Last Saturday, the Buckeyes looked like the team fans had been expecting since day one of the 2017 season. A team that at times is a roller-coaster of emotions put together maybe its most complete game on both sides of the ball all season. When a heated match-up against a stingy Michigan State team leads to a 48-3 trouncing, that’s the type of result that obviously everyone is happy with.
Coming off of arguably the worst performance in the Meyer era thanks to Iowa, Buckeye fans may have been on one or two sides of thinking: either they’re going to play flat and continue the skid, or the loss at Iowa will wake the masses and force this squad to play as angry and as dominantly as possible. With Illinois traveling to town, Urban Meyer and his staff will hope for the second type of performance from the team, as they do still control their own destiny in the Big Ten East with a trip to Indianapolis on the line. As always, when the Buckeyes are hot, so is their recruiting trail. This week of course has been no different.
Let’s try this one again please
It feels like just yesterday we were watching class of 2016 stud Antwuan Jackson Jr. spurn Ohio State fans and choose Auburn as the college of his choice. The missing link in a chain known as the inability for the Buckeyes to sign an elite defensive tackle continued as Jackson was set to head to Auburn, staying in the south. But fast forward to present day, and any true Ohio State recruiting fanatic can tell you what has gone on here with Jackson.
After his Auburn selection, we know things didn’t go quite as planned. With his decision to transfer, the Tigers decided to low-ball Jackson and block a transfer request to Ohio State, seemingly his runner-up in the original recruiting process. Why? Nobody truly knows, but thankfully, Jackson chose to take the JUCO route as he enrolled at Blinn College and dominated on the scene all season for the Buccaneers. With this domination, Jackson began to see the recruitment take off for a second time when once again Ohio State offered him to be a part of their class just two seasons later. This time, the relationship between Antwaun and Ohio State stuck as he committed to the Buckeyes on September 12.
Things weren’t derailed by any means, but an October visit to Alabama had fans a little worried that maybe they’d be left behind yet again concerning Jackson, but with 5-star IMG Academy stud Taron Vincent already in the fold for the 2018 class at defensive tackle, the addition of Antwuan is just the icing on the cake. Loading up in the trenches is a goal for this Ohio State program and the best news is Jackson knows he’s coming soon. The road may have been a little bumpy, but this one seems meant to be, as finally Antwuan Jackson Jr. will be suiting up as an Ohio State Buckeye.
Will it be enough?
Let’s stay with the hot topic and keep things on the defensive line. It’s no secret how vital it is to keep the best talent in Ohio within the border and get them to Columbus for their collegiate careers. Especially with how well this staff recruits nationally, it’s almost a do-or-die situation if an in-state kid goes elsewhere, knowing how important it is for Ohio prep stars to become Buckeyes historically.
Consider Cleveland native Tyreke Smith and you have a scenario that Buckeye fans would think is all but a done deal. Unfortunately, this deal isn’t even close to done. The Cleveland Heights product is ranked currently as the fourth-best weak-side defensive end in the country. Not only is he the third-best prospect in the loaded state of Ohio, but he also checks in as the 62nd-best prospect in the country, giving him a more than well deserved 4-star ranking.
Smith's nearly 40 scholarship offers just further prove how good he really is. The scary part? It was originally thought that Tyreke would follow the basketball route concerning college. The athleticism and potential in Smith hasn’t gone unnoticed by nearly anyone and that of course includes Ohio State.
For some time now the Penn State Nittany Lions were thought to have been in the driver’s seat for Smith, and that doesn’t sit well with anyone in Ohio. Fortunately, a visit for the epic Penn State game at Ohio Stadium just two weeks ago gave Smith the opportunity to see Buckeye Nation in its prime which ultimately gave Ohio State the chance to make up some serious ground on James Franklin and Happy Valley. Smith does have a visit to Oregon planned for November 25, but his official visit to Penn State just days later on December 8 pretty much cements this recruitment as a two team race with the Buckeyes and Penn State.
Yesterday, Smith once again told his followers via Twitter that his decision is looming and January 4 is the date where it will all be said and done. Will the Buckeyes be able to make up the lost ground for this in-state prize? Urban Meyer and fans across Ohio will keep their hopes alive because losing a talent of this caliber to a rival conference foe is just unacceptable.