It seems like only yesterday Ohio State’s recruiting was dead and buried because it lost an in-state running back to its rival up North. The Wolverines pillaging an Ohio back had social media in a frenzy, and dooming OSU to lose the rivalry for the next 10 years. As it would turn out, that is not quite the case, as this weekend saw the Buckeyes land an even higher-rated player at the position — one who was at the very top of their board.
The player in question, of course, is none other than four-star running back James Peoples. The 5-foot-10, 192-pound ball-carrier out of San Antonio, Texas is the No. 5 RB and No. 69 player overall in the 2024 class, according to the 247Sports Composite. He is also the No. 15 player out of the Lone Star State. Peoples is scheduled to take an official visit to Columbus on June 23, but seems to have liked what he saw enough on his unofficial trip this weekend to pull the trigger now.
I Wanted to thank my Family, Coaches, and Friends for supporting me through this entire process. I wanted to also thank all the Universities who have recruited me… With that being said I will be Committing to the University OF ️HIO STATE ‼️@OhioStateFB @Bucknuts247 @Birm pic.twitter.com/LvRrNcWoOP— James (@James_peoples17) April 3, 2023
Peoples had around 30 offers to his name, but had cut things down to a top five of Alabama, Oklahoma, Oregon, TCU, Texas and OSU. Ohio State had offered the talented tailback back in October of 2022, but the Buckeyes really began surging for Peoples these last few weeks. Already viewed as the leader in the race, this last visit was enough to push them to the finish line.
“I like the people, the coaching staff, the family focus, the environment, it’s like a family,” Peoples said. “When they say family they really mean it. Ohio State is a very successful program with one of the top offenses in the country. They already have four offensive line commitments so they have the people up front. And I like the rivalry with the team up north. It’s the biggest rivalry in college football.”
While in Columbus, Peoples spent time with two fellow Ohio State commits in Deontae and Devantae Armstrong, who joined the Buckeyes’ class just last week. The group got lunch and spent a bunch of time together, as a big reason for the return trip for the twin offensive linemen was to help recruit Peoples to OSU. That seems to have gone about as well as planned, as all three are now members of this 2024 group for Ohio State that currently ranks No. 5 in the country.
There is still a long way to go in this cycle, but the addition of Peoples is a big one. Ohio State and position coach Tony Alford will be looking to land two running backs in this class, and with Peoples already in the fold, Alford has afforded himself the opportunity to pick and choose who else he’d like to recruit to join him. A pair of names to keep an eye out for are four-star Stacy Gage out of Florida and three-star Sam Williams-Dixon from Ohio.
Noland finally earns Buckeye offer
The other big news of the weekend came in the latest Ohio State offer, with stud quarterback prospect Air Noland on the receiving end. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound lefty currently stands as the No. 7 QB in the country and the No. 55 player overall according to 247Sports’ rankings.
Despite just receiving his offer now, Noland is no stranger to Ohio State. The Buckeyes have long been on the talented QB’s radar, as the Buckeyes were even include among his top seven schools last weekend even before Ryan Day officially entered the mix. Noland’s bond with Ohio State seemingly got even stronger this weekend, as all seemed to go very well during his visit to Columbus.
“Everything you can ask for is at Ohio State, especially from a quarterback standpoint,” Noland told 247Sports.
With a commitment date set for April 8 — a date that was set before the Ohio State offer came in, it is worth mentioning — it will be interesting to see how this one plays out. Noland and the Buckeyes clearly have some mutual interest, but did Day and his staff wait to long to offer that Noland has his heart set elsewhere. Or, does he want to be the next in line to become a first round draft pick at the quarterback spot for the Buckeyes?
- Ohio State will soon be welcoming to town five-star wide receiver and their top commit in the 2024 class, Jeremiah Smith. A truly can't-miss prospect at the receiver position, even with all the talent we’ve seen come through Columbus at the spot, Smith is the No. 1 WR and the No. 2 overall player on the 247Sports Composite. Drawing comparisons to NFL receiver Julio Jones as just a high school junior, this is an important talent to keep in the fold.