Recruiting never stops, and if you take a day off, you fall behind. Join us every night for a daily recap of Ohio State recruiting news, insight on what’s happening behind the scenes and a glimpse at what’s coming next.
Buckeyes out of running for DJ Brown
This Ohio State recruiting class, especially following the early signing period, has been a lesson to not get too caught up in the timing of a scholarship offer. The Buckeyes signed 22 players in that early period, but their pursuit of several prospects has led to late offers to multiple players around the country in the 2018 recruiting class. Among them is Washington (D.C.) St. John’s College Prep defensive back DJ Brown, who was offered by Ohio State earlier in January as the Buckeyes canvassed the country for defensive backs.
Brown was committed to Virginia at the time and had been since July 2017. Late offers from a number of programs — Ohio State, Clemson, Notre Dame, Northwestern, Cal, Nebraska, Louisville, South Carolina and others — were part of a seemingly nationwide effort to change that decision. The good news is that a group effort from all of those schools convinced Brown to back off his Virginia pledge and re-open his recruitment. The not-so-good news is that Ohio State won’t be pursuing Brown further, and he’s no longer expected to take a scheduled official visit to Columbus on Feb. 2.
— DJ Brown (@DeeJayyy___) January 30, 2018
Notre Dame, Northwestern and Cal are the top three contenders for Brown over the final week of his recruitment and Notre Dame is widely regarded as the favorite to bring in the Under Armour All-America cornerback. At the end of the day, Ohio State was never truly sold here and wasn’t going to push for a commitment from the St. John’s product.
Unless the Buckeyes pull off a truly shocking last-minute surprise and land one of the superstar corners from Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) American Heritage — Tyson Campbell or Patrick Surtain Jr. — I don’t expect Ohio State to bring in another defensive back in this cycle. Ohio State previously kicked the tires on the possibility of Cedar Hill (Texas) Trinity Christian School athlete Maurice Washington coming into the fold as a defensive back, but Washington feels that his future lies on offense. Expect Arizona State or Nebraska to land Washington as a running back or hybrid offensive weapon.
More offers? Yes, more offers
The January evaluation period has been explosive for the Buckeyes, as they’ve sent out a long, long list of scholarship offers. That didn’t slow down on Tuesday, as Ohio State has already issued at least three new scholarship offers to underclassmen.
Charlotte (N.C.) Providence Day School product Osita “Osi” Ekwonu, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound linebacker in the Class of 2019, added Ohio State to what should be a steadily growing offer list. Ekwonu landed offers from Ohio State and Penn State on Jan. 30 as those schools joined Duke, Wake Forest, Syracuse, and Appalachian State.
— Osi Ekwonu™ (@Osita_Ekwonu59) January 30, 2018
Ekwonu was not the only prospect in North Carolina’s 2019 class to add a Buckeyes offer on Tuesday. Roxboro (N.C.) Person defensive tackle Joshua Harris has been gaining interest recently and can now count offers from Ohio State, Penn State, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, N.C. State, and several other programs. At 6-5 and 295 pounds, Harris is a physically impressive prospect on the interior.
Blessed to receive and offer from the Ohio State University 💯🍴🏈 pic.twitter.com/qqn7Hxgn5x
— Joshua Harris (@H_Josh99) January 30, 2018
In fact, the entirety of Ohio State’s new offers Tuesday were focused on North Carolina. 2020 wide receiver Porter Rooks, a teammate of Ekwonu’s at Providence Day School, also picked up a Buckeyes offer. Rooks is regarded as one of the country’s best 2020 prospects by 247Sports and adds Ohio State to an offer list that includes many of the country’s heavy hitters — Alabama, Notre Dame, Florida State, Michigan, Penn State, Miami, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas A&M, and a whole slew of other Power 5 programs. Rooks is 6-1 and 180 pounds coming off his sophomore season of football.
— Adam Friedman (@RivalsFriedman) January 30, 2018
An eye on the future
Pickerington, Ohio, has become as prominent of a recruiting hotbed as any town in Ohio. The Columbus suburb routinely produces top talent at its two high schools — Central and North —and in prospects that leave the district to play at private schools in Columbus. Ohio State has signed all-purpose athlete Alex Williams in the 2018 class and Pickerington Central teammates Xavier Henderson and Trenton Gillison are both Michigan State signees and national recruits.
The future of Pickerington’s talent looks bright. Perhaps no underclassman in the district has as much upside as 2021 defensive end and athlete Jack Sawyer at Pickerington North. Sawyer, a high school freshman, already checks in at 6-5 and 200 pounds and should continue to keep filling out and improving.
Sawyer recently added his second offer of the recruiting process from Ohio State’s rival to the north. Michigan often puts out offers in Ohio earlier than the Buckeyes. Don’t be surprised if Ohio State takes a long look at offering Sawyer when the summer as camp season rolls around.
— Jack Sawyer (@jacksawyer40) January 29, 2018
In case you missed it
The majority of our recruiting content is brought to you every weekday in the Dotting the Eyes recruiting notebooks (here’s a link to the notebook published Monday). It’s where I address daily happenings and goings-on in all things Ohio State football and recruiting, but it’s not the entirety of our recruiting coverage here on Land of 10. Here’s a brief rundown of some other Buckeyes recruiting content you’ll want to check out:
- Who will win the Ohio State/Penn State battle for 4-star offensive tackle Rasheed Walker? A back-and-forth conversation between myself and Land of 10 Penn State recruiting analyst Tyler Donohue where we exchange information and analyze where Walker could be leaning.
- Land of 10 team writer Austin Ward takes a look at Urban Meyer’s desire to secure the country’s top-ranked recruiting class, a topic that the Ohio State coach has publicly discussed for years. Read Ward’s delve into Meyer’s hunger for the mythical recruiting national title as Ohio State comes closer than ever to capturing that belt.
- Ohio State linebackers coach Billy Davis was all over the Pittsburgh area on Monday and I took a look at every stop that he made. Top tackle recruit Andrew Kristofic, in particular, discusses his weekend visit to Columbus and his relationships with the Buckeyes.
Miss a day of the Ohio State recruiting notebook? Don’t fret! You can get all of the previous versions of Dotting the Eyes here.