Ohio State recruiting: Top-100 prospect schedules official visit; updates from Michigan and Pennsylvania

Recruiting never stops, and if you take a day off, you fall behind. Join us every night for a daily recap of Ohio State recruiting news, insight on what’s happening behind the scenes and a glimpse at what’s coming next.

Official visit on tap for top-100 prospect

Ohio State remains in the mix for many of the country’s top running backs, including North Stafford (Va.) standout Devyn Ford. Ford is the No. 5 running back in the 2019 class, the No. 2 prospect in Virginia, and the No. 71 prospect overall, per the 247Sports composite.

My friend and Land of 10 Penn State recruiting analyst Tyler Donohue was recently down in the DMV area to spend time with several of Penn State’s recruiting targets, including Ford. Ford updated Donohue on his upcoming official visit plans, which will include Ohio State.

“Official visits present a pivotal stretch of travel that will help determine the outcome here. [Ford will] be at Virginia Tech (April 13-15), Penn State (April 20-22) and Ohio State (April 27-29) during consecutive weekends,” Donohue wrote after his conversation with the 4-star running back.

Ohio State, in my opinion, is tracking third for Ford at the moment, clearly trailing Virginia Tech and Penn State. Still, the Buckeyes have strong relationships with Ford that will keep them in the mix.

“I actually have a really good relationship with Coach [Tony] Alford. We chat a little bit sometimes and we’ve actually been going back and forth and it’s been going pretty well,” Ford previously told Land of 10. “I talk with Coach Urban Meyer as well and that’s been good. … When you think of Ohio State, you think of the Big Ten, you think of championships, you think of Urban Meyer, you think of a great school.”

The Buckeyes will need to make a huge impression on Ford to leapfrog the Nittany Lions and Hokies, but they’ll have that chance while hosting him for his final official visit. A June commitment is the plan for Ford.

Michigan linebacker will make Ohio State visit

You may remember Clinton Township (Mich.) Chippewa Valley inside linebacker Marcel Lewis from our previous discussions on the Buckeyes’ linebacker recruiting. Lewis has a half-dozen Big Ten offers — Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, and Syracuse — and seemingly has more on the way with Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and other programs in contact with the 6-foot-1, 205-pound standout.

Ohio State has not yet offered Lewis, but the Buckeyes have maintained steady contact with the Michigan linebacker for the last few months as his recruitment has taken off. Lewis has landed more than a dozen offers in the last 2½ months and he hopes to add more soon.

“During my spring break, I’ll come up for a visit,” Lewis told Land of 10 of his plans to see Columbus. “I want to say that the break starts on March 29 and goes for a week. I also want to check out Florida and Nebraska.”

There isn’t a definitive answer on how many players Ohio State will take at linebacker in 2019, but Lewis is among the most prominent targets who have yet to receive a Buckeyes offer.

“I stay in contact with most of the coaches. I talk to Coach Billy Davis and we talk a lot, for the most part,” Lewis previously told Land of 10. “I also talk to Coach Larry Johnson, as well, and he texts me every day to see how I’m doing and stuff. I honestly don’t know about an offer yet. They told me I am really high on their list of linebackers and Coach Davis says that he really loves my film, but I can’t give you an answer on that offer yet.”

Some of the other top Ohio State linebacker targets without a Buckeyes offer include Ohio natives Tommy Eichenberg, Luke Fulton, Jestin Jacobs, Jamir Thomas, and Dezman Cooper.

The latest on two top Pennsylvania defensive backs

Several of Pennsylvania’s top 7-on-7 teams traveled to Michigan for a tournament last weekend, including teams featuring multiple Ohio State targets. Among them was 2019 Wexford (Pa.) North Allegheny defensive back Joey Porter Jr., ranked as the No. 1 prospect in Pennsylvania by 247Sports.

Porter has not yet been offered by Ohio State, but the 6-2, 185-pound defensive back and son of former All-Pro Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Joey Porter has been in frequent contact with the Buckeyes. He previously told Land of 10 that he was working to schedule a visit to Ohio State and other Big Ten programs soon.

“JJ [Porter] went over to Michigan while he was up in Brighton for the tournament, it was only like a 20-minute drive. He’s been trying to visit Michigan and a few other Big Ten schools for a while,” a source shared. “He’s hitting Ohio State on March 28, too, and he’s trying to get to Wisconsin and back to Penn State. He’s visiting Pitt and West Virginia this week, too.”

Porter is still chasing some of the premier offers around the country, but his offer list is already illustrious. Pitt, West Virginia, LSU, Nebraska, Arizona State, Maryland, and Rutgers are some of the highlights of Porter’s offer list. Ohio State hosted Porter at a June prospect camp last summer, where he first made the switch to defensive back, and he’s excited to return.

“Ohio State has just been telling me to keep working and that they’ve got to get me back up to their school. They want me to do a camp or something like that, which is another opportunity to walk around and see the school. That offer would mean everything to me. It’s Ohio State,” Porter previously told Land of 10. “It’s a great school and I would love to play there. I’d like to play anywhere, but I really like the competition at that school.”

I’m not quite sure if Porter will be a cornerback or a safety in college. He looks good as a corner right now and has made huge leaps in the last year. College coaches covet his length and recovery ability in coverage.

Another name to for Ohio State fans to keep an eye on may be Scranton (Pa.) Lackawanna Community College safety Jaquan Brisker. The Buckeyes have generally not prioritized JUCO prospects, but that’s changed somewhat as of late with three such signees in the last three recruiting classes. Could Brisker, the No. 8 JUCO prospect in the country in 247Sports’ rankings, be the next Ohio State option? I’m told that the 6-2, 200-pound prospect would love to add an Ohio State offer.

Full disclosure: I also attended Gateway High School, discussed below.

Low SAT scores and his difficulty coping with  the death of his older brother — Tale’ Brisker, a high school classmate of mine — led to Jaquan Brisker being lightly recruited as a 2017 graduate of Monroeville (Pa.) Gateway, but he’s exploded since arriving at Lackawanna. Penn State, Pitt, West Virginia, Maryland, and six other programs have offered Brisker for his physical potential and ball-hawking skills at safety.

Brisker will be arrive on a college campus for the 2019 football season with three years to play his remaining two years of eligibility. He’ll play his sophomore season this fall at Lackawanna after snaring 4 interceptions as a freshman.

Penn State is the early favorite for Brisker, who is being recruited by Nittany Lions defensive backs coach Terry Smith — a legend at Gateway as both a player and head coach. He’s on campus at Penn State seemingly every month and will continue to make frequent visits as his recruitment goes on.

Miss a day of the Ohio State recruiting notebook? Don’t fret! You can get all of the previous versions of Dotting the Eyes here.

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