We're entering the home stretch of the home stretch, as there are officially less than two weeks left until National Signing Day 2013. Ohio State is looking to close with a bang, but there are certainly still a few depth related needs Urban Meyer and his staff would ideally like to make sure are addressed before the drop dead deadline of February 6th. With the departure of 2012 signee OL Joey O'Connor, the Bucks could most assuredly use another warm body on the offensive line. While linebacker Connor Crowell's de facto retirement is less costly, there's still other needs the Buckeyes would like to sure up before calling it a class.
The two recruits coming to campus this coming weekend are big ones, and while Ohio State isn't considered the bettors favorite in either circumstance, this will most definitely be a weekend you'll want to stay tuned to Land-Grant Holy Land from Friday through Sunday:
James Clark (5-10/170) WR | New Smyrna Beach H.S., FL
Dontre Wilson (5-10/165) ATH/WR/RB | DeSoto H.S., TX
Beginning with Clark, by all accounts, it seems like Ohio State may be neck and neck with Clemson, whom he visited last weekend. Florida's one of the leaders as well, and Clark is expected to visit there next week (unless Ohio State completely blows him away). To the Buckeyes' credit, Urban Meyer had an in-home with Clark Tuesday, and apparently held nothing back:
"(The visit) went well," Clark said. "(Meyer) came in, delivered his message and was straightforward with me.
"He kind of just said that he believed that Ohio State was the best as far as having both the best educational opportunities and best football," Clark added. "He had a strong case for Ohio State."
"(Meyer) said they are looking for a guy that can come in and make an impact right away," Clark said. "He said speed is the aspect they are looking to add to the team."
Wilson's a tougher read. He's an Oregon commit and said prior to Chip Kelly's departure that in the circumstances that Kelly leave, he liked Kelly's handpicked successor, Mark Helfrich. Wilson spoke candidly of being committed to the school and not just the individual. But after Kelly acted like he was staying and then wound up departing anyways to coach the Philadelphia Eagles, it appears that Wilson's decided to reevaluate his feelings on where he'll play college football the next four years. 247Sports has even gone as far as to consider him as a prospective National Signing Day flip in the Buckeyes' favor. With Oregon apparently having sent in the full court press Wednesday night, we'll have to see if the Buckeyes can prevent Wilson from leaving without giving them his word he'll be donning scarlet and gray next season.
3-star WR Kyrin Priester was originally to join the pair, but after committing to Clemson this past weekend, has decided to cancel his official visit and close his process. Another pair of Oregon commits, the Robinson twins, Tyree and Tyrell, were also said to be considering a visit to central Ohio, but shut down any such notions earlier in the week and appear solid to UO.
So what about the weekend after?
Darren Carrington (6-3/180) WR | Horizon H.S., CA
It's a shorter list for sure, but you can't fault Urban and co. for going hard after Oregon commits after Kelly decided to high tail it out of dodge. Carrington's sort of the best of both worlds; built more like the rangier Ohio State wide receivers of the past two decades, but still with the kind of speed schools like Oregon and Ohio State covet. It seems like this one is more of a Hail Mary than either of the previously mentioned recruits, but it's worth pointing out that Carrington did visit Rich Rodriguez and Arizona just two weeks ago. During the course of his recruiting process, Carrington also considered Arizona State and Boise State.
So will the Buckeyes wrap up their 2013 recruiting class with Clark, WIlson, Carrington, or perhaps someone not making the trek to cold confines of Columbus in the next two weeks (e.g. Corey Smith or Ryan Timmons)? If we were forced to make a call, we'd peg Timmons as the most likely, with Clark second most probable, Wilson a close third, Carrington a distant fourth, and Smith likely out of the picture due to extenuating circumstances (believed to potentially be qualifying related). And while Ohio State has plenty of time to figure out creative ways to get down to the NCAA punishment mandated ceiling of 82 scholarships, we'd put it at next to impossible for the Buckeyes to close with two of them unless they just completely whiff on the offensive line front.