We’ve talked ad nauseam these past few weeks about the strength of Ohio State’s 2021 recruiting class. After adding five-star RB TreVeyon Henderson to the fold on Friday night, the Buckeyes now have a trio of five-star prospects on tap — including the No. 2 defensive end in the nation in Jack Sawyer and the No. 3 pro-style QB in Kyle McCord. Almost any school in the country would be ecstatic to finish with three five-stars in their class. For Ohio State, the battle has just begun.
This current group put together by Ryan Day and his assistants is truly staggering when you dig even deeper into the numbers. With a 60-point lead over No. 2 Clemson for the top class in the nation, Ohio State now has commitments from 10 different players that are ranked in the top 10 at their respective position — with six of those guys being top-five. Sitting at 15 commits in total, there is still a ton of room to add even more talent to a potentially historic recruiting class.
The Buckeyes remain high on the list for many of their top remaining targets in 2021, and a handful of those guys are also five-star recruits. In fact, with the way things currently sit, it appears that OSU would have a chance to finish out the cycle with a total of EIGHT five-star recruits if everything were to work out perfectly. How realistic that is remains to be seen, but let’s check in on some of the remaining five-stars in Ohio State’s sights and where the program currently stands according to the experts.
Five-Star DT (Eastside Catholic/WA)
Tuimoloau is currently the highest remaining player on Ohio State’s board, and is ironically also the recruit most closely linked to the Buckeyes. The No. 1 DT in the class and the No. 2 prospect in the country overall, the 6-foot-4, 277-pound defensive lineman attends Eastside Catholic High School — the same school that produced current OSU wide receiver Gee Scott Jr.
While the Scarlet and Gray have been put in a much tougher spot due to COVID-19, unable to get Tuimoloau out to Columbus, they still seem to be good standing with the DT. There are currently five 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions in for Tuimoloau, with three of them in favor of the Buckeyes. Currently holding 24 scholarship offers, the only non-West Coast programs that seem to have a chance at Tuimoloau are Ohio State and Alabama.
It will be a tall task for Ryan Day to lure the talented D-lineman to the Midwest via virtual means, but if anyone has shown an ability to recruit all around the country despite a pandemic, it has been the Buckeyes’ headman.
Five-Star CB (Princess Anne/VA)
Grimes’ commitment is still a long way out, scheduled for Dec. 1, but that could play heavily in Ohio State’s favor. As the nation’s No. 1 corner and the No. 7 player in the class overall, the Virginia Beach standout is clearly someone whom the Buckeyes are heavily involved with. However, much like Tuimoloau, a visit to Columbus is incredibly important to the talented defensive back’s eventual decision, and obviously that will not be happening this spring.
While Grimes won’t be able to get to campus for the foreseeable future, he remains in constant contact with OSU defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs, who visited with him at his high school back in January. Both Grimes and his father came away impressed from their initial meeting with Coombs, and Grimes’ father has stated that it is a priority for he and his son to visit Ohio State.
The current world issues have definitely provided a bit of a roadblock in furthering the relationship between Grimes and OSU, but once things clear up and the top CB is able to get to Columbus, it could be a determining factor in his recruitment when all is said and done.
Five-Star DT (Belleville/MI)
Ryan Day doesn’t just want to beat Michigan on the field, he wants to do it in the recruiting game as well, and that is exactly what he is looking to do with Damon Payne. The nation’s No. 3 DT, No. 1 player out of Michigan and No. 27 player in the class overall, Payne has been on Ohio State’s radar for quite some time.
After sending him an offer back in 2018, the defensive lineman has made at least five trips to Columbus over the past two seasons, and the Buckeyes were listed in his top 10 schools back in February. The 6-foot-3, 297-pound DT holds 26 offers, but it appears his decision will eventually be between Alabama and Ohio State. There are currently four Crystal Ball picks for Payne, with one each for the Buckeyes and Crimson Tide and the other two undecided.
Five-Star WR (Steilacoom/WA)
Ryan Day clearly likes what he sees in the talent out on the West Coast, looking to haul in another Washington kid in Emeka Egbuka. The 6-foo-1, 190-pound wideout is the nation’s No. 1 WR and the No. 9 player in the country overall. Egbuka is incredibly talented, having been clocked with a 4.42 official 40-yard time, and would be the next great Ohio State receiver recruit in a recent heavy influx of talent under position coach Brian Hartline.
A few weeks ago, Egbuka told Mike Farrell of Rivals that he had cut his list down from over 36 scholarship offers to seven schools, with the Buckeyes making the cut alongside Clemson, LSU, Oklahoma, Oregon, Stanford and Washington. There are currently four Crystal Ball picks in for Egbuka, with one for Ohio State, two for the Huskies and one undecided.
Most recently visiting Ohio State back in March of 2019, for now they will have to rely on the persuading abilities of Hartline and fellow Washington wideout Scott Jr. to help bring Egbuka to Columbus.
Five-Star OLB (Chaminade-Madonna Prep/FL)
The only player on this list not yet in possession of an Ohio State offer, Lewis has seen his name floating around with the Buckeyes lately. The Scarlet and Gray already have a top linebacker in the 2021 class in Reid Carrico, and have taken it slow to this point in finding another. With the nation’s No. 1 OLB still on the market, that offer could be coming in the near future.
In terms of the likelihood of landing Lewis, who already holds 40 offers, Ohio State would appear to be facing an uphill battle. Some of the Buckeyes current commits in the 2021 class, including both Ben Christman and Evan Pryor, have attempted to sway the top-10 prospect towards Columbus on Twitter in the last few days, and to their credit OSU’s class themselves as a whole have done a great job on the recruiting trail.
Will it be enough to sway Lewis this late in the game? Probably not. However, if that Ohio State offer comes soon, you'd have to figure the Buckeyes will at least get some consideration given how the rest of the class is shaping up.