The recruitment of Devin Royal — a Columbus-native who also happens to be one of the top players in the state— is heating up. Less than two weeks after announcing his top nine schools, Royal has cut it to three, and the Buckeyes are one of them.
Royal is officially down to Ohio State, Michigan State, and Alabama, but it’s looking like a showdown between the programs in Columbus and East Lansing. Royal has taken official visits to MSU and OSU already, but the Buckeyes have been after him for longer.
Chris Holtmann offered Royal a scholarship last fall, when Royal was still a three-star and not even a top-100 recruit. The Buckeyes have been so persistent that they’ve had a coach at every single one of Royal’s games — high school or AAU — since the start of his junior season. Royal currently plays for All-Ohio Red on the Nike EYBL circuit alongside Ohio State commit George Washington III, as well as Ohio State targets Dailyn Swain (Columbus Africentric) and Lawrent Rice (Dayton Wayne). Royal has spent quite a bit of time on and around Ohio State’s campus, considering he lives about 20 minutes away.
Michigan State didn’t offer Royal until this past April, but Tom Izzo and his staff have been aggressive in their pitch to the four-star forward. The Spartans have already visited Royal for an in-home visit as well as having him on campus for his official visit last month. MSU is also the favorite for four-star forward Xavier Booker, whom Royal knows and may want to play with if Booker winds up at Michigan State.
Royal is currently the No. 73 player in the nation, the No. 14 small forward, and the No. 2 player in the state of Ohio according to 247Sports. He stands 6-foot-6 and 210 pounds, and continues to showcase a well-rounded, versatile skillset during his AAU season. He also has stated numerous times that he wants his recruitment wrapped up before his senior season begins, meaning a final decision should be coming relatively soon.
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.