If you're a fan that loves to follow recruiting, this last weekend was a lot of fun for you. Not only did the staff host the first ever Friday Night Lights at Ohio Stadium, but a handful of Buckeye commits and prospects were also competing in Gridiron Kings 7-on-7 tournament at ESPN's Wide World of Sports. Both of produced a lot of news already, so let's take a deeper look...
Derrick Green is Gone...
The big news heading into Friday Night Lights was the fact that 2013 running back Derrick Green would no longer be attending the event. News broke that the staff had "pulled" his scholarship offer and would filling the remaining spots in the class for bigger needs.
Of course, this created mass pandemonium on message boards and social media. Green, who grew up a huge fan of Eddie George, always seemed like a heavy Buckeye lean. Even when schools like Clemson climbed to the top of his list and he made comments about not liking the spread, it still seemed like the staff had the ability to rope him if they wanted to, much like they did with Bri'onte Dunn a year ago. At least that was the persona among most Buckeye recruiting fans. That wasn't really the case though. In fact, that was part of the reason it was easy for the staff to move on, because they didn't foresee him coming to Columbus. While many will want to argue this, Green made it very clear via Twitter (when agitated by ignorant OSU blogger) that the staff wasn't going to wait around and then get burned. They had solid players ready to jump on board now at positions of greater need.
What makes the timing of this more interesting is the citation of Bri'onte Dunn this weekend. While he isn't likely to be kicked off the team, his future is unclear to us at the moment. If something were to happen, some fans will be upset that we pulled out of the Derrick Green race. Don't be, I just don't think the Buckeyes were going to win anyway. It's also interesting because he had a great visit to Michigan this last weekend. Can you imagine what will happens if he commits to TSUN? Cue the meltdown...
On a positive note, Friday Night Lights did produce a lot recruiting victories. First, the staff walked away with the commitment of offensive lineman Timothy Gardner. The big man out of Indianapolis gives the staff a second offensive lineman in the 2013 class, and some versatility for the future. Both Gardner and Evan Lisle play multiple positions for their schools currently, and could find themselves at several places on the line at Ohio State.
FNL also put the Buckeyes in good standing with some of the remaining 2013 prospects on the board. Wide receiver Shelton Gibson, not only put on show for the coaches and onlookers, but also walked away saying the Buckeyes are now in driver's seat after months of saying they were even with Auburn. Should be interesting to see how that plays out. LB/DE Tyquan Lewis had an extended visit beyond FNL with his mother. While he didn't commit as some fans were hoping, the visit only increased the thought that he will end up a Buckeye in the end. OL/DL Donovan Munger also had a solid visit and got to spend time with Buckeye commits Billy Price and Joey Bosa working out.
The biggest momentum boost from FNL comes in the 2014 class, where most of the prospects in attendance came from. In fact, it's pretty hard to find a negative story from the event. Every prospect raved about the energy of the stadium, the intensity of the drills and the instruction they got from former Buckeyes players. While many of them are at least a year out from making a decision, the staff has positioned themselves nicely. Quarterbacks Drew Barker and DeShone Kizer came away raving about the event, and Barker in particular made a very good case for an offer.
Wide Receiver Artavis Scott and Braxton Berrios both put on spectacular performances at the event. Both were named as top performers by Bucknuts. Scott really enjoyed his visit, and while I expect him to play things cool for awhile, and it will be tough to get him away from SEC country, I think the Buckeyes will be on his short list. Berrios was more candid, and made it clear OSU would be on top if they offer. If his performance at FNL was any indication, that offer will likely come.
Arguably the top linebacker in the country, Raekwon McMillan, came away very impressed with the event and Urban Meyer even though he didn't compete. He's planning on coming back for the Michigan game, which would be his third trip from Georgia to Columbus. Other linebacker standouts Dante Booker and Clifton Garrett also were in attendance.
I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. The staff knocked it out of the park Friday night.
Gridiron Kings Standouts
As aforementioned, there was a lot of buzz around Gridiron Kings as well. , , , , and
Mitchell cleared things up though, as you can see in the video below. The Buckeyes still lead for his services, and he wrestled with committing at the event. Apparently his dad wants him to wait and actually visit Columbus, but it would appear it is just a matter of time until Urban and company land him.