On Sunday, Ohio State landed its 24th commitment of the 2018 recruiting class in California wide receiver Chris Olave. With the country’s top-ranked recruiting class, the Buckeyes can afford to be picky moving forward, and they seem likely to take only two to three more prospects in this class by National Signing Day on Feb. 7. So who are the top remaining targets, and where does Ohio State still need to add depth and talent? Let’s take a look.
It’s Ohio State’s most important remaining position on the board. Only one player on the 2018 roster, rising senior offensive tackle Isaiah Prince, will have started a game before the season begins. The depth chart is thin, with few proven options available for the Buckeyes. Ohio State has no commitments at offensive tackle yet in 2018, and it remains its most significant need.
Walker took his official visit to Ohio State on Jan. 19 and is expected to receive an in-home visit from Urban Meyer and other members of the Buckeyes coaching staff this week. Ohio State is chasing Penn State to land a commitment from the gifted offensive tackle prospect and is pointing toward a more wide-open depth chart and its life-after-football advantages to try to win over Walker. He’s expected to announce a commitment on National Signing Day.
Petit-Frere’s recruitment is much more open than Walker’s. Although Notre Dame and Michigan appear to be out of the running for the Tampa, Fla., native, Alabama and Florida remain heavily involved for Petit-Frere. The Crimson Tide appear to to be the front-runner, but Ohio State will have the final chance to win over Petit-Frere when the country’s top offensive tackle makes his official visit Feb. 2.
Ohio State appears to be waning in its pursuit of New Jersey defensive end Javontae Jean-Baptiste, a 4-star prospect who officially visited Columbus on Jan. 19. Jean-Baptiste appears to be leaning toward Nebraska, ahead of options such as Boston College and Virginia Tech. I wouldn’t expect Ohio State to land Jean-Baptiste at this point, but the Buckeyes have continued to stay in touch with him and might have Urban Meyer make an in-home visit within the next week.
As with the defensive end position, Ohio State is pursuing only one player at linebacker: in-state option Christopher Oats of Cincinnati Winton Woods, who has held a Buckeyes offer for years. Although there were times when it appeared rocky as to whether Oats would have a spot at Ohio State, everything looks good going into Oats’ scheduled official visit for Feb. 2. I would expect Oats to commit to Ohio State on or before National Signing Day.
Defensive back is still a wide-open position for Ohio State. The Buckeyes are pursuing and checking on a number of different players. They’re chasing 5-star prospects Tyson Campbell and Patrick Surtain Jr. from American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.) with hopes of getting them on campus for an official visit. The Buckeyes also might host Virginia commit DJ Brown for an official visit Feb. 2. It appears Maurice Washington is no longer an option. Ohio State certainly would take Surtain and Campbell, but it would be a Herculean task to land either of them at this point in the process. I might bet against the Buckeyes landing another defensive back at this point, but they’re still in pursuit.