It was a busy weekend on the recruiting trail for the football coaching staff as they sent out more than a handful of new offers. But the big news came on Sunday when Ohio State picked up an in-state pledge from a familiar name.
Smith Jr. picks Buckeyes
When Ohio State dropped an offer to 2023 three-star defensive lineman Will Smith Jr. of Dublin Coffman (OH) back on Jan. 14, it seemed to not be if Smith Jr. would be a Buckeye but when Smith Jr. would be.
That would come on Sunday, when Smith Jr. decided to follow in his father's footsteps and put an end to his recruitment in favor of Ohio State. The 6-foot-3, 260-pounder choose the Buckeyes over offers from Boston College, Illinois, Kentucky, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and more.
The newest Buckeye pledge is graded as the 14th-highest ranked prospect from the state of Ohio in the class. Smith Jr. becomes the fourth member of the Ohio State 2023 class as he joins a trio of blue-chip prospects in four-star tight end Ty Lockwood of Independence (TN), four-star safety Cedric Hawkins of Cocoa (FL) and four-star interior offensive lineman Joshua Padilla of Wayne (OH).
Ohio State dishes out seven offers
The Buckeyes were about as active as you can be on the recruiting trail this weekend, as they sent out a host of new offers to prospects across the country.
The one that we all expected to come soon ultimately did come about on Saturday, when Ohio State dropped an offer to 2023 four-star athlete Malik Hartford of Lakota West (OH) after the in-state player took an unofficial visit to campus. While things are just now beginning to heat up between the Buckeyes and Hartford, you have to like the early positioning for the Scarlet and Gray in this one.
Ohio State also began their pursuit for a prospect committed elsewhere as they offered 2023 four-star tight end Brett Norfleet of Francis Howell (MO) on Friday. Norfleet, the No. 10 tight end in the class, is currently committed to Missouri and has been since November of last year.
The state of Georgia saw three prospects add new offers from the Buckeyes in recent days. The highest graded of the bunch to add an offer from Ohio State was 2023 four-star interior offensive lineman Kelton Smith of Carver (GA) — the No. 11 iOL in his class. Also offered by the program was Smith's teammate Darron Reed, a 2023 four-star defensive lineman, and rising 2024 safety prospect Noah Dixon of Troup County (GA).
Another 2024 prospect to add an offer from the Buckeyes over the weekend was defensive lineman Nigel Smith II of Melissa (TX). 247Sports’ early 2024 class rankings have Smith listed as the No. 19 player overall and the second best defensive lineman in the class. Lastly, 2023 four-star defensive lineman Tamarrion Parker of Central (AL) was also on the receiving end of a Buckeye offer. Parker is a Top 100 prospect and teammates with another major Ohio State target that we will briefly discuss ahead...
- Ohio State head coach Ryan Day was in Alabama on Friday morning to watch 2023 five-star cornerback AJ Harris of Central (AL) workout. The Phenix City native is graded as the No. 3 cornerback in the class and a major target for the Buckeyes.
- Newly hired offensive line coach Justin Frye looks to be making 2023 four-star offensive tackle Chase Bisontis of Don Bosco Prep (NJ) a priority for the Buckeyes. According to Garrick Hodge of Eleven Warriors, the two parties have connected three times already since Frye arrived at Ohio State. Bisontis revealed to Hodge that "Ohio State is really up there" for the services of the No. 4 OT in the class.
- 2023 four-star tight end Luke Hasz of Bixby (OK) announced his commitment to Arkansas on Saturday. The 6-foot-3, 220-pounder had an Ohio State offer and received a visit from Buckeye assistant Kevin Wilson last month after decommitting from Oklahoma.