While the big news on Tuesday came when Ryan Day announced the hiring of Jim Knowles from Oklahoma State to take over as defensive coordinator, there was also plenty of news that came about on the recruiting trail for the Buckeyes. Could Ohio State be on the verge of adding another blue-chip defender to the fold? Plus, a 2023 prospect from Maryland reels in an offer from the Scarlet and Gray.
Decision day for Nwankpa
After initially jumping into the picture back in September of 2020 and receiving an official visit in June, Ohio State is set to learn their fate with 2022 four-star safety Xavier Nwankpa of Southeast Polk (IA) later today. The blue-chip standout in the secondary will announce his collegiate destination at 5:00 p.m. EST between Iowa, Notre Dame, and of course the Buckeyes.
The three programs have been the front runners in this recruitment for quite some time, but it seems as if Ohio State and Iowa are the two most likely to benefit from the pending decision. The Buckeyes had head coach Ryan Day and secondary coach Matt Barnes out to Iowa for an in-home visit with Nwankpa last week, while the Hawkeyes held off their in-home visit with the hopeful hometown hero until Monday. Now, the stage is set for the Top 50 prospect to put an end to things.
If Ohio State ends up as the selection for the 6-foot-2, 190-pounder, it would inch the Buckeyes closer to Alabama for the No. 3 spot in the 247Sports team rankings for the 2022 class. However, as of last night the in-state Hawkeyes look to be the favorite to reel in the No. 5 safety in the country.
Avery adds Buckeye offer
After dishing out one new offer on Monday, Ohio State was back at it again on Tuesday as 2023 four-star defensive end Neeo Avery of Good Counsel (MD) added an offer from the Buckeyes yesterday morning.
Blessed to be offered by the Buckeyes ⚫️@R2X_Rushmen1 pic.twitter.com/q7kJWF9Jr2— Neeo Avery (@Neeo_avery) December 7, 2021
The 6-foot-5, 230-pounder is now up to 11 scholarship offers overall as programs such as Arkansas, Cincinnati, Georgia, Michigan State, Ole Miss, Penn State, Pittsburgh, and more are also pursuing Avery.
The Olney native is currently graded as the third best player from the state of Maryland, and falls just outside the Top 20 at his position standing at No. 21 overall in the edge rankings. While the Buckeyes began their pursuit of Avery on Tuesday, they look to have some ground to make up, as Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs are well positioned in this race and are early favorites on the 247Sports Crystal Ball.
- For the second year in a row, 2022 four-star running back and Ohio State commit Dallan Hayden of Christian Brothers (TN) was crowned as Mr. Football in Division 2-AAA on Tuesday. According to the Daily Memphian, the No. 9 prospect from Tennessee tallied 1,465 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns in his final season before heading to Columbus.
- Two other Buckeye pledges rewarded for their senior season showing were four-star defensive end Kenyatta Jackson of Chaminade-Madonna Prep (FL) and four-star linebacker Gabe Powers of Marysville (OH), who were named Gatorade player of the year in their respective states of Florida and Ohio on Tuesday.
- According to Steve Wiltfong of 247Sports, Ryan Day will have an in-home visit with 2022 five-star defensive end Omari Abor of Duncanville (TX) this week. Ohio State is trending on the 247Sports Crystal Ball for the No. 25 overall prospect in the class.
- 2022 four-star wide receiver and Buckeye commit Kojo Antwi of Lambert (GA) welcomed both Day and wide receivers coach Brian Hartline for an in-home visit last night. While in Georgia, Day also made a stop at North Gwinnett High School to presumably check in on 2023 four-star defensive lineman Kayden McDonald, who already holds an offer from Ohio State.
- The All-American Bowl will virtually present 2022 four-star quarterback and Buckeye commit Devin Brown of Corner Canyon (UT) with his All-American Bowl jersey tonight at 8 PM EST.