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Buckeyes not done in the transfer portal, 2022 class sees a Crystal Ball prediction

Though Ohio State is loaded with talent, the staff is still looking to improve both current and future rosters

NCAA Football: Cincinnati at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been impressive to watch the effort Ohio State has been putting towards recruiting ever since Ryan Day took over the program. Not to say Urban Meyer’s era wasn’t just as solid, but Day and company have taken it to a new level never thought possible. It has become a never ending pursuit of excellence, and though it’s been said numerous times already, that’s in large part what makes Ohio State the perennial power in the Big Ten conference and one of the three top programs in the country year in and year out.

As this coaching staff gears up for a busy month of June, additional players are hearing from Ohio State and planning trips to see the Buckeyes. If the summer goes as planned, it could be a stellar time to add to not only the current class of 2022, but even beyond that as well. Summer is going to be in a word, “lit” — or whatever the kids say these days.

Not giving up on portal targets just yet

When the news of transfer portal target Henry To’o To’o heading to Alabama went public, it was a blow to Ohio State. They had hopes of landing a big time linebacker to come in and be a plug and play type of guy for a defense that graduated all three starting linebackers from a year ago. Sure, the Buckeyes have talent already on the roster, but a proven player like To’o To’o would have been a great addition to a defense that needs to take a step forward this coming fall.

Alabama was the school he wanted to attend all along, and was just waiting for the SEC loosen its transfer restrictions, but nevertheless Ohio State will be fine. The roster is still pretty plentiful of capable linebackers who should be at the very least chomping at the bit to get on the field. Having to sit behind guys that held the positions for three or more years in some cases has to test the patience of the youngsters behind them, but their time looks to be coming soon for a chance to prove their worth.

Not doubting what they have already, as the coaching staff believes in their players, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still try to improve upon it. On Wednesday, the rumors started to really swirl that the Buckeyes may not be done yet dipping their toes into transfer portal. Though this was a name mentioned a while back, Palaie Gaoteote, the one-time USC Trojan, looks to once again be closely linked with the Buckeyes as he’s still in the process of choosing his next destination

When Gaoteote first put his name in the portal, Ohio State was a program that was one of the first to be linked to him. As it went, To’o To’o narrowed it down to Ohio State and Alabama, and of course this put a bit of a pause in the pursuit of Gaoteote and his chances of coming to Columbus. At least for a little bit it did look pretty convincing that the Buckeyes would land To’o To’o, but the SEC doing away with their transfer rules clearly dashed that dream. Now, Gaoteote once again becomes a name to watch for the Buckeyes, and someone the staff will look to add.

Gaoteote has the Buckeyes in his consideration. In fact, it looks like Texas and Ohio State are the two programs that he’s deciding between. Had To’o To’o transferred to Alabama weeks ago, it’s a real possibility Gaoteote would already be a Buckeye. On the other hand, had To’o To’o chose Ohio State over Alabama, Gaoteote would likely already be committed to Texas.

All of this saga aside, a decision not yet being made by Gaoteote is a good sign for Ohio State. He’s been patient and has waited things out. Right now, you have to think that if the Buckeyes are pushing hard for the former USC linebacker, they have a real shot at bringing him to Columbus. Hopefully this time it will work out.

Buckeyes leading for 2022 four-star defensive tackle?

The 247Sports Crystal Ball is one of the leading indicators of where a recruiting target will end up. Certainly not correct all of the time, it’s still a pretty solid telling point for which program has the momentum for a given player. On Wednesday, the Buckeyes were on the receiving end of a Crystal Ball prediction when a submission came in regards to 2022 North Carolina defensive tackle prospect, Curtis Neal.

A 6-foot-1, 290-pound defensive tackle, Neal currently plays his prep ball at William Amos Hough, which is a high school program Ohio State has some recent success with thanks to bringing in class of 2021 star running back, Evan Pryor. These two players from the same school are obviously linked together, as the Buckeyes coaching staff saw Neal as a big time player and someone they also would love to steal out of North Carolina when they offered him back in April.

Ranked currently as the 24th-best defensive tackle in the country, Neal will be in Columbus to visit the Buckeyes on June 11. This latest Crystal Ball prediction could be in relation to that visit, and surely it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that he could be one to commit while on his visit. With over 30 offers to his name and a four-star grade, Neal could be the first defensive line prospect to commit to Ohio State in the 2022 class. However, the Buckeyes are in great position for several targets along the defensive trenches, and June will give us a much clearer picture.

Quick Hits

  • Per Bill Kurelic of Bucknuts.com, California native defensive back Ephesians Prysock has Ohio State as his only scheduled official visit so far. A 6-foot-3, 170-pound corner, Prysock is ranked currently as the 24th-best at his position and the 198th-best player nationally per 247Sports. With nearly 20 offers to his name including Ohio State, this is yet another top defensive back in the class to be strongly considering the Buckeyes.