Ohio State officially welcomed seven commits from their 2016 recruiting class as early enrollees on Wednesday. As you can see in the picture above, Austin Mack, Antonio Williams, Malik Barrow, Tyler Gerald, Jonathon Cooper, Tuf Borland, and Michael Jordan all began their academic careers.
This gives the seven prospects an opportunity to get a jump on the playbook and get a grasp on the ins-and-outs of being a student-athlete at Ohio State. We'll see if the early start helps one or some of these talented Buckeyes get a shot at some playing time next year.
Also pictured are two mid-year transfers -- Alex Backenstoe and Alex Craft -- who have walked-on to the program. Backenstoe is a running back that was previously a member of the Air Force football program. He also played his high school ball at Hilliard Davidson (OH). As for Craft, he is a punter/kicker who attended Archbishop Alter (OH).
Lawrence decision coming
Wednesday night, one of Ohio State's biggest remaining targets in the class announced the date he'll decide and which programs he will be choosing from. '16 DT Rashard Lawrence brought to Twitter that he would be making his commitment between LSU and Ohio State on January 22nd. The Louisiana native also included that the pledge will be made at his high school -- Neville (LA) -- at 10:30 A.M.
That gives the Buckeyes and Tigers exactly eight days to make their final pitches and last minute efforts to reel in the five-star defensive tackle. It is worth mentioning that Les Miles and LSU will be hosting the 6'3, 305-pounder on an official visit this weekend.
Simmons names top 3, decision date
When it comes to the basketball Bucks, the only remaining option is '16 G Kobi Simmons for head coach Thad Matta. Ohio State has been pursuing the St. Francis (GA) star for a long while now. With that being said, we'll find out sooner rather than later on Simmons' collegiate intentions.
I Will Be Committing Saturday On Espn @ 6 P.M. Everyone Tune In! Between Arizona , Ohio State , Kentucky !— Shoogs (@JordanKobi) January 14, 2016
As shown above, it'll either be Arizona, Kentucky, or Ohio State for the five-star guard. The Buckeyes and UK have seemingly been in the race since the start. However, Sean Miller and Arizona jumped in late and have made some noise for the the 6'5, 170-pounder.
Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, if 247Sports' Crystal Ball is any indicator, this race isn't trending all that positively:
We'll see who wins this race as the finish line nears. We'll find out on Saturday at 6 p.m. if the Buckeyes can pick up what would be their biggest addition to the program since D'Angelo Russell committed to Ohio State from Montverde Academy (FL) two recruiting classes ago.