The biggest news of the day hit Thursday morning, when '14 RB Jalen Hurd committed to Tennessee over the likes of Ohio State, Florida and Vanderbilt. Hurd was supposedly favoring the Buckeyes and Gators up to that point, but clearly had a change of heart during the recruiting process. One of the top 15 best players in the country, Hurd rushed for 3357 yards during his junior season on 317 carries, adding a staggering 43 rushing touchdowns. Hurd had verbal offers from Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Stanford, Notre Dame, Michigan, Ole Miss, North Carolina and a number of others, including the Buckeyes.
From SB Nation's Tennessee blog, Rocky Top Talk:
However during his first visit to UT on Feb. 16, he connected with coaches and noted to 247 national writer Gerry Hamilton that Jones was a key part of why he committed this early.
After rumors heated up on message boards Wednesday night, Hurd came from nowhere to commit to the Big Orange on Thursday morning, sending Tennessee fans into a frenzy. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound running back is the No. 10 overall player in the nation according to 247 Sports as well as the second-ranked running back in the nation. Rivals has him as a high four-star and the 15th-rated overall player in the country. Scout believes he's the seventh-best running back in the nation.
This is a pretty big commitment for Tennessee, and I think it may be pretty difficult for Coach Meyer and Ohio State to lure Hurd away from the Volunteers.
In some good news on the Ohio State front, '14 OL and current Texas commit Demetrius Knox is being reported as coming up to Columbus the weekend of April 19th to visit family but will also be making an unofficial visit to Ohio State. The reason this is pretty big news is that Texas, in similar fashion to Michigan, has a no-visit policy when it comes to visiting other schools while being committed to them. In the 2013 version of this game, you can take a look at '13 commit Gareon Conley for that situation. If Texas is going to be strict about their no-visit policy, then it might not be long until coach Meyer can quickly flip the Ohio-born offensive tackle.
While the 19th of April is still a bit far away, the news of this could end up being beneficial to the flipping of Knox, who has most likely gotten word by now of the impact this is taking. Of course, nothing is set in stone just yet, so we'll have to play this one by ear and see what comes of it. Until then, we can only speculate as to what's next for Knox and the Buckeyes.
2014 four-star DB Darius West tells me he is in contact with the #OhioState staff all the time & plans to attend a spring practice soon— Charles Doss (@CDoss_LGHL) March 14, 2013
'14 S Darius West told our very own Charles Doss that he has stayed in constant contact with the Buckeye recruiting staff and will attend a spring practice sometime soon. The 6'0", 195-pound West had 47 tackles, five interceptions, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery, along with a pick six during this past season. The Lima, Ohio product is ranked as the 18th best safety in the country.
Finally, co-defensive coordinator Everrett Withers played an enormous role in landing '13 S Vonn Bell in the class of 2013 on National Signing Day this past February. Coach Meyer praised Withers' efforts and now Withers might be looking to do the same thing to another safety in the peach state. '14 S Cortez McDowell has been a varsity starter since his freshman year, and ever since has played lights out for his high school team.
The 6'2" and 203-pound McDowell intercepted four passes during his sophomore season. He made 50 plus tackles, intercepted two passes and broke-up 10 others during his junior season in 2012. McDowell has an impressive list of 18 scholarship offers that includes Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Tennessee, Auburn, North Carolina, Mississippi State, Vanderbilt and North Carolina State.
It's fairly obvious that the staff has its eyes set on landing a safety or two in the class of 2014, and with McDowell mentioning that he will visit Ohio State this spring, maybe the 4-star safety (who is also the 22nd best safety in the country) will have some more discussion about the possibility of becoming a Buckeye.