One of the more exciting aspects to happen to Ohio State so far this offseason has been the addition and homecoming of James Laurinaitis. A star during his playing days, Laurinaitis got his start in coaching last season when he was at Notre Dame, but the opportunity to come back home presented itself, and it’s safe to say the Buckeyes are going to love all that he brings.
Not a full-time position coach, Laurinaitis will be in an assistant role, but being able to coach on-field and also recruit on campus are the two biggest areas he’s sure to help Ohio State with. Having a linebacker coach at heart for a defensive coordinator, Jim Knowles knows exactly what he wants in that position, but the benefits to having James on staff is sure to increase the level of play for one, but also in the efforts of when the top targeted linebackers on campus.
As seen with Brian Hartline, having a former player who had a ton of success in the NFL now on staff really appeals to recruits, and the Buckeyes are hoping they have that once again with Laurinaitis in the fold. As the spring gets closer, more and more recruits are going to be heading to Columbus, and that’s where Laurinaitis can really start his efforts in pitching Ohio State when it comes to priority linebackers.
On Thursday, 2024 linebacker Qua Birdsong set his visit plans to see the Buckeyes in the near future, and he certainly won’t be the only one to step foot onto campus during the spring football practice season.
The No. 146 player nationally, Birdsong is also the 14th best linebacker in the country per the 247Sports Composite. A Georgia native, Birdsong may not have a long list of offers yet, but his plans to visit schools around the country this spring may have an impact on that list.
Still, with programs such as Notre Dame, USC, Ole Miss, NC State, and others in the mix already, the four-star ranking checks out. At any rate, these March visit plans may have Qua leaving Ohio State with more than just interest in mind, and especially after he’s visited with the new defensive staff additions who know his spot well.
Cali native LB wants to see Ohio State up close and personal
Sticking with the trend, the linebacker position and specifically the work Laurinaitis is already doing is showing it’s worth. Ohio State goes back to the well time and time again when it comes to recruiting players from the same prep program regardless of year. When top high schools are producing elite players at a high rate, it only makes sense to spend time recruiting the schools where there’s already been previous success, and that looks to be the same in the 2024 class as well.
California’s St. John Bosco is one of the top prep powers every year, and Ohio State has been able to land a few players from there as well. In the current cycle, it looks as if the Buckeyes are hoping to get back into the Bosco program with linebacker target, Kyngstonn Viliamu-Asa.
One of the best players in the state, Viliamu-Asa is currently the No. 80 player nationally and the eighth best linebacker in the country per the 247Sports Composite. With over 20 offers to his name and from the likes of Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Auburn, Notre Dame, Miami, and plenty of others, it’s easy to see why Ohio State and so many others are in on him.
Fortunately, Ohio State is doing enough already to have Kyngstonn wanting to plan an official visit to Columbus. One of the key reasons as to why though is a great sign for Ohio State — because of Laurinaitis and his ability to build a relationship. This was a great hire and a no brainer, but seeing him work this hard this early on for his alma mater shows how important he will be to this defensive staff as a whole.