The Opening: Ohio State Primer

The Opening has arrived, and Ohio State will be well-represented at Nike HQ in Oregon. We take a look at the Buckeyes taking part as well as OSU's top prospects and where they stand with Ohio State heading into the prestigious camp.

Last year, Nike’s The Opening camp – which runs today through Thursday in Oregon – was as scarlet and gray as it could get.

Buckeyes dominated the proceedings, with just about every OSU commit at the time taking part in the prestigious event.

This time around, things are a little less Buckeye – only three Ohio State commits are present in defensive end Jashon Cornell, linebacker Justin Hilliard and defensive back Tyler Green – but there’s still a chance this year’s camp will be seen as a huge recruiting boon for the Buckeyes because a number of the top prospects still on the board for OSU are taking part.

BSB takes a look at those prospects by team.

Team #APOCALYPSE
Targets
Matthew Burrell: Ohio State would love to add the four-star prospect from Woodbridge, Va., and he seems to have strong feelings for the Buckeyes. The nation’s No. 4 offensive guard and No. 60 overall player, Burrell (6-5, 305) visited Ohio State in June – even playing cornhole with Urban Meyer – and says he has no trouble leaving home. He doesn’t plan to make a decision until after taking official visits, however, and he has the opportunity to visit most of the top schools in the nation.

Damien Harris: The four-star Kentucky running back was once committed to Michigan but rescinded that pledge January. He has taken particular interest in the recent commitments of Cornell and Hilliard, and Scout analyst Allen Trieu says his focus on the Buckeyes is one of the top storylines of the whole event. OSU is in Harris’ final eight and could be trending toward a verbal commitment in July from the 5-11, 198-pounder. It would be a great addition, too, considering he is the No. 1 running back in the nation and Scout’s No. 34 overall player.

Malik Jefferson: Jefferson is a flat-out stud, Scout’s No. 1 outside linebacker and No. 2 overall player in the class. The five-star prospect from Mesquite, Texas, checks in at 6-3, 220 pounds and appears to be a prototypical linebacker in today’s college football world. Jefferson says he will take his time with his decision but would like to visit Ohio State for its November night game vs. Illinois while also taking trips to UCLA and Stanford.

Calvin Ridley: The nation’s No. 7 cornerback and No. 59 overall player is committed to Alabama but checked out Ohio State in June for a camp and could return along with a prep teammate from Coconut Creek (Fla.) Monarch for an official visit in the fall. Scout’s Chad Simmons wants to see him at WR at The Opening, which seems to be one of the top questions of the week.

Team #ALPHAPRO
Commit
Tyler Green: The three-star prospect from Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic pledged to OSU in June. Though he’s rated just the No. 82 wideout in the nation right now, he is pegged as a defensive back at OSU and should jump in the ratings with a standout performance in Oregon. Here is the 6-2, 185-pounder’s pre-Opening breakdown by Scout’s Brian Dohn.

Targets
Torrance Gibson: Ohio State was once thought to be one of the frontrunners for the nation’s No. 2 quarterback and 19th-overall player, but things seem to have cooled a bit between the Buckeyes and the Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage prospect. Still, things could be rekindled with an official visit to Columbus even though he favors Auburn and Tennessee at the moment. He took part in the Elite 11 competition held before The Opening.

Josh Sweat: Another five-star prospect, Sweat recently visited Ohio State and left saying he’d likely return for an official visit. That would be great news for the Buckeyes in their chase for the 6-5, 240-pound defensive end from Chesapeake, Va., who is rated the No. 2 player at his position and the No. 6 player in the country. Here’s his pre-event reset, and Sweat also likes a number of schools in the south including Florida State, Virginia Tech, Tennessee and Georgia.

Team #FLYRUSH
Targets
Van Jefferson: A four-star wideout from Brentwood, Tenn., Jefferson has long had the Buckeyes on his list of top schools. The nation’s No. 26 WR and No. 204 overall player, Jefferson is noted for his size at 6-2, 175 pounds, and he’s being chased by some of the top schools in the nation. He visited Ohio State for a game last season.

