In a Nutshell: Justin Hilliard announcing soon?, Bucks miss on an LB, Chris Clark latest

Student Sports

All the latest Ohio State recruiting news explained.

Justin Hilliard announcing soon?

Standout linebacker Justin Hilliard took another visit to Notre Dame yesterday. It was likely his last trip to South Bend before he announces his college decision either later this month or sometime in July.

Hilliard is also supposed to visit Ohio State one last time (pre-decision) this month and Iowa as well when his family moves his older brother C.J. into school at Iowa, though I don't think the Hawkeyes will be too much of a threat in the end.

I still think this comes down to Ohio State and Notre Dame with the Buckeyes holding the edge as things currently stand. In recruiting nothing is guaranteed, but right now I really like Ohio State's chances in this race. Urban Meyer and his coaching staff have done an awesome job recruiting Hilliard.

Sh'mar Kilby-Lane spurns OSU for Florida State

Longtime Ohio State linebacker target Sh'mar Kilby-Lane committed to Florida State yesterday while on a visit in Tallahassee. The move came as a pretty big surprise as he had been leaning towards the Buckeyes for quite a while. Following his visit for the OSU spring game, it seemed like he was on the verge of committing to the Scarlet and Gray, but instead decided to hold off.

As I said on Twitter yesterday, he was a player the coaching staff definitely wanted. Some want/think the staff will turn to Dublin Scioto linebacker Nick Conner, but I think there's a very real possibility that there will only be two linebackers in this class – if the two are Hilliard and Jerome Baker. Conner could earn an offer with a good camp performance later this month, but I'm not very optimistic that he receives a scholarship offer at present.

It will be interesting to follow how Urban Meyer and company handle linebacker recruiting in this class. After landing four very solid guys at the position in the last recruiting cycle, it's not a huge need.

Chris Clark names top four, decision nears

Top tight end recruit Chris Clark named a top four of Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina, and Ohio State while participating in the Rivals 100 challenge in Baltimore, Maryland on Friday. He's taking trips to Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State a little later this month, then will announce his college decision next month at Nike's The Opening 2014.

As I've said many times over the past month, I just don't see Clark being in this recruiting class, though things could obviously change if the Buckeyes knock it out of the park on his visit. Right now, I'm thinking this comes down to Michigan and Michigan State, with the Wolverines holding a slight edge. Though I certainly wouldn't be surprised if the Spartans took the lead following his visit.

The way Clark's recruitment has gone, I wouldn't be surprised if he kept taking to other schools and if he takes a couple of official visits. We'll keep you updated as things progress in his wild recruitment.

Austin Clark names final four, to announce on Thursday

The rising offensive tackle recruit named a final four of Tennessee, South Carolina, Ohio State, and Virginia Tech on Friday. He plans to announce his college decision on Thursday.

Honestly, I think the Buckeyes rank fourth of his final four schools. He has taken trips to Knoxville, Blacksburg, and Columbia over the last two weeks. I think the Volunteers are the team to beat, but wouldn't be surprised if he chose either the home state Hokies or the Gamecocks. Ohio State would be a shocking pick.

The Buckeyes pulled in a very good offensive line class in the 2014 recruiting cycle and they're in good position with some guys in this cycle, so it's not a huge potential loss for the Scarlet and Gray.

Who's on commit watch for Ohio State?

I could definitely see the Buckeyes adding a few commitments this month. Names I would keep an eye on are defensive ends Darius Fullwood and Dre'Mont Jones, as mentioned before linebacker Justin Hilliard, and long snapper Liam McCullough. And of course then there's always a chance for a surprise commitment (see: Jalyn Holmes last year).

A look forward at the class of 2016

Moving on to 2016 recruiting, one guy I could see committing at some point this summer is wide receiver Nate Craig. He has told me on multiple occasions that he plans on leaving the state of Florida to play his college ball, and the Buckeyes are his current leader.

He plans on visiting sometime this summer and is a guy I could see pulling the trigger very early in the 2016 recruiting cycle. Ohio State's top competition is probably Auburn.

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