NCF On The Trail: Ohio State football

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The Big Ten will get stronger on Thursday. It just remains to be seen which conference school will be the beneficiary of ESPN 150 offensive tackle Jamarco Jones’ (Chicago/De La Salle) decision.

The No. 66 player nationally and top-10 tackle will make his commitment at 2 p.m. ET Thursday at his high school and will choose from Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State.

Jones visited all three schools two weeks ago, and he said those visits ultimately shaped his decision. He was considered an Ohio State lean heading into those visits.

Despite being one of the top programs in the nation, LSU still has some work to do to land one of the top junior prospects in the south.

Coaches from LSU visited Todd Kelly Jr. this week. However, the Watch List prospect from Knoxville (Tenn.) Webb said he's primarily focusing on his top ten finalists.


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LB Trey Johnson chooses Ohio State

January, 4, 2013
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- For months, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and his staff have made the No. 2 inside linebacker prospect in the country a recruiting priority.

Their patience paid off tonight when Trey Johnson (Lawrenceville, Ga./Central Gwinnett) committed to Ohio State during the Under Armour All-America Game, live on ESPN.

Johnson chose Ohio State over Florida and Tennessee.

A longtime Auburn Tigers commitment, Johnson happened to be returning from his official visit to Ohio State on Nov. 25 when Auburn fired coach Gene Chizik. That time on the Columbus, Ohio, campus helped the No. 2 inside linebacker get a better feel for the Buckeyes.

“When I took a visit up there it was different,” said Johnson, a starter in the UA Game. “I kind of like the feel up there, the depth chart. And there are many factors that make it a good fit there.”

The addition of Johnson gives Ohio State 20 commitments, nine of those being members of the ESPN 150, and boosts what is already the No. 4 recruiting class in the ESPN rankings.

Johnson, who made 140 tackles, three sacks, and one interception as a senior, is the first linebacker commitment for the Buckeyes in the 2013 class. They are still working to add linebacker and ESPN 150 prospect Mike Mitchell (Plano, Texas/Prestonwood Christian Academy), and are in the mix for another standout in the Peach State, Under Armour All-American safety Vonn Bell (Rossville, Ga./Ridgeland).
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Offensive tackle Cameron Hunt (Corona, Calif./Centennial), committed to Cal since July, is about to get busy again with recruiting.

[+] EnlargeCameron Hunt
Miller Safrit/ESPN.comCameron Hunt looks forward to an upcoming U-M visit, for which former teammate Kyle Bosch will likely be his host.
Hunt plans to visit Michigan on Jan. 11 after he returns home from the Under Armour All-America Game, Oregon on Jan. 18 and Cal on Jan. 25.

He’s also considering Ohio State, though he has yet to set a visit. It has been a long road for Hunt, who drew little recruiting interest before a breakout camp circuit last spring.

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Max Redfield reveals final trio 

December, 30, 2012
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The verdict is in for Max Redfield. We’ll learn his decision on Friday on ESPN's 5 p.m. ET telecast of the Under Armour All-America Game.


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Weekend Rewind: Ohio State 

December, 10, 2012
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Ohio State has to be feeling pretty good about itself these days.

With eight commits already on official visits over the weekend, the Buckeyes added two more names to their 2013 recruiting class when four-star ESPN 150 cornerback Gareon Conley (Massillon, Ohio/Washington) and four-star ESPN 300 defensive tackle Donovan Munger (Shaker Heights, Ohio/Shaker Heights) gave their pledge to the team.

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When Nick Chubb (Cedartown, Ga./Cedartown) opened his junior season with 390 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns in three quarters during a 40-0 win over Rockmart, some eyebrows were raised.

The 5-foot-11, 205-pound Chubb hit the halfway mark of the regular season with a 366-yard, 7-touchdown performance against Southeast Whitfield, and then schools really started to take interest.

Now with an offer from Ohio State, Chubb could become a big part of a Buckeyes offense that already includes high school touchdown machines Bri’onte Dunn (Canton, Ohio/GlenOak) and Ezekiel Elliott (St. Louis/John Burroughs), should he decide to come to Columbus in 2014.

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WR Thaddeus Snodgrass names top five

October, 25, 2012
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ESPN Watch List wide receiver Thaddeus Snodgrass (Springfield, Ohio/Springfield) told ESPN.com this week that he will make a commitment either Nov. 2 or Nov. 5. He added that he now has a top five.

The 6-foot, 174-pound junior announced late Wednesday night on his official Twitter account that the choice will be between -- in no particular order -- Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin.

According to ESPN.com Midwest recruiting analyst Jared Shanker, Snodgrass will make an unofficial visit to Notre Dame sometime next week before his announcement. He originally planned to visit the Fighting Irish for their game Nov. 3 against Pittsburgh, but now would like to visit earlier.

The visit for the Pitt game is contingent on whether Snodgrass commits Nov. 2 and to which program he ultimately commits.

His announcement will take place at Springfield High School.
Davonte James (Springfield, Ohio/Springfield) might be hard-pressed to top his first experience at The Horseshoe.

