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Two priority targets in the 2022 recruiting class include Ohio State among their top schools

The Buckeyes are positioned nicely for two of their top remaining 2022 targets on the defensive side.

Xavier Nwankpa
Andrew Ivins, 247Sports

While Ohio State was on the field on Saturday taking care of business against Rutgers by a final score of 52-13, they were getting positive news on the recruiting trail. During the dismantling of former Buckeyes defensive coordinator Greg Schiano and the Scarlet Knights, two priority prospects in the class that remain a focus for the program revealed their top schools.

Nwankpa down to three

It seems that from the start, Ohio State’s plan at the safety position in the 2022 recruiting class has remained unchanged. The Buckeyes certainly look to be putting all of their eggs in a basket that includes four-star safety Zion Branch of Bishop Gorman (NV) and four-star safety Xavier Nwankpa of Southeast Polk (IA) as hopeful additions to the program.

On Saturday, Ohio State was on the receiving end of some good news regarding the latter of the two. That was when Nwanpka, the No. 3 safety in the country, took to Twitter to reveal the three programs still in-play for his coveted commitment.

As was expected, the Buckeyes were included in the group, and now are well aware of the two universities that they will have to outlast if they want to land the pledge from Nwankpa — Iowa and Notre Dame.

Ohio State is currently out in front for Nwankpa on the 247Sports Crystal Ball with predictions from a pair of insiders. The Buckeyes have already hosted the No. 45 overall player in the class for an official visit back in early June, and will likely hope to bring him back to campus for an unofficial visit as they look to slam the door shut in this battle.

Five in-play for Kanu

Another key target on the defensive side as Ohio State hunts for their first commitment on the D-line is four-star defensive lineman Hero Kanu of Santa Margarita Catholic (CA).

The prospect from Germany picked up an offer from the Buckeyes back in April ,and the coaching staff has done enough in the past six months or so that they are well-positioned in their pursuit for Kanu. Much like the aforementioned Nwankpa, Kanu also announced his group of top schools on Saturday and Ohio State was unsurprisingly included.

With the Buckeyes in the running as well as Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, and Oklahoma, Kanu now will shift his attention to the official visit stage of his recruitment. The No. 84 overall player will begin his five week official visit tour next weekend when he heads to Norman to check out Oklahoma. Kanu will then head to South Bend for a visit with the Irish before stopping in Columbus and getting a first hand look at what hopes to be a Top 10 matchup between the Buckeyes and Penn State. Kanu will conclude his official visits with stops at Georgia and LSU before likely going into decision mode.

Quick Hits

  • Two Ohio State targets in the 2023 recruiting class got a first hand look at Ohio State’s dismantling of Rutgers on Saturday. The Scarlet Knights played host to both four-star offensive tackle Chase Bisontis of Don Bosco Prep (NJ) and four-star linebacker Troy Bowles of Jesuit (FL) for the contest. The pair look to be two priority prospects for the Buckeyes in next year’s cycle with Bowles already on the receiving end of a Crystal Ball forecast to Ohio State.
  • According to Bill Kurelic of 247Sports, Ohio State will welcome 2023 defensive lineman Will Smith of Dublin Coffman (OH) on a visit for this weekend’s game against Maryland at noon. The 6-foot-3, 250-pounder currently holds offers from Marshall and Miami (OH), while drawing interest from a host of others. Smith is the son of the late Will Smith, a former Big Ten defensive player of the year and national champion at Ohio State.