These last couple of days have been the busiest recruiting days of the summer and there's plenty of stuff to talk about thanks to Ohio State's Friday Night Lights camp attracting quiet a bit of top talent to Columbus to perform in front of the Buckeye coaching staff and take in the electric atmosphere the camp provides.
Torrance Gibson has the Buckeyes on top
Even though the Buckeyes picked up two commitments Friday night, I think the biggest news of the weekend was the impression they made on Torrance Gibson. The electrifying athlete had such a good time on his first ever trip to Columbus, that he has Ohio State as the new leader in his recruitment.
The main reason for the move the Buckeyes made this weekend was Urban Meyer. Gibson is very impressed with the work the Ohio State head coach has done with left-handed quarterbacks in the past (see: Tim Tebow) and thinks he fits perfectly into Meyer's offense.
Gibson also confirmed that he would be making his official visit to Columbus on Sept. 6, for the Ohio State-Virginia Tech game, instead of the Michigan game, which he mentioned as a possibility when we spoke after the camp Friday night. The early September visit makes more sense, as he is set to announce his college decision on Oct. 20.
Right now, I like Ohio State in this race, but it's by no means a lock. Gibson's recruitment has changed quite a bit over the past two weeks, as the Buckeyes weren't even thought to be a legitimate contender a couple of weeks back. However, it was huge getting him on campus for that first visit, and the Buckeyes are in pretty good shape as things currently stand. I still think Auburn and Tennessee are the top two contenders to steal Gibson away from the Bucks, with Miami, Central Florida, LSU, and Oklahoma still in the picture as well.
Two new commitments
While Ohio State didn't add any big name commitments Friday night, they did add two guys who have the chance to play a big role on the football team somewhere down the road.
I knew Josh Moore was high on the Buckeyes going into the visit, but I was not expecting him to commit on Friday night, as he was planning to take this visit, think about his decision for a couple of weeks, and then announce his college decision.
After striking out on top targets Chris Clark and Hale Hentges, the Buckeyes got the next best thing in Moore, who could be a very useful redzone threat down the road and is also a very good blocker, which is something Urban Meyer values in his wide receivers and tight ends. Moore will join Nick Vannett, Marcus Baugh, and Sam Hubbard in Ohio State's tight end corps when he arrives on campus next summer. Overall, I think this was a very solid pickup for the Scarlet and Gray. You can read more about what Moore brings to the table here.
It's also worth noting that this likely spells the end for CJ Conrad and Ohio State as I believe they will only take one tight end in this recruiting class, then go two in 2016, with Jake Hausmann and Luke Farrell being the most likely guys. They're in very good shape to get both at present.
With Moore, I knew there was a chance he would eventually be a Buckeye, so it wasn't too shocking, but I did not see a commitment from Cass Tech standout Joshua Alabi coming, especially last night.
While he's going to be a bit of a project, whether he plays on the offensive line or defensive line at the college level, he will have the chance to develop into a contributor to the football team. Most importantly, this furthers the in roads the Ohio State coaching staff has made at Cass, which used to be a Michigan pipeline. They landed Damon Webb last year and have offers out to Mike Weber (2015), Lavert Hilll (2016), Michael Onwenu (2016), and Donovan Peoples-Jones (2017).
It will be interesting to see if the Buckeyes are able to add more players from one of the top high school's in the state of Michigan in the coming years.
You can read what Alabi had to say about his commitment here.
Jonathon Cooper earns his offer, Lawrence Cager, too
I've thought Jonathon Cooper was an Ohio State caliber football player ever since I saw him work out at the Best of the Midwest Combine back in February, and have thought the same thing in the times I've seen him workout since the first major camp of the year.
He told me in February that if Ohio State ever offered him a scholarship, there was a relatively good chance that he would commitment on the spot. That didn't happen after he received his offer Friday night, but I can definitely see this recruitment ending in the very near future.
I would be stunned if Cooper didn't end up in Ohio State's 2016 recruiting class. It's always cool to see Central Ohio kids get the opportunity to play football for their hometown team.
The other big offer handed out Friday night was to massive (6'5, 200 pound) wide receiver Lawrence Cager, who grew up rooting for the Buckeyes and badly wanted to earn an offer from the Scarlet and Gray. He got his wish after the camp and immediately put the Buckeyes on the top of his list.
Cager would fill a big need for Ohio State if he eventually commits because they're really lacking big receivers who can play on the outside and compliment the stockpile of slot-receivers they have in their arsenal. He also recently earned offers from Tennessee and Alabama.
I'm not sure when this recruitment will end, but right now he's planning to announce at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in early January. I could definitely see something going down before that and really like where Ohio State stands right now. Things could certainly change, but I'm very much liking the Buckeyes' chances right now.
Drew Richmond, Jordan Whitehead watch, but don't workout
Not all of the uncommitted 2015 visitors worked out Friday night, namely offensive tackle Drew Richmond and defensive back Jordan Whitehead.
Richmond, who along with Matthew Burrell and Isaiah Prince are top offensive line targets for the Buckeyes, was seen hanging out with quiet a few people on the field Friday. He spent some time with freshmen offensive linemen Jamarco Jones and Demtrius Knox. He was also seen hanging out with Torrance Gibson during the camp.
Whitehead was talking to Urban Meyer, Mark Pantoni, and Braxton Miller on the field for a little while Friday night. He's one of the Buckeyes' top remaining defensive back targets in the class.
Both targets got to spend time with 2015 commits Jahson Cornell and Justin Hilliard on the field as well. Hilliard and Cornell have definitely emerged as the leaders of the "Elite '15" recruiting class since verbally committing to the Buckeyes back on July 2.
Ohio State is my current pick for both Richmond and Whitehead, but they'll be in tough battles in both races. Alabama and Tennessee are the other top contenders to land Richmond, with Alabama and Penn State being the top competition for Whitehead. Richmond plans to announce his decision on Sept. 9, and Whitehead plans to decide sometime later in the recruiting process.
A couple of other offers handed out
There were a few other prospects who received scholarship offers as a result of a good camp performance.
Cass Tech defensive back Lavert Hill earned himself an offer. He now has the opportunity to join former high school teammate Damon Webb in a future Ohio State defensive backfield. 2016 Michigan native offensive tackle Michael Jordan (no relation) also earned an offer thanks to a good showing at camp.
2017 wide receiver Trevon Grimes also received an offer from the Buckeyes. Grimes was very impressive at the camp and is one of the top receivers in his recruiting class. The Buckeyes are in early on the St. Thomas Aquinas star.
James Daniels deciding Thursday
Lost in the shuffle of all the Friday Night Lights hoopla, was offensive linemen James Daniels announcing he would be deciding between Ohio State and Iowa this Thursday.
Up until a few weeks ago, I thought Daniels was going to be a Buckeye, but over the past couple of weeks I have been hearing Daniels is leaning slightly towards choosing the Hawkeyes when it's time to make his decision know, so I've changed my pick.
I don't think this is a done deal just yet, but things are definitely look good for Iowa to land one of Ohio's top offensive linemen. It wouldn't be shocking to see him choose the Buckeyes either, however.