At this point it will be a near miracle if any high school prospect steps foot on a college campus for a recruiting visit this year. On Thursday, the NCAA extended their never-ending “dead period” through August 31. It doesn’t look like it will ever be lifted at this point, and each extension it makes recruiting that much harder for both the college programs and the kids especially.
While necessary, it’s unfortunate to say the least, as visits could have easily helped Ohio State’s current 2021 football class. With undecided guys waiting for their chances to get back on campuses and make a final decision, the Buckeyes have to be patient and continue doing what they have been during this entire COVID-19 pandemic — which has been recruit at the highest level.
A flip for a flip?
In case you’re just now hearing about this, the Buckeyes 2021 class lost a commitment yesterday when three-star Cincinnati native Devonta Smith announced he was re-opening his recruitment. In recruiting, things can change almost instantly, and that’s kind of the way it worked with Smith. It was a loss that ironically raised the Buckeyes overall average player ranking from 95.30 to 95.71. Not to say Smith wasn’t a great player, but it may not be a “huge” loss after all, and it seemed like a pretty amicable divorce between the two sides.
Not to re-hash on all of the details, but in what seemed like an overnight predicament, the Buckeyes were out and Alabama was in with a flurry of Crystal Ball forecasts in favor of the Crimson Tide. Smith has yet to commit to Alabama or anyone for that matter, but all signs still point towards him heading to Tuscaloosa with his pledge when that occurs.
Ohio State’s current 2021 DB class is pretty crowded, and while Smith himself took to Twitter to deny the notion, it still makes you think that maybe he just didn’t see as much opportunity in Columbus as there is elsewhere. Another possibility that seems to be floating around is the Buckeyes potentially wanting to see what other options are out there. With an already pretty large amount of defensive backs in the class, they may have needed to make room if they think they can add another big prospect to the unit.
Again, it’s important to note that there’s several possible scenarios for why this de-commitment occurred from an in-state kid, but with his offer to Ohio State coming in March and his commitment to the Buckeyes coming just four days later, it shows he never really got to see other schools he may have interest in. Whether or not the Buckeyes also wanted to weigh their options, it appears both sides felt it was best to part ways.
What comes next for Ohio State? Two names jump to the forefront when considering this subject and who the Buckeyes may turn too. They are still very heavily in the mix for Pennsylvania safety prospect Derrick Davis Jr., and what a feat that would be to once again go into a rival’s state and poach a top player away from Penn State. Davis is the No. 4 player in the state and the No. 2 safety in the country according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. As it stands now, the Crystal Ball is trending toward the in-state Nittany Lions, but as stated already, the Buckeyes have more than a puncher’s chance with this one.
The other name to really pay close attention to is Jordan Hancock. For some time it seemed as if Hancock was a Buckeye lean, but his March commitment to Clemson certainly ruined that idea. However, he has remained in the minds of the Ohio State staff, and with essentially a “spot” open for an additional DB, Hancock is becoming more and more of a potential “flip” candidate much like Smith is for Alabama.
In fact, Ohio State’s 2021 commits certainly like the idea of flipping the nation’s No. 6 cornerback from Clemson, and didn’t hide their enthusiasm when Hancock himself tweeted the ever-so-popular “eye” emoji, which in most minds clearly was about Smith’s de-commitment.
— jordan hancock (@jordanhancock_7) June 25, 2020
As you can see below, Buckeye commits would rave over Hancock rescinding his Clemson pledge and flipping to Ohio State. The staff too will certainly be putting in some overtime to make that a reality. If OSU were to end up getting Hancock to join the fold, the loss of Smith wouldn’t sting much at all. The 6-foot-1 Georgia native has long been considered one of the nation’s best corner backs in the class. It’s not going to be easy to pull it off, but as you can tell anything and everything is possible in the recruiting world.
I knew we was thinking the same thing!!— TreVeyon Henderson (@TreVeyonH4) June 25, 2020
Buckeyes offer Michigan native hooper
Though the Buckeye football program takes majority of the headlines when it comes to recruiting, Chris Holtmann and Ohio State basketball’s current class should not be ignored. Of course basketball rosters make for much smaller classes, but with only two players in the current 2021 Buckeye class, it gives Holtmann a top-10 national class with room to further improve their ranking.
With guys such as Meechie Johnson and Kalen Etzler already in the fold, the basketball staff is still searching for and offering the potential remaining prospects to fill out the rest of the group in this cycle.
Late Wednesday evening, the Buckeyes staff did just that when they sent out their latest scholarship offer to Grand Rapids, Michigan native, Kobe Bufkin. Taking to his Twitter account to share the new offer, Bufkin is a prospect that has really seen his recruitment expand over the last few weeks with multiple offers from SEC programs.
A 6-foot-4, 175-pound shooting guard, Bufkin currently grades out as the second-best player in Michigan and is also considered to be the No. 21 shooting guard and the No. 92 overall player in the class according to the 247Sports Composite. With nearly 10 offers now from the likes of Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, and now Ohio State, among others, Bufkin proves he’s more than worthy of his four-star status.
A highlight reel in action for both his Grand Rapids Christian prep team and his AAU squad, Bufkin is known as a player whose one of the better perimeter shooters in the circuit, and still has plenty of upside to grow into. It will be hard to sway Bufkin from the in-state programs, but if Holtmann and his staff can make the guard a priority moving forward, they can really become more than just a player in his recruitment. Bufkin still has another high school season of basketball to further grow his game. Look for the Buckeyes to use that same time to improve their relationship with him.