OSU holds steady as signing period nears
For the past two months, Ohio State has maintained the status quo headed toward the first signing period for the 2019 recruiting class on Dec. 19.
That could change in the next couple of weeks.
For example, Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State are awaiting the decision of Olentangy Orange defensive end Zach Harrison, a five-star talent considered the No. 5 overall prospect in the country.
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But at least the Buckeyes haven’t lost any of their 15 commitments in recent weeks.
Maintaining the status quo is certainly a good sign for coach Urban Meyer and his staff considering the way the past several months have played, starting with the firing of receivers coach Zach Smith in July. Meyer was suspended for three games in the fallout from Smith’s dismissal, and then after Meyer’s return, the Buckeyes suffered a 49-20 loss to Purdue in October.
“Considering the circumstances, I think they have managed that part well,” Marc Givler of Rivals said. “It’s been kind of like watching somebody run uphill, swimming against the tide or whatever cliche you want to use like that.
“They’re fighting, and they’re not losing ground necessarily, but they haven’t been able to make a lot of progress, either. A lot of it is going to come down to how they finish in this phase, like whether they can pull off landing Zach Harrison and keep Jordan Battle in the class.”
Battle, a four-star safety from Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, has been the one of the 15 showing the strongest second thoughts, yet he remains committed. Alabama has stayed after him.
“If the Buckeyes can keep him, that will be almost like adding a player to the class, really,” Givler said. “This is not going to be Urban’s best class, and it never was going to be anyway just because of the numbers (probably near 20), but they’ve had some obstacles they usually haven’t had.”
Bill Kurelic of Bucknuts agreed, but he added there is quality among the 15 members, including receiver Garrett Wilson of Lake Travis outside Austin, Texas; center Harry Miller of Buford, Georgia; offensive lineman Doug Nester of Spring Valley in Huntington, West Virginia; and linebacker Cade Stover of Lexington, who this week was named Ohio's Mr. Football.
The class members have an average rating of 92.26 (out of 100), third nationally behind Georgia (93.34) and Alabama (93.25).
“They are still in on quite a few players who are going to wait until before the second signing period in February to make up their minds,” Kurelic said. “But in regards to the Dec. 19 date, there are several others they’re still working on.”
He said they include offensive linemen J.D. DuPlain of Strongsville and current Mississippi commitment Nick Broeker of Springfield, Illinois, and defensive back Bernardo Green, a Florida State commitment from Apopka, Florida.
“And of course there is Harrison,” Kurelic said. “Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan — it could be any of the three.”