On hand with teammate Thaddeus Snodgrass, the ESPN Watch List junior watched the improbable become probable when Kenny Guiton took over for an injured Braxton Miller to lead Ohio State over Purdue in a 29-22 overtime thriller.

“I thought it was a great game,” James said. “I didn’t think they were doing that bad. I liked that they never gave up. It was great.”

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Sitting in the stands Saturday just a few rows up from the field, Brian Allen (Hinsdale, Ill./Hinsdale Central) could barely hear the people sitting next to him.

As a two-way lineman, Allen is glad he was in the stands and not on the field trying to hear the quarterback’s cadence.

“It was pretty insane ... probably the loudest stadium I’ve been to,” the 2014 prospect said. “It was hard to hear each other talking standing right next to each other. I can’t imagine what it’d be like on the field listening to the snap count.”

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On Saturday, some big recruits were in East Lansing, Mich., for unofficial visits, so it was the perfect time for Ohio State to make a name for itself.

ESPN Watch List juniors Clifton Garrett (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield South), Dominique Booth (Indianapolis/Pike), Thaddeus Snodgrass (Springfield, Ohio/Springfield), Malik McDowell (Detroit/Loyola) and Damon Webb (Detroit/Cass Tech) were on hand to watch the Buckeyes eke out a 17-16 win over Michigan State.

“I like the fact they never gave up,” Garrett said. “They kept fighting.”

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INDIANAPOLIS -- Kept relatively quiet for most of the game against Cathedral, ESPN 150 receiver James Quick (Louisville/Trinity) showed in a matter of seconds in the fourth quarter why he is one of the country's most explosive playmakers.

On the first play of a drive that followed a Cathedral touchdown to cut Trinity's lead to 1, Quick caught a bubble screen behind the line of scrimmage and went 72 yards for a touchdown, putting the game out of reach.

"We've been running it in practice the last couple years and it's been a success, and once you see open daylight you've got to take it," said Quick, who finished with eight catches for 162 yards.

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It took almost two months in between recruits, but Ohio State picked up its 17th commitment Thursday with Tyquan Lewis (Tarboro, N.C./Tarboro).

The Buckeyes have been courting the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Lewis for quite a while in a summer affair that finally landed the three-star hybrid defensive end/linebacker.

Lewis ended the suspense in a news conference at his high school.

He came to Ohio State’s Senior Advanced Camp on June 10 and got the offer he was looking for, then returned with his mother July 27 for the Buckeyes’ Friday Night Lights camp.

While Lewis didn’t participate at the second event, he did spend the night and the better portion of the next day talking football and beyond with Ohio State brass.

“I felt comfortable there,” Lewis said. “I think it’s a great choice overall. The coaching staff and the facilities, everything there is nice.”

In choosing the Buckeyes over North Carolina and LSU, Lewis adds a dimension the 2013 recruiting class didn’t have as a linebacker.

“I see myself at the linebacking position,” Lewis said. “Just moving around and being aggressive.”

It looked like Ohio State had the position filled, but decommitments from Alex Anzalone (Wyomissing, Pa./Wyomissing) and Lewis Neal (Wilson, N.C./James B. Hunt) left the Buckeyes scrambling to fill the position.

Lewis is a standout athlete who can play in either a 4-3 or 3-4 defense. As a junior, he amassed 63 tackles and 12 sacks. He also brings a winning attitude as Tarboro has won three consecutive state championships and is undefeated this season.

“I bring a winning spirit, speed, and I’m someone that will go out there and play hard every game,” he said.

The other plus Ohio State had going for it was the culture of winning Urban Meyer brings to the Buckeyes.

Already a successful program, Meyer’s two national titles were on the mind of Lewis as well. It’s a tradition the three-star commit hopes to continue.

“I expect to win a national championship,” Lewis said. “Year after year after year.”

Lewis plans on making his official visit on Nov. 24 for the Michigan game.

With Lewis’ commitment, the Buckeyes will likely look once more at the position with athlete Christopher Worley (Cleveland/Glenville) or Mike Mitchell (Plano, Texas/Prestonwood Christian). Both are very interested in Ohio State.

James Quick used to top competition 

August, 16, 2012
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Ronyae' Quick was never afraid to challenge his son. Sometimes he even employed older kids to do the job.

James Quick, who recently said he'll take official visits to nearby Louisville as well as Ohio State and Oregon, never knew what it was like to play against kids that were the same age as him. His dad made sure of that. The younger Quick always played against older competition to force him to improve his skills.

It worked. Quick, who is also considering Cincinnati and Kentucky, is rated the No. 57 prospect and ninth-best receiver in the nation.

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James Quick's list off official visits this fall is coming into focus.

The nation's 57th overall prospect and ninth-best receiver from Louisville (Ky.) Trinity said he will definitely take official visits to Louisville, Ohio State and Oregon, the three schools he's primarily considering. He said he'll likely take official visits to Cincinnati and Kentucky as well.

Certainly, the Cardinals have Quick's heart on their side. Quick's father, Ronyae' Quick, played football for Louisville in the early 1990's.

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