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Ohio State adds four-star safety from New Jersey

The Buckeyes get back into the swing of things on the recruiting trail as they add their second defensive pledge in as many weeks.

Jayden Bonsu

After picking up a blue-chip defensive prospect last week, the Buckeyes were back to their ways this weekend when the program reeled in a highly-coveted defensive back from the Garden State. Plus, a pair of defensive lineman from Crimson Tide territory included Ohio State as a finalist in their respective recruitments.

Bonsu chooses the Buckeyes

It was a good weekend for newly hired defensive coordinator Jim Knowles and safeties coach Perry Eliano, as the two welcomed the latest addition to the 2023 class when four-star safety Jayden Bonsu of St. Peter’s Prep (NJ) announced his commitment to Ohio State on Sunday evening.

The Hillside native decided on the Buckeyes over a group of finalists that also included Alabama, Miami (OH), Michigan State, and Penn State.

While the addition of Bonsu certainly is a welcomed addition for Ohio State, it was a recruitment that had some twists and turns along the way. The New Jersey defender took an official visit to Columbus back in June, but in the following month it was the Hurricanes who began gaining traction with the 6-foot-1, 210-pounder.

In the end, it was the relationships that Bonsu built with both head coach Ryan Day and the aforementioned Eliano, his future position coach, that pushed the Buckeyes ahead of the competition. Now, Bonsu joins a defensive back haul that already includes four-star safety Malik Hartford, four-star safety Cedrick Hawkins, four-star cornerback Kayin Lee, four-star cornerback Jermaine Mathews, and four-star cornerback Calvin Simpson-Hunt.

With the No. 4 prospect from New Jersey now in the fold for the Buckeyes, the program inched closer to Texas in the team recruiting rankings and sit one spot ahead of the defending national champion Georgia Bulldogs with the No. 4 best class in the country. Bonsu currently grades as the No. 259 prospect overall in the class and slots in as the 22nd best safety in the nation.

Alabama DL duo include OSU as finalist

The addition of Bonsu wasn’t the only positive news that the Buckeyes received this weekend on the defensive side of the ball. On Friday afternoon, Ohio State was listed as a finalist for a pair of five-star defensive lineman from down south.

The duo was none other than five-star defensive end Qua Russaw and five-star defensive lineman James Smith of Carver (AL). The Montgomery natives revealed a list of top schools that were identical as the elite defensive duo are also considering Alabama, Alabama State, Auburn, Florida, and Georgia, along with the Buckeyes.

With Russaw and Smith being high school teammates and putting together the same group of finalists, it looks as if a package deal is the likely outcome in their respective recruitments.Whichever program has the benefit of reeling in the uber-talented pairing will be bringing in a pair of Top 30 prospects overall. Russaw and Smith are also slotted as two of the top five prospects from the state of Alabama.

While there is no sort of rumblings about a potential landing spot for the pairing or even a Crystal Ball prediction casted, we will look to see if defensive line coach Larry Johnson can work his magic in a race that likely has the Buckeyes with plenty of work to do if they hope to land the two.

Quick Hits

  • 2024 four-star linebacker Myles Graham of Woodward Academy (GA), who the Buckeyes offered back in January, announced his pledge to Florida on Sunday. According to Hayes Fawcett of On3, the No. 2 linebacker in the class chose the Gators over Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State, and Texas A&M.
  • Colorado, Indiana, and Memphis are the latest programs to show interest in 2025 small forward EJ Walker of Lloyd Memorial (KY), according to Jake Weingarten of Stockrisers. Weingarten also notes that Walker, who has already visited Cincinnati, Miami (OH), and Michigan State, has planned a September trip to Columbus for a visit with the Buckeyes.
  • Former 2022 five-star linebacker and Ohio State signee C.J. Hicks of Archbishop Alter (OH) is quickly making his presence known with the Buckeyes as the season approaches. On Sunday, “Captain Buckeye,” last years top-ranked linebacker, saw his black stripe removed which “officially” welcomes him to the program.