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Ohio State four-star defensive line target makes his commitment to Florida

Despite being the leader in the summer, the Buckeyes saw one of their defensive tackle options head elsewhere on Tuesday.

Chris McClellan
Brandon Drumm, 247Sports

It was a good day overall for the Buckeyes yesterday as they were elevated to No. 2 in the latest College Football playoff rankings with their long-awaited rivalry contest against Michigan on deck. But as for the recruiting trail, Ohio State saw a four-star prospect that they seemingly once led for make his pledge elsewhere on Tuesday.

McClellan headed to Gainesville

One of the more interesting recruitments to follow in the 2022 recruiting class has come to an end as four-star defensive lineman Chris McClellan of Owasso (OK) announced his commitment to Florida on Tuesday. The All-American Bowl selection chose the Gators over Alabama, LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and USC.

Back in late June, McClellan made an official visit to Columbus to check out what the Buckeyes had to offer. Shortly after that stop, a host of crystal ball predictions came in forecasting McClellan to wind up at Ohio State with a commitment likely coming. However, that pledge ultimately never came to fruition and as time passed, it almost felt certain that this would end with McClellan landing elsewhere and on Tuesday, despite the Gators having a vacant head coaching position, that happened.

McClellan is currently ranked as the No. 101 overall prospect in this year’s class. The 6-foot-3, 295-pounder is also slotted in as the 18th highest graded defensive lineman and the third best player from the state of Oklahoma.

Despite seeing McClellan pledge to the Gators, the Buckeyes plans remain unchanged at the defensive tackle position. Ohio State will keep their focus on four-star defensive lineman Caden Curry of Center Grove (IN) and four-star defensive lineman Hero Kanu of Santa Margarita Catholic (CA), who they remain in good position for with the early signing period approaching.

Smith talks Buckeye visit

During Ohio State’s dismantling of Michigan State by a final score of 56-7, the Buckeyes were hosting one of the very best prospects in the 2024 class in four-star defensive lineman Nigel Smith II of Melissa (TX) for a visit to get his first glimpse of what the program has to offer.

On Tuesday, Eleven Warriors’ Garrick Hodge caught up with the 6-foot-4, 245-pounder to discuss how the visit went. “We got there right as the game started, but you could hear that game from far away, it was a packed stadium. That was a great game day environment. The fans were great and obviously it was a huge win,” Smith told Eleven Warriors. “The visit went great.”

Smith does not currently hold an offer from the Buckeyes but it would not come as a surprise if that happens sooner rather than later. The Texas standout has already picked up early offers from LSU, North Texas, Notre Dame, Rutgers, and UTSA.

247Sports is the lone recruiting outlet to offer a prospect ranking for the 2024 class in which Smith is currently slotted in as the 19th best player in the class and the second best player at both the defensive line position and in the state of Texas as a whole.

Quick Hits

  • Major Ohio State target and 2022 four-star safety Xavier Nwankpa of Southeast Polk (IA) had himself a nice day on Tuesday as the No. 5 safety in the class was named an IPSWA first team all-state defender and the MaxPreps Iowa High School Football Player of the Year.
  • 247Sports’ Bill Kurelic notes that 2024 four-star linebacker Sammy Brown of Jefferson (GA) “will make it back” to Columbus after he landed an offer from the Buckeyes this past weekend. Brown, the current No. 5 prospect in his class, was at Ohio State on Saturday for the win over the Spartans.