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Ohio State giving its best to poach Michigan legacy, five-star DB

The Buckeyes are hoping they can steal the top player in their biggest rival’s backyard.

Five-star 2022 CB Will Johnson
Brice Marich, 247Sports

For the first time since the 2014 season, Ohio State is back on the biggest stage in college football. This is thanks to several aspects, but in this case, probably none greater than recruiting. With how incredible Ryan Day and his staff have been on the trail in the latest two classes specifically, odds are it won’t take as long this time for the Buckeyes to be back in the championship game regardless of Monday night’s outcome.

Ohio State is on a roll right now, and their momentum may be the best the program has ever seen. While we wait on the edge of our seats for kickoff, here’s a couple of the latest rumblings in the recruiting scene concerning the Buckeyes.

A realistic chance at a Michigan legacy?

Not even a week ago Ohio State added five-star defensive back Jaheim Singletary to their loaded 2022 class. Singletary currently grades out as the No. 10 in the country and the 5th-best cornerback for his class. An incredible get for the Buckeyes, the staff is of course beyond thrilled, but certainly not done recruiting the position in the class. After producing first-round NFL Draft picks at DB the last several years in a row, and potentially again this spring when Shaun Wade gets his name called, the Buckeyes are looking to reload in a tremendous way.

One target the Buckeyes have been all over is the top player in Michigan for 2022Will Johnson. A name not new to Ohio State recruiting followers, Johnson is currently ranked as the fourth-best cornerback in his cycle and the No. 8 player nationally. In addition to his ranking, Johnson is also probably best known because his dad is a former Michigan football player. As a result, his son has long been pegged to the Wolverines. Playing his prep football just an hour from Ann Arbor as well, it’s pretty easy to see why the Michigan legacy has most eyeing him ending up in the same uniform as his father.

Naming a final five back in November, Johnson is still doing his due diligence in seeing those programs as well as weighing his options. Noted before, Johnson along with his family were in Columbus to take in what Ohio State is all about during what would have been the same weekend as The Game. After his visit, Johnson mentioned that a decision could come within weeks, and while that’s still technically the case, he has made it pretty clear that he wants to visit other programs still under his consideration such as USC.

This week, Rivals Midwest insider Josh Helmholdt came out and said that in his belief, Ohio State is in a “very strong” position for Johnson going into his decision, which again will likely come after the DB is able to see USC. Sure, Ohio State isn’t one to mess with on the recruiting trail, but you would have to think given all that was previously mentioned about Johnson’s family ties, he would almost be destined to follow his dad’s footsteps. Or would he?

Johnson should have a commitment relatively soon, so everyone will eventually know the landing spot of course, but you have to begin to really wonder if the Buckeyes and their track record of NFL development is paying off in this recruitment. Johnson knows exactly what he is getting at Ohio State, and with the staff uncertainty going on at Michigan, maybe this really is a perfect storm for the Buckeyes to go into rival territory and steal away not only the state’s best player, but a legacy nonetheless.

How sweet that victory would be. As they say, time will tell.

OSU’s media team at it again

There is not one aspect when it comes to recruiting that Ohio State does not dominate at. Under Urban Meyer and of course now Ryan Day, the Buckeyes have built a machine when it comes to their efforts in the recruiting world, and an unsung hero many times may be Ohio State’s creative media team. Whether it’s putting together chilling videos or their top notch graphic designers dishing out edits for their top targets, the recipe for success on social media has basically been perfected.

Yesterday, the creative team was at it again when a couple of Buckeyes’ top prospects in the 2022 class tweeted out the graphics made for them by Ohio State’s designers. Featuring a national championship theme, it was two running backs that showed off the latest edit, and being that running back recruiting in the 2022 class isn’t talked about as much as some of the other positions, it’s only fitting that news be shared.

The first to mention is Damari Alston. The 27th-best running back in the country, Alston is a 5-foot-11, 205-pound Georgia native with over 40 offers from the nation’s best programs. A back that has long been on Ohio State’s radar, Alston is a target the Buckeyes sit pretty well with right now. It’s not out of the question to think Ohio State is currently right at the top of his favorites list, but it’s currently the Florida Gators who are most closely associated with the four-star.

Fortunately for Ohio State, they are loaded at the position for the next couple of years thanks in large part to their 2021 haul, but if they want to add Alston to the fold, they’ll need to continue to stay in his ear and sway him away from SEC country.

In addition to Alston, Tennessee native Dallan Hayden also showed off the latest graphic. The county’s 25th-best running back in the class, Hayden dropped his top four schools list on New Year’s Day just a week ago. Including the Buckeyes in the fold, Hayden is also considering Notre Dame, Tennessee, and Oregon, with the in-state Vols being the leader on the 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions.

Ohio State would love to add Hayden or Alston to the fold, but even with 10 players already committed in 2022, the Buckeyes have nothing but time on their side to either separate themselves for one of the aforementioned backs, or even strike interest with prospects yet to be in the headlines. Either way, odds are they’ll end up just fine.