Every day from now until the start of the season, Land-Grant Holy Land is highlighting Ohio State football players that you should be watching this season. Check out all of our ”Player to Watch” articles to get ready for the season opener against Indiana.
Ohio State essentially concluded their 2023 recruiting class on Dec. 22, 2022, when safety Jayden Bonsu was added to the class that was announced to the media and fans (More on Bonsu below). I wrote the term “essentially”, as you will see this freshman group was recently augmented, and has shown signs of contributions for the upcoming 2023 season, as well as seasons to come.
Back in January, I wrote an article about how 11 of the 20 players had already enrolled at Ohio State to participate in spring football drills. This article is going to focus upon those remaining players who made the move to Columbus at the beginning of June, and where things stand with them on the depth chart as we get ever so closer to game week. We will also look into the circumstances of a player who did not sign with Ohio State, but has since been added to the roster for the 2023 season.
Below are a listing of these 10 players from when they gave Ohio State their respective verbal commitments, and try to gauge what impact they may have this upcoming season.
- Cedrick Hawkins - Safety
Hawkins gave his verbal commitment to Ohio State on Jan. 1, 2022. I find that somewhat noteworthy, as Hawkins was verbally committing to a staff that was about to undergo dramatic changes on the defensive side of the ball after the 2022 Rose Bowl with the departures of Kerry Coombs and Matt Barnes and the arrivals of Jim Knowles, Tim Walton, and Perry Eliano, and kept his commitment steady until signing day.
Hawkins is wearing No. 26, and could be making his first impressions on the special teams units this upcoming season.
2. Brandon Inniss - Wide Receiver
Inniss gave his verbal commitment to Ohio State on June 21, 2022, and was ranked as the top player in Ohio State’s 2023 recruiting class. Wearing a notable No. 11 jersey that other prominent Ohio State wide receivers have worn throughout their careers, such as Anthony Gonzalez, Austin Mack, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Inniss had his black stripe removed from his helmet on Aug. 21.
It is certainly questionable as to how much Inniss will play in 2023 with such a stacked wide receiver room, but it will not be surprising to see Inniss get playing time this season. Inniss ranks as one of my “Players To Watch” for 2023.
3. Calvin Simpson-Hunt - Cornerback
Simpson-Hunt was originally committed to Texas Tech, but switched his commitment to Ohio State on June 30, 2022. Simpson-Hunt was a stellar track performer, having been timed at 10.97 in the 100 meters and a 22.00 in the 200 meters. Like his classmater Cedrick Hawkins, Simpson-Hunt may wind up contributing on special teams initially, especially with that tremendous speed. Simpson-Hunt is wearing No. 15.
4. Jason Moore - Defensive Line
Signed out of powerhouse DeMatha Catholic, Moore gave his verbal commitment to Ohio State on July 10, 2022. Ohio State lists Moore at 6-foot-6 and 295 pounds, and he is wearing the No. 94 jersey this season, the same number popularized by other prominent Ohio State defensive linemen such as Mike Vrabel and Rodney Bailey. Moore could be a redshirt candidate this upcoming season.
5. Arvell Reese - Defensive End
Signed out of Cleveland Glenville, Reese gave his verbal commitment to Ohio State on Aug. 6, 2022. Traditionally, Glenville players who eventually signed with Ohio State have waited until later in the process to give their verbal commitments. Regardless of when it took place, Ohio State coaches were naturally ecstatic to get a player of Reese’s caliber on the roster.
Although recruited as a linebacker, Reese made the move to defensive end in fall camp, and had his black stripe removed on August 22. Reese will be wearing No. 20 this upcoming season.
6. Jayden Bonsu - Safety
Bonsu gave his verbal commitment to Ohio State on Aug. 14, 2022. Drama ensued on the first day of the early signing period when Bonsu had not sent in his letter of intent, which caused a great deal of angst that Bonsu was reconsidering his commitment. Fortunately for Ohio State, Bonsu signed with Ohio State, and he arrived on campus this summer for conditioning and fall camp after a stellar high school career at St. Peter’s Prep in New Jersey.
Bonsu is wearing No. 21 for the upcoming season, and could see his initial contributions on the special teams units, with a possible redshirt year.
7. Kayden McDonald - Defensive Line
McDonald gave his verbal commitment to Ohio State on Halloween, Oct. 31. It would be accurate to say that it was more of a treat than a trick to get a defensive lineman rated as one of the premier players out of the state of Georgia. Even though McDonald arrived on campus this summer, he demonstrated to his teammates and coaches that he is a player that can be counted upon in a game, as illustrated by being the first of the summer enrollees to have his black stripe removed on Aug. 19.
Wearing No. 56, it will bear watching to see what kind of playing time McDonald earns along the defensive line this coming season.
8. Lincoln Kienholz - Quarterback
Originally committed to Washington, Kienholz flipped his verbal commitment to Ohio State on Dec. 14, 2022. Hailing from T.F. Riggs in Pierre, South Dakota, Kienholz also competed on the basketball and baseball teams. While speculation swirls about the 2023 starting quarterback, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day was effusive in his praise for Kienholz as a scout team quarterback in 2023. Kienholz will wear No. 12 and will likely redshirt in 2023.
“I think he can really help us, especially with some of the quarterbacks we see who are more athletic...It’s one thing to have a drill with a quarterback that maybe can’t disconnect, but when you’re reading a defensive end or scrambling and those things – to have somebody who can mimic what the other quarterback will do, that’s really good. It’s different to know the guys in the back end have to cover a little longer, and guys in the front end have to pursue more and cage the pocket. Those are things I think Lincoln can do.”
9. Joshua Mickens - Defensive End
Mickens was originally verballed to LSU, but reopened his commitment and decided to sign with Ohio State on Dec. 21, 2022. Considered the top player in the state of Indiana, Mickens is listed at 6-foot-5, 236 pounds. Mickens could see limited playing time in 2023, and will wear No. 52 for the Buckeyes.
10. Nigel Glover - Linebacker
Glover originally signed with Northwestern, but entered the transfer portal and signed with Ohio State as the Buckeyes were beginning fall camp. A safety in high school from Clayton, Ohio, Glover will play linebacker for Ohio State in the coming seasons. Special teams units seem to be a likely place where Glover will contribute in 2023. Glover will wear No. 37 for the Buckeyes.