Drew Richmond: A prospect the Buckeyes were in on early, Richmond is a 6-6, 290-pound offensive tackle from Memphis, Tenn. A four-star prospect and the nation’s 12th-best OT and 154th-best player, Richmond has schools like Alabama, LSU, Ole Miss and Tennessee in the race for his services. He would be a great addition to an offensive line class that already includes tackles Grant Schmidt and Kevin Feder.

Team #LANDSHARKS
Commit
Justin Hilliard: The Cincinnati St. Xavier prospect gave his pledge last week along with Cornell, helping ignite a firestorm around OSU recruiting. The nation’s No. 1 middle linebacker and No. 58 overall prospect, Hilliard has pledged to be a vocal recruiter for Ohio State and can start in Eugene. Here he is talking about his choice of OSU.

Targets
Shawn Burgess-Becker: Ridley’s teammate, Burgess-Becker is the one who told Scout that the two would likely return to Ohio State in the fall for an official visit. Whether that happens remains to be seen considering both are Alabama commits, but Burgess-Becker clearly enjoyed his June trip to Columbus. The 6-2, 190-pounder is rated the No. 7 safety and No. 94 player in the nation, but there are debates whether the four-star prospect is best suited at safety or wideout.

Andre James: Another offensive tackle who could help finish off a strong class there, James (6-5, 265) is the No. 13 OT and No. 166 player in the country. The Herriman, Utah, prospect isn’t from a traditional OSU recruiting ground but is seriously considering the Buckeyes after a recent visit. His other schools are all much further west – including Oklahoma, Oregon, UCLA, USC and Utah – but the athletic lineman remains a target to watch.

Jordan Scarlett: He’d be the perfect name for the Buckeyes, and OSU seems like a potential landing spot for the 5-11, 195-pound running back now that he’s decommitted from Florida Atlantic. The nation’s No. 4 rusher and No. 51 overall player, Scarlett is considering South Carolina, Florida State and Miami in addition to OSU, but he’s yet to visit Columbus. He’s one of four Florida-based running backs at The Opening.

Team #MACHSPEED
Target
Mike Weber: Ohio State went into Detroit Cass Tech last year to nab highly rated corner Damon Webb and would like to do the same with Weber. The two spent a lot of time with OSU cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs at the Sound Mind Sound Body camp in June. Here’s highlights of Weber from his trip to Columbus in June for the Nike Football Training Camp at OSU. A 5-10, 205-pound prospect, Weber is the nation’s No. 14 RB and No. 104 player.

Team #VAPORCARBON
Commit
Jashon Cornell: Cornell also put a charge into OSU recruiting along with Hilliard when the two four-star prospects committed last week. The nation’s No. 11 defensive end and No. 77 player, Cornell (6-3½, 270) gives the Buckeyes a big end with big skills in the 2015 class. The St. Paul (Minn.) Cretin-Derham Hall prospect will get a chance to hone his skills as a recruiter over the week in Oregon as well, especially when it comes to the top Buckeye target listed below.

Christian Kirk: At 5-11, 197 pounds with electric ability, Kirk – the nation’s No. 4 WR and No. 35 overall player – could be one of the most dynamic players in the nation. The Scottsdale, Ariz., wideout has been one of OSU’s top targets at the skill positions since the 2015 cycle opened, and he made a visit to Columbus with his high school coach in June and left with many favorable things to say about the Buckeyes. He will try to take all five official visits this fall and Ohio State could – perhaps should – be one of them.

The Opening TV schedule:
Tuesday: SPARQ championship, 8 p.m. ET, ESPNU
Wednesday: 7-on-7, 8 p.m. ET, ESPNU
Thursday: 7-on-7 finals and Lineman Challenge finals, 8 p.m. ET, ESPNU


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