The last few weeks surrounding Ohio State’s football program have been a rollercoaster, to say the least. Sure, the loss to your rival hasn’t helped at all, but the issues surrounding the team extend beyond on-field results. The fan base seems to be split on whether to trust the Buckeye coaching staff or to think that the team is on the brink of serious trouble.
Most of the concerns stem from roster management and recruiting. The transfer portal, high school targets, NIL, etc. are all contributing to an emotional time period, and with the early signing period upon us, it’s as tense as it can get.
Simply put, there’s a ton going on and most of it doesn’t seem really positive for Ohio State. Most of the recent recruiting news for the Buckeyes has been negative, including the flipping of running back Jordan Lyle in just the last 48 hours who joins five-star former Buckeye commit Justin Scott at Miami.
Talk of other potential flips isn’t helping ease the negative vibes for many in the fanbase just as the bulk of the 2024 class prepares to sign. However, it is still true that Ohio State currently has the nation’s second-ranked recruiting class — and briefly this week had the No. 1 class — so things aren’t all bad. Negativity can many times outweigh the positives and that very well could be the case here. As we await the signatures from the class, we take a look at how the class is shaping up and predict whether or not there should be any concern about a specific player sticking with the Buckeyes or deciding at the last minute to sign elsewhere.
For this exercise, each commit in the class will be listed with a confidence meter out of 10 that shows their likelihood of ending up in the Buckeyes’ class.
Jeremiah Smith | Wide Receiver | No. 1 Nationally
The nation’s top player in the 2024 class, Smith has been committed to Ohio State for over a year. A Day 1 starter and generational talent in the minds of almost anyone who has covered his prep career, Smith is arguably the most important player in this class even with the depth of talent wide receiver coach Brian Hartline has been able to build.
A player that has worried Ohio State fans because of his multiple visits while committed to the Buckeyes, Smith has been up-front about his feelings for Ohio State and has said that as long as Hartline and Ryan Day are in Columbus, he will be too. However, late in the game, Miami and Florida State have increased their efforts trying to sway him away from his pledge, and though these last 24 hours have been tough, the feeling here is that because of his relationship with Hartline, Ohio State will win out in the end.
Mylan Graham | Wide Receiver | No. 23 Nationally
Another elite five-star receiver target, Graham has been committed to Ohio State since April and has never wavered in his pledge to the Buckeyes, it has been a practically perfect recruitment. Hartline and Ohio State haven’t had to worry much here and that’s telling considering how talented Mylan is.
It would be a shock to see any late worries here. Graham has been all in since his commitment and that shouldn’t change.
Eddrick Houston | Defensive Line | No. 26 Nationally
Arguably the most important player on the defensive side of the ball for this 2024 class, Houston committed to Ohio State back in August and it was mainly due to his relationship with Larry Johnson. For months all looked to be completely fine, but once again, late in the game, other suitors such as Alabama and Clemson have been able to get Eddrick on campus just this past weekend, and considering Ohio State's unfortunate defensive line recruiting losses in recent cycles, the fear of losing Houston is almost unbearable now.
The reasoning behind any doubt is almost certainly other programs negatively recruiting Ohio State by once again feeding into rumors of a potential retirement of Johnson. The annoyance here is that this same rumor seems to pop up every year as we approach signing day.
It could be as simple as this though; if Johnson is here, Houston will be here. Things could change after the Cotton Bowl, but you’d have to imagine that if L.J. is still in Columbus then this recruitment will work out in favor of the Buckeyes in the end.
Aaron Scott | Cornerback | No. 34 Nationally
The top-ranked, in-state player for Ohio State in the 2024 class, Scott has been committed since July and it was an absolute battle to keep him and away from Michigan down the stretch. Though he chose the Buckeyes in dramatic fashion, it’s been all Ohio State and positive vibes since then.
Scott is a major asset to this class and seems set to be the next great Ohio native cornerback for the Buckeyes.
Air Noland | Quarterback | No. 36 Nationally
Ohio State’s 2024 quarterback pledge, Noland is obviously right atop the list of most important pieces of this current class. The Georgia product committed to Ohio State back in April and hasn’t been a real worry for the staff or fans since then.
With the current quarterback room at Ohio State and his plans to early enroll, Air will get a head-start in just a few weeks on learning the system and will likely immediately compete for the job. Though it’s not expected that he will win the starting spot as a first-year guy, you can’t completely rule him out knowing his abilities. This should be one of the first faxes of the morning.
Jeremiah McClellan | Wide Receiver | No. 49
Jeremiah has been committed to Ohio State since August and chose the Buckeyes over in-state Missouri and Oregon. Another one of the elite receivers the Buckeyes want to bring in, McClellan chose Ohio State to bet on himself even with the other programs trying to convince him that he would just be another guy in Columbus, rather than being “the guy” for their specific programs.
It’s been a bit of an up-and-down recruitment in terms of wondering how Ohio State would fend off the Tigers and Ducks, and this late into the game, it’s once again Oregon, their NIL offer, and early playing time that is rearing it’s ugly head as a thorn in Ohio State’s side.
