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Buckeyes make the cut for 2023 edge rusher, but may be trending away from their top safety target

Ohio State is hopeful its recruiting success continues on the defensive side of the ball with their top remaining targets.

Derion Gullette

It’s more of a commonality at this point that at least one recruiting headline will pop up each day that concerns Ohio State. With the efforts the coaching staff has put in at various positions, it’s been a pretty impressive summer to this point for the 2023 class. Opportunities remain out there in terms of potential commits that are still to come, and so July and even into August can be an active time period for this current cycle.

2023 edge rusher announces final three

Ohio State is one of the premier programs in the country, and that’s in direct correlation with their recruiting efforts. Ryan Day and his crew make their bones on the recruiting trail, and more times than not they’re in the mix late in the game for their top guys. They can’t get them all of course, but this staff stays in the mix for the long haul.

With the defensive line still a major priority for 2023, the position is slowly but surely starting to take shape. Though there’s only two guys in the fold, the Buckeyes remain in a great spot for multiple top national targets, and are even thought to be leaders for some of the players they have highest on their recruiting board. As the cycle gets later in the game, the defensive line will all but sort itself out thanks to position coach, Larry Johnson.

That said, yesterday, four-star 2023 edge rusher Derion Gullette took to his Twitter account to release the latest news in his recruitment, which included a list of three final schools he is still considering before committing.

The No. 143 ranked player nationally, Gullette is also considered to be the 16th best edge rusher in the class per the 247Sports Composite. Down to Texas, Texas A&M, and Ohio State, the Buckeyes will have to battle two programs in Gullette’s native state, but as seen before numerous times, when Ohio State wants to go into Texas, they do so with pretty successful endings.

Currently, Texas is the leader on the 247Sports Crystal Ball, but again, Johnson as a defensive line recruiter and developer should never be counted out. Ohio State may not be as much of a suitor in this recruitment as of right now, but the fact that they made the top three should tell you all you need to know about their chances. At any rate, if this is a recruitment Ohio State focuses on, they’re a legitimate option for the four-star and until then, they’ve got time to continue pitching Columbus as the best destination for the next few years.

Needing to right the ship

Alabama has been one program that is notorious for a bit of a slow start on the recruiting trail. Though it starts that way, the end is pretty incredible for Nick Saban’s staff as they continue to finish with either the nation’s top class or right there in the mix. Not hard to see why by any means, it’s just how the Alabama staff rolls, and when they get rolling, it’s just later down the road compared to programs such as Ohio State.

The Buckeyes boast the nation’s top class currently per the 247Sports rankings, but there’s plenty of time left. A key to that staying the same for Ohio State is the recruitment of the top safety in the country, Caleb Downs.

Having long been the top priority for the Buckeyes and seemingly every other program at the safety position, Ohio State has been in really good shape with the five-star phenom. While not maybe the clear cut leader, the positive vibes surrounding the program with Downs was strong enough that he wasn’t a pipe dream, but real option.

However, earlier this week, Director of Recruiting for 247Sports Steve Wiltfong submitted his Crystal Ball pick for Alabama to land Downs in the end. Not the end game by any means, it’s still not a development you want to see, as Wiltfong of course is very much in the know and only makes those picks when he feels there’s reason to do so.

Ohio State wants Downs as much as anything for this class. The staff has put up incredible efforts to this point and aren’t going to stop, but Alabama is in the mix too — maybe now more than ever. The trend may not be going exactly in favor of the Buckeyes, but there’s still time to win this recruitment and do what it takes to be the last ones standing. It’s not going to be an easy task at all, but this staff shouldn’t be doubted until pen hits the paper.