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BOOOOOM!!! Ohio State lands five-star DL Justin Scott, chasing No. 1 class in 2024

The Buckeyes ain’t done yet, either...

Five-star DL Justin Scott
via @juustinscott on Twitter

Yes, those are fireworks you are hearing from Columbus, Ohio. No, they aren’t from people celebrating the 4th of July just yet...

Ohio State pulled off a major BOOOOOM on Sunday ahead of the holiday festivities, landing a surprise commitment from 2024 five-star defensive lineman Justin Scott.

With Crystal Ball predictions in favor of Miami and Notre Dame, it was somewhat shocking for Scott to announce his pledge to the Buckeyes this weekend. However, after visiting both Ohio State and Michigan recently, Scott was ready to shut things down. When he arrived in Columbus, it seemed as though the nation’s No. 3 DL and the No. 21 player in the class overall, per the 247Sports Composite, was ready to become a Wolverine. Then, things changed.

“The 5-star DL texted me while on his OV to Michigan that he’d be committing July 2nd,” On3’s Hayes Fawcett said on Twitter. “At first it was Michigan for he & his family but that changed.”

“Going into the visit, my fam was heavily set on Michigan,” Scott told Fawcett. “Throughout the (Ohio State) visit they were really still set on Michigan. But towards the end of it, coach Johnson sat us down & went over an in depth plan that they had for me.”

Needless to say, this is an absolutely massive recruiting victory for position coach Larry Johnson. Beating your rival for a top prospect is a cherry on top, but after the way Ohio State missed out on its big five-star targets along the defensive line in the last recruiting cycle, some had questioned whether or not coach LJ had started to lose his fastball. Pulling a player of Scott’s caliber will silence a lot of those critics.

Here is what 247Sports national recruiting analyst Allen Trieu had to say of Scott’s abilities:

“Has prototypical size and athletic ability for the position. Bends well, gets off the ball quickly and can beat blockers with initial quickness. Closes to the ball with speed as well. For a taller interior defensive lineman, he generally does a good job with pad level and his flexibility helps with that. [...] Has great upside though and actually could play high-level offensive line if he wanted to also, but projects as a defensive tackle that can play for any school and in any scheme in the country.”

For Johnson, it is the first five-star recruit he’s landed since the 2021 class, when he brought in both J.T. Tuimoloau and Jack Sawyer. For the Buckeyes in 2024, Scott becomes the first defensive lineman commit and the fifth defensive player committed overall, joining linebackers Garrett Stover and Payton Pierce and defensive backs Bryce West and Jaylen McClain. While the offensive side of the football got going fast in this cycle, the defense is now rounding into form quite nicely as well.

Scott becomes the fourth five-star in Ohio State’s 2024 class, and is the second-highest rated player in the group overall behind only wide receiver Jeremiah Smith. Scott’s commitment gives Ryan Day and co. the highest average player rating in the country at 93.70, overtaking Georgia (93.20) and Alabama (93.48). Ohio State remains the No. 2 class overall at 279.46 with 17 commits, trailing just behind only the Bulldogs (301.09, 22 commits) but closing the gap — especially with more potential BOOOOOMs coming soon.

That would be none other than fellow five-star defensive lineman Dylan Stewart, who shortly after the commitment of Scott began receiving a flood of Crystal Balls in favor of Ohio State. 247Sports Director of Recruiting Steve Wiltfong, alongside OSU insider Bill Kurelic and national analyst Brian Dohn, logged their CBs in the Buckeyes’ favor on Sunday night, and the prospect of landing both Scott and Stewart in quick succession seems almost too good to be true.

Stewart, the No. 2 EDGE and No. 9 overall player in the 2024 class per the 247Sports Composite, hails out of Washington, D.C., and has hauled in over 35 offers during his recruiting process as one of the nation’s top defensive line prospects. Ohio State is among his top five schools, which also includes Georgia, Maryland, South Carolina and Maryland. The ‘Canes at one point looked to be in the lead, but the experts now believe the race to be down to the Buckeyes and Gamecocks, with coach LJ’s group out in front.

This is, of course, in addition to four-star defensive lineman Marquise Lightfoot, who is scheduled to announce his commitment on Monday, July 3 at 5:00 p.m. ET. Lightfoot, the No. 6 EDGE and No. 67 prospect nationally, will be choosing between Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Miami and USC. Of note, the Buckeyes hold all three Crystal Ball predictions for Lightfoot, so it looks as though the defensive line recruiting in Columbus is really about to take off.