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Three blue-chip prospects include Ohio State among top schools

The Buckeyes received a pleasant gift from a trio of prospects who revealed their top schools during the holiday weekend.

Nicholaus Iamaleava
Chris Trevino, 247Sports

As 2021 inches closer and closer to a conclusion, the Buckeyes were able to cap off their final weekend of the year with a handful of positive news on the recruiting trail as three highly-coveted prospects hold the Buckeyes in high regard. Plus, Ohio State was on the receiving end of a transfer portal addition from a prospect that should be familiar to many Scarlet and Gray football fans.

Three include Ohio State in top groups

With the holiday weekend now in the rearview, Ohio State received no shortage of gifts in recent days as a trio of blue-chip prospects included the program on their respective top schools list.

On Christmas afternoon, the Buckeyes found themselves on the trimmed down list of suitors for 2023 five-star quarterback Nicholaus Iamaleava of Warren (CA), as the No. 4 QB is now focused on 12 programs going forward. Aside from Ohio State, the Polynesian Bowl commit and No. 17 overall prospect in his class also included Alabama, Auburn, BYU, Georgia, Miami (FL), Notre Dame, Ole Miss, Oregon, Oregon State, Tennessee, and UCLA on the list of competitors for his coveted pledge.

Later that night, the Buckeyes were also inserted inside the top group for 2023 four-star linebacker Jayvant Brown of Deerfield Beach (FL). Brown, the No. 13 LB in the class, sorted through his 17 offers and cut his recruitment down to seven programs for the time being. Ohio State will have to fend off the likes of Alabama, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Michigan, and Penn State if they hope to ultimately win the battle for the 6-foot, 220-pounder.

The day prior to the news from the aforementioned Iamaleava and Brown, the Buckeyes were also slotted inside of the top five for 2023 four-star defensive lineman John Walker of Osceola (FL). The Kissimmee native that comes in as a Top 100 prospect overall secured over 30 offers on the recruiting trail thus far, but at this moment it’s Alabama, Central Florida, Florida State, Penn State, and of course, Ohio State, in the best position for Walker’s services as he revealed this weekend.

Buckeyes add transfer LB

While the high school scene is the primary means of recruiting for programs throughout the country, the transfer portal is another route that universities have to be aware of, and the Buckeyes showed just that on Christmas when they added former Arizona State running back DeaMonte Trayanum to the program.

In nine games this past season, Trayanum, a former four-star recruit out of Archbishop Hoban (OH), ran for 401 yards and six touchdowns in Tempe, but will make his way to Columbus with a new position in mind. The 5-foot-11, 235-pounder will be making the transition to the defensive side and play linebacker, much like current Buckeye Steele Chambers has.

The Akron native was graded as the No. 285 prospect overall in the 2020 recruiting class and the No. 5 highest ranked player from the state of Ohio before signing with Herm Edwards. Trayanum, who was primarily recruited by Ohio State by running backs coach Tony Alford out of high school, will instead look to make an immediate impact for linebackers coach Al Washington and newly inked defensive coordinator Jim Knowles as he comes back home.

Quick Hits

  • Clemson delivered a Christmas gift to 2022 four-star defensive lineman Christen Miller of Cedar Grove (GA) on Saturday when they dropped an offer to the Ellenwood native. The 6-foot-4, 285-pounder is one of the few remaining targets for Ohio State as they look to put the finishing touches on their current No. 4-ranked recruiting class in this year’s cycle.
  • As expected, USC was on the receiving end of the commitment from 2023 five-star wide receiver Zachariah Branch of Bishop Gorman (NV) on Christmas Eve. The pledge by Branch comes as no surprise after the Trojans signed his older brother, 2022 four-star safety Zion Branch, less than two weeks ago. The Buckeyes seemingly finished second in the pursuit of both Zachariah and Zion, but will now have to shift their focus elsewhere for the time being.