With Nike's The Opening 2014 set to take place this week and top target Jerome Baker set to announce his decision on Friday, it could be a big recruiting weekend for the Buckeyes. Let's get caught up on the latest Buckeye recruiting news.
Could Damien Harris be next for the #Elite15?
Less than a week ago, the Buckeyes added commitments from Justin Hilliard and Jashon Cornell. They're the top two commits in Ohio State's 2015 class as things currently stand. As I wrote last Wednesday, I would be pretty surprised if the Bucks didn't pick up another commitment or two by the month's end.
One name to keep a close eye on is Berea (KY) Madison Southern running back Damien Harris, who has been favoring Ohio State ever since he decommitted from Michigan a few months ago. Harris is very close with Cornell and Hilliard, making it a safe bet they'll be recruiting him hard to come join them at Ohio State.
Despite stating that he won't make a decision until late in the process, I know that Harris has been thinking about moving his timetable way up and could very well announce his college decision sometime in the next couple of weeks. If he does that, I would be shocked if he wasn't a Buckeye.
Jerome Baker announcement preview
Cleveland (OH) Benedictine linebacker Jerome Baker is announcing his college decision this Friday, July 11, as we've mentioned before. I'm still pretty confident he will be a Buckeyes after his announcement press conference comes and goes.
The biggest threat to the Buckeyes is Florida, followed by Tennessee. Every time I've spoken to Jerome since March, those are really the only three schools that have come up. While he has a final eight right now, he's expected to narrow things down to three or four in the next couple of days.
Baker has been to Ohio State on visits quite a few times and has only been to Florida and Tennessee once a piece.I think the two SEC schools would've had a much better chance at landing Baker if they were able to get a summer and/or official visit from him. However, he has said he would like to take a few official visits, so we may revisit his recruitment if he does indeed take those.
All that said, my final prediction is Ohio State. It's the school he's most comfortable with and he knows the players and coaches pretty well. Florida might still have a chance, as he told me Gators' defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin is the coach he's grown closest to, but I think what Ohio State offers Baker is too good to pass up.
Andre James announcing this week
Herriman (UT) offensive tackle Andre James announced he would be making his college decision at The Opening 2014 this week. James will be choosing between the Buckeyes, USC, Oregon, Utah, Oklahoma, and UCLA. He visited OSU's campus last month.
Ohio State made a good impression on the standout offensive linemen, but I don't think it was enough to pull him from the West Coast. USC and Oregon appear to be the favorites to land him and I think the Trojans will ultimately be his choice.
Three Buckeye pledges set to participate in The Opening
Speaking of the The Opening, Ohio State will have three commitments in attendance for the event, which runs from tomorrow through Thursday. It's a safe bet that all three will be recruiting for the Buckeyes' 2015 class while in attendance, especially recent commitments Justin Hilliard and Jashon Cornell. Tyler Green is the other commit who will be in Beaverton.
Top targets I'm sure they'll be focusing on include Damien Harris (Buckeye lean), Matthew Burrell (Buckeye lean), Neville Gallimore (Cornell's roommate), Van Jefferson, Drew Richmond, Josh Sweat, and others. You can check out the complete roster for the event here: