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Buckeyes late push sealed the deal for Blue Smith
Ohio State is still undefeated against the pesky Kentucky Wildcats, at least when it comes to players the Buckeyes actually want to land.
Here's the ESPN video of Blue Smith's decision today pic.twitter.com/V1YzqVAE4S
— Jeremy Birmingham (@Birm) August 27, 2017
But it wasn’t the slam dunk that many expected it to be, at least not for the entire recruitment.
Related: Blue Smith commits to Ohio State
When the Buckeyes offered Smith in March of 2016, the expectation was that it’d be a quick turnaround into an Ohio State commitment. That was not the case, though, for a number of reasons. The biggest reason? Kentucky. The Wildcats, led by assistant coach Vince Marrow, did an excellent job convincing Smith that the Buckeyes weren’t all-in on him. Kentucky also pushed the narrative that Ohio State would not keep him at wide receiver.
For their part, the Buckeyes never denied that they were in wait-and-see mode about what position he would play by the time his college career ended. They also were clear: He’d get to start his Buckeyes career at wide receiver.
Still, until an early summer visit to Ohio State, Kentucky appeared to have the inside track. Smith’s father Lorenzo told Land of 10 in early June that visit changed everything.
“It was eye opening,” Lorenzo Smith said. “Coach [Urban Meyer] laid everything out on the table. It was good for Blue to see where he fits in with Ohio State’s recruiting.”
On Sunday morning, Mr. Smith doubled-down on that sentiment.
“Kentucky was great [with us],” the elder Smith said. “I loved it there. Until that June meeting, we would have been a ‘Cat family.”
Blue told his family earlier this week of his ultimate decision.
“Tuesday was the first day that as a family we sat down and discussed our feelings,” Smith said. “We wanted this to be [Blue’s] decision. I didn’t want him to tell me [his choice]. But on Tuesday he finally said ‘I want to be a Buckeye.'”
‘Bama continues to push for Emory Jones
Though his team fell short on Saturday, Buckeyes quarterback commitment Emory Jones showed up and solid game against Saraland (Ala.) — even if his stats won’t light the world on fire. Jones put his team in a winning position, but a late, would-be go ahead touchdown pass was dropped.
Can't make a better throw than Jones made here pic.twitter.com/fNNqyfJm1h
— Jeremy Birmingham (@Birm) August 26, 2017
Jones also made an impact on defense, playing safety for Heard County late in the game. He told SEC Country’s Chris Kirschner, who was in attendance, that it is just something he needs to do sometimes.
“I feel like I can do anything,” Jones said of playing defensive back. “We have a lot of depth issues so I have to go in for my team and do what I can do. I have to practice there, just because how short we are depth wise.”
— Jeremy Birmingham (@Birm) August 26, 2017
After the game, Jones shared an update on his recruitment. Alabama is continuing to press him, but that seems to be the only contender to flip him from Ohio State at this point.
“Alabama … it’s the only school I’m still talking to,” Jones told Kirschner about who else he talks to besides the Buckeyes. “They check on me every week. They just want me to get back up there, and spend more time with them. I don’t have that good of a relationship with them.”
The Crimson Tide are hoping that the offensive changes being made in Tuscaloosa, with new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, can sway Jones from the Buckeyes.
“I like the way they play Jalen Hurts,” Jones said. “I just want to see how they do this year. Daboll is saying they’re probably going to put more NFL, more pro-style stuff. That’s a good thing.”
Ohio State last saw Jones at Friday Night Lights in July. That visit came just weeks after a secret trip he made to Alabama. Though there were some concerns because of how he took that visit, things between the Buckeyes and Jones are on solid footing.
“Everything is all good I talk to them every day. Our relationship has grown so much more over the last year,” Jones said. “I’m good with them right now. They didn’t like [the visit to ‘Bama]. They said they were disappointed in me and wanted me to talk to them about everything I do. They want me to shut it down, to be their quarterback for the class, but I might take some [visits]. I’ve not decided yet.
“Everything is all good now.”
Jones will be at the brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta this Saturday when the Tide takes on Florida State. He’ll be in Columbus again the weekend of Oct. 28, when the Buckeyes host him for an official visit. That weekend in Columbus will be a good chance to cement his relationships with his fellow Ohio State verbals. They’ve continued to get to know each other over the last few months. Jones has also been reaching out to a top Buckeyes target lately.
“We talk every day,” Jones said about the Ohio State commitments. “We talk about our games, stuff like that. We have a real good connection and relationship. I talked to Kamryn Babb last week, talked to him about his injury, telling him to keep his head up.”
If you’re a Buckeyes fan worried about Jones’ commitment status, try not to. He’s a 17-year-old kid getting a chance to see and do things most high schools only dream of.
“I’ll probably go on visits and stuff like that,” he said. “But it’d take a lot for me to de-commit from Ohio State. It’s my dream school. It’s what I’ve dreamed [of doing] for so long and I’ve got that opportunity.”
Micah Parson talks Ohio State, official visits and more
The No. 5 prospect in the Class of 2018 validated the lofty ranking Saturday afternoon.
More from @Micah_parsons23, folks. Speed kills off the defensive edge and the 6-foot-3, 235-pound prospect has it.
— Tyler Donohue (@TDsTake) August 26, 2017
He also shed some light on his plans to enroll early at whatever college he chooses.
“I’m in all my classes,” Parsons told Land of 10’s Tyler Donahue on Saturday. “Just need to keep my grades where they need to be, stay focused and I’ll be able to enroll early.”
Ohio State, as we’ve mentioned previously, is one of two official visits Parsons has planned. He’ll be in Columbus on Oct. 28, three weeks after he visits Nebraska on Oct. 7. Other than that, everything else is up in the air. On Saturday, in his season-opening win over Imhotep (Philadelphia) Charter, Parsons was all over the field. He deflected a pass, ran for a 22-yard score and recorded 8 tackles in just about a half of play.
Right now, while he works on figuring who will get his other visits, Parsons is trying to turn his focus to less-stressful things — such as his senior season.
“I just ignore all that stuff and stay focused on this. This is what matters,” he said. “Winning big games, being there to help my teammates and keeping my grades up. Those are the important things.”
This one is not going to be figured out anytime soon.
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