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Ohio State OLB target sets commitment date

Four-star linebacker target Malaki Hamrick announced a new commitment date of Feb. 26.

2022 four-star OLB Malaki Hamrick
Don Callahan, 247Sports

Monday brought a roller coaster of emotions for Buckeye Nation. Still (rightfully) grieving from the National Championship loss, Ohio State fans began the week learning news that was all but surprising: Justin Fields will be heading to the NFL. Again, while there were no shock waves created by this announcement, it was another drop in the bucket for Ohio State football fans.

However, then the news made a turn for the brighter. Both Jeremy Ruckert and Chris Olave announced they would be returning to Ohio State, setting the Buckeyes up for what should be one of the most high-powered offenses of the 2021 regular season.

Lost in the news was that Ohio State made the recruiting headlines again Monday as well. It is this constant dedication to recruiting that has allowed Ryan Day and the Ohio State coaching staff to continuously reload as opposed to rebuild.

Four-star outside linebacker Malaki Hamrick announced Monday that he has moved his decision date up from April to Feb. 26th.

Hamrick, who was originally going to commit closer to his birthday, April 29, is now looking to commit in the next month. The blue-chip OLB listed Ohio State in his top five schools in November alongside North Carolina, Appalachian State, Notre Dame and Penn State.

Of the above five schools, Hamrick has only been able to visit the hometown schools, North Carolina and Appalachian State. However, it sounds as if he wants to visit Ohio State before making a final decision. He spoke with Bill Kurelic of earlier this month and said he plans to visit Columbus soon.

“I’ll definitely get to Ohio State for sure,” Hamrick also told Bucknuts last week. “I’ll probably get to Ohio State and one or two more schools, but I definitely want to get out to Ohio State.”

While the news that a visit to Ohio State should be in the works, the tea leaves are starting to confirm the long-time favorite, North Carolina, is well ahead in his recruitment. Scheduling a commitment date before a visit typically means there is a leader. Additionally, the Tar Heels hold the lone 247Sports Crystal Ball prediction with a 10/10 confidence score.

However, do not count Ohio State out just yet, as there is still time in the recruitment. Hamrick also told Kurelic he plans to narrow his list down to a top two schools and if a visit to Columbus is able to come to fruition, the Buckeyes chances will surely increase and will likely be the second school alongside North Carolina.

While Ohio State is surely interested in Hamrick, and the interest is mutual, this may be a case of process of elimination for the Buckeyes. Ohio State already has brought in an incredible haul at LB in 2022, holding verbal commitments from four-star OLBs Gabe Powers and C.J. Hicks and also a commitment from four-star ATH Dasan McCullough who projects to play LB at the next level. The Buckeyes also just recently made the cut for five-star ILB Shawn Murphy, the nation’s No. 1 ILB.

Quick Hits

Ewers finished the game 23-of-39 for 351 yards and three touchdowns in addition to two interceptions. The first turnover came with a Westlake defensive end in his face. The pass floated and was picked. His second came on a throw made too early due to pressure and the receiver had yet to make his break to the sideline.

Even in defeat, Ewers justified being the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect in 2022. People heavily invested in Texas high school football consider Westlake to have a claim as the best defense in-state and Ewers kept Carroll on-course. His upside is through the roof.