovan Edwards, Ohio State and the next move

The Buckeyes hosted one of their long-time and highest-priority targets on Friday and once again, things with West Bloomfield (Mich.) 4-star running back Donovan Edwards went as well as could be expected.

But — also as expected — the 5-foot-11, 200-pound tailback left Columbus uncommitted and looking toward to his next round of visits around the country, a trek that will almost certainly culminate in a summertime announcement from Michigan’s No. 2-ranked junior prospect. The tour continued on Sunday, when Edwards returned to East Lansing for his first meeting with the new coaching staff at Michigan State.

The thing is, there’s almost no circumstance where a player of Edwards caliber has a “bad” time during a campus visit, so it’s unsurprising that one Ohio State source told Lettermen Row that the Friday visit “went great.” He’s been to Columbus for a half-dozen visits over the last few years, and the relationship between Edwards and the Ohio State staff remains his strongest anywhere, primarily with running backs coach Tony Alford. But Ryan Day’s involvement has only made things better between the two sides. It’s a comprehensive approach by the Buckeyes — one free of any pressure about committing — with one goal: make sure Edwards and his family have no doubt he will be developed on and off the field at Ohio State and that the risk of leaving his home-state school behind for its bitter rival is worth the reward.

Edwards had questions to be answered, primarily about the way he’d be used in the Buckeyes offense and how time would be split with another running back, and his coach at West Bloomfield, Ron Bellamy, said the Ohio State staff did a good job with that on Friday.

“It was great,” Bellamy told Lettermen Row. “The boys enjoyed their experience and Coach Day and his staff were awesome. Coach Day did a great job addressing his questions.”

So the biggest questions now are about what happens next. There are visits expected throughout the next two months to Georgia again, LSU, Oklahoma and of course, Michigan. The Buckeyes may lead right now — though Edwards is certainly not going to say that and neither will anyone at Ohio State — but the fight is far from over.

Buckeyes offer country’s top tight end, Thomas Fidone

Late on Thursday evening, Ohio State offered one of the country’s fastest-rising prospects, Council Bluff (Ia.) Lewis Central tight end Thomas Fidone.

A relatively unknown tight end at the start of the year, Fidone has rapidly climbed the national rankings thanks to his prototypical size (6-foot-5, 225 pounds) and the above-average athleticism he put on display at the All-American Game combine in San Antonio in early January. In that event, Fidone posted an impressive 4.67 in the 40-yard dash and maxed out on the vertical jump bar. From that moment, the eyes of the country were on him, including the Buckeyes who began reaching out to him in mid-February.

Ohio State’s offer adds some intrigue for Fidone, who told Lettermen Row in January that the Buckeyes were one of the programs he had been hoping to hear from. Now that he’s hearing from Ryan Day’s program, the priority will be making a trip to Columbus happen as quickly as possible because Iowa’s No. 1 prospect isn’t interested in dragging his recruitment out.

“I actually want to narrow my list down,” Fidone said. “As soon as possible.”

The Buckeyes actually offered Fidone a few days ahead of his announcement of them doing so, but the cell phone signal strength in Western Iowa led to some communication issues.

“The last time we talked we were breaking up really bad throughout the whole conversation,” Fidone joked. “So I think that’s why I missed it.”

Dillon Tatum sees why Ohio State competes for national titles

Traveling with Donovan Edwards to Ohio State on Friday was his sophomore teammate and backfield cohort Dillon Tatum. The 2022 sensation left Columbus with an offer from the Buckeyes and a great first impression of the program at Ohio State.

“It was great,” Tatum said. “I expected it to be a great experience, being my first time there. They look like a national championship type of team.”

Tatum told Lettermen Row prior to his visit that he believed he could be a defensive back for the Buckeyes but still spent the majority of his time during this visit with Edwards, Bellamy and Tony Alford.  There was some interacting with Kerry Coombs though and both coaches left their mark.

“I spent time with both, and they’re great guys,” he said. “And they’re great coaches at the same time. Coach Alford said they work for game preparation, you go from drills to position to group to team, then to the game and you must succeed at the step before. Every one. He preached that he’s giving his backs the tools to succeed.

“Coach Coombs told me that he puts guys in the league. If that is what I want it, it will not be easy but that he’ll get me there.”

The Buckeyes hope to continue growing their relationship with Tatum, who grew up a Michigan State fan thanks to family ties to the Spartans. That loyalty, combined with the simple fact of being from Michigan, made the first trip feel a bit weird for Tatum.

“It was a little weird,” he admitted. “But I’ve never had hate for Ohio State, being there it just hit me because I’ve never would’ve thought I would get recognized by Ohio State.”

Clemson hosts Buckeyes targets

The rival Clemson Tigers hosted a major recruiting weekend this weekend and — at least as it pertains to Ohio State — it’s so far so good as no one has, publicly at least, committed to Dabo Swinney’s powerhouse program.

Top Ohio State targets Troy Stellato, Barrett Carter, Jordan Hancock and Jakailin Johnson were all at Clemson on Saturday, and though there is a new 247Sports.com crystal ball prediction for Hancock to the Tigers, the rest of that group remains uncommitted. There’s been a lot of speculation as of late that Hancock could end his recruitment sooner rather-than-later, though he told Lettermen Row on a recent episode of Birminology that he was intending to commit “before August” with a goal of having a very narrowed down list after spring football.

Hancock is expected to visit Ohio State the weekend of March 28 and has an official visit scheduled for June 12. The Buckeyes are hoping those trips are still on.

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