Football: Ohio State hopes for two final blue-chip recruits

By The Columbus Dispatch  • 
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Two weeks ago, it appeared Ohio State would have no drama going into national signing day. But that day has arrived, and intrigue has come with it for the Buckeyes.

>> Click here for video highlights of the class of 2014.

• Will five-star defensive end Malik McDowell choose Ohio State when it’s time for him to announce just after 9:30 this morning at Southfield (Mich.) High School? His mother, Joya Crowe, and his father, Greg McDowell, were adamant in the past few days they don’t want him to go to Michigan State, which had been considered his favorite. His father doesn’t want him to sign with MSU or Michigan, urging him to choose from his other two finalists, OSU and Florida State.

>> Ohio State recruiting updates

• Jamarco Jones appears to be sticking to the commitment he made to Ohio State in June. Last night, he tweeted “O-H” which seemed to be the sign.  But the four-star offensive tackle from Chicago had lost that devotion to the Buckeyes after the assistant coach who had been his lead recruiter, Mike Vrabel, moved to the NFL’s Houston Texans almost a month ago. Jones took an official visit to Michigan State last weekend and, for a couple of days, left folks hanging. Ohio State will be intent on gaining his signed national letter of intent as soon as possible today.

Click HERE for updates on the latest Buckeye Signees

For Ohio State, which has put together what Rivals.com and other recruiting websites have tabbed tentatively as the No. 2 recruiting class in the nation behind Alabama, the decisions by McDowell and Jones loom large. Regardless, the class of 21 solid commitments includes Raekwon McMillan, who is ranked by Rivals as the nation’s No. 1 inside linebacker prospect; one of the elite cornerbacks in Damon Webb; several playmaking receivers and four other highly regarded offensive linemen.

“It’s a great class no matter what these last two guys do,” said Bucknuts recruiting analyst Bill Kurelic. “But, obviously, getting a five-star in the final day and keeping a high four-star prospect like Jones would put an exclamation point on Urban Meyer’s third Ohio State class.”

It promises to be a big day for Brady Taylor, no matter what happens with McDowell and Jones. An offensive lineman from Ready and lifelong OSU fan, he committed to the Buckeyes a couple of weeks ago after finally receiving a scholarship offer.

“I am just very happy,” Taylor said. “Getting an offer from Ohio State was one of my big goals in high school, and I accomplished pretty much all of those. Getting that offer, it’s something that had driven me. I wanted to be good enough to play at Ohio State, now I’m about to sign and it’s just something special, especially being from Columbus.”

Taylor will sign his national letter of intent at AT&T Stadium — home of the Dallas Cowboys — in Arlington, Texas. So will fellow OSU recruit Dylan Thompson, a defensive lineman from Lombard, Ill. They are there preparing to play for the United States Under-19 team against Canada in the International Bowl on Friday.

Signing his letter of intent in such a setting was not part of Taylor’s dream.

“Definitely not in Cowboys Stadium,” Taylor said. “My family is going to be here with me, and there’s going to be webcasts of it, which is kind of cool.”

tmay@dispatch.com

@TIM_MAYsports

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