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Ohio State, Ryan Day hope for a smooth day one of the Early Signing Period

The Buckeyes are aiming for a relatively calm Wednesday for the start of the early signing period.

Jelani Thurman

The early signing period has arrived, and today marks the first day that Ohio State can officially welcome their 2023 recruiting class into the brotherhood. The Buckeyes are aiming to ink all 20 current pledges, but there is a pair of prospects worth monitoring today as an SEC program is still in pursuit.

Plus, the latest on two defensive end prospects that head coach Ryan Day and defensive line coach Larry Johnson are crossing their fingers in hopes of landing.

Can the Buckeyes outlast Auburn for Lee, Thurman?

After over a handful of trips to Auburn during the season for Ohio State four-star tight end commit Jelani Thurman of Langston Hughes (GA) and a late-hour pursuit of Buckeyes four-star cornerback pledge Kayin Lee of Cedar Grove (GA), the Tigers are a team that could spoil a perfect day for the scarlet and gray. There has been a lot of buzz in recent months suggesting that Ohio State has reason to be concerned with the two.

Thurman has had an opportunity to get familiar with the Tigers campus throughout the season despite being pledged to the Buckeyes. The 6-foot-5, 230-pounder also saw his primary recruiter and position coach Kevin Wilson head to Tulane, which certainly didn’t help things. However, Thurman is the more likely of the two to stick with Ohio State as the Buckeyes seem to have weathered the storm.

As for Lee, Auburn has made a massive attempt to pry him from the hands of Ohio State. It even got to the point of Lee sporting Tiger gear prior to his state championship game and a couple of predictions for him to ultimately flip in favor of newly hired Hugh Freeze. This one seems to be the one of the two that is more likely to get away from the Buckeyes.

The latest on Mickens, Uiagalelei

Aside from keeping Lee and Thurman in the fold, Ohio State is also hoping to reel in Joshua Mickens and Matayo Uiagalelei — both of who will announce their decisions later today.

Mickens, a four-star defensive end, was formerly committed to LSU before backing off of his pledge once Ohio State jumped into the picture and offered. The Indianapolis native has yet to reveal any sort of finalists for his pending pledge, and all signs point to the Buckeyes being the beneficiary.

In regards to Uiagalelei, things get a little more difficult to read. The five-star defensive end will pick from Ohio State, Oregon, and USC and there is no tea leaves to read in a recruitment that has been played close to the vest by the Uiagalelei family.

Will the California standout chose the path to Columbus or will he stay closer to home and suit up for the Ducks or Trojans? The 247Sports Crystal Ball entering today favors Oregon, with just one single prediction made at the time of this writing.

Quick Hits

  • Former Rhode Island offensive tackle Ajani Cornelius is set to make his decision later today between Nebraska, Ohio State, Oregon, and Tennessee. Cornelius was in Columbus this past weekend for a visit with the Buckeyes.
  • After entering the transfer portal on Monday, Ohio State wasted no time getting out an offer to now former Washington State offensive tackle Jarrett Kingston. The Buckeyes sent an offer to Kingston on Tuesday as they remain active in the portal along the offensive front.