NCF On The Trail: Jalyn Holmes

Typically losing a defensive line coach wouldn’t get too much publicity, but when Ohio State defensive line coach Mike Vrabel announced he would be leaving for the Houston Texans, it made some noise.

Vrabel was one of the best recruiters in the country and helped the Buckeyes reel in plenty of prospects over the past few years.

While Ohio State won’t likely lose any commitments from this departure, it is a big blow to the recruiting efforts overall. Vrabel was well liked among recruits and had a lot of success with his targets.

Ohio State's big win wows recruits 

October, 27, 2013
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Ohio State’s history-making 63-14 win over Penn State on Saturday didn’t go unnoticed by some of the top recruits who were visiting on campus.

[+] EnlargeSolomon Thomas
Tom Hauck for Student SportsSolomon Thomas was one of many prospects who were impressed by Ohio State on Saturday.
Here’s a sampling of quotes we tracked down following the game:

“The atmosphere was amazing [and they have] great fans. I’ll remember how physical the defense was and the interaction between the players and coaches.” -- ESPN 300 defensive end Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell), No. 31 in the nation.

“It was crazy. I thought it was great to see the fans stay even with the blowout, and how well the team played together, and how the coaches coached them up.” -- ESPN Junior 300 defensive tackle Shy Tuttle (Lexington, N.C./North Davidson), No. 21 in the nation.

“The crowd and atmosphere were both amazing. The coaches were super energetic. I’ll probably remember how disciplined the players were.” -- ESPN Junior 300 cornerback Minkah Fitzpatrick (Jersey City, N.J./St. Peter’s Prep), No. 38 in the nation.

“The atmosphere was one that you will never forget. I have never been a part of something as big as that event. The amount of support from the fans was great. I will most likely remember meeting with Coach [Urban] Meyer this morning and meeting Braxton Miller last night after he game.” -- ESPN Junior 300 quarterback Brandon Wimbush (Jersey City, N.J./St. Peter’s Prep), No. 74 in the nation.

“The atmosphere was crazy. It threw Penn State off [its] game. The best part was being there and seeing the fans doing their part to help with the win. The moment I will remember the most is Ohio State getting three turnovers in the first half. That was the game-changer right there.” -- ESPN Junior 300 outside linebacker Anthony McKee (Columbus/Walnut Ridge), No. 193 in the nation.


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Recruits ready to rock The Horseshoe 

October, 25, 2013
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Penn State travels to Ohio State on Saturday in what is a very important recruiting weekend for the Buckeyes.

Ohio State will have many commits on campus in an attempt to sway some of the biggest names to the Buckeyes. Here’s a list of the prospect who are likely to be at The Horseshoe this weekend:

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From commitments to official visits to offers tendered, the Big Ten is never at a loss for headlines.

Here’s a look at the latest from an always busy conference:

Bill O’Brien serving pancakes

Urban Meyer has been known as the master in flipping committed prospects in his time at Ohio State and rightfully so with more than a dozen pledged targets becoming Buckeyes. O’Brien is catching up after flipping Jason Cabinda (Flemington, N.J./Hunterdon Central) from Syracuse to Penn State on Wednesday.

Cabinda marks the sixth pledge to change stripes and join the Nittany Lions since O’Brien took over the reins in Happy Valley.

He’s raided Maryland three times in landing running backs Richy Anderson and Johnathan Thomas as well as offensive guard Tanner Hartman. O’Brien has also plucked quarterback Steven Bench from Rice and landed defensive tackle Parker Cothren from Purdue.

Buckeye leafs

Ohio State’s biggest target is headed to Columbus this weekend for the game against Penn State as the top-ranked linebacker in the nation regardless of position comes to town on an official visit in Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County).

McMillan isn’t the only one slated to take an official visit as East Mississippi Community College teammates Avery Gennesy at offensive tackle and A.J. Stamps at safety are coming along. ESPN 300 wide receiver Josh Malone (Gallatin, Tenn./Station Camp) will be on an official visit, too as will commit and defensive end Jalyn Holmes (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor).

