Ohio State amps up recruiting efforts

Aside from the handful of offers Ohio State coaches made this week, they checked in on more than a few commits and targets.

Among them were ESPN Watch List wide receivers Dominique Booth (Indianapolis/Pike) and Austin Roberts (Carmel Ind./Carmel) and ESPN 150 running back Cornelius Elder (Nashville, Tenn./The Ensworth School). Buckeyes commit and offensive tackle Tim Gardner (Indianapolis/Lawrence Central) was also paid a visit.

Ohio State talked to coaches about ESPN Watch List juniors like cornerback Jabrill Peppers (Paramus, N.J./Paramus) and defensive end Da’Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) as well as Hand’s teammate Marcus Boone -- a 2014 running back.

ESPN 150 wide receiver Marquez North (Charlotte, N.C./Mallard Creek), who is trying to take an official visit to Columbus for the Michigan game on Nov. 24, had a coach visit as well.

As reported earlier, the Glenville (Ohio) trio of linebacker Christopher Worley, wide receiver Marshon Lattimore and offensive tackle Marcelys Jones had coach Urban Meyer roaming the halls on Monday.

Wide receiver Shelton Gibson (Cleveland Heights, Ohio/Cleveland Heights), linebacker Dante Booker (Akron, Ohio/St. Vincent-St. Mary) and defensive tackle Donovan Munger (Shaker Heights, Ohio/Shaker Heights) also had Meyer stop by their high schools.

As expected, OSU brass was at Cass Tech (Mich.) to see Damon Webb, David Dawson, Gary Hosey and William White on Thursday.

They also saw ESPN Watch List defensive end Malik McDowell (Detroit/Loyola) along the way as well.

Hayes hoop dreams: Nigel Hayes (Toledo, Ohio/Whitmer) has taken his official visits, and it’s down to Ohio State and Wisconsin for the 6-foot-7 power forward. But at least one insider thinks Hayes is a wrap for the Buckeyes even though he said he’s not sure if he’ll sign early.

Whitmer reached the Division-I state finals in March, losing to Pickerington Central 45-40 in the championship game. Hayes finished with 15 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals in the finals.

A second-team All-Ohio selection, Hayes averaged 13.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game last season. His brother Kenny was a redshirt freshman on the football team this year, but was granted a release from the Buckeyes.

M & M too good to pass up: The 122nd meeting was so good BuckeyeNation couldn’t pass up the opportunity to see Massillon Washington and Canton McKinley meet up again. Two weeks ago, Massillon knocked off McKinley 37-29 in front of 17, 592 fans. Saturday, the two will take their talents to Dix Stadium at Kent State in a Division I, Region 2 semifinal.

Massillon (10-1) is led by Ohio State targets Marcus Whitfield and Gareon Conley -- Conley, incidentally is a Michigan commit, though his Wolverines’ pledge has been very shaky over the last few weeks.

McKinley (8-2) is led by Eric Glover-Williams, who already has looks from Alabama, Auburn, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Oregon, Syracuse and UCLA as a sophomore.

Queen City matchups: It’ll be a triple dip for Midwest Recruiting Analyst Jared Shanker as he will see Marion Franklin (10-1) play Cincinnati Turpin (11-0) in a Division II, Region 8 matchup on Friday.

On Saturday, Shanker is headed to Nippert Stadium to watch Lakota East (8-3) play Cincinnati Moeller (8-3) before a nightcap between Cincinnati Colerain (11-0) and Cincinnati Elder (8-3).

Zeke the freak: Numbers like what Ezekiel Elliott (St. Louis/John Burroughs) is putting up just don’t happen overnight.

Buckeyes running backs coach Stan Drayton certainly got his fill of Elliott on Monday when the Ohio State commit, rushed for 4 touchdowns, caught 2 touchdown passes, nabbed an interception, had a fumble recovery and made a bone-chilling block in a 50-6 Class 3 playoff game against Soldan.

That’s par for the course of Elliott, who has 41 touchdowns this season and 83 in his last two years. Elliott heads into Saturday’s playoff game with Park Hills Central with 91 career touchdowns.