If you heard any random screams of joy on Wednesday afternoon, it was likely the cries of happiness from college coaching staffs and prospective athletes from all over the country. With the huge news of the NCAA in-person recruiting dead period finally coming to an end on June 1, the summer is going to be shot out of a cannon as every program in the country tries to make up for lost time with their biggest targets. Over a year now without in-person recruiting, it is almost second-nature to coaches now to do every bit of contact over the phone or via Zoom calls, but finally some normalcy looks to be on the way.
Though the big focus right now for Ohio State’s coaching staff is putting a successful bow on spring football practices, Wednesday’s update had to be a relief that they’ll finally be able to host their desired players on campus be able to talk to them in-person in just under two months time. Saturday’s spring game will be the conclusion of these allotted practices, but after their performance this weekend, once again the shift in priorities will be back on the recruiting trail as June 1 draws near.
End of the dead-period and Ohio State
Ohio State and their plans to really kick off summer with a bang on the recruiting trail is now basically set in stone. For a short while, the feeling was that June 1 would be the start of some recruiting normalcy around the country, and as a result Ohio State already had some big plans for that first weekend of the month. Thanks to a loaded list of visitors including every 2022 Buckeye commit, the Buckeyes are set to roll out the red carpet hosting more than just a couple of their top targets all June long. The best part is now those plans don’t look to be have any conflicts.
That said, this return to campuses for prospective high school athletes could be a bit of saving grace for Ohio State specifically. As you have probably seen by now, arguably the Buckeyes top remaining offensive target in the 2022 class, Kiyaunta Goodwin, is set to announce his commitment this coming Saturday between Kentucky, Ohio State, Alabama, Michigan State, and Clemson. Not continually beating a dead horse, but this Goodwin situation has felt like it’s the second edition of the 2021 JC Latham recruitment, when the Buckeyes were the leader until he wound up choosing Alabama to the surprise of nearly everyone involved.
With Saturday looming, Kentucky is the odds-on favorite to land the seventh-best offensive tackle in the class and the 54th best player nationally in the 2022 cycle. The Buckeyes really did seem to be the favorite to land the four-star coveted target for a while, but it might not be fully over yet. Regardless if Goodwin picks Kentucky on Saturday, Ohio State and position coach Greg Studrawa are still going to be recruiting him until he signs with the school of his choice. A commitment to the Wildcats or anyone else for that matter would be a big blow, but with hopes of flipping him and regaining momentum, the Buckeyes can’t give up. They desperately need to end the drought of not landing the big-time national tackle prospect and will continue their efforts.
The Buckeyes may even have this resumption of in-person recruiting working to their advantage. To many recruiting analysts now, Goodwin has made it clear that he wouldn’t commit to a program without visiting and speaking with the coaches. With his comfort zone and familiarity with the staff the No. 1 priority for Goodwin, that has hurt the Buckeyes chances because they haven’t been able to host him on campus for a visit. With June 1 finally making that possible, who knows. Maybe Goodwin will hold off and decide to extend his commitment timeline, and if that were to happen that would be a big win for Ohio State. However, even if things go forward as planned, the Buckeyes will not be 100% out of this one.
- On Tuesday, the Buckeyes offered a new defensive tackle prospect, Curtis Neal — a 6-foot-1, 290 pound North Carolina native. Ranked currently as the 23rd best defensive tackle in the 2022 class, Neal also grades out as the 322nd best player nationally. A four-star prospect with over 30 offers to his name from some of the top programs in the country, Curtis is a former teammate of current Buckeye freshman Evan Pryor. Surely seeing Pryor already succeeding in Columbus has to appeal to Neal, and will be a topic of discussion as he becomes more familiar with the program moving forward.
Blessed to receive a offer from THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY❗️#Osu #Buckeyes @SC_DBGROUP @JibrilleFewell @coachswill58 @HoughAthletics @HoughFB @ElitePositionTr @DLInstructor91 pic.twitter.com/OOAzbjcOHz— Curtis Neal (@CurtisNeal97) April 14, 2021
- Captain Buckeye himself, C.J. Hicks of the Buckeyes 2022 class, will be in Columbus this weekend likely attending the spring football game. Getting ready to be a huge part Buckeye Bash 2.0 in June, Hicks continues to be one of the main leaders for the Buckeyes in the current cycle and is all over the headlines, as he also of course recently picked up his fifth star in the recruiting rankings.
Columbus Saturday— CJ Hicks (@imcjhicks) April 14, 2021
- On Wednesday, Ohio State sent out a new offer to 2023 wide receiver Braylon James. A four-star recruit in 247Sports’ own rankings, James checks in as the No. 23 WR in the class and the No. 172 prospect overall. Interestingly enough, James, yet another Texas native that the Buckeyes are targeting, was a teammate of 2022 Ohio State commit Caleb Burton at Del Valle before the five-star receiver’s recent transfer to Lake Travis.