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Ohio State surging for 2024 five-star defensive end

A strong weekend of official visits has the Buckeyes in prime position for a number of defensive recruits.

2024 five-star DL Eddrick Houston
Andrew Ivins, 247Sports

For a while, Ohio State’s 2024 class has been incredible offense-heavy. Before the commitment of safety Jaylen McClain this past week, 11 of the Buckeyes’ 13 commits in this cycle were on the offensive side of the football. Of course, that isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially when among those 11 players are a pair of five-star receivers in Jeremiah Smith and Mylan Graham in addition to top-five players at their position in quarterback Air Noland and running back James Peoples.

Still, Ohio State can't afford to rest on its laurels of a strong offensive class — especially when the team’s major shortcomings on the field the past few seasons have come on defense. Defensive line recruiting especially has been an area of concern as well after the staff whiffed on all of its major targets last year. Well, fear not Buckeye Nation, as it seems as though things are about to change in a major way.

By all accounts, Ryan Day and his staff are coming off an incredible weekend of official visits with some huge names in attendance, including four five-star prospects. There is a ton of buzz around the program right now, and social media was ablaze as both current commits and those on the beat teased some big potential commitments to come in the near future. Of all the hype generated this weekend, none was bigger than that surrounding Eddrick Houston.

A five-star defensive end, Houston, who already had a Crystal Ball prediction in favor of Ohio State from 247Sports Director of Recruiting Steve Wiltfong from about a week ago, picked up another on Sunday from OSU insider Bill Kurelic. Currently ranking as the No. 4 defensive lineman and No. 19 overall player in the 247Sports Composite, Houston would obviously be a massive get for position coach Larry Johnson, and it would be extra impressive to pull him out of Georgia nonetheless, where he is the No. 4 player in the state.

Houston has one last official visit scheduled to Alabama on June 23, but there have been rumors floating around that he could elect to cancel that trip after seeing all he needed to see in Columbus. His official commitment date is set for Aug. 22, but a decision could of course come sooner if he has in fact already made up his mind. In any case, the Buckeyes come away from this weekend as the odds-on favorite to land one of the nation’s top DL.

Of all the guys in attendance this weekend, it’s easy to imagine that Houston is the ‘Boom’ that everyone is teasing. Time will tell.

Funny enough, Houston wasn’t the only five-star prospect out of Buford High School to enjoy his time in Columbus this weekend. His teammate, safety KJ Bolden, also seemed to love his trip to Ohio State. The nation’s No. 1 safety and No. 7 overall player in the 247Sports Composite is the No. 1 player from the talent-rich state of Georgia, and the 6-foot-1 defensive back made no secret of how his official visit with the Buckeyes went.

Bolden does currently hold two Crystal Ball predictions in favor of Georgia, but Ohio State is working hard to try and sway him up north, and having him in town alongside Houston who seems to be leaning heavily towards the Buckeyes certainly hasn’t hurt things. Bolden has already taken his official visit to Georgia as well as taken trips to Auburn and Clemson, and like Houston (for now) has just one OV remaining to Alabama on June 23.

In addition to Houston and Bolden, Dylan Stewart and Kobe Black rounded out the five-stars on campus this weekend. Stewart, the No. 2 EDGE and No. 9 prospect overall on the 247Sports Composite, also seemingly had a fantastic time on his official visit to Ohio State, with Kurelic “getting closer” to putting in a Crystal Ball for the Buckeyes after the trip. Coach LJ would be elated with a defensive line duo of Houston and Stewart in this class.

Black is a name we haven’t heard a ton in regards to Ohio State, as most of the staff’s time at cornerback has been spent on Aaron Scott Jr. and Bryce West. Still, the Waco, Texas native seemingly came away pleased with what he saw in Columbus. Black is the No. 3 CB and No. 23 player overall in the 247Sports Composite. Neither he nor Stewart currently have any Crystal Ball predictions logged at this point.

Quick Hits

  • Speaking of West, it is reportedly now just a two-team race for the Cleveland Glenville product, with Ohio State and Michigan the last two teams standing. The No. 4 CB and No. 49 overall player in the 2024 class, there are currently seven (7!) Crystal Ball predictions logged for West — all of which favor the Buckeyes.
  • Elsewhere, future Buckeyes were showing off at the Elite 11 Finals in Southern California. While Alabama commit Julian Sayin was named the event’s MVP, OSU commit Air Noland ranked third in 247Sports’ rankings and fifth by On3 out of the 20 QBs in attendance as he competed against some of the nation’s best. Receiver Jeremiah Smith was also named one of the top overall performers at the event by On3, coming in at No. 5.

Of note, both WR Elijah Moore and WR Jeremiah McClellan, the No. 6 and No. 8 players on the list, respectively, are both Crystal Ball’d to Ohio State.