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BOOOOM! 2023 four-star DL Kayden McDonald commits to Ohio State

It’s all treats and no tricks for the Buckeyes on Halloween as they add another member to their fourth-ranked class.

Four-star DL Kayden McDonald
Andrew Ivins, 247Sports

The kids aren’t the only ones bringing home the goods on Halloween, as Ohio State’s coaching staff got themselves a big piece of candy on Monday afternoon. The Buckeyes went trick or treating in Suwanee, GA this time around, hauling in a commitment from 2023 four-star defensive lineman Kayden McDonald.

At 6-foot-3, 310 pounds, McDonald profiles as a defensive tackle at the next level. The Peach State product currently sits as the No. 229 player in the country and the No. 33 defensive lineman, according to the 247Sports Composite. McDonald hauled in close to 40 scholarship offers during his recruiting process, but in the end Ohio State managed to emerge victorious. It’s obviously not the sole reason, but it’s certainly not surprising to see the Buckeyes haul in a defensive lineman on the heals of J.T. Tuimoloau’s insane performance against Penn State this past weekend.

While Tuimoloau is an edge guy, McDonald is probably hoping his game translates to something more like Mike Hall Jr. on the interior. His scouting report says he displays good athletic ability at his size in the middle of the defensive line, especially as a one-tech, but shows the ability to play multiple positions along the front. Here is the rest of what to expect from McDonald, courtesy of 247Sports national recruiting analyst Cooper Petagna:

Exhibits good quick twitch explosiveness off the line of scrimmage with an excellent first step. Nimble for his size, possessing good initial foot and body quickness. Can win with speed, quickness, and power off the line of scrimmage. Flashes heavy hands at the point of attack, in addition to good play strength, showing the ability to penetrate consistently behind the line of scrimmage. Possesses the frame and the ability to anchor the run while also adding some pass-rush ability as an interior lineman.

Projects as a one technique in a 4-3 defense with the ability to offer some position versatility along the defensive line if needed. Forceful prospect that has the ability to impact the run and pass as an interior lineman and projects to a Power Five multi-year starter with the ability to outperform his current projection.

As previously alluded to, the Buckeyes were not the only ones in heavy pursuit of McDonald. He kept his recruitment pretty close to the vest, and it seemed as though all five of his final schools including the likes of Clemson, Florida, Michigan, Oklahoma and of course Ohio State all had a legitimate chance to land the four-star prospect. McDonald was in Columbus for the Buckeyes’ big win over Wisconsin in September and came away very impressed, but ultimately it seems as though his relationship and respect for position coach Larry Johnson was the deciding factor in making Ohio State his college destination.

Ohio State is no stranger to the Suwanee area, as in just last year’s class they managed to haul in Kojo Antwi from the same Georgia City. They’ve also had some recent prior success from North Gwinnett High School as well, with Buckeye cornerback Jordan Hancock hailing from the prep program in the 2021 class. McDonald is the third Ohio State commit in this cycle from the state of Georgia, joining four-star tight end Jelani Thurman and four-star corner Kayin Lee. Coach LJ has had more than his fair share of wins in his time from all across the country, but it’s always especially sweet to steal a guy out of SEC country.

McDonald is the 21st member of Ohio State’s 2023 class, which currently ranks No. 4 in the country behind Alabama, Georgia and Notre Dame. The Buckeyes are not done yet, and the defensive line position looks to be the main area Ohio State will continue to look to add on. McDonald becomes the third defensive line commit in the group, and the second interior lineman alongside Will Smith with defensive end Jason Moore as the other in the position group. McDonald is a welcome addition to a defensive tackle room that could use an influx of depth and young talent.

Welcome to Buckeye Nation, Kayden!