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A look at Ohio State’s top linebacker targets in 2022

The position will be one of the biggest points of emphasis in the next cycle

Four-star Marysville LB Gabe Powers
247Sports

In yesterday’s State Secrets, we talked about 2022 Ohio State commit C.J. Hicks and his efforts on the recruiting trail. One of three early pledges in next year’s class for the Buckeyes, the No. 15 athlete in the nation has been an incredibly vital asset for Ryan Day and position coach Al Washington. Linebacker will be a huge position of emphasis in the next cycle, and Hicks is already trying to sway some top prospects to Columbus.

Hicks has been able to build a strong bond with Shawn Murphy, the No. 1 ILB and No. 3 player overall in the class, as the two worked out at Saturday’s Elite Underclassmen Camp in Obetz, Ohio. Murphy told Eleven Warriors that Hicks is in his ear about Ohio State “damn near every day,” but it mostly involves subtle reminders of what the Buckeyes have to offer. Hicks has also been working on Dasan McCullough, the No. 8 athlete and No. 73 overall prospect in 2022, with the pair talking nearly every day having both grown up near the Cinci area.

There is going to be a mass exodus of talent from the linebacker room over the course of the next two seasons, and so Washington will likely need to land at least three or four guys at the position in 2022. That need becomes even more apparent given just one LB is committed in the 2021 class — four-star ILB Reid Carrico — with no obvious other commitments in the works for this cycle. So while Hicks works on Murphy and McCullough, who else is on the Buckeyes’ target board?

One of the biggest names to keep an eye on is four-star OLB Gabe Powers. The No. 1 player in Ohio in 2022, OSU has seemingly been in the drivers seat to land the Marysville native for quite some time. Already holding all four Crystal Ball predictions to land the No. 43 overall prospect in the class, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound LB is also being recruited by some of the top programs around the country, including the likes of Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State and USC. Despite having the home-field advantage, Ohio State must make sure they close the deal with Powers and not let him slip away.

Another pair of names to be on the lookout for are Justin Medlock and Jalon Walker. Medlock, the No. 8 ILB in the class, already holds two Crystal Ball predictions in favor of the Buckeyes, and told Lettermen Row that he and Washington have been talking “at least once a week,” as the two parties share a mutual interest. Walker, a four-star OLB from North Carolina, is a guy who could see his recruitment really take off. Currently rated the No. 176 overall player in the class, he has offers from a ton of the nation’s top programs, including Auburn, Clemson, LSU and Texas.

Quick Hits

  • A huge development on Tuesday night, four-star cornerback Jordan Hancock has reportedly decommitted from Clemson, and Ohio State is the heavy favorite to land the highly-touted DB. Equally as intriguing, Hancock received a trio of Crystal Ball predictions for the Buckeyes around the same time this news broke, with one from 247Sports Director of Recruiting Steve Wiltfong (with a confidence of nine!) and another from OSU Insider Bill Kurelic.

We’ll be monitoring the situation closely here at LGHL, but TreVeyon Henderson and the rest of the current 2021 commits seem to really like what they are hearing: