One player whose name is apparently rising in the eyes of the Buckeyes' coaching staff is Shakim Phillips, a four-star wide receiver prospect Wayne (N.J.) DePaul Catholic. He is being recruited by OSU wide receivers coach Darrell Hazell, who recently stopped by Phillips' school.
Asked how he can tell that the Buckeyes are recruiting him harder, Phillips told BuckeyeSports.com, "through e-mail. My coach told me one of their coaches came by the school and they were talking. Also, when he e-mailed me he told me they were recruiting me hard."
Phillips added that OSU has been recruiting him for some time but that their interest had picked up in recent weeks. That sentiment applies to more than just the Buckeyes, however.
"Oh yeah, it's a lot now," he said. "It's been a lot, but now that the coaches can call and come by the school and talk to (my coaches) it has picked up."
As for the identities of the schools who are coming around, Phillips deferred to his head coach, saying he is the one who takes care of most of the situation. The two are trying to plan out some summer visits to attend camps. No schools have been finalized yet, but Phillips said he plans to try to make it to Columbus to camp with the Buckeyes.
During his junior season, Phillips caught 40 passes for 770 yards and 12 touchdowns. In the process, he said he earned all-county, all-conference and all-state honors. The 6-2, 198-pound athlete has been timed at 4.53 seconds in the 40-yard dash.
Scout.com ranks him as a four-star prospect and the No. 5 wideout in the country.
"A lot of coaches tell me I'll play the outside receiver, the ‘X' receiver," he said. "My coaches move me all around the field just so I won't get put in a position where I'm double-teamed.
"(I like) just going after every ball. I try to catch every pass. If the pass is too high, I'll try to bring it down and I'll dive for it if it's a deep pass."
Asked what will be the most important factors when he tries to pick a school, Phillips said, "The relationships with me and the coaches, the depth chart, the school's academics and the graduation rate and everything like that."
Phillips holds offers from the likes of Georgia, Virginia, Iowa, Maryland and Rutgers, among others. His most recent offer came from South Florida, pushing his total number of scholarships up to around 20. Phillips said he does not have a timetable for cutting down his list or naming his top schools.
Whether or not OSU will find its name on that list remains to be seen. Phillips said he does not know if – or when – the increased interest from the Buckeyes could lead to a scholarship offer from them.
"I'm not sure," he said. "They just said they are recruiting hard."
Either way, he does not appear to be hurting for options.