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Pair of Ohio State signees earn five-star status

A couple Buckeyes get a bump in final Top247 rankings

All-American Bowl Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images

On Tuesday, 247Sports released its final player rankings for the 2020 class. The Top247 features a bunch of new faces on its list of five-star prospects, and Ohio State is lucky to have inked two of these such players. The Buckeyes also had a handful of players see significant bumps in their overall ranking, many of whom are already on campus as early enrollees.

Entering the day with two 2020 five-star recruits in wide receiver Julian Fleming and offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr., that number doubled for OSU with wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba and quarterback CJ Stroud both joining elite company among the top 32 players in the entire class.

According to 247Sports’ own rankings, Smith-Njigba is now the No. 2 wideout in the class behind only Fleming, and sits at No. 15 overall. In his explanation of the new five-stars, 247’s Barton Simmons described Smith-Njigba as “the most polished wide receiver in the class.” Stroud is now the No. 2 pro-style QB in 247Sports’ rankings, coming in at No. 29 nationally. Simmons’ explanation of Stroud was that he, “made huge leaps as a senior in production and command and we felt like he wasn’t far behind [Bryce] Young and [DJ] Uiagalelei during All-American Bowl week in terms of skillset.”

While many felt as though Smith-Njigba was on the verge of a fifth star for a while, Tuesday finally made it official. In fact, Ohio State now has three of the top five wide receivers in 247Sports’ rankings. Fleming and Smith-Njigba come in at No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, with Gee Scott Jr. at No. 5 as a four-star player. Scott himself was one of a few players just outside of earning a fifth star, with Simmons describing the widout as, “a five-star candidate for almost the entire process due to his size, professional approach and polish at the wide receiver position.”

Other notable jumps for Buckeye commits include linebacker Cody Simon moving from No. 146 to No. 97 and cornerback Ryan Watts moving from No. 233 to No. 149. Another huge jump was that of linebacker Mitchell Melton, as the four-star recruit jumped from No. 700 all the way to up to No. 182.

2021 four-star corner teases Ohio State lean

2021 cornerback Jordan Hancock put this graphic out on Twitter on Monday night teasing the potential of him playing for the Buckeyes. The four-star DB is shown among former Ohio State Thorpe Award winners in Antoine Winfield and Malcolm Jenkins, with Hancock’s name shown as the winner in 2023.

Hailing out of North Gwinnett High School in Suwanee, GA, Hancock is the No. 24 corner in the class. He has received a whopping 39 offers, including almost all of the blue bloods like Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Oklahoma and obviously the Buckeyes.

While the Twitter post is no assurance of an Ohio State commitment, it is worth mentioning that Hancock’s lone Crystal Ball prediction from earlier this month was in favor of OSU, posted on Jan. 8 by director of football recruiting Steve Wiltfong.

Quick Hits

  • The big news of the day was obviously the affirmation from long-time Buckeye commit Cameron Martinez that he would indeed be signing with Ohio State on National Signing Day. The four-star athlete, expected to play defensive back in Columbus, is a huge get for newly appointed defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs.
  • Ohio State offered 2022 wide receiver Armani Winfield, the recruit announced via Twitter on Tuesday afternoon. At 6-foot-2, 180 pounds, the four-star receiver is the No. 10 wideout in the class according to 247Sports’ own rankings.