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Hey, Stephen: I just saw Shawn Murphy just announced he would committing on Aug. 1. Do you know where the Buckeyes stand with that recruitment or if that is someone we are still really pursuing? — Mike in Indianapolis.
Hey, Mike, it’s Stephen: Ohio State’s linebacker recruiting is in an interesting spot right now. Losing Dasan McCullough when they did, like they did, put the Buckeyes in catch-up mode. The story went from ‘Do they want to be greedy and get a fourth?’ to ‘Who’s replacing McCullough as the third?’
They locked in on three guys so early that they didn’t send out many new offers. Which means Murphy, Jaishawn Barham and Justin Medlock are the only undecided guys listed as linebackers with offers right now.
Barham is a South Carolina lean, and Medlock will commit on July 23 with Oklahoma as the leading candidate. That brings us back to Murphy as the No. 67 player and No. 7 linebacker. I wouldn’t call him a must-get in the way I might have done back when McCullough flipped. For starters, he’s an inside guy with a different body type than what the Buckeyes are looking for.
Ohio State is hosting a barbecue next week with a plethora of 2022, 2023 and 2024 targets expected to attend. If Murphy ends up showing up three days before his commitment, then things get interesting, even if only by a small margin. Without that, the four-star will never have visited Columbus, eliminating any possibility of OSU adding linebacker No. 3 on Aug. 1.
I wouldn’t bank on Ohio State winning this one. Alabama has started to come alive, and Murphy would be the fourth commit this month and 12th overall. But the Buckeyes don’t have to rush to add someone as they do at other positions like defensive line. C.J. Hicks and Gabe Powers are two very high-caliber options as top 50 recruits.
A guy to keep an eye on is Carson Tabaracci out of Utah. He’s only a 3-star recruit — No. 549 overall and No. 48 among athletes — but really impressed at a June camp.
“I was super fired up, especially because I got a call to go down to the camp and be evaluated and potentially have the chance to get offered,” Tabaracci told cleveland.com. “Once they did offer me, I was really excited.”
They could also just decide to apply the same logic to linebacker that they had for tight end in 2021. Originally the plan was to have two commits in that class before just locking in on Sam Hart and moving that goal to 2022. Kevin Wilson found Bennett Christian and Benji Gosnell the next year.
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