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A top 2022 safety target locks in official visit to see the Buckeyes, current 2022 commit in town this weekend

Ohio State is still trying to land one of the nation’s best safeties

Four-star 2022 safety Zion Branch
Blair Angulo, 247Sports

If you can believe it, Ohio State is already over the halfway point in their spring practice schedule, and their annual spring football game is not even two weeks away. In every season, it’s important to develop players at a high rate during the early session, but after losing basically all of their allotted spring practices last year and with the number of injuries somewhat plaguing the Buckeyes right now, Ryan Day and his crew have their work cut out for them.

Right now is a critical time period for the program, with serious position groups such as quarterback seeing a total reboot with the departure of Justin Fields. In other key areas, the Buckeyes are lacking experience, and the hope is that the reps needed to get the players ready are enough even though there’s still fall camp as well. At any rate, most programs would love to be where Ohio State is right now. A tribute to their recruiting, even in the midst of youth and inexperience, it’s great to have the elite level talent the Buckeyes do.

Official visit locked in for top safety

The Buckeyes already have two cornerbacks committed in the 2022 recruiting class thanks to Jaheim Singletary and Jyaire Brown, but the safety position in the defensive secondary is still up in the air, awaiting at least one and probably two guys to take the reigns. Of course Ohio State has their narrowed down list of targets they’d love to add to their already top-ranked class, but the spot is up for grabs at his point with both Kerry Coombs and Matt Barnes putting in tireless work to keep the position up to snuff with the rest of the class.

Fortunately for the Buckeyes, they sit pretty well with multiple guys. The two targets that the Ohio State would love to add to the fold more than anyone are arguably Xavier Nwankpa, the top-ranked safety in the class per 247Sports, and Zion Branch, also a highly regarded prospect as the third-best safety in the country. Landing the pair of guys would be an epic haul, and the key here is both targets are true safeties and not just athletes who are looking for a position at the next level. The work is clearly not done, but right now the Buckeyes are serious players for both elite safety prospects, and hoping to be the top dog when all is said and done.

Regarding Branch, yesterday he took to his Twitter account to update his recruitment a bit, announcing that he’s locked in an official visit to Ohio State for this coming June when the in-person recruiting dead period is set to be lifted. In Columbus June 4-6, Branch’s first official visit will be with Ohio State, but he will be taking trips to both USC and Oregon the last two weekends in June as well. The first time he’ll be able to speak with the coaching staff due to the dead period, this official visit could be a big one in terms of where he sees Ohio State and their chances of being the school of choice.

It is and will always be tough to pull West Coast players away, but Ohio State has a proven track record at Branch’s prep program, Bishop Gorman, so this won’t be uncharted waters. In just a matter of weeks, Ohio State will finally be able to roll out the red carpet and host their top ranked guys, with Branch being one of the first.

Quick Hits

  • Current 2022 commit Dasan McCullough tweeted yesterday that he will be in Columbus this coming weekend. Though he won’t be able to speak with the staff in person, it will be another self-guided trip for a player that has really become one of the key leaders in this current Ohio State recruiting class.
  • Though on the hardwood the season surely didn’t end the way Ohio State wanted, the future is still very bright for Chris Holtmann and his basketball squad. Yesterday, their current 2021 signee Malaki Branham was named Mr. Basketball in Ohio. A tremendous accomplishment, Branham capped off an incredible prep career with a state championship and now Mr. Basketball honors before he arrives in Columbus.