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Ohio State trying to wrap up its 2020 class

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With less than a month until the late signing period, OSU’s staff is almost ready to fully look ahead to 2021.

The first Wednesday in February marks the “official” national signing day, but with the early signing period now taking majority of the headlines, Ohio State has all but wrapped up its 2020 class. Already 14 signees are taking classes on campus, while the remainder are finishing up their high school careers. A tip of the cap to the Buckeye staff for locking in their guys early, the only remaining player yet to sign is Michigan native Cameron Martinez.

Not to get too in depth on the Martinez front, most know the four-star athlete is doing his due diligence in seeing who the Buckeyes will appoint the new co-defensive coordinator for the 2020 campaign. The feeling is still pretty good that they’ll end up securing Martinez’s signature in under a month, but regardless it’s been an incredible first class with Ryan Day at the helm. Looking forward, 2020 really has two remaining focuses: securing the aforementioned Martinez, and potentially adding another defensive back/running back talent via the transfer portal.

With really only those areas of need still in the docket for Day, the majority of the attention is being spent on the 2021 class, and it looks to be paying off early and often. With the Buckeyes landing another huge prospect just 48 hours ago in Donovan Jackson — the nation’s top offensive guard — Ohio State is proving once again to be one of the top recruiting powers in the country.

Where to look for defensive back?

Ohio State was looking good in mid November with the 2020 defensive back class. However, Jeff Hafley taking the Head Coaching job at Boston College caused long-time Buckeye commit Clark Phillips III to rescind his OSU pledge and eventually sign with Utah. Still, the Buckeyes have a stellar secondary class with highly touted guys such as Lathan Ransom, Ryan Watts, Lejond Cavazos, and likely Martinez as previously mentioned.

Better yet, a recruiting win like none other was being able to get current Buckeye star Shaun Wade back for another go when he easily could have heard his name called in upcoming NFL Draft. All of this to say the Buckeyes still need at least one more defensive back in the 2020 class to protect their depth, but landing one this late in the game is not a walk in the park.

As the staff continues to prowl, a few doors have already shut. For example, everyone remembers the infamous Darnay Holmes All-America game announcement a few short years ago which lead to a UCLA commitment. The nations No. 3 cornerback in the 2017 class was long linked to the Buckeyes, but obviously ended up staying close to home and suiting up for the Bruins. Holmes was a potential grad transfer option following this past season, but has since opted to declare for the NFL Draft, making him no longer a possibility for Ohio State to land as a one-year rental.

In addition, yesterday some talk began to surface around another name Ohio State had once been linked to in Jaylen Kelly-Powell, who is now in the transfer portal. The Detroit Cass Tech product chose the Wolverines over the Buckeyes back in 2017, but after what has not been the career he has desired, he is ready to go elsewhere. Could Ohio State once again get back in touch with Kelly-Powell? The irony here is that at one time, Kerry Coombs was the four-star DB’s recruiter, and the two had quite the positive relationship.

Should Coombs return to Columbus, it certainly could be a flame rekindled. Getting back to the present times, Kelly-Powell’s experiences may present a bit of an advantage should the Buckeyes go after him. Changing positions a few times between corner and safety, he has the knowledge and experience to be an extremely versatile player. Considering he would still have two years eligibility as a grad transfer, he would be a safer bet than some other guys out there. Time will tell if it becomes an actual possibility.

What it really comes down to right now is Cameron Martinez. Should he stick with Ohio State — content on who the Buckeyes hire — he would give the 2020 class four players in the secondary. Of course, Cameron can play in a multitude of positions, but knowing Hafley was his primary recruiter should prove that he’s likely destined for the defensive side of the ball at the college level. The race is coming to an end, and the Buckeyes are really looking to finish up 2020 with one or two more players. After that, 2021 looks to be a class that will heavily recruit defensive backs as re-stocking depth will be a big priority.

Quick Hits:

  • Receiving yet another highly regarded accolade, Buckeye 2020 signee Jaxon Smith-Njigba was named the Co-Offensive Player of the Year in Dallas-Fort Worth by the Dallas Morning News. Ironically, the last non-quarterback to win the award was former Buckeye Dontre Wilson in 2012. Ohio State is ecstatic knowing what they’ll have in the young four-star wide receiver when he suits up.
  • Ohio State offensive lineman target JC Latham has set his commitment date and will be choosing between one of two schools as of right now. The 2021 four-star OT will be making his decision on his birthday, April 18, and listed OSU and LSU as his top two choices.