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Ohio State expecting few surprises on Early Signing Day

The newest Buckeyes are signing their LOIs today

NCAA FOOTBALL: DEC 31 CFP Semifinal - Fiesta Bowl - Ohio State v Clemson Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The time has finally come. We have spent so much time to this point discussing the 2020 recruiting class, and on Wednesday everything will become official. Dec. 18 kicks off the beginning of the Early Signing Period, and with it will come the majority of the newest Buckeyes signing their official Letters of Intent and opening the door for early enrollment.

Some worried if recruiting would be able to maintain at the highest levels seen under Urban Meyer, but with Ryan Day looking to reel in a top five class, it appears as though it is just business as usual in Columbus.

The last remaining question mark

The majority of this cycle’s class has been committed to the Buckeyes for quite some time, with little drama in terms of de-commitments or any second thoughts. With that being said, there is still one uncommitted player worth keeping an eye on during all of Wednesday’s signing action: four-star quarterback CJ Stroud.

Stroud, hailing out of Rancho Cucamonga, CA, is the No. 2 pro-style QB in the country according to 247sports composite — the highest rated uncommitted quarterback in the class. While Ohio State does already have a QB commit in four-star pro-styler Jack Miller, Ryan Day would certainly prefer to load up on talent at the position to avoid the drop-off between the starter and backups that the Buckeyes have worried about this season behind Justin Fields.

The coaching staff has made adding Stroud a priority since the summer, and have put in a ton of work in the past few weeks to try and lure him away from the West Coast. At this time it appears they have done enough, as all 16 Crystal Ball predictions on 247sports are in favor of Stroud becoming a Buckeye when he announces his decision and signs his LOI at 9:30 a.m. at his high school, which will be broadcast on ESPNU.

The Jeff Hafley effect

While the obvious worry with the departure of Hafley to Boston College was the on-field performance of the defense, the casual fan likely doesn’t realize how big of an effect he had in the recruiting game. Currently rated as the No. 3 recruiter in the country, behind only staff-mate Brian Hartline and Clemson’s Todd Bates, Hafley is credited with hauling in eight recruits in 2020, and there was some concern over wether Ohio State would lose some of those guys with his exit.

It seems as though that is not the case, as almost all of the defensive back recruits drawn to OSU by Hafley have affirmed their decision to join the Buckeyes even after the Hafley news. The only guy who is no longer a lock to sign with Ohio State on Wednesday is cornerback Clark Phillips III.

The No. 4 corner in the class and No. 5 player out of his home state of California is a crucial part of this cycle, especially with the mass exodus of talent at his position to the NFL expected at the end of Ohio State’s season. It seems the Buckeyes will have to beat out Utah, whom he visited with most recently, when the DB signs on the dotted line on Thursday.

Quick Hits

  • A little wrinkle in the commitment of athlete Cam Martinez was thrown into the mix on Tuesday afternoon, as it was announced the four-star recruit will instead sign in February. As of right now Martinez remains committed to the Buckeyes, but the additional time could potentially lead the Michigan native to change his mind.
  • One guy who will certainly become an official Buckeye on Wednesday is Julian Fleming, who has been one of Ohio State’s most vocal recruits throughout his process. Another highlight tape of his dropped on Tuesday, and boy is the hype real.
  • A bunch of Ohio State’s soon-to-be official commits also voiced their excitement on Twitter on Tuesday night as they prepared to sign their LOIs, including Jacolbe Cowan, Luke Wypler, Paris Johnson Jr., and Mookie Cooper to name a few.