Watching the Buckeyes this season, the defense has taken some serious steps forward. With the players in year two under Jim Knowles, Ohio State is seeing that side of the ball return to form after too many seasons of subpar play. Still with room to improve of course, it’s been a huge part of this team’s identity thus far, and if there’s any one position group that has been leading the way, it’s been at linebacker.
A guy like Tommy Eichenberg captains that side of the ball, and knowing the Buckeyes will have to replace a few guys at the position with the 2023 season’s conclusion, both Knowles and James Laurinaitis are working tirelessly to make sure their future hauls — especially in the 2025 class — are loaded up with elite players to keep the group in a good place. Fortunately, guys who have already earned Ohio State offers are keeping the Buckeyes in the mix and strongly considering Columbus as their college destination.
On Wednesday, a top 2025 linebacker released the latest update in his recruitment by trimming his top schools list down to 10, and kept the Buckeyes among his favorites. Florida native Elijah Melendez currently holds nearly 40 offers to his name, so narrowing it down this much shows he is seriously weighing his options. Now Kentucky, Georgia Tech, LSU, USC, Colorado, Georgia, Miami, Michigan, Alabama, and Ohio State are all that remain.
The No. 183 player nationally, Melendez is the 21st best linebacker and the 26th best player in Florida in the 2025 cycle per the 247Sports Composite. Ohio State is heavily in the thick of this race, and Elijah has been up front with how he feels about the Buckeyes. There’s no timetable set for his final call, but certainly with how this has been trending Ohio State will be in it until the end.
(same schools) Top Ten! happy Halloween @SWiltfong247 @GabyUrrutia247 @Andrew_Ivins @adamgorney @ChadSimmons_ @DemetricDWarren @CraigHaubert @JohnGarcia_Jr @adamcm777 @KiddRyno_Rivals @On3Recruits pic.twitter.com/PLxgdLp1dY— Elijah melendez (@Babyman3J) November 1, 2023
Another guy at the position to give the Buckeyes the nod on Wednesday, Texas product Jonah Williams also took to Twitter and released a list of top schools he is still considering before making the final call. A 6-foot-3, 203 pound athlete, Williams is already among the top players in the country regardless of position, and with nearly 30 offers to his name, his list of 12 after cutting the contenders nearly in half also gives notion to his desire to start really honing in on some of the schools he is liking more than others.
Keeping Colorado, Oklahoma, Oregon, Alabama, Texas A&M, TCU, Texas, USC, Tennessee, Arizona State, LSU, and Ohio State in it, Williams will have his work cut out for him to narrow it down even further, but is poised to go through the process. For Ohio State, this is another elite player that has been vocal about the Buckeyes and their advantages. Surely Jonah will keep the Buckeyes near the top of this list for the long haul, and what’s next for Ohio State is to try and get him back on campus to continue their best pitch.
The No. 16 player nationally, Williams is the second ranked player at his position for the 2025 class per the 247Sports Composite. Though his ranking and status is a bit higher than the aforementioned Melendez, the Buckeyes are being clear with both that they’re among their top targets and would love to have both of them in the fold for 2025.
Five-Star LB Jonah Williams tells me he’s down to 1️⃣2️⃣ Schools!— Hayes Fawcett (@Hayesfawcett3) November 2, 2023
The 6’3 200 LB from Galveston, TX is ranked as a Top 15 Recruit in the 2025 Class (No. 2 LB)
Where Should He Go? https://t.co/chaX0PF2Ao pic.twitter.com/7qUS8tvEKJ
- Though most of the attention now is being paid to the future classes like 2025, the 2024 class is still not set in stone and Ohio State is working to fill their few remaining spots in the haul that is currently the nation’s second-ranked recruiting class. That said, there’s names that are being sought after to finish this cycle, and yesterday brought some positive vibes surrounding one target this staff would love to have.
North Carolina native Amaris Williams is currently committed to Florida, and has been since June of this year. But after visiting Ohio State just a couple of weeks ago, the No. 100 player nationally per the 247Sports Composite looks to have a return visit scheduled for Nov. 11.
A 6-foot-3, 270 pound defensive lineman, his position is certainly where at least one open space in the 2024 class is still up for grabs. While he’s still committed to the Gators, taking two trips within a month to see Ohio State certainly means something — especially when this upcoming trip is an unofficial visit and paid for on his own dime.
This is one recruitment that is worth watching closely for a potential “flip” and seeing what Larry Johnson does from here could be pretty telling for the chances the Buckeyes really have down the stretch.