In just over 24 hours, the Buckeyes will have their latest test when Maryland comes to town. Already game five on the season, tomorrow is all about continued improvement and development on both sides of the ball.
Ryan Day and his staff have voiced that they believe that the team is on an upward trajectory, but they also know there’s plenty of room for work too. The good news, Ohio State’s next real tough test likely won’t come until on Oct. 30 when Penn State comes to The Horseshoe ,which means that there’s still a couple of weeks to get even more solidified before the Buckeyes need to be at their best.
Despite this weekend not being a huge recruiting slate for the Buckeyes, they will still see a handful of guests — including some pretty important ones — in town for the Homecoming festivities.
The focus this weekend seems to be on the 2022 class being, with the early signing period just about two months away. However, with only one commit in the 2023 class to this point, obviously some things need to get going on that front as well, as it’s been a while since either class saw a pledge added.
This weekend, and the rest of this month, will provide as multiple opportunities to get the ball rolling once again in both of the 2022 and 2023 cycles.
A solid guest list for tomorrow’s conference contest
While the goal of every Saturday is to win, there’s also a recruiting priority for Ohio State’s staff. Gearing up for that Penn State showdown at the end of this month, fingers crossed that game ends up as a primetime match-up, as the Buckeyes would love to have that added advantage, since they always seem to get that treatment when traveling to Happy Valley. A little dose of Penn State’s own medicine will do Ohio State well, and for the recruiting purposes too, the overall atmosphere is better as it allows for targets located farther away more time to get to campus for such a big game.
Tomorrow, rumors have been swirling that 2023 receiver target, Carnell Tate will be in attendance. The ninth best receiver in the country as well as the 58th best player overall, Tate has been long been down to really Ohio State and Notre Dame as the top two programs that he’s considering, and while a commitment was supposed to come shortly, he announced last month that he would be pushing that off for a while. This change in schedule now opens the door for him to get back to Columbus for yet another unofficial visit, as he’s already made quite a few to see the Buckeyes.
Tate is arguably the top receiver on the Buckeyes list, so any time that he’s back on campus is a big time advantage for Ohio State — especially when he gets to see the success his position group is having right in front of him. That alone should be the only recruiting pitch that he really needs.
In addition to Carnell Tate, Ohio State also expects to host five-star 2023 cornerback target, AJ Harris. The third best corner in the class and 13th best player nationally, Harris has long been coveted by the Buckeyes — and seemingly every other top program in the country, of course. Though he’s an Alabama product, the leaders on the crystal ball right now are Georgia and Clemson. While Ohio State has had their bit of defensive questions so far this season, Harris seeing freshmen such as Denzel Burke already shining for the Buckeyes has to give him a feeling that he too could do the same with an inside track to early playing time.
Harris has plans to announce his commitment this coming January and the Buckeyes right now have some work to do if they want to get to the top of his list. Yes, Ohio State will strongly be considered until a decision is made, but the staff is going to have to explain the defensive coaching staff situation going forward and also prove it on the field to earn serious consideration. Still, a visit this weekend is huge for Ohio State and their chances of being a real threat.
In-state prospects headed to campus tomorrow
Like the aforementioned class of 2023 national targets that the Buckeyes are looking to host tomorrow, the staff will also have a couple of in-state players also in attendance. The first, a Buckeye legacy, Will Smith Jr. will be making the short trek to campus to see Ohio State’s game against Maryland.
The son of former Buckeye great Will Smith who also played in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints, is an unranked prospect at this time, but has currently has two offers from Marshall and Miami (Ohio) to his name. The Dublin Coffman product, much like his dad, does his work along the defensive line, and while he’s yet to receive an offer from the Buckeyes, he’s only a high school junior, so a solid rest of this season, plus a great off-season and senior campaign, could change that. Regardless, him getting to campus this weekend, even though a short drive, shows that there’s mutual interest.
Sticking in Ohio, the Buckeyes will also host another 2023 home-grown product when Cam Smith of Austintown Fitch arrives for the game day visit. A 6-foot, 185-pound athlete, Smith plays on both sides of the ball for his prep squad as both a defensive back and receiver. Seeing his recruitment start to ramp up a bit this fall, Smith is fresh off a visit to Notre Dame last weekend and now of course will see his home team.
Another player without an offer from the Buckeyes, he’s still a guy moving forward to pay attention to as he’s clearly still being evaluated by the coaching staff for Ohio State.
OSU this weekend #GoBucks— cam smith ¹ (@camsmithh1) October 7, 2021
- This weekend, Iowa native Xavier Nwankpa will be taking his official visit to see Iowa host Penn State. Getting to Iowa multiple times in the last couple of months due to proximity and their increased level of play, the Hawkeyes are one of three programs Xavier is still considering with Ohio State and Notre Dame being the other two.
One of Ohio State’s top remaining targets in the 2022 class, Nwankpa has been atop their board for some time now, and is being recruited as a “Bullet” by the Buckeyes. The third best safety in the country and the 45th best player overall, Ohio State does sit pretty well for Xavier, but will look to seal the deal when they host him again come Oct. 30 for the biggest recruiting weekend of the remaining season.
Iowa City Official Visit this weekend pic.twitter.com/4aYhuYW4Rf— Xavier “X” Nwankpa (@xaviernwankpa01) October 7, 2021