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Ohio State recruiting: Early Signing Period final predictions

We have a pretty good idea of what the Buckeyes are getting this signing period.

NCAA Football: Urban Meyer-Press Conference Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

The time is finally upon us. After one of the most chaotic recruiting cycles in years for Ohio State that saw scandal, retirement, and much more, the finish line is in sight. Obviously there’s still a true signing day in February, but for all intents and purposes, the 2019 class will be almost fully complete by the end of today.

That’s a relief for Ohio State coaches, Buckeye fans, and of course, the recruits themselves. It’s been an exhausting process, and these guys are just ready to sign up and have everything over with.

While the national signing period is likely to be pretty quiet for Ohio State, there are some pretty big recruits for us to keep an eye on, and in this primer, I’m going to do my best to lay out the options left for Ohio State, and where I feel those guys land. Let’s talk croots.


Already committed

  • Jordan Battle, DB: I think Battle is out, and has been for a while now. He wanted to play for Urban Meyer, and while he likes Ryan Day, he doesn’t want to go somewhere that he sees instability. Ohio State tried their best here, but I think this one is pretty cut and dry. Barring a late change of heart, Battle will be flipping to Alabama and signing with the Crimson Tide today.

Final call: Alabama

  • Doug Nester, G: Nester is in kind of a strange spot. He hasn’t decommitted from Ohio State, and is still very much interested in the Buckeyes, but he’d like to see how the staff looks after the season before he makes any final decisions. With that, he has been visiting other schools, namely Penn State, and is very much a possible flip candidate. At this point I think Ohio State still leads, but this one probably goes to February, and anything can happen between now and then.

Final call: Ohio State

  • Steele Chambers, RB: Of the commits listed here, Steele is the one I’m worried least about. I think Ohio State has a pretty solid lead here, and no one else seems to be emerging as a serious threat. However, he will be signing in February, which means there could be some late action from schools that need a back, but I think Ohio State should be able to hold on.

Final call: Ohio State


Flip candidates

  • Cavon Butler, DT: Ohio State would really love to flip Kentucky commit Cavon Butler. He’s a very solid player, and the Buckeyes think he can contribute in Columbus. However, they would really like for that to happen in February, because of some grade stuff they need to iron out. Butler wants to sign today, and unless Ohio State takes the risk, I think he flips to Michigan State and signs there.

Final call: Michigan State

  • Nick Broeker, OT: I don’t think there’s much drama in this one either. Broeker is currently committed to Ole Miss, and I think he signs with Ole Miss today. Ohio State wanted the Illinois tackle quite a bit, but Greg Studrawa was the primary recruiter here and that’s pretty tough to overcome.

Final call: Ole Miss

  • Jestin Jacobs, LB: Jacobs is staying put at Iowa. That’s where he’s wanted to be this whole time, and while he took a courtesy visit to Ohio State, he was never going to end up in the scarlet and gray. Ohio State is happy with their group of linebacker, and Jacobs is happy with Iowa.

Final call: Iowa


Uncommitted prospects

  • Jaden McKenzie, DT: A late riser in Ohio State circles, McKenzie has very quickly gone from a fringe possibility to a near sure thing. I think this one is a done deal, and the Wake Forest, N.C., tackle will be signing with Ohio State today. He and Larry Johnson have an excellent relationship, and ultimately it was that relationship that sealed the deal here.

Final call: Ohio State

  • Zach Harrison, DE: The one you’ve been waiting for, the one you’ve been following for months, let’s talk Zach Harrison. This recruitment has been all over the place for years now. For a long time, Ohio State led. The Zach Smith scandal and Urban Meyer’s health threw a wrench in that, and from August to early December, Michigan was the leader in the clubhouse. That seemed like the landing spot up until just a few weeks ago.

That’s no longer the case though. Michigan won’t be the choice here, as it comes down to Penn State and Ohio State. Ultimately, while Harrison would like to get away from home a bit, his relationship with Larry Johnson and the stability of Ryan Day wins out. Harrison stays home.

Final call: Ohio State


Bonus

If you’re on Twitter at all, I’m sure you’ve seen the rumors that Georgia quarterback Justin Fields is transferring out, and that Ohio State is a possible landing spot. While we’re still very early on in this whole thing, I’ll try to lay out what I know and what I think about this whole this.

  • The transfer report is legit. Fields is on the NCAA transfer portal, and will be leaving Athens after the season ends.
  • Because he’s on the portal, schools can now recruit him. I can say with confidence Ohio State will be one of the schools contacting him.
  • A lot of this hinges on Fields being eligible next season. He’ll likely be filing a waiver, and based on what I know about the situation at Georgia (there were some very racist comments made to Fields by a Georgia baseball player), that waiver will likely be approved.
  • If Fields can play right away, Ohio State will be very interested, and is probably the leader at this point. I think Florida State, Mississippi State and Oklahoma all have a shot here too.
  • Justin Fields is very close with Dwayne Haskins. Both are coached in the offseason by quarterback guru Quincy Avery, who is familiar with and a big fan of Ryan Day. It’s a safe bet to say that Ryan Day is a big selling point for Fields. He wants to get to the NFL, and Day is as good as anyone at making that happen.
  • I know Buckeye fans don’t like to hear it, but Fields is better than Tate Martell. He’s a better passer, by a pretty wide margin, and he’s a more than capable runner. He’s an elite prospect, and in this offense, he could be one of the best quarterbacks in the country. I think Tate is a solid player, but he’s not that. He has nowhere near the ceiling of Fields.
  • If Ohio State is pursuing Fields, that tells you everything you need to know about where Tate stands.
  • This may impact Dwan Mathis. I’m not confident enough in what I’ve heard to report it, but there are rumblings that Mathis may not sign today because of the Fields rumors. That’s all there is on it right now.