Close to a year later, the four-star all-purpose back from nearby Dublin (Ohio) Coffman remains chief among the Buckeyes’ priority prospects with Meyer’s head-coaching baton passed to Ryan Day.
Just a 20-minute drive across Interstate 270 east and down Ohio State Highway 315 south, Drennen has been back and forth from Dublin to Columbus plenty, and he has OSU atop his options.
“It’s always great going to Ohio State because it’s Ohio State,” Drennen told BSB. “I’m from Ohio, so everybody’s in my ear (saying), ‘Ohio State, Ohio State.’ I love Ohio State.”
Lil bro and Donut @ TheOSU today!!! pic.twitter.com/DgCSkHwU2G
— Mike Doss (@THEMikeDoss) December 15, 2018
The 5-10 1/2, 187-pounder has taken visits to Ohio State for game days in the fall and several offseason return trips since then.
After he capped his Ohio Stadium experiences Nov. 24 when the Buckeyes beat Michigan 62-39, Drennen came back Dec. 15 with Dublin Coffman teammate and 2021 safety prospect A.J. Kirk (6-0, 200).
Drennen made two more return trips for spring camp in a three-day span March 21 and 23, watching OSU’s fourth and fifth practices while reconnecting with Day and running backs coach Tony Alford, culminated by the April 13 spring game.
“Mostly, I’m not going to lie, I talk to Coach Day,” Drennen said. “We text a lot. He’s cool. He’s a cool dude. Half the time we text — a lot of coaches text you mostly about football. We’re just having normal conversations about life, for real, so he’s a cool dude. I really like that.”
Dublin (Ohio) Coffman four-star running back/slot receiver Michael Drennen, among Ohio State’s top targets for the 2020 recruiting class, is back on campus. With running backs coach Tony Alford at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center after the Buckeyes’ fourth practice of spring camp. pic.twitter.com/SgMVsxIZrY
— Garrett Stepien (@GarrettStepien) March 21, 2019
With the play-calling duties as Ohio State’s second-year offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach in 2018, Day’s unit took off, featuring heavy doses for running backs and H-backs.
Between both positions, Drennen’s potential future with the Buckeyes has been discussed at each spot.
While Alford wants Drennen to operate out of his room, he may get overruled by Day, who sees fifth-year senior K.J. Hill (6-0, 185) and redshirt freshman Jaelen Gill (6-0, 195) in the 247Sports composite’s No. 199 overall prospect, No. 5 all-purpose back and No. 5 player from Ohio for 2020.
“Probably H-back,” Drennen said. “Coach Alford, he’s the running backs coach, so he wants me at running back. But I feel like (in) Coach Day’s (offense), I feel like he thinks I’m more of an H-back, like a K.J. Hill or Jaelen Gill.
“I feel like I’m definitely a good running back. I’ve played running back my entire life. But when I do line up in the slot, I know what I’m doing and I feel very comfortable. I’m more comfortable than a lot of running backs (would be there), so I feel like that definitely separates me from everybody else.”
Dublin (Ohio) Coffman 2020 four-star all-purpose back and Ohio State target Michael Drennen (5-11, 195). pic.twitter.com/TuGK58fnRq
— Garrett Stepien (@GarrettStepien) March 31, 2019
With strong interest on both sides, why has Drennen remained uncommitted?
Throughout the spring, the offers kept rolling in.
Up to 35 scholarships after recent bids from Florida (March 27), Auburn (April 5) and South Carolina (April 16), he continues to examine his options but knows the process is winding down.
“See, I started with Kentucky and now I’ve got Alabama,” said Drennen, whose first offer came July 17, 2016, from the Wildcats. “So I feel like I’ve definitely made something out of it. I just feel like I’m nearing the end, so I’m going to have to make a decision soon. But I like it, I like it a lot.”
— Mike Drennen II (@UhhMyNameDonut) July 18, 2016
Tennessee (Feb. 15) and the Crimson Tide (March 26) are among the southeast schools standing out for Drennen after he made recent visits, although his choices continue to include regional programs such as Penn State (Dec. 12) and Notre Dame (Jan. 26).
“Alabama, that’s just — it’s Alabama, it’s much different from any other school, for sure,” Drennen said. “Tennessee, I love going to Tennessee. I’ve been to Tennessee (several times since) my freshman year, so it’s my dad’s favorite school and he loves seeing me in that uniform. I’m definitely getting back there, for sure.”
— Mike Drennen II (@UhhMyNameDonut) March 27, 2019
As he navigates his recruitment, Drennen looks to schedule all five official visits between the summer and fall.
“I’m going to try to do most of my officials in the summer, but I’m going to probably do two in the fall, so I can see a few games,” Drennen said. “I’m going to narrow (the offer list) down late spring, early summer.”
Came Thru Swervin’🏎🅾️ pic.twitter.com/ToB0ErqyVN
— Mike Drennen II (@UhhMyNameDonut) April 14, 2019
Until he makes his next move, which most likely includes hometown OSU, Drennen focuses on all-around improvement after he capped his junior campaign with sharpened versatility from running back to slot receiver.
“I feel like, since I’m playing with mostly people my age now, so I’m getting older,” Drennen said. “I just feel like I can see the game differently now, it’s much slower than when I was a freshman and I just feel like I’m getting better overall — catching the ball, bursting, elusiveness, all of that.”