The annual Friday Night Lights extravaganza is now just hours away and Ohio State is set to host a spectacular list of recruits in an event that has been tremendously successful for the Buckeyes. In the past, FNL has featured many current Ohio State players like Jerome Baker, Jamarco Jones, Tyquan Lewis, and Billy Price. Some Buckeye alums that are living their dreams at the next level have also appeared, including Joey Bosa, Marshon Lattimore, Raekwon McMillan, and Curtis Samuel.
Friday Night Lights has also been used as a special platform for a few prospects to make their commitment to the Scarlet and Gray. The most notable being four-star tight end Luke Farrell back in 2015 and five-star defensive end Chase Young at last years event. The opportunity is here for Ohio State to open the eyes of some of the nations bests prospects. Let’s take a look at who is expected to be in attendance tonight.
Class of 2018
While the Buckeyes are hoping guys like offensive tackle Jack Carman show face, one name that will definitely be inside Ohio Stadium later today is defensive tackle Tommy Togiai of Highland (ID), according to Bill Kurelic of 247Sports.com. The 6-3, 290-pounder will give defensive line coach Larry Johnson an opportunity to get a first person view at what he can bring to the table. Togiai is currently graded as the ninth best defensive tackle in the country and stands at 115th in the overall rankings. The visit for the four-star prospect will give him his first look at what Ohio State has to offer.
Sticking to the defensive side of the ball, the 247Sports Crystal Ball suggests that the Buckeyes are running second to Penn State in the race for defensive end Jayson Oweh. However, Ohio State will have a chance later today to surge to the top. Oweh, a four-star prospect and Top 200 player nationally, is fresh off of a visit to Notre Dame before his expected arrival to the 614. With a decision likely coming sooner rather than later, this is a major visit for the Buckeyes and the Blair Academy (NJ) standout.
Close to two weeks ago, linebacker Christopher Oats of Winton Woods (OH) tweeted that he would be at Friday Night Lights. I checked with a source close to the situation Tuesday afternoon to make sure nothing had changed since then and it hasn't. My understanding is that Oats, who is a Top 20 outside linebacker in the class, is just waiting for the green light from the Ohio State coaching staff. I strongly believe that he wants to be a Buckeye. The thing is, I don't expect that green light to come until one other specific domino falls. But we will see if a good outing in front of the coaching staff can prove otherwise.
As for the current Buckeye commits, a sizable amount of them will be on hand later today. Safety Josh Proctor, safety Jaiden Woodbey and offensive tackle Max Wray confirmed to Land-Grant Holy Land that they would be in attendance but will not participate in the event. Defensive end Brenton Cox, quarterback Emory Jones, tight end Jeremy Ruckert, and running back Brian Snead, who arrived Thursday morning, revealed on their respective Twitter accounts that they would also be in the building tonight. Linebacker Dallas Gant, athlete Jaelen Gill, and running back Master Teague are also amongst the group of Buckeye pledges expected to attend.
Others 2018’s expected:
- Micah Parsons | DE | Harrisburg (PA) | ✩✩✩✩✩ | Has Ohio State offer
- Jahan Dotson | WR | Nazareth (PA) | ✩✩✩✩ | Has Ohio State offer
- Donald Johnson | CB | North Central (IN) | ✩✩✩✩
- L'Christian "Blue" Smith | WR | Wayne (OH) | ✩✩✩✩ | Has Ohio State offer
- Julius Brents | S | Warren Central (IN) | ✩✩✩
- John Holcombe | QB | Summer Creek (TX) | ✩✩✩
- Jornell Manns | WR | Mansfield (OH) | Minnesota commit | ✩✩✩
- Roen McCullough | LS | Worthington Kilbourne (OH)
- Casey Rogers | DE/TE | Westhill (NY)
Class of 2019
According to Jeremy Birmingham of Landof10.com, defensive end Zach Harrison from Olentangy Orange (OH) will be making the brief drive to Columbus to take in the event. Any time you can get a five-star prospect from your own state on campus, you will gladly take it. Harrison is currently the eighth highest graded player in his class and the No. 1 player in the state. The visit to Ohio State will be the first for Harrison since April.
