Ohio State football: What to know about Buckeyes’ recruiting class

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

At the midway point of the year, Ohio State coach Ryan Day is sitting on what looks like another promising recruiting class.

Here are five things to know about his efforts to keep the Buckeyes stocked with talent for years to come:

1. The class is heavy on speed players so far.

That goes for both sides of the ball as more than half the prospects are receivers or defensive backs.

Cornerback Jermaine Mathews of Cincinnati Winton Woods became the 16th member of Ohio State’s 2023 class on July 1 after June commitments from elite receivers Brandon Inniss, Carnell Tate and Noah Rogers along with cornerbacks Kayin Lee and Calvin Simpson-Hunt.

The Buckeyes previously had verbal commitments from safeties Malik Hartford (of Lakota West) and Cedrick Hawkins along with cornerback Dijon Johnson, receiver Bryson Rodgers and running back Mark Fletcher.

2. Four of the six Ohioans in the class are from the southwest corner of the state.

Mathews and Hartford join Wayne offensive lineman Joshua Padilla and Lakota East offensive lineman Austin Siereveld as future Buckeyes from the area, while the other two Ohio natives are offensive lineman Luke Montgomery of Findlay and Will Smith Jr. of Dublin Coffman.

Since Ryan Day took over as head coach of the Buckeyes in 2019, 10 of the 25 in-state signees called Southwest Ohio home, including seven from Cincinnati and two more from Lakota West.

In the three years before that, six of Ohio State’s 22 in-state signees were from Cincinnati, Dayton or the surrounding areas.

3. So far, the number of Ohio verbals equals last year.

The COVID-19 pandemic caused numerous problems for people in all walks of life, not the least of which in-state prospects who wanted to be Buckeyes.

Pushing nearly all recruiting activities online for more than a year greatly reduced the impact of geography, hurting local players who in a normal year can carve out an advantage by appearing at camps and using unofficial visits to build relationships with the staff as underclassmen.

The return to normal might have a bigger impact on future classes, but there are indications Ohio State is not done adding in-state talent this year.

Cleveland Glenville linebacker Arvell Reese is among the players bucknuts.com identified a potential future verbals for the class of 2023.

That also means he could be the first Tarblooder to sign with Ohio State in nine years.

4. A Florida renaissance is underway.

Inniss became the sixth Sunshine State commitment for Ohio State in the class of 2023, already twice as many as the Buckeyes signed in the previous three classes combined and bucking a recent trend.

In the 1990s, 21.2 percent of Ohio State’s out-of-state recruits were from Florida, a percentage that rose to 28 from 2000-09 but dipped to 16.8 from 2010-19.

All three of Ohio State’s Florida recruits during the Ryan Day era came aboard last year.

5. The Buckeyes could end up battling Notre Dame for the national recruiting crown.

Over the past two decades, the fight for the No. 1 class in the country primarily has been fought in the Southeast with Texas and California schools sometimes getting involved, but things look a little different at this point in this year.

Midwest old guard members Ohio State and Notre Dame have been trading the lead recently with the Fighting Irish going back on top in 247Sports Composite rankings over the holiday weekend with commitments from a trio of four-star prospects.

Head coach Marcus Freeman’s first class has players from more than a dozen states, including Ohio native Brenan Vernon, a four-star defensive lineman from Mentor, and the Wayne High School grad likely is not done collecting future talent.

Texas, Clemson and Penn State round out the top five with reigning national champion Georgia seventh as of Tuesday.

Alabama is 19th but has lots of room to improve with only 10 commits so far.

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