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Thursday, December 20, 2012
Recruiting notebook: Bell's visit crucial

By Brad Bournival

Virtually every single Ohio State fan -- or at least those glued to Buckeyes recruiting -- has already circled Jan. 13.

There’s not a bowl game or some big commitment announcement scheduled for that date -- at least not yet -- but it is when ESPN 150 safety Vonn Bell (Rossville, Ga./Ridgeland) will conclude his official visit to Ohio State.

One of three schools lined up for Bell along with Alabama and Tennessee, Ohio State is getting the first visit of the bunch and could be the biggest for the Buckeyes.

Urban Meyer made a lasting impression with the 6-foot, 190-pound, four-star safety last weekend when Meyer showed up early to the Georgia Dome for Bell’s championship game and spent time up in the stands with his family.

That courtship will reach a new level when Ohio State hosts Bell beginning Jan. 11. It’s by no surprise the Buckeyes play Michigan at Value City Arena that Sunday in men’s basketball.

Bell will join other Ohio State commits and official visitors for what should be a jam-packed 48 hours, much as it was Dec. 5-9 when the Buckeyes were able to land both Gareon Conley (Massillon, Ohio/Washington) and Donovan Munger (Shaker Heights, Ohio/Shaker Heights) during their official visits.

Expect much of the same with Bell as Ohio State tries to prevent the senior from official visits to the Crimson Tide on Jan. 18 and the Volunteers on Jan. 25.

Bark-ing up a Kentucky tree: The Buckeyes still have offered only DeShaun Watson (Gainesville, Ga./Gainesville) in terms of 2014 quarterbacks, but don’t be surprised if Drew Barker (Hebron, Ky./Connor) doesn’t garner one at some point from Ohio State.

The Buckeyes have been in contact with the ESPN Watch List quarterback quite a bit in some form or another since Nov. 25.

Barker finished the season with 2,072 passing yards and 22 scores and rushed for 1,455 and 18 touchdowns.

As a sophomore, Barker passed for 1,473 yards and seven scores and rushed for 1,570 yards and 22 touchdowns.

Demarre due: After tweeting that Ohio State is his No. 2 school behind Clemson, ESPN Watch List wide receiver Demarre Kitt (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek) is set to take an unofficial visit to Columbus on Feb. 10.

The Buckeyes climbed the charts after Nov. 13 when they offered the 6-foot-1, 185-pound junior, who currently has offers from Alabama, Auburn, Cincinnati, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Tennessee, UCLA, USC and Vanderbilt.

Kitt finished with a state championship to go along with 74 catches for 1,236 yards and 11 touchdowns as his Patriots went undefeated this season.

Long and short of it: Ohio State grabbed another preferred walk-on when long snapper Nick Sharick said yes to the Buckeyes.

He joins fullback William Houston, wide receiver Devlin McDaniel and quarterback Luke Morgan in that capacity among the 2013 recruiting class.

Sanders saga: Anyone wondering why it’s better to let the dust settle rather than report on rumors needs to look at the plight of junior college standout Tommy Sanders (Cordele, Ga./Butler Community College). Last Thursday he seemed to be a heavy Buckeyes lean after a visit from assistant Luke Fickell.

He took an official visit to South Carolina over the weekend, where All-American Jadeveon Clowney was his host.

By Tuesday afternoon, it seemed he was headed to the Gamecocks. On Wednesday morning, the top-ranked junior college linebacker in the nation signed with Texas A&M.

The good news is Ohio State must feel strongly about its chances in landing Mike Mitchell (Plano, Texas/Prestonwood Christian) and Trey Johnson (Lawrenceville, Ga./Central Gwinnett).

Toll Booth: Dominique Booth might not have an offer from the Buckeyes, but he likes the school.

The Watch List wide receiver was released a top seven and Ohio State was on it along with Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Missouri, Mississippi State and Tennessee.

As a junior, Booth caught 67 passes for 853 yards and scored 13 touchdowns.