It’s considered old news by now, but last night Ohio State lost their lone running back in the 2023 class, Mark Fletcher, when he de-committed from the Buckeyes after making it public on social media. Having been committed to Ohio State since April, the loss of Fletcher stings for sure, but isn’t exactly much of a surprise as rumors had been swirling for some time that a potential change in his college plans may be coming.
The No. 260 player nationally and the 15th best running back in the country per the 247Sports Composite, Fletcher was a big part of the class considering he was the only player at his position, but it’s back to the drawing board for the Buckeyes and position coach Tony Alford. It’s pretty clear as NIL opportunities from the schools closer to home have really taken over the last few weeks, and that spelled doom for Ohio State’s chances of keeping Fletcher in the fold.
At any rate, while this is an unfortunate aspect this late in the 2023 cycle, it’s also important to know it’s not a surprise to the Buckeyes. While the timing certainly could have been better, Ryan Day and his crew have back-up plans to work in their favor if needed, and it’s time those get set in place. Having a running back in this current class is a necessity, and while the player to take that spot is yet to be named, the efforts in getting a player back in the class at that spot are definitely going to be ramped up now.
Coach Alford will have his work cut out for him.
BREAKING: Four-Star RB Mark Fletcher has Decommitted from Ohio State.— Hayes Fawcett (@Hayesfawcett3) November 17, 2022
The 6’2 220 RB from Fort Lauderdale, FL had been committed to the Buckeyes since April.@fletcherjr_mark https://t.co/G1Kql57cQb pic.twitter.com/GdyL3FlHlH
2023 linebacker opens up his recruitment
The remaining spots in the 2023 class that are up for grabs are mostly related to the defensive line targets the Buckeyes have been after for some time now, but there are other positions Ohio State would be happy to add to. Specifically, only having one linebacker in the fold, Jim Knowles certainly has his eyes still open, and there’s one target in particular that has become a pretty important target the last few weeks.
The No. 317 player nationally and the 24th best linebacker in the class per the 247Sports Composite grades, Tennessee native Arion Carter has really seen his recruitment take off lately. Having been a Memphis commit since July, the news of his de-commitment last night wasn’t a real shock, as some major programs from around the country started to take notice of Carter thanks to an impressive senior campaign.
Having been offered by Ohio State in late September, the Buckeyes have been in constant communication with the linebacker target. Fortunately for Knowles and the rest of the defensive staff, Carter was able to get to Columbus last weekend for the Indiana matchup, and said his visit to see Ohio State “set the standard” for the remaining trips he would be taking before making his final decision.
A trip to Auburn this weekend and then to Tennessee and Alabama in December are on the docket, but the Buckeyes are hopeful they can have their impression be a lasting one. Currently, there’s only one 247Sports Crystal Ball prediction submitted for Carter, and though it’s to Alabama, Ohio State isn’t out of this one yet. It’s going to be a wild finish in general for the 2023 class, but especially for the Buckeyes and their defensive class.