As Ohio State fought through adversity in Happy Valley to secure a resume-building victory on Saturday by a final of 44-31, they were also gathering some positive developments on the recruiting trail. Could the Buckeyes now be on the verge of adding a key piece to the defensive side of their 2023 class? Plus, a blue-chip defensive back from Florida revealed his list of top schools.
Decision day for McDonald
Today is the day in which Ohio State and defensive line coach Larry Johnson will learn their fate in the pursuit of 2023 four-star defensive tackle Kayden McDonald of North Gwinnett (GA). The 6-foot-3, 310-pounder will announce his commitment to his future program at 6:00 p.m. today, according to Atlanta sports reporter Maria Martin of 11 Alive News.
The Buckeyes are indeed a finalist for the Suwanee standout, but have a quartet of stiff competition in their way. Among the other programs in the running for McDonald include Clemson, Florida, Michigan, and Oklahoma. As of this moment, it’s the Tigers who hold the advantage on the 247Sports Crystal Ball for McDonald, with all three predictions favoring them. However, the forecasts were made several months ago, and it truly feels like anyone’s guess as to who the pick will be later today.
McDonald caught up with Rivals’ Woody Wommack to discuss the finalists that are hoping to be the beneficiary of his upcoming announcement on Sunday morning. When discussing the Buckeyes, the Georgia standout spoke highly of head coach Ryan Day, the aforementioned Larry Johnson, and defensive coordinator Jim Knowles. McDonald also added that his, “friend and former teammate Jordan Hancock is up there, and he has been telling me the great things we can do together. They were one of the first schools to believe in me and they have been loyal to me ever since.”
We will see if the Buckeyes have done enough in this recruitment to bring McDonald to the fold and join a class that already ranks as the No. 4 class overall in the country.
Heyward down to six
While the highly-anticipated pledge of McDonald is the biggest news to look forward to, Ohio State was slotted as a finalists for 2024 four-star safety Jaylen Heyward of Rockledge (FL) as he narrowed down his recruitment on Friday afternoon.
BREAKING: Four-Star Safety Jaylen Heyward is down to 6️⃣ Schools!— Hayes Fawcett (@Hayesfawcett3) October 28, 2022
The 6’0 180 S from Rockledge, FL is ranked as a Top 40 Player in the ‘24 Class (No. 3 Safety)
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The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder had already piled up over 30 offers as a prospect while only being a junior. However, he wasted no time figuring out which programs he wanted to focus on going forward. The Buckeyes, as expected with any national recruit, have more stiff competition to outlast in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, and Tennessee. The obvious next hopeful development for Ohio State in this recruitment will be getting the Florida standout on campus for a visit sooner rather than later.
Heyward is currently graded just outside of the Top 50 prospects in his class coming in at No. 51 overall. The blue-chip defensive back also slots in as the fifth highest graded safety for next year and the 12th best prospect from Florida.
- According to Garrick Hodge of Eleven Warriors, 2024 four-star athlete Garrett Stover of Big Walnut (OH) will be making a visit to Notre Dame this coming weekend for their contest against Clemson. Stover also revealed to Hodge that a decision will likely come in December, and that he really likes both Ohio State and the Irish.