Another big name that will for sure be in The 'Shoe tonight is Belleville (MI) offensive tackle Devontae Dobbs. The Great Lake prospect is the top offensive tackle and the best player in the state of Michigan, which surely makes the visit that much more sweet for the Buckeyes. It will be interesting to see if Ohio State can do enough to impress the five-star talent. It will also be intriguing to see if they can ultimately reel in the gifted tackle from enemy territory ala Michael Jordan back in the 2016 cycle.
One specific name that everyone should have their eyes on today is offensive tackle Doug Nester. The 6-foot-5, 295-pounder from Spring Valley (WV) named his Top 5 last month that included Alabama, Florida, Ohio State, Virginia Tech, and West Virginia. With that being said, there is a palpable buzz that Nester may end this thing soon. The Buckeyes and offensive line coach Greg Studrawa have done a great job in this recruitment. I would expect Nester to be the first commit for the 2019 class by the conclusion of tonight and it would be an extraordinary start seeing that the Huntington native is a five-star and the third best offensive tackle in the class.
A contingent of Trinity Catholic (MO) studs will be present tonight as well as athlete Isaiah Williams will be joined by wide receiver Marcus Washington and outside linebacker Shammond Cooper. All three are listed as four-star prospects and all have already received offers from the Scarlet and Gray.
Heading over from Indiana is high four-star wide receiver David Bell of Warren Central High School. Ohio State has yet to offer the talented pass-catcher, who will be making his third stop to campus, but the opportunity to impress wide receiver coach Zach Smith and Urban Meyer has presented itself and I expect Bell to ultimately earn that offer. Despite no offer for the time being, the Buckeyes are still the leader on the 247Sports Crystal Ball for the states top prospect just ahead of Notre Dame.
Since offering linebacker Shane Lee of St. Frances Academy (MD) back in February, Ohio State will get another shot to impress the Top 100 prospect. Lee has over a dozen offers from programs like Clemson, Florida State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State, and more. The 6-foot-4, 240-pounder out of Baltimore currently grasps a four-star rating while being penciled in as the third best inside linebacker and the very best player in Maryland.
Other 2019’s expected:
- Julian Barnett | CB | Belleville (MI) | ✩✩✩✩
- Jaren Mangham | RB | Cass Technical (MI) | ✩✩✩✩
- Kenny McIntosh | ATH | University School (FL) | ✩✩✩✩ | Has Ohio State offer
- DeMarcco Hellams | WR | DeMatha Catholic (MD) | ✩✩✩✩
- Beau Robbins | DE | Carmel (IN) | ✩✩✩✩
- Cade Stover | OLB | Lexington (OH) | ✩✩✩✩ | Has Ohio State offer
- Dwan Mathis | QB | Oak Park (MI) | ✩✩✩
- Xavier Goldsmith | CB | Cass Technical (MI) | ✩✩
- John Branham Jr. | RB | Northland (OH)
- Justin Britt | Defensive Tackle | Warren Central (IN)
- Dezman Cooper | OLB | Reynoldsberg (OH)
- Zeke Correll | OG | Anderson (OH) | Has Ohio State offer
- Lance Dixon | S | West Bloomfield (MI)
- Isaiah Gibson | DT | Springfield (OH)
- Marvin Ham | ILB | Belleville (MI)
- Art Herndon | CB | St. Joseph (MI)
- Dontay Hunter | DE | St. Francis De Sales (OH
- MJ Griffin | ATH | Saline (MI)
Other notable names
- Kalil Branham | ATH | Northland (OH) | 2020
- Michael Drennen II | ATH | Dublin Coffman (OH) | 2020
- Jalen Hampton | RB | Georgetown Prep (MD) | 2020
- Darvon Hubbard | RB | Buchtel (OH) | 2020
- Justin Rogers | OG | Oak Park (MI) | 2020
- Andre Seldon | CB | Belleville (MI) | 2020
- Jake Wray | OT | Franklin (TN) | 2020 | Has Ohio State offer
Continue to keep it locked with Land-Grant Holy Land throughout the day as new names come about or if current expected visitors have a change of plans. Any fresh developments regarding tonight's guests will be posted in the comments section below as well as modified in this post.