The one potential flaw in the absolutely loaded 2021 recruiting class is the lack of depth at the linebacker spot. It’s hard to find much to complain about in terms of the nation’s No. 1 class, but especially with all three of the current starting linebackers graduating at the end of the season, Day and position coach Al Washington knew that linebacker would be a big need looking ahead to 2022.
They’ve now addressed that need in a huge way already, as 2022 four-star OLB Gabe Powers committed to Ohio State on Saturday. Powers, an incredibly important in-state prospect as the No. 1 player in Ohio, is the No. 2 OLB in the country and the No. 45 player overall according to the 247Sports Composite.
Powers was raised in a football family, with his father Mike a member of the Marysville staff and a former college football player himself. A middle linebacker prior to his sophomore year, the 6-foot-4, 220-pound athlete played outside linebacker this past season, compiling 90 tackles for the Monarchs. Powers has trained with a pair of former Buckeyes this offseason, both with Olympic gold medal sprinter Butch Reynolds and former OSU corner Donald Washington.
Powers has long been linked to Ohio State, with all six of his Crystal Ball predictions having been in favor of OSU. Two of these predictions rolled in late Friday night with the announcement that Powers would be making his decision on Saturday, and just this past Thursday 247Sports director of recruiting Steve Wiltfong upgraded the confidence of his prediction from a six to a 10.
Holding over 18 scholarship offers, the Buckeyes beat out some of the nation’s top programs, including Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State, Stanford and USC. Powers had previously wanted to take his official visits before coming to a decision, but came to the conclusion that he already knew where he wanted to go, so there was no reason to wait any further. He attended two Ohio State games last season, appearing in The Shoe for their wins over Michigan State and Penn State.
Powers is the fourth member of Ohio State’s 2022 class, and the highest-rated of the bunch. He joins a trio of other four-star prospects in corner Jyaire Brown, fellow OLB C.J. Hicks, and offensive tackle Tegra Tshabola. Between Powers and Hicks, who is the No. 8 OLB in the cycle, the Buckeyes are off to a phenomenal start in their quest to sign what will likely be either three or four linebackers next year.
Most impressively, Ryan Day has now been able to haul in four of the top five players from the state of Ohio in 2022 — after getting five of the top six guys in 2021. Did I mention it’s only August? The now second-year head coach has made in-state recruiting a priority early on in his tenure, and so far it is paying dividends. With Powers’ commitment, Ohio State has gotten the top player in Ohio for the fourth consecutive cycle.
Check out these highlights of the newest future Buckeye in action this past season: