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Ohio State hosts five-star Notre Dame pledge on visit

Despite being verbally pledge to the Irish, the Buckeyes are not slowing down their pursuit for one of the nation's best.

Keon Keeley
247Sports

Ohio State was back in the lab on Tuesday as they got after it at spring practice. Luckily for the Buckeyes, one of the very best prospects in the country, regardless of class, was in attendance and got to get an in-person glimpse of the Buckeyes in action. Plus, a Florida insider likes the chances for the scarlet and gray to eventually add yet another elite pass-catcher.

Keeley takes in spring practice

Ohio State finally was able to get their first crack at impressing one of the best of the best in the 2023 recruiting class when five-star defensive end Keon Keeley of Berkeley Prep (FL) made a stop on campus on Tuesday.

The Buckeyes were technically considered to be behind the 8-ball when it came to their pursuit of Keeley. The 6-foot-5, 240-pounder has already picked up an offer from Ohio State, but it just so happened to be about six months after Keeley had already decided on committing to Notre Dame.

While obvious work needs to be done if the Buckeyes want to ultimately pull out the spatula and flip the elite edge defender from the Irish, Tuesday was an indicator of a step in the right direction for the two parties.

As you can see above, Keeley spent time with Ohio State 2023 four-star offensive tackle commit Luke Montgomery of Findlay (OH), the presumed leader of the class for the Buckeyes, and that is never going to be a bad development for Ryan Day and company.

We'll have to wait and see what is next for Keeley and Ohio State going forward, but nonetheless, Tuesday gave the Buckeyes an opportunity to impress the No. 10 prospect in the country and whenever that situation arises, you have to like where things could be headed. Keeley, a Tampa native, also slots in as the very best edge defender in the class and the fourth highest graded player from the state of Florida.

Buckeyes lead for five-star?

Speaking of prospects from Florida, Ohio State looks to be in a very advantageous position for a Sunshine State pass-catcher that every program in America would love to add to their wide receiver room. That player is none other than 2024 five-star wide receiver Jeremiah Smith of Chaminade-Madonna Prep (FL).

On Tuesday, 247Sports' Florida recruiting analyst Andrew Ivins casted a Crystal Ball prediction in favor of the Buckeyes landing the 6-foot-3, 185-pounder hailing from Opa Locka, Florida. Smith has long been on the minds of Ohio State, as the program dished out an offer to him dating back to June of last year. The blue-chip receiver also made a stop to Columbus to visit the program just a few months after the scholarship opportunity was awarded.

Smith is currently penciled in as the No. 15 overall prospect in the 2024 recruiting class. Not to be forgotten, the cousin of NFL quarterback Geno Smith also comes in as the second best wide receiver among all prospects in his class and a top five player from the state of Florida.

One important thing to note that will likely come as a benefit to the Buckeyes chances here is that Smith is former teammates with a pair of 2022 signees for Ohio State in four-star defensive end Kenyatta Jackson Jr. and three-star cornerback Ryan Turner. The three played a pivotal role this past season for the Lions, as they helped lead the school to a 2021 FHSAA 3A state championship victory.

Quick Hits

  • Along with the aforementioned Keeley and Montgomery, Ohio State also played host to 2023 four-star interior offensive lineman Austin Siereveld of Lakota East (OH) on Tuesday, according to Bill Kurelic of 247Sports. The 6-foot-5, 315-pounder and No. 7 player in Ohio already features the Buckeyes in his list of six finalists including Alabama, Cincinnati, Iowa, Michigan, and Notre Dame.
  • On the hardwood, 2023 Ohio State pledge and four-star combo guard George Washington III of Christian Academy of Louisville (KY) will be making a change on the AAU circuit. The Top 50 prospect overall and second best player from Kentucky announced on Tuesday that he will be joining the All-Ohio Red program after previously being a member of JL3 Elite.