Ever since he took the Ohio State job back in 2017, Chris Holtmann and his staff have repeated that one of their top priorities is making sure the best players in Ohio stay in-state to play for the Buckeyes. And while Ohio State’s recruiting classes have consistently been at or near the top of the Big Ten, much of Ohio State’s talent has either come from out of state (E.J. Liddell, Duane Washington Jr., etc.) or through the transfer portal (CJ Walker, Justice Sueing, etc).
Ohio State has offered scholarships to six Ohio prospects in the 2023 cycle, and one of them — 6-foot-6 forward Devin Royal — officially committed to the Buckeyes today. Royal is the No. 73 prospect in the class of 2023, the No. 14 small forward in the nation, and the No. 2 player in the state of Ohio, according to 247Sports. He also held offers from Wisconsin, Butler, Illinois, Florida State, Michigan State, Iowa State, and 18 other schools, but chose to stay local and play for the Buckeyes.
Hailing from Pickerington Central High School — the same school as former Buckeye and current Houston Rocket Jae’Sean Tate — Royal is teammates with Ohio State football commit and five-star prospect Sonny Styles. At 6-foot-6 and close to 210 pounds, Royal is a true forward and will help replenish a somewhat bare frontcourt that will see over half a dozen players leave after the 2022 and 2023 seasons.
“It was a great game with great coaching and great players. They moved the ball well and they played good together. I liked it. I stormed (the court), too. It was fun. It was a good experience to have.”
Royal also said that he is in frequent communication with Holtmann and assistant coach Jake Diebler, telling 247Sports in February, “They’re happy with how I’m playing. They love me and they want me to come down there a lot. I think I’m going to try and get back there for a game here soon.”
Royal stated that he wanted his recruitment done and his decision made before his senior season started. During the tail end of his junior year, he picked up offers from Wisconsin, Michigan State, Missouri and others — several of whom had him on campus as well as visiting him at his home in Pickerington. The Spartans in particular pushed hard for Royal, offering him a scholarship in April and making him one of their top priorities throughout the summer.
MSU’s efforts did not go unnoticed, as they found themselves in Royal’s final three schools alongside Ohio State and Alabama. Ultimately, the Buckeyes — who began recruiting Royal sooner and harder than anyone else — won out. Holtmann — as well as Diebler and former assistant Ryan Pedon while on staff — made sure to attend every one of Royal’s games throughout his junior season and this summer on the AAU circuit.
He is the third member of Ohio State’s 2023 class, alongside combo guard George Washington III (Dayton) and center Austin Parks (Saint Marys). Chris Holtmann and his staff are in position to land one more recruit in the class of 2023, and it’s likely to be another forward. Scotty Middleton — who will commit somewhere this weekend, and has OSU in his final three — is a strong possibility. Dailyn Swain — a top-100 forward from Columbus — is cutting his list to five schools on Friday.
Check out some recent video of Devin’s game below:
Decision day for @all_ohio & @PCTigersHoops Devin Royal @DevinRoyal7.— Adam Finkelstein (@AdamFinkelstein) August 3, 2022
Mismatch forward who is strong, physical, athletic, & capable of scoring on multiple levels.
Old-school productivity to his game.
He was among my top forwards in the EYBL: https://t.co/SjpfEyVV1V pic.twitter.com/9RxycettAN