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Column: Three-star in-state defensive back is one to keep an eye on for Ohio State

A big senior season for a talented Queen City defensive back could put him in-play for the Buckeyes.

Jermaine Mathews
Mick Wagner, 247Sports

Coming into the day, Ohio State's No. 7 ranked recruiting class in the country and No. 2 ranked Big Ten class for 2023 features two defensive pledges of the five total in the fold. Despite one of those being in the defensive secondary, the Buckeyes have yet to secure a commitment from a prospect projected to play cornerback at the next level.

Make no mistake, Ohio State has their eyes on a host of players at the position and will look to swing big in hopes of giving newly hired cornerbacks coach Tim Walton, formerly of the Jacksonville Jaguars, some elite level talent at his disposal.

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

The most common names that the Buckeyes have long been in the mix for and will fight till the end for include the likes of blue-chippers Christian Gray, A.J. Harris, Kayin Lee, Cormani McClain, Malik Muhammad, Javien Toviano, and more. However, perhaps there is a path in which an under-the-radar prospect from the state of Ohio finds his way in the class as has been the case numerous times in previous classes.

Since head coach Ryan Day has taken over in Columbus, the Buckeyes have taken eight prospects graded as a three-star or lower from Ohio, with the most notable being running back Miyan Williams. Interestingly enough, one prospect emerging as a possible cornerback option to become another non-blue chip player from Ohio to wind up a Buckeye comes from the same program that Williams played his high school ball.

Enter three-star cornerback Jermaine Mathews of Winton Woods (OH), who Ohio State welcomed to campus on Thursday for a visit to check out the program.

As a junior at Winton Woods, Mathews piled up 44 total tackles while forcing three fumbles and recovering two. The Queen City standout also pulled down five interceptions en route to the Warriors finishing the season 13-3 overall and winning a Division II state championship over Archbishop Hoban (OH) by a final count of 21-10.

The Buckeyes have yet to dish out an offer to Mathews, and quite frankly if they did it would likely come much later down the line. However, the two parties are in touch with one another and look the be in the relationship-building stage of Mathews’ recruitment

The 6-foot, 175-pounder doesn't have other blue bloods beating down his door just yet either. However, Mathews has still garnered an impressive 29 scholarship offers thus far as a prospect with programs such as Boston College, Cincinnati, Indiana, Iowa State, Kentucky, Louisville, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Washington, West Virginia, and many more having offered.

Mathews' rankings aren't earth shattering either, but an impressive senior campaign for the Eastern Cincinnati Conference powerhouse could quickly shake things up for the better. Nonetheless, the Cincinnati native is currently slotted as the No. 518 overall prospect in the class and comes in at 48th at the cornerback position, as well as the 14th highest graded player in the state of Ohio.

While the composite score for Mathews isn't eye popping at initial glance, one specific recruiting service is still rather high on the Warriors defensive back. While coming up just short of four-star status, 247Sports still pegs Mathews as the 35th highest graded cornerback in the class and the eighth best player from the state of Ohio — one spot ahead of three-star defensive lineman Will Smith Jr. of Dublin Coffman (OH), an Ohio State commit since January.

We'll have to keep an eye on any other developments that transpire between the two parties. In the mean time, Mathews will continue his visit tour that will include a stop to Lexington, Kentucky to check out the Wildcats, the presumed program in the best spot for Mathews' services.