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Buckeyes make the short lists for pair of 2023 Florida targets

Ohio State is hoping Florida will be a fertile recruiting ground for them once again in the 2023 cycle

It’s the Holiday season, and in many cases football can take a bit of a backseat to all that’s going on. Still, Ohio State is known for their relentless efforts as they scour the nation for the best talent available. With no days off, Ryan Day and the rest of the coaching staff always have recruiting on their minds, and in many cases it’s why they’re as successful as they’ve been over the years. It may sound over the top, and yes Ohio State’s staff has time to be with family, but the point remains the same. When it comes to recruiting, the Buckeyes seem to always be right in the mix.

Bucks make the short list for a pair of 2023 targets

Regardless of position, location of the player and beyond, the Buckeyes tend to see their names in the thick of things for many of the top targets they are after. Hardly at all will you see a player Ohio State has pursued leave them out of the running in their respective recruitments, and while they can’t be expected to land everyone, their overall success speaks for itself and keeps them in it until the very end for many of the best players.

This week, Ohio State saw their name still in the running for not one but two big time players out of Florida. Both at positions of need in every recruiting cycle, the coaches will surely continue to give their best effort in both of these respective recruitments as they’d be major booms to this 2023 class that is still to really get going yet in terms of quantity. Moving forward, you can expect the Buckeyes to continue being major players for both top targets up until each of them make the final call.

On Wednesday, 2023 defensive lineman Derrick LeBlanc released an updated list of seven schools he is still considering before making a commitment to the school of his choice. The 6-foot-4, 250 pound product out of Kissimmee, Florida is a composite four-star prospect and checks in as the 13th-best player at his position for the 2023 class as well as the 84th ranked player in the country per 247Sports. With a whopping 40-plus offers to his name, narrowing it down to a top seven couldn’t have been easy for LeBlanc, but should show how serious he is about each of them.

Making the cut included Clemson, UCF, Miami, Penn State, Florida, Oklahoma, and of course Ohio State. If LeBlanc is a name that sounds familiar to you, it should. This past summer Derrick took multiple trips within just a couple of months to see the Buckeyes on his own dime. That alone was pretty telling for his interest in Ohio State, and it went so far as many expecting him to be the first commitment for the Buckeyes and their 2023 class. Things have certainly slowed down, but Ohio State still remains right in the mix and shouldn’t be counted out against anyone considering how strong of a leader they were for some time.

The 247Sports Crystal Ball only has one prediction submitted for LeBlanc, but it is a good one for the Buckeyes. Director of Recruiting for 247Sports, Steve Wiltfong, has his prediction in Ohio State’s favor with a confidence rating being six out of 10, which certainly isn’t something to just scoff at. The Buckeyes were very much the team to beat this summer and will hope to get back out in front as every year the need for elite defensive lineman is critical to the success of the class.

More recent on the agenda, another top player from the Sunshine State updated his recruitment when he released a top schools list. Taking to his Twitter account to share the news, Payton Kirkland, a four-star offensive lineman in the 2023 class, also released a list of seven schools he was still considering before making the final call and committing to his favorite program.

A 6-foot-5, 330 pound offensive tackle target, Kirkland has long been on Ohio State’s radar and certainly has been for a ton of other top schools as well. The 15th best player at his position, Payton is also the 201st best player nationally per the 247Sports Composite. A beyond impressive offer list of nearly 50 schools, like the aforementioned LeBlanc, trimming down to a final seven is a pretty tall order in anyone’s recruitment. Thankfully though, Ohio State remains in the mix here as well.

Rounding out the final seven besides the Buckeyes included Clemson, Oklahoma, Michigan, Penn State, Georgia, and Miami. Also someone who has already been to Columbus to check out the Buckeyes, the coaching staff is really hoping to bring in more elite offensive linemen as they try to do in every cycle. What’s been missing lately is the big time out of state target, and while Kirkland might not be considered a top five player at his position right now, his offer sheet as well as his measurables point to how highly big time programs think of him. The Buckeyes will continue to work hard here until the very end.

Quick Hits

  • On Thursday, DeaMonte Trayanum was a topic of interest, and once again today we see his name reappear. The Ohio native who went to Arizona State is now in the transfer portal, and took to his Twitter account yesterday hinting at a major announcement coming on Saturday.

In reality, there’s two headlines that could pop from Trayanum. For one, official word of a decision could certainly come forth, but it could also be a top schools list too before making a final decision. Either way, Trayanum has made it clear multiple times that he’s very interested in the Buckeyes, and though this move would be to the linebacker room, coming back home to Ohio has to be appealing for a guy who’s looking to boost his draft stock late in his career. One way or the other, we should see at least some movement towards Ohio State being a realistic option for the transfer.