With all the focus on beating Clemson in the Sugar Bowl, you would think that recruiting would start to take a bit of a step back in terms of priorities. However, as it’s been noted many times before, the relentless efforts on the recruiting trail this staff exhibits on a daily basis is one of the primary reasons they’re once again in the College Football Playoff.
There are several aspects that must come to fruition to have the type of team the Buckeyes have, but none may be as important as landing elite talent. As Ohio State works toward a national championship in the coming weeks, recruiting will still be at the forefront of what they’re doing.
Getting close to a decision
Just about two weeks ago, the top Michigan prospect in the 2022 class, Will Johnson, visited Ohio State’s campus for the weekend of what would have been The Game. Johnson is the son of a former Wolverine player himself, and obviously has strong ties to the program. The country’s No. 4 cornerback and the eighth best player nationally will be a prized possession in anyone’s class, and while Michigan will be hard to beat, Ohio State’s track record of developing top NFL caliber defensive backs is something Johnson surely takes notice of.
Following his time in Columbus, Johnson made it clear that he came away very impressed with what he saw from campus and what life as a Buckeye would entail. The great aspect here for Ohio State is that both of Will’s parents were present during the visit to Columbus. While he was of course unable to speak with the coaching staff in person, he’s heard from both Ryan Day and Kerry Coombs enough to know what to expect. Shortly after his visit, Johnson had been quoted as saying a decision on his commitment would come sooner than later, and possibly within weeks.
What makes Johnson an intriguing prospect right now though is in regards to Michigan’s dismissal of defensive coordinator Don Brown. With Brown and likely other defensive assistant coaches now headed elsewhere, you would think this would have some sort of impact on Johnson’s recruitment. While it may not impact the ultimate decision for the Grosse Point, MI native, it’s still an area of unknown. Johnson, like everyone else in his shoes, doesn’t know who Michigan will be bringing in to replace the former staff. In the mean time, Ohio State can promote their stability and once again hang their hat on their track record of their incredible defensive back success.
This road could be coming to a near end for Johnson, but before he does that trips to USC and Oklahoma will likely take place. If you’re a betting type of person, the likely destination is still Michigan, as once again he’s a legacy in that program already, but the Buckeyes are the closest of any of the other schools to have a real chance. Fortunately, Johnson is keeping in touch with both Day and Coombs regularly each week.
2021 Buckeye signee a finalist for top LB honor
One of the more unsung heroes of the Ohio State 2021 class is Ironton, Ohio native Reid Carrico. The fifth-best inside linebacker in his class, Carrico is also regarded as the No. 4 player in Ohio and the No. 84 player nationally per the 247Sports Composite. An incredible linebacker that the Buckeyes wanted in their class from the very start, Carrico may not get the dues some of the other signees received down the stretch simply because he’s been part of the group for so long. Committing to Ohio State way back in September of 2019, Carrico proved his desire to play in Columbus as he seemingly shut down his recruitment the day he gave his pledge to the in-state power.
Yesterday, Reid’s abilities and prep career were honored, as he was named one of the few finalists for the Butkus Award, which is given to the nation’s top high school linebacker in the entire country. Further proof to what Ohio State is getting in a player like Carrico, this old-school style football player is going to bring a flavor to the linebacker corps Buckeye fans have seen in the past.
Congrats to @CarricoReid for being a Finalist for the Butkus award going to the TOP High School Linebacker in the country! #GoTigers @CoachWash56 @markpantoni @ryandaytime @etwill21 @PendletonTrevon @JerrodPendleton pic.twitter.com/1lkz2WEVdV— Ironton Football (@FootballIronton) December 22, 2020
- Ohio State landed a preferred walk-on commitment on Wednesday from a name all too familiar to Ohio State fans. Zak Herbstreit, son of ESPN analyst and former Buckeye Kirk Herbstreit, announced his pledge to Ohio State. Herbstreit, a tight end, is now the third generation to suit up for the Buckeyes.
Beyond excited to announce that I will be accepting a PWO and continue my academic and athletic career at the Ohio State University! Dream come true! pic.twitter.com/UuC22V5LDD— Zak Herbstreit (@ZHerbstreit) December 23, 2020
- Current Ohio State 2021 signee Donovan Jackson, who is the nation’s top offensive guard in the country, once again was in the headlines yesterday for another top national award. Jackson was announced as a finalist for the Geico Man of the Year honor presented by the All-American Bowl. Just another sign of the caliber of young man and player the Buckeyes are getting in the Texas native.
All-American Bowl’s @GEICO Man of the Year Finalists— All-American Bowl (@AABonNBC) December 24, 2020
- @connorable19 (Houston, TX)
- @D_jack78 (Bellaire, TX)
- @ezraoyetade (Garland, TX)
- @jahvaree (Kernersville, NC)
- @ty_thompson7 (Gilbert, AZ)
- @CALEBcsw (Washington, D.C.)#AAB21 #AllAmericanBowl pic.twitter.com/p1cBOpKJlm
- Alabama likely locked up the nation’s top class in 2021 on Wednesday night, securing a commitment from five-star running back Camar Wheaton. Even if the Buckeyes were to add both J.T. Tuimoloau and Raesjon Davis, it would not be enough to pass the Crimson Tide.
Five-star RB Camar Wheaton of Garland (Texas) of Lakeview Centennial just committed to Alabama. He was an Oklahoma lean for months. That should all but wrap up Nick Saban’s ninth recruiting crown.— Ari Wasserman (@AriWasserman) December 24, 2020