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Dominic Kirks, Julian Sayin commit to Ohio State, Buckeyes host Junior Day

It was another BOOOOOMing weekend for the Buckeyes.

Five-star 2024 QB Julian Sayin
Andrew Ivins, 247Sports

Ohio State’s momentum in 2024 kept on trucking over the weekend, as news for the Buckeyes seemingly gets better and better with each passing day. With the dust not even settled from the tremendous addition of star safety Caleb Downs via the transfer portal on Friday, Ryan Day’s program added another pair of big time players in just the last 48 hours.

That doesn’t even include what looked to be a very successful Junior Day for Ohio State, with many of the nation’s top prospects in the next two cycles making the trek to Columbus for the recruiting event. But more on that later...

On Saturday, the Buckeyes managed to add one more name late in the game to their 2024 recruiting class, flipping four-star defensive lineman Dominic Kirks from Washington.

Kirks, a native of Plainesville, Ohio, did not sign his NLI with the Huskies during the Early Signing Period. Despite not having an Ohio State offer in hand until Jan. 14, rumors began circling even before Kalen DeBoer took the Alabama job that Kirks was interested in the Buckeyes. Once DeBoer left, Kirks announced his de-commitment from Washington, and after earning that elusive offer on a visit to Columbus last weekend, it wasn’t long before the 6-foot-4 lineman officially made his commitment to Ohio State.

Hailing out of Riverside High School, Kirks is listed as the No. 12 player in Ohio and the No. 251 prospect nationally, per the 247Sports Composite. His addition is a huge one for Larry Johnson’s group, as the Buckeyes only had two other defensive line commits in the cycle in five-star Eddrick Houston and three-star Eric Mensah. Ohio State will still need to bring in a large class at the position in 2025, but Kirks will feature as a super important piece moving forward in a room that will lose likely all four starters after the 2024 season.

Elsewhere, Ohio State made another huge splash in the transfer portal on Sunday — again as the beneficiary of Nick Saban’s retirement from Alabama — when 2024 five-star quarterback Julian Sayin announced he is taking his talents to Columbus.

The No. 1 QB and No. 5 overall player in the class, according to the 247Sports Composite, Sayin signed with the Crimson Tide in December and enrolled in early January, but like many others decided to jump ship with Saban no longer at the helm. Having held Ohio State in high regard during his initial recruitment and with there being a prior relationship to new Buckeyes offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien from when the latter was also at Alabama, everything lined up perfectly for Ryan Day to add Sayin to a now loaded quarterbacks room.

The MVP of last year’s Elite 11 Finals, Sayin was named the Gatorade California Football Player of the Year in 2023 after completing just under 75% of his passes for 2,347 yards with 24 touchdowns and only one interception. During his four years at Carlsbad High School, the 6-foot-1 QB threw for nearly 8,000 yards with 86 TDs and 10 INTs, adding another 600 yards and nine scores with his legs. In his scouting report, 247Sports national recruiting analyst Greg Biggins said that Sayin, “Could be the most ‘ready to play early’ quarterback in this year’s class.”

With Will Howard entering his final year of eligibility, the starting quarterback job will be up for grabs for the 2025 season, and the competition will now include Sayin alongside Air Noland — another five-star QB in the 2024 class — in addition to Lincoln Kienholz and Devin Brown, should one or both decide to stick around past the spring transfer window. However, if there was any thought as to whether it might upset a guy like Noland that Ohio State would bring in a second QB in his class, it sounds like he is ready to compete and let his play do the talking...

The additions of both Kirks and Sayin give Ohio State the No. 2 overall class in 2024, factoring in transfers. In this cycle alone, the Buckeyes have managed to land the No. 1 overall player in Jeremiah Smith, the No. 1 QB in Sayin, the No. 1 overall player in the transfer portal (Downs) and the No. 1 RB in the portal (Quinshon Judkins). Ohio State’s 93.27 player average is the best in the country.

When the coaching staff wasn’t busy collecting as many blue chip prospects as they could get their hands on, they were hosting a good deal of their top targets on campus for Junior Day. A large number of guys in both the 2025 and 2026 classes were in attendance over the weekend, even despite the cold and snowy weather, and it sounds like just more good news for a program that continues to build on enormous momentum.

Here are some of the players who engaged in the festivities (all rankings per the 247Sports Composite):

  • 2025 TE Nate Roberts (No. 4 TE, No. 106 OVR)
  • 2025 ATH Trey McNutt (No. 2 S, No. 34 OVR)
  • 2025 Ohio State WR commit Jayvan Boggs (No. 27 WR, No. 223 OVR)
  • 2025 Ohio State QB commit Tavien St. Clair (No. 4 QB, No. 48 OVR)
  • 2025 EDGE Justin Hill (No. 13 EDGE, No. 139 OVR)
  • 2026 EDGE Cincere Johnson (Class not yet ranked)
  • 2025 kicker Alex Crabill (N/A)
  • 2026 ATH CJ Newell Jr. (Class not yet ranked)
  • 2026 CB Elbert Hill (Class not yet ranked)
  • 2025 WR Preston Bowman (No. 117 WR, No. 47 OH)
  • 2025 EDGE Cal Thrush (No. 82 EDGE, No. 59 OH)
  • 2026 WR Payton Cook (Class not yet ranked)

Quick Hits

  • Ohio State also sent out a trio of new offers over the weekend. On the receiving ends included 2025 defensive lineman Mariyon Dye, the No. 24 EDGE and No. 5 player out of his home state of Indiana, 2025 athlete Cody Haddad, the No. 15 player in Ohio in the cycle, and 2026 offensive lineman Will Conroy. Conroy, who does not yet have a ranking as just a high school sophomore, also picked up a Crystal Ball prediction in favor of the Buckeyes via Bill Kurelic on Friday afternoon.