What the Buckeyes and Hartline have established with McClellan makes them feel like they’ll be fine in the end, but make no mistake about it, Oregon is a threat at this hour.
Bryce West | Cornerback | No. 58 Nationally
A major piece to Ohio State’s defensive class, the Buckeyes are thrilled to keep West at home and continue to rich tradition of bringing in a Cleveland Glenville product. Absolutely no worry here. West is very similar to this class as Captain Buckeye C.J. Hicks was a few cycles ago.
James Peoples | Running Back | No. 95 Nationally
The Texas native got even more important to this class thanks to the departure of Jordan Lyle, but Peoples has been committed to the Buckeyes since April and has been another player who has done and said all of the right things. At this point, there’s practically zero worry he will end up anywhere else other than Ohio State. No issues here.
Garrett Stover | Safety | No. 105 Nationally
One of the first commits in the 2024 class, Stover of course is the cousin to current Buckeye Cade Stover and has never been one to worry about. A more quiet recruitment given the now-familiar Stover temperament, the safety is one of the recruits in the class you don’t have any worries about at all. If anything, there’s probably not another guy in the class who is as solid as he is considering his connection to the Buckeyes.
Ian Moore | Offensive Line | No. 138 Nationally
Ohio State’s first commitment in the 2024 class, Indiana offensive line product Ian Moore is the definition of consistent. He’s never wavered in his recruitment and has been everything a coaching staff could want in a verbal pledge. The Buckeyes are excited to get him to campus and that wait is shortly over. Zero worries here.
Payton Pierce | Linebacker | No. 205 Nationally
A big-time linebacker from Texas, Pierce is coming to Ohio State thanks to a great relationship with the staff and mainly James Laurinaitis. A near-perfect linebacker specimen, the Buckeyes are getting an old-school thumper that has been as solid as it gets in his commitment to Ohio State. This is a major addition to the class.
Jaylen McLain | Safety | No. 273 Nationally
Don’t let the ranking fool you, McLain is a big-time safety target out of New Jersey. Jaylen is a big piece of this defensive class and has said all of the right things since his commitment back in June. Not one for the headlines, McLain just seems steady and solid and that’s all you can ask for these days in a recruitment.
In fact, the only concern here is wondering if another program is lurking due to how quiet he has been.
Max LeBlanc | Tight End | No. 276 Nationally
One of two tight-end commitments that the Buckeyes plan to bring in thanks to Keenan Bailey, this Tennessee native has been locked in since April and isn’t going anywhere except Columbus. Hats off to this kid who has been another easy-to-follow recruitment.
Gabe VanSickle | Offensive Lineman | No. 366 Nationally
The most recent addition to the 2024 class, Coopersville, Michigan native Gabe VanSickle chose Ohio State just last month after de-committing from his long-time Northwestern pledge. A player that adds some great depth on the interior offensive line, VanSickle’s addition shows that Ohio State can win late in a cycle, and there’s zero concern here.
Miles Lockhart | Cornerback | No. 386 Nationally
One of the unsung heroes of this class, Lockhart is part of the elite trio of cornerback commitments, and even though he may not be mentioned as often as Scott and West, his importance in this class is right up there with his future running mates. The Arizona native has been solid in his pledge since July, so there’s no concern here. He’s all Buckeye.
Deontae and Devontae Armstrong | Offensive Line | Nos. 425 and 459 Nationally
Keeping these twin brothers together has been a picture-perfect in-state recruitment for the Buckeyes. It doesn’t get any more solid than these two offensive linemen. They are all in with Ohio State and have been two of the vocal leaders in the class.
Damarion Witten | Tight End | No. 452 Nationally
Doesn’t get any easier than this one. Witten will be another worry-free recruitment as he is the second tight-end commit in this class and another talent from the rich Glenville program. Credit Bailey here for landing not one, but two stud tight-ends in this class.
Eric Mensah | Defensive Line | No. 744 Nationally
The product of a Larry Johnson flip from Virginia Tech, Mensah changed his commitment in September and has been all Ohio State ever since. The chance to play for LJ is what seems to be his deciding factor here and there’s no concern leading up to the early signing period.
Sam Williams-Dixon | Running Back | No. 775 Nationally
Williams-Dixon is a running back now, but it remains to be seen where he will fit into Ohio State’s roster once on campus. A prep star with some elite numbers, the Buckeyes are excited to keep the Pickerington native home for his college career and haven’t had a worry thanks to his solid pledge.
Leroy Roker | Safety | No. 964 Nationally
An addition that came this October, Roker has been solid in his commitment as well. Recently hosting Ohio State for his in-home visit, the hard-hitting safety may be the lowest-ranked, non-specialist in the class, but his play speaks for itself. Roker is certainly someone the Buckeyes are thrilled to have in the fold.
Morrow Evans | Long Snapper | Unranked Nationally
Because of the unique position that he plays, Evans isn’t featured in the overall rankings, but considering that he is the No. 1 long snapper in the country, this is a good get for the embattled Parker Fleming. Who will be his position coach next season is yet to be determined, but as Fleming visited earlier this month, there should be no concern about losing Evans at this point.