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Ohio State offers two in-state players; top-70 running back sets visit for this month

It was a busy day at the Woody as the Buckeyes kicked off spring practice while also welcoming a number of players to campus.

Twitter | @luka_gilbert

Tuesday was a big day for the Ohio State football team for more reasons than just the start of spring practice. There were numerous prospects on campus to take in the first of 15 sessions over the next five weeks, and Ryan Day and his treated all of the prospects on hand to the traditional campus-visit photo shoot, offered a couple of players, and discussed return trips as well.

Ohio State Offers Pair of Young, In-State Prospects

2025 Tight End Luka Gilbert | West Chester, Ohio

Luka Gilbert is a 6-foot-7, 205-pound sophomore at Lakota West High School in West Chester, Ohio. It’s still a little early for the rankings to come in for the 2025 class, but he does have a handful of other offers from Kentucky, Nevada, Pittsburgh, and UConn. Not exactly the most impressive slate of schools, but for a kid who has only played two seasons of high school football to already earn an offer from the Buckeyes speaks to how highly Day and new TE coach Keenan Bailey think of the in-state star.

2026 Offensive Tackle Maxwell Riley | Avon Lake, Ohio

If you thought that extending offers to high school sophomores was premature, get a load of 2026 offensive tackle prospect Maxwell Riley who the Buckeyes extended a scholarship offer to on Tuesday. The 6-foot-5, 263-pounder is currently a freshman at Avon Lake High School. Despite that fact, he already holds offers from Florida State, Miami (Fla.), and Toledo.

Local High School Teammates Make Visit

A pair of Pickerington North running backs were on hand as the Buckeyes kicked off spring ball on Tuesday, three-star 2024 RB Sam Williams-Dixon and 2025 prospect Michael Taylor. Williams-Dixon picked up an offer from OSU in January to go along with his 15 other Division I offers, including those from Cincinnati, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan State, Penn State, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

Currently, OSU does not have a running back in its 2024 class, but obviously, it is early. They have offers out to 11 players in addition to Williams-Dixon, including top-100 players Jerrick Gibson, Taylor Tatum, James Peoples, and Jordan Marshall. Williams-Dixon and Marshall (Archbishop Moeller High School) are the only two Ohio prospects on the list.

In late February, Williams-Dixon announced that the Buckeyes were among his top-five schools, joining Penn State, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Rutgers. Though he originally had planned to visit all five this spring, according to Bucknuts’ Bill Kurelic, the Pickering North prospect will only make one or two more visits hit spring.

As for Williams-Dixon’s Panther teammate, Taylor only has an offer from Kentucky, but is likely working his way to one from his hometown Buckeyes. Currently, OSU has only extended eight offers to 2025 running backs, and only one — Cleveland Heights’ Marquise Davis — is from Ohio.

Top-100 Running Back Plans Visit for Later This Month

Speaking of running backs, No. 69 overall recruit in the country nicely confirmed that he would be coming up to Columbus at the end of the month. James Peoples is a four-star, 5-foot-10, 192-pound running back from San Antonio’s Veterans Memorial High School, and according to his Twitter feed, he will be coming to campus on Thursday, March 30.

The Buckeyes initially offered the back in mid-October and he has only continued to amass offers since then. Currently, he has 25 offers from the likes of Oklahoma, Texas, Alabama, TCU, Tennessee, Auburn, Oregon, Penn State, USC, and others.

While we certainly don’t want to speculate too much, especially with Oklahoma and Lincoln Riley’s USC on Peoples’ offer list, but the running back did use the eyeballs emoji in the tweet, so who knows what could happen at the end of the month...

Other Players Making the Trip to Campus on Tuesday

There were a number of other potential Buckeyes at the Woody on Tuesday. Most of the players were from Ohio, with a selection of recruits from surrounding states. None of them are the top-end talent that you would expect to headline an OSU class, but the current juniors would have the ability to fill holes in the Buckeyes’ class, while there is plenty of time for the younger guys to work on their games in time to rise up the rankings and earn an Ohio State offer.

2024 Cornerback Cam Boone | Lakewood, Ohio

2025 Athlete Taizaun Burns, Columbus, Ohio

2024 Interior Offensive Lineman Andrew Dennis | Mount Pleasant, Mich.

2024 Cornerback Michael-Arinzé Ezirim | Dublin, Ohio

2025 Wide Receiver Eugene Hilton, Jr. | Zionsville, Ind.

2026 Cornerback Ra’Shaud Holland | Pickerington, Ohio

2024 Interior Offensive Lineman Marc Nave Jr. | Toledo, Ohio

2027 Quarterback Jackson Smith, Arcanum, Ohio