In a normal year, this time frame really brings out the headlines for recruiting, as prospects all over the country are usually visiting various campuses every weekend for game day visits and the like. It truly is a busy time for college coaching staffs. In 2020 though, as you know, everything is different than expected. Right now there isn’t much for “news” on the recruiting trail because of the inability for these high school athletes to get out and actually speak with the program leaders.
Add in the fact that few spots remain in Ohio State’s 2021 class, and it’s easy to see why the same names and topics continue demand a bulk of the attention. It can be looked at several different ways, but it’s probably for the best that there’s not a ton of new headlines surrounding the Buckeyes recruiting efforts knowing how intact already the current cycle is.
As tomorrow marks just a week from the first game day of the 2020 season, it’s a guarantee that other than prepping for Nebraska, recruiting is still atop of the priorities for this coaching staff.
Egbuka still between two schools
Much like the theme in yesterday’s edition of State Secrets, the other half of the Washington-native duo Emeka Egbuka is still a major topic of interest. Landing a receiver prospect at this magnitude is almost becoming something you expect under Brian Hartline at the helm of the position, but nevertheless, it’s certainly not taken for granted what is happening on the trail at the receiver position in regards to Ohio State.
If Emeka was to join the fold for 2021, it would give the Buckeyes back-to-back cycles of landing the top-ranked receiver in the country, further adding elite depth to the group. The eighth-ranked player in the country and the No. 1 WR per the 247Sports rankings has been discussed numerous times, but in this case, there are some rumors that needed to be cleared up.
In a bit of a twist, Bill Kurelic of Bucknuts brought to the table that there have been rumblings about Emeka being a “silent commit” to the Buckeyes, and would be announcing soon and maybe even as soon as this weekend. Not completely denouncing that chance, Kurelic reiterated that while anything is possible in recruiting, Egbuka is still serious about his interest in Oklahoma and wants to visit Norman to see what the Sooners have to offer.
If and when that does occur, that should really give us a better idea of the five-star receiver’s interest in Oklahoma, either proving it to be legitimate or solidifying his relationship with Hartline and Ohio State once and for all.
In regards to a possible upcoming commitment, it doesn’t make a ton of sense timing wise with his inability to visit the other schools of his choice, mainly Oklahoma. In addition, Egbuka is not expected to be in attendance next weekend for the Buckeye Bash event the current commits are holding, giving reason for a pause. As is the case, it would certainly be a shock if a commitment came this weekend.
All in all, this recruitment could last until he’s able to make his visits. If that doesn’t come any time soon, the fortunate aspect for Ohio State is their current status and long lasting relationship with Egbuka. The Buckeyes have been in it this far with a strong presence, and there’s no way Hartline is going to let that slip up as they try to close things out.
Looking to add more elite defensive talent in 2022
At this point, Ohio State’s 2022 class is defense-heavy in terms of the positions of the committed players. Having some big time needs on that side of the ball, the coaching staff has made it a major goal to reload with elite talent much like they do in every year. With the 2021 class mainly set in stone, with the exception of a couple players and their respective announcements, 2022 has really become the main cycle to focus on.
Fortunately, this cycle, much like what we saw in 2021, is off to an incredible start, and the momentum looks as if it will only continue on.
One player that is communicating with the Buckeyes rather often is North Carolina native Malaki Hamrick. Having received an offer from Ohio State this past August, Hamrick is no stranger to the coaching staff. The 6-foot-4, 200-pound outside linebacker is currently ranked as the 12th-best player at his position, the No. 6 player in his state, and the No. 141 prospect overall in the 247Sports Composite rankings.
Obviously Malaki has all of the talent in the world and the profile to go along with it, but the interesting point of note here is the continued time both he and Ohio State are taking to build a relationship early in his recruitment.
Having Larry Johnson as the primary recruiter for the North Carolina area and all of the DMV and East Coast, it’s easy to see why Hamrick would be interested in the Buckeyes. After talking to a coach like Johnson, it’s not too hard to be excited about the potential for suiting up to play for a staff like that. Though he’s a linebacker now, it may not even be out of the question that Hamrick could grow into a defensive-end with still two full years of high school ball ahead of him.
Regardless, Hamrick at any position is a guy you’d want in your class due to his endless athletic potential. Though the Buckeyes clearly have a head-start in recruiting linebackers in 2022 with three already committed, it doesn’t look as if the work is quite done yet for Al Washington and Larry Johnson.