By the way, Gennesy and Stamps went to the same community college current Ohio State junior and 2013 signee Corey Smith went to.

ESPN Junior 300 standouts Jauan Jennings (Murfreesboro, Tenn./Blackman), Lorenzo Nunez (Kennesaw, Ga./Harrison), Brandon Wimbush (Jersey City/N.J./St. Peter’s Prep), Minkah Fitzpatrick (Jersey City N.J./St. Peter’s Prep), Jacques Patrick (Orlando, Fla./Timber Creek), Anthony McKee (Columbus/Walnut Ridge), Shy Tuttle (Lexington, N.C./North Davidson), Larry Scott (Hubbard, Ohio/Hubbard) and Kelly Bryant (Piedmont, S.C./Wren) have all said they are coming.

As always, the list is fluid and could change at any time. There are a good collection of commits coming to the game as well.

Lee getting close

ESPN 300 linebacker Brandon Lee (Indianapolis/Lawrence Central) cut his list down to Cal, Louisville, Missouri and Virginia Tech on Wednesday night. He will be announcing his decision on Nov. 8, and has already taken an official visit out to Cal and will be out to see Virginia Tech this weekend.

The No. 242 ranked prospect had Northwestern and Penn State in his top list, so those two schools are now obviously out of the running.

It’s still a bit of a mystery as to where he will end up, since Lee has kept everything close to the vest. He is keeping everyone in suspense and taking it down to the wire right up to his announcement date.

London has a top five and a timeline

Running back Madre London (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) is a highly coveted senior among Big Ten teams. With limited options remaining, plenty of teams are hoping to land the three-star back.

On Wednesday, London tweeted that his top five is Nebraska, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Illinois and Pitt and that he will be making his final decision in two weeks.

The Spartans might have the edge here, but it could go either way since he has taken a few visits recently to various programs.

At 6-foot-2, 202 pounds, he would be a great fit for most programs, so landing this Florida athlete will be a big deal for whichever program gets his commitment.

Michigan coaches on the road


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Early Offer: Holmes plays myth-buster 

October, 24, 2013
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: The rumor mill has started to picked up about the status of Jalyn Holmes' commitment to Ohio State, so the four-star linebacker took to Twitter on Wednesday to address the speculation; one of the most heavily courted junior-college DT prospects has his sights set on two fast-rising SEC teams; and Oklahoma State commit Tyreek Hill picked the perfect time for a breakout game.


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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: With the first edition of this year’s BCS rankings released Sunday, we take a look at how the top five teams in are faring on the college football recruiting trail.


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Bama, FSU, OSU move on after Garrett 

October, 18, 2013
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Ok, Alabama, Florida State and Ohio State fans, do you want the good news or the bad news first?

[+] EnlargeDamian Prince
Tom Hauck for Student SportsWith OT remaining a high priority for FSU and Ohio State, Damian Prince remains high on their recruiting boards.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way. The bad news is that your favorite school missed out on landing five-star defensive end Myles Garrett (Arlington, Texas/Martin). The 6-foot-5, 247-pound Garrett committed to Texas A&M Friday, giving the Aggies the No. 7 player and one of best defenders in the 2014 class.

Garrett’s commitment bolsters an Aggies class that was already one of the best in the nation, and some recruiters say his pledge firmly establishes Texas A&M as the "in" school for the Lone Star State’s top talent.

If Garrett develops like he is projected to, it could be bad news for SEC quarterbacks for the next four years. We all know what a difference a dominating defensive end can make in the SEC, and A&M fans are already talking about what impact Garrett will make for a defense that ranks last in the SEC in quarterback sacks and 11th in total defense.

Let’s shift to the positive side of things for those schools that missed out.

