Even though we're still in a recruiting "dead period", there was quite a bit of recruiting news yesterday thanks mostly to the abrupt departure of Ohio State defensive line coach and ace recruiter, Mike Vrabel, who had been number ten in the 247Sports recruiter rankings.
I don't think this will have much of an impact on any of the commits in the 2014 or 2015 recruiting classes, but it will definitely have an impact on some of Ohio State's targets, depending on who Urban Meyer hires to be the next defensive coordinator and the next defensive line coach.
The biggest immediate impact will likely come with 2014 Coppell (TX) defensive linemen Solomon Thomas, who is one of the top defensive players in the 2014 recruiting class and is rated as a five-star prospect in the 247Composite rankings.
Vrabel had done a very good job recruiting the Lone Star State and was one of the biggest reasons Thomas was considering playing his college ball in Columbus. Before Vrabel departed, I had Thomas projected to be in this class. Unfortunately for OSU, I think Thomas is more of a long shot as things currently stand. I think Stanford is the team to beat right now, but Texas and newly minted head coach Charlie Strong are back in the race. It will be interesting to see if he does, in fact, come up to Columbus for an official visit on January 31st as he's currently scheduled to do. I'll try to find out more in the next day or so.
Another 2014 recruit who may have been affected by Vrabel leaving is Norfolk (VA) Lake Taylor defensive end and Buckeye commit Jalyn Holmes. When I reached out to him after the news broke yesterday, he told me he had "no comment" on the news. There's very little, if any chance Holmes will defect from the class, though. I think it's more likely that he was upset with Vrabel and decided it would be best if he kept his mouth shut on the matter.
In any event, I'll see if he has anything more to say a couple of days down the road. We'll keep you posted on his commitment status, but I don't think there's much to worry about.
I got a brotherhood with my fellow commits especially with @Kwon_daTRUTH @JDStandAlone &@DameWebb we got a mission together GO BUCKS !— QBKILLA!!! #⃣1⃣1⃣ (@JayHolmes_) January 9, 2014
Wish @CoachVrabel50 the best of luck, you have to follow your dreams !— QBKILLA!!! #⃣1⃣1⃣ (@JayHolmes_) January 9, 2014
I also had a brief conversation with 2015 Manassas (VA) Stonewall Jackson defensive tackle and Buckeye target Tim Settle. He told me that he talks to Ohio State every once in a while and would like to visit again. Judging from what he was saying, it didn't seem like he was very focused on recruiting right now.
Settle is rated as a five-star prospect (number 9 overall) in the 2015 247Composite rankings. I currently have him projected to land in the scarlet and gray, there's still a long way to go in his recruitment. Teams like Alabama, Clemson, North Carolina, Virginia, and a couple of other top programs will give the Bucks a run for their money in the race for the 6'3, 305-pound defensive linemen.
Another player I had a brief chat with is 2015 Cincinnati (OH) St. Xavier linebacker Justin Hilliard. I found it very interesting that he said he hadn't had much contact with Vrabel or area recruiter Kerry Coombs. He said the coach he talks to the most is none other than Buckeye head coach Urban Meyer, who he chats with about once every week.
When Meyer takes over a recruitment, it means Ohio State really wants that player to be a part of the program. While I'm sticking with my pick of Hilliard to Iowa for the time being, I think the Buckeyes are gaining ground in the race for the state of Ohio's top junior with each passing day.
It's important to note that the 6'2 , 225-pound linebacker is from Michigan and moved to Ohio in elementary school. Therefore he doesn't really have a favorite team or a loyalty to any program, though his older brother, CJ, is a member of Iowa's 2014 recruiting class.
In other news the Buckeyes made the top six for 2015 Jacksonville (FL) Trinity Christian Academy linebacker Jeffery Holland. Ohio State was the only "cold weather" school to make his list of top schools. Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, and UCLA.
As per usual, here are my latest picks to complete Ohio State's 2014 class (plus for good measure some key dates to keep an eye on):
1. CB Jermaine Roberts (Texas commit/official visit January 24th)
2. OT Brady Taylor (Virginia Tech commit)
3. TE Mike Gesicki (Penn State commit)
Dropped Solomon Thomas due to Vrabel departure
- January 17th visitors: TE David Njoku, DT Derrick Nnadi, LB Dante Booker Jr., ATH Parris Campbell
- January 24th visitors: CB Jermaine Roberts
- January 31st visitors: DE Malik McDowell, DE Soloman Thomas, ATH Malik Hooker
- February 5th, 2014: National Signing Day (Land-Grant Holy Land will have coverage all day)