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Ohio State recruiting: State Secrets, 1/17 - Darius Slade offered, Mike Gesicki update, Brady Taylor visit

The Ohio State staff was all over the country yesterday visiting some of their top targets in the 2014 and 2015 recruiting classes. We also have an update on Mike Gesicki and details on Brady Taylor's official visit.

The Bucks extended an offer to the three-star defensive end.
The Bucks extended an offer to the three-star defensive end.

Yesterday was probably the biggest recruiting day of the year as an in-person recruiting contact period started following a lengthy "dead period". Ohio State coaches were all over the country yesterday checking in on some of the top players in the 2014 and the 2015 recruiting classes.

Urban Meyer and Ed Warinner spent their day in New Jersey checking in on a couple of Ohio State's top targets in the area.

One stop the duo made was in Jersey City at St. Peter's Prep, the home defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick and quarterback Brandon Wimbush, who are two of the Buckeye's top targets in the 2015 recruiting class. Both of the visits went pretty well.

Wimbush took a minute to tell Land-Grant Holy Land about chatting briefly with coach Meyer:

"It was awesome. I didn't get to talk to Coach Meyer for very long, but it was still really cool."

The St. Peter's duo also received visits from coaches at Michigan and Penn State. Ohio State has a legit shot at landing both, but neither is anything close to a lock.

The biggest news of the day might have come when Urban Meyer extended a scholarship offer to Montclair (NJ) defensive end Darius Slade, when he visited the 6'5, 240 pound defensive end at his school yesterday. Slade officially decommitted from Nebraska as well.

Things look very good for the Bucks in this race. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if they landed the former Cornhusker commit in between now and National Signing Day.

Meyer and Warinner were also at Union City High School to check in on 2015 offensive tackle Steven Gonzalez, who is one of the Buckeyes' top targets in the class. James Franklin and Penn State also stopped by to visit him. He had good things to say about coaches from both schools following the visit:

The meeting with Warinner and Meyer went really well," Gonzalez said. "Penn State said they were going to offer once they got back to campus. They have to get the green light to shoot the offer. Coach Franklin said, "Why haven't they (the old staff) offered the best offensive linemen in New Jersey."

Ohio State currently sits very well positioned for the 6'5, 300 pound tackle as he named the Bucks as his early leader about a month ago. He would be a huge addition to OSU's crop of young offensive linemen.

They also had in-home visits with two of 2014 players who live in the area in the form of 2014 athlete commit Noah Brown and wide receiver/tight end target David Njoku, who hasn't been offered, but might take an official visit to OSU on January 31st.

Brown told me that in-home went "real well" and is excited to get to Columbus. While OSU is showing some interest in Njoku, I doubt he ever gets offered and will probably end up at Penn State with newly minted head coach James Franklin.

Ohio State tight ends and fullbacks coach Tim Hinton was in Connecticut to check in on one of the Buckeyes' top targets at the tight end position in the form of 2015 Avon (CT) Old Farms product Chris Clark, who was offered by the Bucks a few weeks back. Clark took a second of his time to talk about his visit with coach Hinton:

"It was awesome! I got to have a great conversation with Coach Hinton."

I think the Buckeyes have a pretty good chance to land the 6'6, 245 pound tight end, but it's still very in his recruitment. He was also visited by Pittsburgh was also in to visit him yesterday and Georgia, Virginia, and Boston college will be in to see him Monday.

After visiting with Clark and others, Hinton made the trip to New Jersey to watch 2014 tight end and Penn State commit Mike Gesicki play in his basketball game.

I think it's a long shot that Gesicki ends up in Ohio State's class, but with Urban Meyer at the helm, we can't rule anything out.

Luke Fickell was in Pennsylvania yesterday to check in on 2014 athlete commit Malik Hooker. The 6'2, 185 pounder, who will probably be a safety in college, had good things to say about his visit with Ohio State's defensive coordinator:

"It was great! We just talked about signing day. I think I'm going to have a ceremony at my school."

A trio of Stan Drayton, Kerry Coombs, and new assistant head coach Larry Johnson were in Michigan yesterday to check in on some of the state's top players, including five-star defensive end Malik McDowell, 2015 cornerback Brian Cole, commit Damon Webb, and also Webb's teammates Mike Weber and Joshua Alabi, who are two of the top juniors in the state of Michigan. It was Johnson's first recruiting trip as a member of the Ohio State staff.

Columbus (OH) Bishop Ready offensive tackle and Virginia Tech commit Brady Taylor is set to take an official visit to Ohio State this weekend. Here's what he told Land-Grant Holy Land regarding the forthcoming visit:

"I'm having dinner with Coach Meyer Friday and staying the night at a hotel," Taylor said. "Then more of a regular visit Saturday out with the players. I'm probably going to leave Saturday night, but I'm not sure yet."

I think the Buckeyes are in a very good position to land the 6'5, 275 pound tackle. He's planning on visiting Virginia Tech again next weekend, but I think there's a chance he pulls the trigger this weekend and doesn't end up taking the visit.

As per usual, here are my latest picks to complete Ohio State's 2014 class (plus for good measure, some key dates to add to your calendar):

1. CB Jermaine Roberts (Texas commit/official visit January 24th)

2. OT Brady Taylor (Virginia Tech commit)

3. DE Darius Slade (Former Nebraska commit)

Dropped Mike Gesicki. Think he sticks with Penn State


  • January 17th visitors: OT Brady Taylor, DT Derrick Nnadi, LB Dante Booker Jr., ATH Parris Campbell
  • January 24th visitors: CB Jermaine Roberts
  • January 31st visitors: WR/TE David Njoku, DE Malik McDowell, DE Solomon Thomas, ATH Malik Hooker
  • February 5th, 2014: National Signing Day (Land-Grant Holy Land will have coverage all day)