The success of Alabama, Florida State or Ohio State’s classes weren’t going to depend on one single player, and everybody involved in Garrett’s recruitment knew for months that he was a major lean toward A&M. The Tide currently has the No. 1 class, Florida State is at No. 2 and Ohio State is at No. 9, so there’s already plenty of talent heading to Tuscaloosa, Tallahassee and Columbus. Plus, all three teams have also done a decent job of recruiting defensive linemen the past few seasons, especially at the premium defensive tackle spot. All three highly coveted Garrett, and his addition would have been a big boost, but coaches at those schools knew this day was coming and have recruited around it for weeks.

Another good thing is that all of the schools have other needs that are more important to fill than defensive end, and they’re in good shape with many elite players at those spots.

The Tide’s main focus on defensive line is at tackle, and that’s why guys like four-star Matt Elam (Elizabethtown, Ky./Hardin) and three-star Charles Mosley (Brighton, Tenn./Brighton) are priority players. Elam looks to be an Alabama-Kentucky battle, and the Wildcats are pushing hard to keep him at home. Molsey has said a number of times he was about to commit to the Tide, but he hasn’t yet for one reason or another. Tennessee has moved into the lead for him, but he will be back in Tuscaloosa in a few weeks, so the Tide has a chance to change momentum again.


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Best Big Ten recruiters 

October, 15, 2013
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Editor's note: For a look at the national recruiter power rankings based only on Class of 2014 success, click here.

Michigan and Ohio State both sit in the top 10 recruiting rankings this year after each landed top 10 classes in 2013 -- the Buckeyes were third, while the Wolverines were sixth.

That's why it should come as no surprise that the two schools have the top four recruiters in the Big Ten Conference for the Class of 2014 so far.

Here's a look at the top 10 recruiters in the Big Ten and why they deserve such high praise:


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Big name visitors set to invade Ohio State 

September, 27, 2013
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Urban Meyer doesn’t miss an opportunity to impress.


The two-time national champion did it last year when Nebraska played Ohio State in The Horseshoe under the lights and he’s not missing the opportunity this year.

Here’s a look at some of the bigger names scheduled to make the trek to the banks of the Olentangy River for the Buckeyes-Badgers game Saturday evening.

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The Early Offer: Florida’s best meet 

September, 4, 2013
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The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's latest feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Plenty of elite talent will be on hand for Saturday’s Florida-Miami game, but Will Muschamp knows it’ll take more than one Saturday to make a difference; Virginia, Virginia Tech and Ohio State recruits showcased on national broadcast, and 2016 running back target Robert Washington taking a national tour this fall.

Sunshine State showdown
Everybody who is anybody in the Florida recruiting world will be at Saturday’s Florida-Miami game. Miami is going to have a large group of visitors, including ESPN 300 prospects Dalvin Cook, Joe Yearby, Travis Rudolph, KC McDermott and Anthony Moten. The Canes will also be hosting four-star receiver Braxton Berrios on an official visit. Berrios was at Oregon this past weekend, and UM is right in the thick of things with him. Miami will also host Torrance Gibson, Jordan Scarlett, Devante Peete, Devonarie Clarington and CeCe Jefferson, who all rank in the top 10 of Florida for the 2015 class. While the game and atmosphere certainly will make an impression, Florida coach Will Muschamp knows it will take more than that to reel in the elite players. “I would hope that a recruit isn’t making a decision about where they go to school on who wins a specific game,” Muschamp said. “While a recruit might have an emotional swing, based on the outcome of any game, they should consider what the best fit is for them academically, athletically, socially and for their future. We feel strongly that what we have to offer there is bigger than just one Saturday.”

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ESPN 300: July 30 update

July, 30, 2013
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Tom Luginbill breaks down the significant movers in the ESPN 300 rankings, including a new player in the top three, players who made massive jumps further down in the rankings and new positional No. 1s at wide receiver and outside linebacker.


COLUMBUS, Ohio – The second installment of Ohio State's Friday Night Lights is over and several of the top players in the nation put on quite a show.

There was some incredible one-on-one competition and the cream certainly rose to the top as Ohio State got a look at some very solid talent in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 classes.

