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Jim Knowles stops in Tennessee to visit a 2024 linebacker target, current commits still peer recruiting in 2023 class

Off week or not, the coaching staff continues to make recruiting a top priority.

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

It hasn’t really been an “off” week for Ohio State when you consider how busy the coaching staff has been with recruiting the last few days. Juggling practice and checking in on top players all over the country, the Buckeyes have made their presence known, and with Friday night games on tap tonight, it’s yet another opportunity for Ryan Day and company to get out there and see players they hope will become part of their current and future recruiting classes.

Knowles checks in on 2024 Tennessee linebacker

Jim Knowles has been as advertised since the moment he stepped foot in Columbus. From his personality to his ability to run a defense, the Buckeyes were able to land a home run hire. Add all of that to the fact that Ohio State’s defense is mightily improved from last year as a whole, and you see why Knowles was such a hot commodity after last year, and further why the Buckeyes are so happy to have him at the helm of that side of the ball.

Looking at the linebacker position in this regard, what Knowles has been able to do from a development standpoint is incredible. Tommy Eichenberg and Steele Chambers this year compared to last season are night and day. They’re reading offenses more clearly, reacting quicker, and playing as physical as you can get, and that’s a major credit to Knowles. His expertise is of course the linebacker spot, and you can tell that’s the case when you see the current starters the Buckeyes have on the field.

Looking ahead, surely that’s going to pay dividends in the recruiting aspect of his job, as many of the top targets he and Ohio State have were waiting to see how this new-look Buckeye defense. Fast forward to now and recruits are taking notice of Ohio State and how much improved the defensive side of the ball is. While the commitments may not exactly be right around the corner for the future cycles such as 2024, the impression Ohio State is currently having is going to be worth the efforts.

Sticking with the linebacker trend, Knowles was out this week visiting various defensive targets, and made a key stop in Tennessee when he checked in on 2024 linebacker Edwin Spillman. The 6-foot-1, 215 pound athlete currently holds nearly 30 offers to his name and from schools such as Georgia, Notre Dame, Oregon, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and several more among Ohio State.

The No. 106 player nationally, Spillman is thought to be the ninth best linebacker in his class and the top player from Tennessee for 2024 according to the 247Sports Composite. Having been on campus at Ohio State this past April for the annual spring game, Spillman is no stranger to the Buckeyes, and Knowles making the trip to visit him clearly shows how highly the staff thinks of him as a priority target. Fortunately, Spillman has made it clear that with the check-in from the Buckeyes, he’s got it in his plans to get back to Columbus for another visit, whenever that may be.

There are sure to be a few linebacker targets the Buckeyes will be after in the 2024 class, and thankfully they have a great thing going that will help them repeat the cycle of success under a coach that is improving this position and the defense overall.

Quick Hits

  • Knowing the defensive line is the last real area that Ohio State needs to finish up with in the 2023 recruiting class, the Buckeyes sit well for three major defensive end targets who have been talked about ad nauseam lately. With that, the staff is all over it trying to make this an epic finish, but the current commits to are chiming in with their thoughts.

On Thursday, current safety commit Jayden Bonsu took to his Twitter to peer recruit Florida native Damon Wilson, and with others being actively present on their social outlets, the players already in the fold for Ohio State are doing what they can to cap off an already very impressive 2023 group. However, there’s still work to be done with just now under two months from the early signing period.

Of note, the Buckeyes received a pair of Crystal Ball predictions in their favor for Wilson on Thursday from the likes of Steve Wiltfong and Bill Kurelic.