Still dealing with the emotions of losing a third-straight game to TTUN, the negative news for Ohio State unfortunately continued last night when the Buckeyes lost long-time five-star defensive line commit, Justin Scott to Miami. Simply put, it has not been a great week for Ohio State.
Committing to the Buckeyes this past July, The No. 12 player nationally and third best player at his position per the 247Sports Composite, Scott chose Ohio State over his two other top schools, Michigan and Notre Dame. A Chicago native, the desire to play closer to home fit his Ohio State decision, and Larry Johnson with his development proved to be the final piece in sealing the deal. Now committed to Miami, it’s pretty fair to question what in the world is going on in Columbus right now, because it seems like the saying “when it rains, it pours” couldn’t be any more true.
This is certainly a matter of NIL more than Scott not being content with the Buckeyes. When looking at the announcement graphic and seeing a literal pile of money edited into the photo, it’s safe to say money was the real motivation for this decision being made.
A true thorn in the side of Ohio State, Miami has done whatever they can with multiple Ohio State commits and targets to try and sway them south, and this time money won out in the end. As mentioned, for months Scott was solid to the Buckeyes, and that reasoning was for the development he was going to have under Johnson during his career in Columbus. With that now out of the cards, there’s a variety of ways you can feel about this latest development.
BREAKING: Five-Star DL Justin Scott tells me he has Flipped his Commitment from Ohio State to Miami!— Hayes Fawcett (@Hayesfawcett3) November 30, 2023
The Top 10 Recruit in the ‘24 Class had been Committed to the Buckeyes since July
“From the first time they offered me to now, they never changed.”
Huge flip for the Hurricanes… pic.twitter.com/oePehaWLRl
Where to go from here
One one hand, you can simply chalk this one up as a loss thanks to NIL and a student-athlete being promised something Ohio State really doesn’t do with their targeted recruits. Sure, the coaching staff and several other key members of the administration have really ramped up their NIL efforts as of late, but they’re clearly not the ones with the highest bids. If they were, you wouldn’t see them losing out with Scott or on other names that are more NIL-geared recruitments.
Ohio State’s staff feels that if a recruiting battle comes down simply to NIL amounts, they would would rather look elsewhere, but I am done with that. Pay the kids if you have to! Something has to give, because this cannot continue. Looking at Ohio State recruiting classes, you see a mass of talent, but it’s really stockpiling at only certain positions. The offensive and defensive line are where games are won and lost, and the truth is that the level desired is not being achieved right now on either side in recruiting.
Specifically on the defensive line, that leads me to my next thought, and that’s pointing towards the position coach. Should Johnson be blamed entirely for this flip? No, but with how often this has happened, it can’t be dismissed either.
In 2023’s recruiting class, LJ wasn’t able to land any of his three top defensive end targets. In the 2024 class, he lost to South Carolina for Dylan Stewart, Miami for Marquise Lightfoot, and now Miami again with Scott. For how incredible he’s been in his tenure with the Buckeyes, he flat out hasn’t been great the last couple of years. Recruiting and development for years is what he’s been so good at, but when you think of all the talent he’s had at his disposal this season, it shouldn’t be a case where Ohio State is 12th in the Big Ten in sacks. That just cannot happen.
This probably should be looked at mainly from an unfortunate NIL situation, but there’s just so many frustrations that come with that. All in all, the Buckeyes need to figure it out and fast. Losing a player isn’t the end of the world, but when it’s a five-star talent at a position that is critical and has lacked over the last couple cycles, it hurts that much worse.
Whether it’s a change in philosophy, a come to Jesus moment for LJ, or backing up the Brinks truck, something just needs to be done — and done now. Ohio State fans have a reason to be sour right now, and Wednesday was no help.