Sitting on eight offers and pretty much intent on staying in "Big Ten country", Ohio quarterback Malik Zaire is a name that has been getting a lot of buzz recently, and deservedly so. From the Dayton area, Zaire is currently ranked as the No. 2 dual-style quarterback at 247Sports.
Zaire has an offer from a number of the conference elite, including Nebraska, Wisconsin, and the in-state Buckeyes, who may have the inside track on Zaire. He does not hold an offer from Penn State, but recently spoke with coaches from State College, and could be hearing more from them in the near future. It will have to be soon; Zaire is hoping to gain an invitation to the national Elite 11 QB camp in July, and plans to have a decision made by then.
"[My commitment] will be sometime in June."
As is the case with many Ohio prospects, Zaire grew up an Ohio State fan, but has said that he still plans to look around before making his ultimate decision.
"It is very difficult living in Ohio and not being a Buckeye fan. They have great fan support and their fans definitely check on you a lot. They are really high on my list.
"I'm planning on taking 3 trips to Pitt, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. Those are my top schools so far, but I'm open to look at any other schools that like me."
Though Penn State isn't at the top yet, Zaire has been keeping tabs on the Nittany Lions, including the incoming coaching staff.
"[The Patriots offense] definitely is exciting to me as a QB because I watch Brady growing up and loving the system he played in. It's a similar offense that I want to be a part of so that I may be well prepared enough to win championships and being prepared for the next level."
Is it too late for Penn State? Zaire is good friends with a pair of Ohio State commits, five-star athlete Jalin Marshall and four-star cornerback Cameron Burrows. Zaire is also friends with Robert Foster, a five-star wide receiver from Pennsylvania, the top recruit in the Keystone State in 2013. While Foster is currently uncommitted, Zaire has big plans for them in the future.
"Robert has interest in a lot of schools and OSU is one of his tops. But the plan, for me hopefully, is for me and him to be at the same school. So we would be great together. I guess I'm doing a little recruiting myself."
If Zaire and Foster are indeed a package deal, it would certainly behoove schools to ramp up their recruiting of these guys, as the clock is ticking. Both major in-state programs would love to keep Foster within the PA border, but Pitt and Penn State fans may be out of luck. Either prospect would be great for the Nittany Lions, while landing both would add quality depth at some key spots. But those Buckeyes will be tough to beat.