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Buckeyes make the cut for the top safety in the 2025 class, on the mind of another five-star California native

DJ Pickett keeps Ohio State in his top schools list after narrowing it down to 13.

DJ Pickett

Defensive coordinator Jim Knowles has explained how critical the safety spot is to his scheme, and in every recruiting cycle the Buckeyes are looking to take multiple guys to fill those roles. Whether it be in pass coverage, a deep safety or more of the run stopping guy, Ohio State is recruiting multiple body types and skillsets to anchor the back end of their defense. Fortunately, the staff has been able to land some top national prospects, but have really been blessed with in-state Ohio talent these last two recruiting cycles.

Looking into the future, position coach Perry Elliano has a list of guys he’s already after, and on Thursday the top safety in the 2025 class DJ Pickett (Tampa, Florida/Zephyrhills) took the latest step in his recruiting process by naming a short list of schools. The No. 8 player nationally, Pickett is listed as the top safety, but also the second-best player in a loaded state of Florida per the 247Sports Composite. With nearly 40 offers to his name and from the top programs in the country, getting down to 13 shows he is well on his way to narrowing things down even with two full seasons of prep football to play.

A 6-foot-2, 170 pound athlete, Picket included Florida, Florida State, Michigan, Georgia, Alabama, Texas, Texas A&M, Miami, Oregon, Penn State, South Carolina, LSU, and Ohio State. Still a lengthy list of candidates, the next few months will be dedicated to his junior season, but also checking in with the remaining schools he’s still considering. Trips to the local SEC schools will be easier, but Ohio State has already hosted Pickett for a game day atmosphere and would love nothing more than for him to make a return trip.

As always, it will be tough to pull any player out of SEC country, but with how well the Buckeyes tend to recruit in the Sunshine State, this isn’t a battle they’ll concede. Look for Ohio State and Eliano to use their safety-driven scheme to their advantage and show DJ why Columbus is the spot to be. Definitely a name worth watching for the long haul considering the ranking and talent he brings to the table.

Quick Hits

  • There may not be a school that Ohio State has tried to get in with more than California’s prep power house, Mater Dei. The Division-I factory is constantly churning out elite Power Five players one after another, and the Buckeyes would be thrilled to finally make some efforts come to fruition with a commitment. Still trying for one in the current 2024 class with offensive tackle target Brandon Baker, they’ll have to fend off Oregon, but the staff isn’t giving up yet.

Additionally, yesterday Mater Dei linebacker target Nasir Wyatt shared an Ohio State graphic designed for him on his Twitter account, and while kids tend to post these sort of promos regularly, it at least shows he’s thinking about the Buckeyes.

A 6-foot-2, 210 pound athlete, Wyatt is currently the No. 20 player nationally, the second best player at his position, and the top player in California for the 2025 class per the 247Sports Composite. Looking to make some progress and finally break the dam at Mater Dei, the staff will continue to shoot their best shot, and that includes Wyatt in this next recruiting class. Fortunately, it looks like James Laurinaitis is already all over this one.