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Betting on Florida as the state in OSU’s 2023 class with the most commits by signing day

With four Florida natives already committed and several more top targets on the list, the Sunshine State is where the Buckeyes are most active in 2023.

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

Ranging from their facilities, development, and just plain winning, the Buckeyes have it going on in recruiting. In large part the success you see on the field is directly related to the players they are able to bring in, and while no program is perfect with every single player they land, more times than not Ohio State develops their guys even further, which is exactly why Ryan Day and company are able to continue bringing in top national players.

Ohio State’s first priority in recruiting is locking down the state lines. Sure, once in a while another program whether it be in the Big Ten landscape or nationally might swoop in and steal an Ohio native, but the Buckeyes have made a living on keeping their best in-state players at home and in Columbus for their college career. Though Ohio may not be churning out as many DI players as it once did, it’s still fertile enough of a territory that the coaching staff benefits from it, and that’s never going to change.

The second priority for the staff is being able to land nationally ranked recruiting targets. As talked about, the many incredible aspects of Ohio State football is this program’s brand and ability to go anywhere in the country on the recruiting trail and have success. There’s endless examples that could be given, but the point remains that the Buckeyes are one of the true powers in the college football landscape. That has given them all they have needed when it comes to hunting down the best talent for their roster.

In the 2023 class, it’s the same story as well. Ryan Day and his crew are building a wall around Ohio the best they can, but they’re also doing superb when it comes to being in the mix for the top players in the country regardless of where they reside. Each cycle the Buckeyes bring in a haul of out-of-state guys and typically it’s from the southern states. As this weekend proved, this class will be another top national class when all is said.

In this aspect, the focus is pointed toward what state is going to be the one that gives the Buckeyes their biggest recruiting haul in terms of number of commitments besides just Ohio. At nine current commits, Ohio is tied for the state with the most guys in the current Buckeye class, but there’s another southern state that is pushing for the lead.

Ohio as the foundation

Currently looking at the 2023 class, the Buckeyes have four commitments from in-state players. Of their Ohio guys, three are ranked in the top four within state lines. With Luke Montgomery, Joshua Padilla, and Malik Hartford in the fold, the lone player inside the top four the Buckeyes don’t hold a commitment from is Brenan Vernon, as he is currently committed to Notre Dame and has been for just under a year now.

Rounding out the stable of current in-state guys committed to the Buckeyes, Ohio State also holds a verbal from defensive lineman Will Smith Jr., who is ranked as the 10th best player in Ohio for the 2023 class.

It will be interesting to see if Ohio State continues to go after their state the rest of this 2023 cycle with how well they are fairing nationally, but there’s at least one more guy that has been closely linked with Ohio State, and that is offensive lineman, Austin Siereveld. With a final three of Ohio State, Alabama, and Notre Dame, his announcement could come at any time, but he really looks to be the final guy that the Buckeyes are in on inside their own state lines for now. Things could change, but again, with how many top national recruits they are in the mix for, this could be a class of four to five guys from Ohio in 2023.

The Sunshine State as the safe bet

Like Ohio, Florida has given the Buckeyes four 2023 commits to this point. With this past Sunday’s double-dip of landing both cornerback Dijon Johnson and receiver Bryson Rodgers, Florida jumped to the top of the list and rightfully so. With how many elite players consistently come out of the Sunshine State every year, it makes sense to why the Buckeye coaching staff has such a strong presence all over the state of Florida, and they’re doing so again in the current cycle. It helps having coaches with Florida roots and years of experience recruiting the state as a whole.

In addition to the two names mentioned, Ohio State also has the commitments from four-star running back Mark Fletcher and four-star safety Cedrick Hawkins. Interestingly enough, the last three addition this 2023 class have all been Florida natives, and while this group of nine sits as the second ranked class nationally, it’s still somewhat early on and there’s no signs of the Buckeyes slowing down on the recruiting front both in terms of commitments and the state of Florida being a major player as things continue on.

Maybe it’s the easy answer, but four Sunshine State natives already committed is one way to assume Florida will be the most prevalent state in this Ohio State class, but the other area to consider is how many players the Buckeyes are still really high on and heavily in the mix for. Below are just a couple of names that this staff is expecting to be in on until the final call:

  • Richard Young - The second-ranked running back in the country for the 2023 class, Young has long been the apple of Ohio State’s eye when it comes to recruiting that position. Tony Alford has done a great job in Florida over the years, and though they currently have Fletcher committed to their class already, Ohio State very much wants two running backs in this cycle and have made that clear to both guys. Steve Wiltfong has his Crystal Ball on Alabama, but the Buckeyes will be in the mix until he signs.
  • Carnell Tate - Easily the top receiver on Ohio State’s board in the 2023 class, Tate’s name has been probably one of the more familiar. Originally an Illinois native, Tate is down at IMG Academy and has made numerous visits to Columbus to the point where the staff really doesn’t have anything else they can show him. Notre Dame and Tennessee are also in the mix, but the Buckeyes have been the favorite for some time and it’d be a shock to see anyone beat out Brian Hartline for the nation’s fifth best receiver.
  • Brandon Inniss - The top ranked receiver in the country, Inniss at one time was committed to Oklahoma, but the departure of Lincoln Riley ended that relationship. USC of course is now heavily in the mix as they are where coach Riley is at, but the recent visit to Columbus for Innis really put Ohio State on the map of his recruitment and steadily are becoming that much more of a threat to land his services. Not going to be an easy one, but this is another top receiver, and we’ve seen what Hartline does in that area.
  • Troy Bowles - The top linebacker on Ohio State’s board before the arrival of Jim Knowles, Troy Bowles has been a name closely linked to the Buckeyes since the beginning of his recruitment. Though it’s not as intense as it was earlier on, the staff is still certainly in the mix for the third best linebacker in the country. Georgia has the edge on the Crystal Ball, but Ohio State definitely still has a chance here.

All in all, the Buckeyes may not land all of these guys and probably shouldn’t expect to, but even if they land one or two, that would give Ohio State five to six guys just from the state of Florida in their 2023 class. With Ohio being basically in the same spot, the only other option worth mentioning is Georgia, and that’s strictly based on how many players from there Ohio State has already offered in the class. Until a Georgia native commits though, the safest bet is Florida being the state that produces the most commitments to the Buckeyes in their 2023 recruiting class.