Typically, college football recruits can’t actually sign anything binding until National Signing Day in early February. But this year is different.
In case you missed this, there’s an Early Signing Period this week, from Wednesday to Friday. And just about every college program, including Ohio State, is looking to lock up as much of their 2018 recruiting class as possible.
Ohio State currently has 21 players verbally committed for 2018, and many of those appear to be very solid, leaving limited drama for this week, or later in February. But if you expected a completely smooth last few days leading up to signing day, you’re going to be left wanting.
Here are a few of the names to be on the lookout for, Ohio State commits or targets, who could be flipping in the next few days.
Here’s the biggest name on the list. Jones has been a long-time Ohio State commit, and the blue-chip QB would be one of the highest rated that Ohio State has ever signed. But he’s also taken plenty of official visits elsewhere, from Alabama to Auburn, and most recently to Florida and Florida State. Plenty of Crystal Ball predictions have been coming in, pegging Jones to the Gators, where he might have an easier path to a starting job, and at this point, it’d probably be considered an upset if Jones ended up sticking with Ohio State. The Buckeyes did add a commitment from three-star QB Matthew Baldwin though, so they won’t be completely without a QB.
The five-star safety is another long-time commit to the Buckeyes who is making things interesting. The California native recently visited USC, and a few predictions have come in for him to flip to the Trojans, although the Buckeyes may still be considered the favorite in this race. Losing Woodbey would be a bummer, given that he’s absolutely one of the best prospects in the country, but the Buckeyes have other elite defensive backs in this class, and from the 2017 class, so they wouldn’t be left without any options.
One of the best players in the state of Ohio, Smith seemed to be trending to Penn State for months, but momentum appears to have recently shifted back to the Buckeyes. Given how many defensive ends are set to graduate or head to the NFL this year, and after the defection of five-star DE Brenton Cox, loading up on defensive ends will be a priority in this recruiting class. Smith, who is currently uncommitted, would be one of the best, and would help give the 2018 class more of a Buckeye-state flavor, as it’s currently quite heavy on national prospects.
A three-star defensive end out of Pickerington, Williams is currently a West Virginia commit, but the Buckeyes are coming in hard, working for a flip. Williams, who also had offers from Virginia and Iowa State, would give Ohio State another local prospect with high upside, and more depth at a critical position of need.
This is another of the biggest names left on Ohio State’s board, and not just because he’s a huge dude. The five-star offensive lineman is the best player in the state of Ohio, but one that the Buckeyes have really had to work for, unlike most elite Buckeye State prospects. Carman is still favored to pick the Buckeyes via the Crystal Ball, but he’s also had some USC predictions come in lately.
Other big names, like four-star defensive tackle Tyler Friday and wideout (and current Nebraska commit) Cameron Brown may also end up Buckeyes, either this week, or later in the cycle.
It’s going to be a busy next few days, no matter what. But even if a few other names slip out of the proverbial boat, Ohio State looks primed to bring in yet another elite recruiting class.