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Column: Assessing Ohio State’s 2023 cornerback options with Kayin Lee off the board

Despite losing out on one of their top targets in the defensive secondary, the Buckeyes still have options at the cornerback spot in 2023.

Kayin Lee
Rusty Mansell, 247Sports

Ohio State likely has put their finishing touches on their cornerback haul in the 2022 class with Terrance Brooks, Jyaire Brown, Kye Stokes, and Ryan Turner set to make their way to Columbus. In doing so, it allows the Buckeyes to shift their focus to the 2023 group of corners. However, earlier this week the program got some unfortunate news regarding a key target at the position.

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After being firmly in the mix for one of their top targets at cornerback, Ohio State will now look to address the position elsewhere. That's because 2023 four-star cornerback Kayin Lee of Cedar Grove (GA) decided on Wednesday that he would be staying home and ultimately committed to Georgia despite the Buckeyes being another school that was standing out to the No. 14 cornerback in the class.

With Lee no longer on the market going forward, let's take a look at some other options at the position for Ohio State and where things currently stand in their recruitment.

Cormani McClain

The Buckeyes are definitely in the discussion for the highly-touted, high-upside player that has only been playing the position for less than a year, according to Andrew Ivins of 247Sports. McClain, who is the No. 10 overall prospect in the class, revealed a Top 5 list in early August that featured Ohio State. The other four universities that were included in the group for the Lake Gibson (FL) defender were Alabama, Florida, Florida State, and Miami (FL).

A.J. Harris

It's down to seven for the Glenwood School (AL) standout and Ohio State will have to outlast a host of elite schools in this race. Harris, the No. 3 cornerback at the position, is down to Alabama, Clemson, LSU, Georgia North Carolina, Notre Dame, and of course, the Buckeyes. Despite the 247Sports Crystal Ball favoring the Bulldogs and Tigers, Ohio State is scheduled to get the 6-foot-2, 180-pounder on campus for a visit when the Buckeyes square off against Maryland.

Malik Muhammad

With over 40 offers under his belt, Muhammad of South Oak Cliff (MI) is yet to narrow anything down for the time being. However, Muhammad was able to make a stop in Columbus for the weekend of Ohio State’s loss to Oregon. While it seems Muhammad is taking things slow in his recruitment, it certainly is not a bad thing that the Buckeyes were already able to get the No. 7 cornerback in the country on campus.

Christian Gray

A prospect that went out of his way to perform in front of the coaching staff in June in hopes of landing an offer from Ohio State was able to do just that. Ever since picking up the offer from the Buckeyes, not much buzz has came about between the two parties. However, since the commitment from the aforementioned Lee to Georgia, it seems like that is about to change. According to Zach Carpenter of Lettermen Row, Ohio State is “turning some extra attention” to the DeSmet (MO) talent. Gray is currently slotted just outside of the Top 150 prospects and comes in as the 18th highest graded corner overall.

Sharif Denson

Much like Gray, Denson was another that made it a priority to earn his Ohio State offer at a camp day in June. The Bartram Trail (FL) prospect told Garrick Hodge of Eleven Warriors back in late August that he considers the Buckeyes as a program “in the mix” for his services. Ohio State also reached out to the No. 13 overall cornerback out of Jacksonville on September 1st — the first day that college coaches were able to directly contact 2023 recruits.

Ethan Nation

After the Buckeyes dropped an offer to Nation in May, it was always no secret that the next step would be to get the Roswell (GA) standout on campus for a visit. The No. 21 cornerback overall was set to make that happen for the Ohio State-Oregon showdown but the visit didn’t come to fruition. While Nation is still on the market and an option for Ryan Day, in order to gain any traction, a visit will likely have to happen sooner than later. Nation will be in Athens, Georgia this weekend for a visit with the Bulldogs as they are set to face off against Arkansas.

Jshawn Frausto-Ramos

The final cornerback prospect that we will address as potential options going forward for the Buckeyes is the No. 29 overall cornerback in the class from St. John Bosco (CA). Much like Nation, Frausto-Ramos had planned on making it up for the Ducks and Bucks thriller last month but the trip was called off. However, the Bellflower native was able to make it up to the Ohio State campus this summer. We will see if a return visit for the California defensive back ever comes to light.