Here is what we learned:

Baker a two-position standout


It’s going to be interesting to see at which positions 2015 standout Jerome Baker (Cleveland/Benedictine) is going to be recruited.

He’s fantastic at outside linebacker and at running back.


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Summer recruit wrap: Ohio State 

July, 23, 2013
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BuckeyeNation looks at 10 themes of Ohio State’s 2014 recruiting class to date:

Arms race is over

Ohio State missed out on ESPN 300 quarterbacks Kyle Allen (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain) and Brandon Harris (Bossier City, La./Parkway) and came up empty on standout DeShaun Watson as well. That didn’t matter to Urban Meyer, who got his man in Stephen Collier (Leesburg, Ga./Leesburg). The Georgia high school standout had a private game of pitch and catch with the Buckeyes coach and it was enough to earn an offer and commitment. Consider the hunt for a quarterback finished.


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LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. -- With nine commitments participating in The Opening, Ohio State will be well represented at the event. ESPN 150 defensive back Damon Webb (Detroit/Cass Tech) says that the future Buckeyes will be using this event as a bonding experience.

"This is a chance for all of us to get together and hang out. To get to know each other on the field," he said. "I'm playing on the same team as some of the commits so it will be fun."

With that many commitments on hand, considering they are from all over the country, it will also give some of the commitments an opportunity to meet for the first time.

How do the future Buckeyes plan on spending their time together this week?


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The Opening: Ohio State storylines 

June, 27, 2013
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Nine Ohio State pledges will head to The Opening, which is one more than a year ago.

With the most representatives of any school in the nation heading to the nationally televised, star-studded event, quarterback Stephen Collier (Leesburg, Ga./Lee County), running back Parris Campbell Jr. (Akron, Ohio/St. Vincent-St. Mary), outside linebackers Dante Booker (Akron, Ohio/St. Vincent-St. Mary) and Kyle Berger (Cleveland/St. Ignatius), offensive tackle Kyle Trout (Lancaster, Ohio/Lancaster), defensive ends Dylan Thompson (Lombard, Ill./Montini Catholic) and Jalyn Holmes (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor), wide receiver Terry McLaurin (Indianapolis/Cathedral) and cornerback Damon Webb (Detroit/Cass Tech) know what they’re in for.

All nine are going there with a chip and a chirp.

[+] EnlargeDante Booker
Brad Bournival/ESPN.comA big Opening could propel Dante Booker up the rankings.
<1. The chip is to prove they’re underrated.

OSU has the most commits at The Opening of any school by far, but that doesn’t mean it has a ton of highly ranked commits. In fact, only four of its commits are in the ESPN 300, and only one (Webb), is among the top 150. Excellent showings here could provide a rankings boost for any of them. “By competing, we’re showing how good we are,” Berger said. “Being able to meet up with the top 150 kids, it’s the perfect time.”

2. The chirp is to get in the ear of some of the top campers in the nation.

All nine have been active in recruiting for the Buckeyes. Webb’s family even has a website, Bucks2014.com, detailing news, notes and commitments for Ohio State. They all see The Opening as an opportunity to spread the word. “Kids like to make decisions in the summer,” Berger said. “This is a great time to put the Buckeyes in their ear.”

3. Stout Trout.

Trout is one of those guys outside the 300 with a chance to break in if he can hold up against top competition, some of which he got a chance to see up close and personal at the Columbus NFTC. “I’m trying to seek out the best competition and beat them,” Trout said. “I went to the Nike Training Camp expecting to see Da’Shawn Hand. I wanted to see him and I wanted to go against him. When they said, ‘Do you want to play right tackle?’ I said, “ ‘Heck yeah, I want to play right tackle.’ I’m a left tackle, but I don’t care. I can change my feet, I’m athletic. It’s a little weird, but I wanted to prove to people I can go with the No. 1 defensive end in the nation, which is exactly what I did. … He beat me, I beat him, and we stalemated. I want to go at him again. Not in a mean way, we’re cool, but I want to go against the best talent in the nation.”


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