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Ohio State among nine finalists for Pickerington Central’s Devin Royal

Chris Holtmann and his staff have made Royal a priority in the 2023 class.

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL: JUN 07 Pangos All-American Camp Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Four-star forward Devin Royal — a Columbus native — announced his top nine schools on Monday afternoon, and the Buckeyes were among the programs he is considering as he enters his senior year at Pickerington Central.

Royal listed Ohio State, as well as Alabama, Clemson, Marquette, Michigan, Michigan State, Ole Miss, Miami, and Penn State as the schools he is considering. Royal made his official visit to Ohio State on July 3. He took an official visit to Michigan State two weeks earlier, on June 19. He has also made a visit to Penn State.

Chris Holtmann and his assistants — staff changes be damned — have been the most persistent school recruiting Royal over the past two years. During his junior season and the current AAU circuit, Holtmann has made sure that either he or one of his assistants were in attendance for each and every game Royal played in. The Buckeyes, along with Big Ten rival Michigan State, seem to have pulled away from the pack as the two favorites. While Tom Izzo is trying to convince Royal to leave Columbus and blaze his own path, Holtmann and Co. continue to lay out a roadmap for him where he can become the next great Columbus kid who turned into a Buckeye great.

It’s been Royal’s stance for over a year now that he’d like to have his recruitment wrapped up and a decision made before his senior season starts, which means a final decision will likely be made by the end of the summer. Royal is currently the No. 76 player in the nation, the No. 14 small forward, and the No. 2 player in the state of Ohio according to 247Sports. When Ohio State offered Royal in October of 2021, he was a three-star recruit and outside of the top-100. With his versatile game and big frame (6-foot-6, 210 pounds) Royal’s stock continues to rise.

Royal is currently playing AAU for All-Ohio Red on the EYBL circuit, playing alongside current Ohio State commit George Washington III. The Buckeyes have locked up a guard in Washington and a center in four-star Austin Parks, but have yet to add a larger wing such as Royal. The Buckeyes would like to wind up with one of — if not two of — Royal, Scotty Middleton (No. 36 overall), and Dailyn Swain (No. 78 overall), but from the outside it appears Royal is their primary target.

Ohio State’s 2023 class currently sits at No. 8 in the nation with two four-star recruits, according to 247Sports. They are mere decimal points behind Indiana, so an Ohio State commit before an Indiana commit would likely flip the two programs in the 2023 rankings.