It’s no secret that Ohio State’s 2023 recruiting class is home to some of the top high school players in the country regardless of position. Each year the Buckeyes bring in elite players on both sides of the ball, and it’s a direct correlation to their success on the field each season.
With high school football kicking off last week for several states across the country, here’s a look at how a couple of the 2023 commits fared in their season openers, and also a glimpse into some of the incredible statistics put up by some of the more well-known players in this current cycle.
Brandon Inniss - Wide Receiver
The top ranked player in Ohio State’s class currently, Brandon Inniss doesn’t need much of an introduction. The American Heritage product is a phenom on the 7-on-7 circuit during the summer months, and he picked up right where he left off this past Saturday night on the field for his prep program.
Scoring on the first play from scrimmage to start the game, Inniss additionally put up a stat line that most players only dream of. In total, Inniss had six receptions for 221 yards, two touchdowns, and racked up over 260 all-purpose yards in a 38-20 victory.
The No. 22 player nationally, Inniss is the fourth raked receiver in the class and the fifth best player from Florida per the 247Sports Composite.
Carnell Tate - Wide Receiver
When discussing the receiver position, Carnell Tate has been a popular name when talking about Ohio State recruiting in the 2023 cycle. From the many twists and turns of his recruitment ending up with his eventual commitment, Tate always seemed destined for the Buckeyes, and he was all too obvious a counterpart to fellow receiver commit and the aforementioned Inniss.
The two are very close, and as you can tell from the image atop of this piece, they’re not shy about hiding their friendship. One of the cooler aspects to the kickoff of high school football last week for Ohio State was not only seeing Inniss score on the first play of scrimmage for his prep team, but Tate too took the opening kick 98 yards for a touchdown to open his game the night before, and the two players certainly enjoyed “twinning” with each other again.
The No. 58 player nationally, Tate is the 11th best receiver in the class and the 13th best player in Florida per the 247Sports Composite. Behind his hot start, IMG Academy rolled to a week one 41-3 victory.
Joshua Padilla - Offensive Line
The most tenured member of Ohio State’s 2023 class, Huber Heights Wayne product Joshua Padilla and the Warriors kicked off their season on Thursday of last week against the Cincinnati area Fairfield Indians. A tough loss for Padilla and Wayne, not all on Thursday was negative as Joshua put on a show in the trenches and gave great insight to what the Buckeyes are getting.
The No. 187 player nationally per the 247Sports Composite, Padilla is listed as an interior lineman and will likely play there at the next level too, but currently lines up outside at tackle for his prep program. Showing what he can do in both the run game and in pass protection, Buckeye fans should be excited with his trajectory by time he arrives in Columbus, and all of the continued improvements he will make once under the leadership of position coach, Justin Frye.
The Warriors will look to bounce back this week against Reynoldsburg in another non-conference match-up.
Malik Hartford - Defensive Back
Maybe the shot heard around the world this past weekend, Ohio State commit Malik Hartford has been all over the social media world with one of his plays from Friday night.
A big win over Cincinnati’s St. Xavier, Hartford and his Lakota West squad came back from a 13-0 deficit at half time to beat St. X in one of the more impressive upset wins across the state of Ohio for week one.
The play that is being most talked about from this game though however is Hartford’s hit over the middle of the field, when he struck a St. X receiver after making a catch in the last drive of the game. Hartford’s hit was flagged for targeting, but this type of blow shows just how physical Malik is on the back end of the defense at his safety position and clearly he has no issues with coming downhill.
The No. 163 player nationally, Hartford is the ninth best safety in the country per the 247Sports Composite and one of three safeties in Ohio State’s 2023 class.