Quite a bit has happened in the world of Ohio State football recruiting over the last week. Let's get you all caught up in a special "In a Nutshell".
Justin Hilliard closing in on college decision. Who's the team to beat?
Cincinnati (OH) St. Xavier linebacker Justin Hilliard completed his final two pre-decision college visits over the weekend and plans to make his choice known to the world on July 2 at his high school.
While he maintains a final five of Alabama, Iowa, Michigan, Notre Dame and Ohio State, I think it's down to the Buckeyes and Fighting Irish, with Iowa still sort of in the picture. I've heard both trips went very well and there's confidence on both sides that he ends up committing to their school.
I don't think Hilliard has made up his mind and I doubt a ton of new information is going to come out over the next week as his circle will be tight with his decision so close. I'm still hearing Ohio State is the likely pick for the St. Xavier star, so I'm sticking with that prediction for now. However, it wouldn't be shocking if he decided to play his college football in South Bend.
If any new information emerges over the next week, we'll make sure to bring it to you. This is going to be a very interesting story to follow.
Josh Sweat's visiting tomorrow. Where do the Buckeyes stand?
Ohio State is set to host Chesapeake (VA) Oscar Smith defensive end Josh Sweat tomorrow for his first recruiting trip to Columbus. It's huge for Urban Meyer and company to get the nation's number two overall prospect on campus, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
He was originally slated to take the visit for Friday Night Lights next month, but it will now occur a little earlier than planned. While the atmosphere at FNL is top-notch, and many other top guys (and commits) will be on campus for the event, I think it's better that the visit is happening tomorrow. There's so much to see at Ohio State and a lot to cover with the coaches, so it's likely for the better he'll be there on a day where nobody else is scheduled to be there.
This is a huge opportunity for the Scarlet and Gray. He'll have the coaches to himself for essentially the whole visit. I think Sweat is going to make a late college decision as he hasn't really gotten into the recruiting process too far just yet. Other top contenders include Florida State, Georgia, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, and others. Almost every elite program in the nation has extended him a scholarship offer.
What's the state of 2016 quarterback recruiting?
After struggling to land a big name quarterback in the last two recruiting classes, I think that is going to change in the 2016 class. Ohio State is in a good spot for many of the nation's top signal callers, many of which I saw in person last week when they were in attendance for Ohio State's football camps.
I think the two guys on top of the board are Juwan Pass and Dwayne Haskins, in that order. I'm a big fan of both, but after seeing Pass in person last week, I think he might be the top quarterback in the 2016 class as a whole. However, I think the Bucks have a better shot at landing Haskins, who is also a very good player.
After those two, I would put Malik Henry (don't think they have a great shot here), followed by Jarrett Guarantano and Brandon Mcllwain. I think the last two are close, but would favor Guarantano because I feel the Buckeyes have a better shot at getting him.
When it's all said and done, I think the Buckeyes will only take one quarterback and as things currently stand, I'm very confident it will be one of the five mentioned above.
What does the offensive line situation look like in the 2015 class?
After landing commitments from Grant Schmidt and Kevin Feder this month, I think the Buckeyes only have two remaining spots for offensive linemen in this recruiting class. The guys on top of the board include Matthew Burrell, Drew Richmond, Isaiah Prince, Venzell Boulware, Patrick Allen, James Daniels, and Andre James.
Of the group, I'm probably the most confident in the Buckeyes landing Burrell and Daniels, though neither is a lock. If they land those two early and say Drew Richmond or Isaiah Prince wants it, I'm not sure they'd turn down a commitment from either. This will be an interesting situation to monitor.
LJ Scott's announcing next month. Are the Buckeyes the team to beat?
Yesterday Hubbard (OH) running back Larry "LJ" Scott tweeted that he was going to make his college decision next month. Ohio State and Michigan State are the clear favorites in this race. Nobody else is a serious contender currently.
I'm sticking with my pick of Ohio State here, but would him committing to the Spartans surprise me? Absolutely not. The two Big Ten powers are in a dead heat to land his commitment.
If they did land Scott, I absolutely believe they would continue to pursue Damien Harris, who for my money is the best running back in the 2015 class as a whole.