It had been a whole three days into February without Ohio State landing a single commitment, and many people were starting to wonder if Ryan Day and his staff had lost their fastball.
Sarcasm aside, January was an insanely productive month for the Buckeyes in building for the future in 2024 and beyond, whether it be one last addition to a strong 2024 recruiting class, a number of important players joining the roster via the transfer portal or needed changes to the coaching staff, Day has had about as positive an offseason possible — especially given how last season ended.
Ohio State will look to keep the good times rolling in the coming months, and Sunday kept that momentum going in a major way when one of the nation’s top players in the 2025 class announced his commitment to the Buckeyes. That was of course five-star cornerback Na’eem Offord, the No. 1 CB and No. 5 player nationally per the 247Sports Composite.
Offord, an Alabama native, holds nearly 50 offers to his name, including every major program across the country you could think of. The highly sought-after 6-foot-1 corner received a Crystal Ball prediction in favor of Ohio State from Steve Wiltfong earlier this week, and with Offord on campus this weekend, the Buckeyes’ coaching staff was able to seal the deal. It is the first time Ohio State has earned a commitment from the No. 1 CB in a cycle since Jeff Okudah in 2017.
This most recent visit was only Offord’s second trip to Columbus, with the other being for a recruiting event all the way back in July. However, cornerback’s coach Tim Walton had gone all-out for Offord this offseason, especially once Devin Sanchez had already committed in early January. Walton remained in constant contact with Offord and even made the trip down south to visit him last month, and this latest meeting between the two sides was enough to push the star corner toward pulling the trigger.
Playing in one of Alabama’s higher classifications, Offord has served as a two-way player each of the past two seasons for Birmingham Parker. As a sophomore, he managed 726 yards of total offense with six touchdowns before bursting onto the scene as a junior, racking up five interceptions and four PBUs during the 2023-24 season — in addition to 518 total yards offensively with 10 TDs plus a 41-yard TD pass as well as two punt returns for scores — helping to lead the Thundering Heard to a perfect 10-0 regular season.
Here is what 247Sports’ Director of Scouting Andrew Ivins had to say of Offord’s game:
“A toolsy cornerback prospect with the size to match large perimeter weapons and the speed to cover the deep third. Owns some of the best testing numbers that we have come across thus far in the 2025 cycle with a 4.5-second effort in the 40-yard dash on the ledger to go along with an 11-foot broad jump. Already pretty versed in both press-man and off-man coverage. Rather fluid for someone that’s over 6-foot and can quickly change directions with his agility. Not afraid to break on a ball and will play through hands at the catch point[...]”
Should his commitment hold until signing day, Offord would become the first recruit from Alabama to sign with Ohio State since defensive tackle Donte Wheat in 1981. Wheat, however, may have never actually enrolled with the Buckeyes, appearing on the official roster the following year but ending up at Louisville instead. Offord could have been the first scholarship player from Alabama to ever play for the Buckeyes had Ohio State not added Quinshon Judkins via the transfer portal this offseason, who is from Pike Road, AL.
With Offord in the fold, it gives the Buckeyes the nation’s No. 1 and No. 2 cornerbacks in 2025 between he and Sanchez. Walton is off to a ridiculous start in the cycle, landing the best two players at the position in addition to another top-100 player in Blake Woodby. Ohio State is also still among the favorites for a trio of top-40 prospects at defensive back, including five-star corner Dorian Brew (No. 4 CB in 2025), high four-star safety Trey McNutt (No. 2 S) and five-star safety Faheem Delane (No. 1 S).
It isn’t an exaggeration to say that if Ohio State were to somehow land all three of those guys, in addition to the three already committed, it would make for a generational DB class. This would even outweigh the 2017 cycle, where the Buckeyes’ became the first and only school to sign the top two corners in the 247Sports Composite (Jeff Okudah and Shaun Wade) in the modern recruiting era.
Priority LB target sets commitment date
Four-star linebacker Tarvos Alford made a big step in his recruiting processes when he publicly declared both his top six schools and a decision date on Friday. The Vero Beach, Florida native is the No. 7 LB and No. 48 player nationally per 247Sports, and will choose between Florida, Florida State, Miami, Tennessee, UCF and Ohio State on March 30.
NEWS 4-star LB Tarvos Alford is down to 6⃣ schools and will announce his commitment on March 30, he tells @ChadSimmons_‼️— On3 Recruits (@On3Recruits) February 3, 2024
Alford is a Top-50 prospect in the 2025 On300.
Read: https://t.co/TPoqWgvy5f pic.twitter.com/DARWjBrukM
While the lone Crystal Ball for Alford is in favor of the Gators, that prediction came all the way back in April 2023. Things have seemingly shifted heavily in favor of Ohio State since then, as the Buckeyes’ coaching staff has been all over the 6-foot-2, 210-pound linebacker over the past few months, including multiple trips to the Sunshine State to check in with Alford as recently as just last week when James Laurinaitis and Jim Knowles stopped at his high school.
“It was a great visit,” Alford told Eleven Warriors after Day personally went down to visit him in the middle of January. “I really appreciate coach Day coming down. I know there’s a lot of people he could have seen instead of me, so I appreciated that. Coach Laurinaitis, I was also just glad he was able to come down. That’s my guy. So it was great seeing him again.”
Alford himself visited Ohio State on his own dime twice this past year, taking a multi-day visit for a recruiting camp back in June and also attending the Michigan State game in early November. Notably, he has another unofficial visit scheduled for March 23 — just one week before he is set to announce his commitment. He also told Eleven Warriors he would ‘definitely’ make an official visit to Columbus this summer, but that was before he scheduled a commitment date, so that could obviously change if he commits elsewhere.
In speaking to On3 about his final schools, this is what Alford had to say of Ohio State:
“From my first visit to Ohio State, I felt like it was somewhere I could call home. The coaches really treat me like family. They have shown they truly want me and I like the feeling I have up there.”
Nothing is set in stone, but it does appear the Buckeyes are in strong standing to land the talented linebacker. Alford would be the second player at the position to commit to Ohio State in the 2025 class, joining Ohio native Eli Lee. Having racked up 114 tackles, 12 TFLs, four sacks and an interception in his junior season, this is a guy Laurinaitis and Knowles would love to have in their room.