Ohio State is a perfect 8-0 as we reach the two-thirds mark of the 2023 college football season. The Buckeyes’ coaching staff is focused on maintaining that zero in the loss column through the end of the year, but they also have to keep up the efforts on the recruiting trail in order to keep up the high standards set in Columbus.
While Ryan Day and company were out earning a win on the field on Saturday with a 24-10 victory over Wisconsin, they also inched closer to earning a win off the field this weekend when 2025 four-star running back Donovan Johnson included the Buckeyes among his top five schools.
BREAKING: Elite 2025 RB Donovan Johnson is down to 5️⃣ Schools!— Hayes Fawcett (@Hayesfawcett3) October 29, 2023
The 6’1 215 RB from Savannah, GA is ranked as a Top 50 Player in ‘25 (No. 3 RB)
Where Should He Go? https://t.co/rDqwmH1VAM pic.twitter.com/7YmxMgDkAw
With nearly 30 offers to his name, cutting the list down to just five is no easy task, but shows that Johnson is really moving along in the recruiting process and has a handful of schools that have really stood out above the rest to this point. Ohio State was one of those programs, joining the likes of Georgia, Florida State, Tennessee and USC. Johnson spoke to On3 about his final five schools and why each of them made the cut. Here is what he had to say about the Buckeyes:
“I have a lot of love for Coach Tony Alford. He is my dog. We talk all the time and I love what he has done over the last decade with the running backs he has coached. We have that great relationship and I working to get there for a game this season.”
Johnson is currently rated as the No. 9 running back in the country and the No. 113 player overall in the 2025 class, per the 247Sports Composite. Originally a native of Savannah, GA, Johnson transferred to prep powerhouse IMG Academy in Florida ahead of his sophomore season. The 6-foot, 205-pound RB received his official Ohio State offer all the way back in May of 2022, and attended a camp in Columbus later that June.
Also a track athlete, Johnson qualified for the AAU Junior Olympics and has been clocked running a 22.47 in the 200 and a 51.58 400 as a freshman in spring of 2022. The talented ballcarrier made his varsity team as a freshman, totaling 1,336 yards and 10 touchdowns while averaging 8.1 yards per carry — good enough to earn him a spot in the FBU Freshman All-American Bowl. Ohio State has had some prior success recruiting IMG players, most recently landing wide receiver Carnell Tate in the 2023 class.
While there is no timetable set for a decision just yet, and it sounds like Johnson will want to take his official visits before making his pledge, he has not ruled out a commitment coming prior to the spring.
“Anything could happen at any time,” Johnson told On3. “I am searching for that family atmosphere. It is about my bond with the staff, how I feel around the head coach and running back and what culture fits me best. The academics will be important too. I want to major in engineering, so the overall development on and off the field will help me make my decision.”
As a native of Georgia, the Bulldogs would probably be considered the slight favorite as of right now, but with no Crystal Ball predictions logged and Ohio State making Johnson’s top five schools, you certainly can’t count out the Buckeyes in this recruitment.