Chris Holtmann has successfully changed the narrative of Ohio State’s basketball future in one year in Columbus. As the head of the Buckeye basketball program, Holtmann led the team to its first NCAA tournament bid since 2015 and is making his mark in the recruiting world.
Ohio State brought in the country’s No. 27 recruiting class for 2018 highlighted by four-star commitments from shooting guard Luther Muhammad and power forward Jaedon Ledee. However, it is the 2019 recruiting class that is putting Holtmann in the conversation of the country’s best recruiters in the sport.
With verbal commitments from five-star point guard DJ Carton and four-star small forward Alonzo Gaffney, Ohio State sits at No. 5 nationally and atop the Big Ten recruiting rankings. But Holtmann isn’t done and the Buckeyes are getting closer to earning a commitment from one of their top remaining targets in the class.
Four-star PF E.J. Liddell (Belleville, IL / BellevilleWest) announced his top five schools Monday afternoon and included Ohio State.
Alongside Ohio State, Liddell included Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin and Kansas State in the schools he is choosing to focus on to close out his recruitment.
Liddell including Ohio State in his top schools did not come as a surprise. He took an unofficial visit to the University back in early June and has an official visit scheduled for Aug. 31. If the upcoming visit goes as well as the previous, Liddell could be on commitment watch.
The 247Sports Crystal Ball Predictions list the Buckeyes as the heavy favorites to earn Liddell’s services with 83 percent of the expert predictions leaning in their direction. With Missouri being the only other school to receive votes.
If the tea leaves are true and Liddell eventually commits to the Buckeyes, it would likely cement them among the country’s top classes for next year. Liddell is the the nation’s No. 12 PF and is the No. 47 overall prospect, according to to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
Update on Zach Harrison
If you have been keeping up with Ohio State football recruiting, Zach Harrison (Lewis Center, OH / Olentangy Orange) is a name you have been hearing for years. The five-star defensive end is easily the Buckeyes top remaining prospect and has long been associated with Ohio State.
Harrison had hoped to announce his collegiate school of choice today but due to current state of affairs surrounding the Ohio State football program, he has opted to delay his commitment. However, his indecision isn’t due strictly to Urban Meyer being investigated by the University and being placed on paid administrative leave. Harrison was finding it tough to come to an ultimate decision even before the uncertainty.
Harrison has come to a final three of Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan and plans to officially visit all three.
Adam Kramer of Bleacher Report spoke with Harrison and his mother Tracey on the state of his recruitment—and he had a lot to say in regards to Ohio State.
On the situation regarding Urban Meyer:
“It just has to play out,” Tracey says. “I don’t know if that’s going to change his mind either way. Zach is far more focused on Orange football right now.”
Kramer goes into further detail into how the two feel about Meyer’s situation and how they don’t want it to play any role in his decision process. Both Zach and his mother want to wait and see how it all plays out before taking it into consideration.
Also interesting to note is how Zach is looking at his recruitment right now. Kramer states that the elite prospect doesn’t like to focus too much on making a decision and Harrison backed this up in his own words.
“It’s stressful trying to make the right decision,” Zach says. “Sometimes you just feel like you won’t.”
Leading his recruitment for Ohio State is defensive line coach Larry Johnson and Harrison only had positive things to say about Johnson and the Buckeyes.
“Obviously, Coach Jay [defensive line coach Larry Johnson] is one of the best, if not the best to ever do it on the defensive line. They win a lot of games. And if I go there, I’d be a hometown hero.”
It is apparent that Ohio State is still very much in play for Harrison, if not still the favorite to land him. Harrison also admits to knowing that if he commits to Ohio State he will be known as a “hometown hero,” but this is not always the best realization.
In Ohio State’s 2018 recruiting class, Meyer lost out on a prospect in a similar situation when five-star offensive tackle Jackson Carman committed to Clemson over the Buckeyes after long being viewed as a sure-fire commit to Ohio State, his hometown school.
Harrison has a lot to think about and because of this, he has decided to extend his recruitment and see what his three finalists have to offer. This isn’t a bad thing, though, as it gives Meyer and the Ohio State coaching staff another shot to show him what all the University has to offer him.