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Ohio State lands top transfer defensive lineman; top-75 defensive end sets visit for June

And with that, it appears, that the Buckeyes are done with the transfer portal for this season.

NCAA Football: Austin Peay at Mississippi Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Tamanini Matt Tamanini is the co-managing editor of Land-Grant Holy Land having joined the site in 2016.

The Ohio State football team added a pretty exciting transfer lineman on Tuesday, and while it wasn’t on the offensive line, the pickup should be a huge addition to a pretty thin unit. Also, one of the most sought-after 2024 recruits on the Buckeyes’ board has confirmed his fifth trip to Columbus.

Ohio State hits a home run with defensive tackle transfer

The football Buckeyes picked up a potentially huge BOOOOOOOM on Tuesday with the commitment of former Ole Miss defensive tackle (and first baseman) Tywone Malone. He was one of the highest-rated d-linemen to enter the transfer portal during the post-spring window.

Coming out of high school in 2021, Malone was the No. 63 player in the country, and Ohio State pursued him extensively, but ended up losing out to the Rebels. However, those connections remained strong and proved valuable this time around.

As a Buckeye, it is likely that Malone will have to work his way up the depth chart. In his two years in Oxford, he has only notched 13 total tackles and a pair of sacks. However, with three years of eligibility remaining, he has considerable upside for the future of the room.

Malone will start off behind Mike Hall Jr. and Tyleik Williams — who were also part of the 2021 recruiting class — as well as Ty Hamilton. However, adding another athletic tackle to the mix was important for the Buckeyes following the spring. The only other two tackles currently on the roster are fifth-year veteran Jaden McKenzie and second-year player Hero Kanu.

Not only were Malone’s recruiting ties to Ohio State likely important for the Buckeyes landing the transfer, but perhaps also was the presence of fellow former Rebel Davison Igbinosun. Both Malone and Igbinosun are New Jersey natives who went to Ole Miss before transferring to Columbus this offseason.

Malone also played for the Ole Miss baseball team during his two years in Oxford. However, his playing time was limited, amassing just 19 at-bats, but two of those did result in home runs.

Nigel Smith II locks in Fifth Visit to Ohio State

Things are official now. The No. 73 player in the 2024 recruiting class, defensive end Nigel Smith II has set his official visit date with the Buckeyes, and it’s coming up soon. Having been to Columbus four times previously — including to see Ohio State beat Notre Dame last season — the 6-foot-5, 260-pound edge rusher will visit campus on the weekend of June 2-4.

The trip to Columbus will be the second on his official visit itinerary following a late-May trip to Piscataway to check in with Greg Shiano’s Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Following his time with the Buckeyes, Smith will hit three more stops in June — Penn State from June 9 to 11, Oklahoma from June 16 to 18, and Texas A&M from June 23 to 25.

The Melissa, Texas native will then focus on his upcoming high school season before heading down to Austin to visit the Longhorns for their season opener from Sept. 1 through 3. Smith did leave the possibility open to add a couple of other visits, but does plan to announce his decision by the third game of his high school season the weekend of Sept. 8.

According to Bucknuts’ Bill Kurelic, Smith said that defensive coordinator Jim Knowles and defensive line coach Larry Johnson have talked to him about helping him become one of the premier edge rushers in the country.

Quick Hits:

  • After extensive evaluation by head coach Ryan Day and cornerback coach Tim Walton, the Buckeyes offered low four-star cornerback Terhyon Nichols from Withrow High School in Cincinnati. the No. 321 player in the 2024 cycle is the ninth-ranked player in Ohio and the No. 29 corner in the class. He is also the third in-state CB that the Buckeyes have offered, following Glenville’s Bryce West (No. 47 nationally) and Springfield’s Aaron Scott (No. 60 nationally).
  • Speaking of Scott, two of the schools leading for his recruitment are Ohio State and Michigan, which can put the Ohio native into some pretty uncomfortable positions, not only with Buckeye-loving friends and family, but the two school’s coaches as well. He told Eleven Warriors, “They talk about each other all the time. Talking about they don’t want me to go there. They’re definitely competitive and preach on going to their schools.”

I know a surefire way to stop the bickering, Aaron; announce that you’re staying home and all will be right in the world.