In what could be the most crucial week of the offseason, recruiting-wise, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer must ignore the distractions currently surrounding the football program in order to bring home another top recruiting class.
This Friday night, July 26th, coaches and fans alike will be able to see the future of the Ohio State football program up close. Meyer and the rest of the coaching staff will host the program's second annual Friday Night Lights, as some of the nation's best make their way to Columbus to prove themselves under the lights of Ohio Stadium.
Among the nation's best is Rockwall (TX) running back Chris Warren III, who visited Ohio State for the first time today. Warren, the son of the former NFL standout with the same name, has scholarship offers from every top program in the country, most notably Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas, and Southern California.
The 6'2", 215 pound junior-to-be has been pegged by most recruiting analyst to end up at the University of Texas, but that was before Warren left Columbus more than impressed.
"The architecture of all the buildings were real nice, and I liked the fact that they give out iPads for scholastic purposes. I did talk with the staff and I mostly talked to [director of high school relations] Greg Gillum and Coach (Stan) Drayton, and we just talked about goals to set at The Ohio State University."
With all of the negativity currently surrounding the running back position at Ohio State, Warren would quickly remove any worry surrounding the position for the foreseeable future.
Last season, as a sophomore, Warren carried the ball 174 times for an impressive 1,059 yards and 13 touchdowns. One can only imagine that Warren will be even better with added weight to go along with his great instincts and top-end speed.
Hebron (Carrollton, TX) High School safety Jamal Adams announced his top four, dropping Ohio State and Notre Dame from consideration. After being blown away on his official visit to Mississippi, Adams narrowed his list to Ole Miss, Florida, Texas, and Texas A&M.
Most recruiting analyst believe that Florida is the leader for Adams' services due to his father's relationship with current Gators wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator, Joker Phillips. During their playing days, Phillips and the elder Adams were teammates at Kentucky.
Another target to remove the Buckeyes from his considerations is Brady Taylor. The offensive lineman from Bishop Ready High School in Columbus told Land-Grant Holy Land that he will not make it to Friday Night Lights because of high school football practice.
Taylor is set to make his college intentions known on Monday at 4 pm. Ohio State made the final five, but Taylor is said to be choosing between Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia Tech. With a commitment to the Wildcats, Taylor would be the 9th recruit from Ohio to take his talents to the Bluegrass State.
With a pipeline seemingly connecting Ohio to Kentucky, it's time to revisit a pipeline that has brought plenty of oil to Columbus: the Glenville pipeline. Two current Tarblooders, cornerback Marshon Lattimore and safety Erick Smith, can continue the long legacy of Tarblooders to become Buckeyes.
However, two-time defending national champion Alabama is also in the running for the five-star defensive backs. Lattimore and Smith are both scheduled to visit the Tuscaloosa on November 9th, when the Crimson Tide host LSU. Likewise, Ohio State will host the pair for a game this season, but a date has not been set.
On the hardwood side of things, Thad Matta has been very busy. After checking out his 2014 commits this weekend in DC, Matta was also on the 2016 recruiting trail, offering high school sophomore Jayson Tatum. The top ranked player in the state of Missouri, Tatum also received an offer from Michigan State over the weekend.
Tatum, the godson of former NBA player Larry Hughes, received his first collegiate offer when he was in eighth grade, and the offers have piled up since. The list of scholarship offers includes some of the best programs in the nation, including Kentucky, Kansas, Indiana, and Ohio State.