It has seemingly been nothing but good news for Ohio State on the recruiting front since the new year, and that positive momentum continued during the holiday weekend.
While the Buckeyes were thought to be virtually finished in the 2024 class, there were still one or two guys committed elsewhere that remained on the radar. On Friday night, Ohio State and position coach Larry Johnson got one step closer to flipping one of said prospects when defensive lineman Dominic Kirks de-committed from Washington following Huskies head coach Kalen DeBoer taking over at Alabama.
OSU was already thought to be a strong presence in Kirks’ recruitment down the stretch, being the No. 33 DL and No. 251 player nationally hails from Painesville, Ohio. The 6-foot-4, 255 pounder’s decision to rescind his pledge from Washington came at a very opportune time for the Buckeyes, as Kirks already had plans to visit Columbus over the weekend. Seemingly the only thing stopping the Riverside High School product from committing to the in-state program was that elusive Ohio State offer, which finally came on Sunday afternoon.
Even before the offer was officially announced, Kirks saw a pair of Crystal Ball predictions in favor of Ohio State logged by both 247Sports national recruiting analyst Allen Trieu as well as well as OSU insider Bill Kurelic. With only two other defensive line commits in the 2024 class in Eddrick Houston and Eric Mensah, Kirks would be a very welcomed late addition to the Buckeyes’ fourth-ranked class. Nothing is official just yet, but a decision sounds like it could be coming sooner than later.
Speaking of guys Ohio State is after that were previously committed elsewhere, the Buckeyes got more potentially good news over the weekend when five-star 2025 wide receiver Jaime Ffrench de-committed from Alabama following Nick Saban’s retirement.
BREAKING: Five-Star WR Jaime Ffrench tells me he has Decommitted from Alabama— Hayes Fawcett (@Hayesfawcett3) January 15, 2024
The No. 3 WR in the ‘25 Class had been Committed to the Crimson Tide since July
He is the 2nd Five-Star WR to Decommit from Alabama since Nick Saban’s retirementhttps://t.co/p6xG0wQqzC pic.twitter.com/3Olr6TmPBW
The No. 3 WR and No. 11 overall player in the 2025 class, Ffrench is undoubtedly one of the more coveted prospects in the cycle, which is further evidenced by his over 30 offers. Even before the Saban news and his de-commitment from the Tide, it was made clear that Brian Hartline was still actively pursuing the star pass-catcher. Hartline is no stranger to landing five-star wideouts, and would love to add Ffrench to his treasure trove of blue-chippers in his room at Ohio State.
Despite being committed to Alabama since July, Ffrench was in Columbus in October for the Buckeyes’ win over Penn State.
“It was a great visit and experience. It was 10/10 for sure,” Ffrench told Eleven Warriors following his visit. “The Buckeyes still stand high in my recruitment.”
There will be no shortage of suitors now that the 6-foot-1 receiver out of Jacksonville, Florida is back on the market, but Ohio State has the added benefit of both a prior relationship and a proven track record of success at the position under Hartline. The Buckeyes were among his final candidates during his initial recruitment, alongside Florida State, Notre Dame and Penn State, and should be right back in the mix once again.
Finally, in what was a busy weekend of positive news for Ohio State, the Buckeyes appear to be trending for one of the country’s top linebackers in the 2025 class as well. Tarvos Alford, the No. 10 LB and No. 73 overall player on the 247Sports Composite, received a prediction via Matt Parker of On3 on Sunday night in favor of Ohio State.
The Vero Beach, Florida native turned heads at an Ohio State recruiting camp over the summer, getting an opportunity to work alongside both Jim Knowles and James Laurinaitis. Having been offered by Laurinatis in the first place back in April, the 6-foot-2 coverage linebacker seemed to have really hit it off with both coaches, and the Buckeyes have been the favorite on Rivals since that trip, per Jeremy Birmingham.
“An early offer and a very solid relationship formed with James Laurinaitis — cemented during a June 2023 camp visit to Ohio State — may be enough to hold off all comers when Alford inevitably blows up.” said Birm of his Forecast on June 12, 2023.
Both Alford’s 247Sports Crystal Ball and the On3 RPM previously favored Florida, but each of those predictions came in early 2023. It seems as though the Buckeyes have made a real push here, and could be the team to beat when all is said and done.
- The fallout of Saban’s retirement — and subsequent DaBoer move to Alabama and then Jedd Fisch’s move to Washington — will likely result in roster attrition for all three programs via the transfer portal. On Sunday, former Washington guard Nate Kalepo became one of the latest players to enter the portal, and with Ohio State looking to add more talent and experience up front, maybe Justin Frye can benefit from some outgoing linemen from this trio of schools, including a guy like Kalepo.
Washington offensive lineman Nate Kalepo has entered the transfer portal, @On3sports has learned.— Pete Nakos (@PeteNakos_) January 14, 2024
Former four-star recruit started every game this season. https://t.co/VNvB2Ek6qR pic.twitter.com/noIMbrqGp1
- With so much attention on guys like Ohio State commit Devin Sanchez and potential future commit Dorian Brew — and rightfully so — you can’t forget that the Buckeyes also have another stud defensive back committed in 2025 in Blake Woodby. The No. 10 CB and No. 76 overall player in the cycle, Woodby, a Maryland native, will be back on campus later this month.