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.
Who saw that coming?
When we left one another Friday night with the week-ending Dotting the Eyes notebook, the feeling around Ohio State was that last weekend would be a quiet one for 2018 recruiting and the real show would come the following weekend, the last one before National Signing Day. Some 72 hours later, it turns out that could not have possibly been further from the truth. We have a small mountain of information to sift through, so let’s get to work.
Tavion Thomas back on the market; Buckeyes to add Ohio flavor?
Early Monday morning, Dayton (Ohio) Dunbar running back Tavion Thomas announced that he was no longer committed to the Oklahoma Sooners. The 3-star Ohio native committed to Oklahoma in June, but also held offers from the Buckeyes, Alabama, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Michigan, Texas, Georgia … seemingly every program in the country. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound power back was an early target for the Buckeyes but fell off the radar as his junior year of high school ended and did not re-emerge until his dramatic entrance into the picture for Ohio State on Monday.
Thomas quietly made an unofficial visit to Ohio State’s campus last weekend, traveling to Columbus with his aunt, uncle, and high school coaches for a meeting with Urban Meyer and running backs coach Tony Alford. Immediately following that visit, Thomas de-committed from Oklahoma on Monday morning and scheduled an official visit to Ohio State for this Saturday. Then, as reported by BuckeyeGrove.com’s Marc Givler, Alford made the drive to Dayton to see Thomas at his high school.
I don’t think any of us have to be rocket scientists to understand what’s going on here and where this recruitment is trending.
When Ohio State hosts in-state prospects for official visit in January and February, those prospects are almost certainly going to be Buckeyes. It has happened without fail for the entirety of Meyer’s tenure in Columbus and I would be shocked if that pattern changed now. While Dunbar head coach Darran Powell hedged somewhat and said there was only “a 98-percent chance” that his star running back would make an official visit during the coming weekend, I expect Thomas to find his way to Columbus late on Saturday night or early on Sunday morning. After that, I expect the western Ohio running back to become a Buckeye.
Joining Thomas on his official visit to campus will be fellow Ohioan Christopher Oats, a 4-star linebacker from Cincinnati Winton Woods who was been on the Buckeyes’ radar for years. Much like Thomas, there were stretches of Oats’ recruitment where things appeared to be dead in the water between the Ohio native and his home state school. In the last couple months, however, Oats has seen positive trends in his relationship with Ohio State. I fully expect the Buckeyes to have Oats on campus this weekend and I think Ohio State will land both of these players.
The perceived lack of Ohio talent in Ohio State’s recent recruiting classes has been a point of consternation among some segments of the Buckeyes fan base. Ohioans, by and large, want to see their Buckeyes with a roster full of former Ohio high school stars. While it may be difficult for Ohio State to ever again reach the high-water marks of Meyer’s early classes, which frequently featured a double-digit number of Ohioans, Oats and Thomas would add more in-state flavor to this Buckeyes recruiting class.
Buckeyes issue in-state offer to 2020 star
Ohio State has been active on the road the last several weeks as these evaluation periods are critical in building future recruiting boards. A trip by Ohio State defensive coordinator Greg Schiano to Akron (Ohio) Archbishop Hoban was one of the Buckeyes’ most important stops Monday, as it resulted in Ohio State extending just its second in-state scholarship offer for the 2020 class.
Linebacker DeaMonte Trayanum landed his first scholarship of the recruiting process from the Buckeyes after Schiano’s visit to northeast Ohio, obviously a huge day for the in-state prospect. Few teenagers in the country could have had a better day than Trayanum, who also received a scholarship offer from the Fighting Irish on Monday.
I’m grateful and blessed to say that I have received an offer from The Ohio State University!! pic.twitter.com/I8z6dQvLfx
— DeaMonte Trayanum✨ (@Chipperrz_) January 29, 2018
Trayanum checks in a 6-1 and 205 pounds and is just getting started with his recruitment, but should be one of Ohio’s top prospects in the class. He joins 2020 offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr. of Cincinnati St. Xavier as the only sophomore football players in the state to hold offers from the Buckeyes. Trayanum has not yet been available for comment, but Land of 10 will be reaching out to the in-state star as soon as possible. Check out Trayanum’s highlights from his sophomore season below.
More offers? More offers.
Trayanum wasn’t the only one prospect in the country to pick up an Ohio State offer Monday. The Buckeyes were very active around the country in adding to their list of offered recruits.
2019 linebacker Kalen DeLoach is not yet ranked on the 247Sports composite, but that should be changing soon. The Savannah (Ga.) Islands linebacker has been as hot as any prospect in the country for the last two weeks, drawing offers from LSU, Clemson, North Carolina, Kentucky, Auburn, Georgia Tech, Miami (Fla.), Boston College, South Florida, and now Ohio State.
— Kalen Deloach (@KalenDeloach) January 29, 2018
Also in the Class of 2019, Ohio State offered Little Rock (Ark.) Pulaski Academy tight end Hudson Henry. Henry is ranked as the country’s top tight end in his class and is an athletic pass-catcher at 6-5 and 225 pounds. Ohio State joins an offer list that also includes many of the nation’s powerhouses: Notre Dame, Auburn, Florida State, Michigan, LSU, Penn State, Stanford, Texas, Ole Miss, Oregon, home-state Arkansas, and so on and so forth.
I’m excited to announce that I have been offered by The Ohio State University! pic.twitter.com/mzAoq4EX6l
— Hudson Henry (@hudsonhenry84) January 29, 2018
Ohio State also extended offers in the Class of the 2020 to two of the nation’s top prospects, regardless of position. Both are standouts in the greater Washington D.C. area — running back MarShawn Lloyd of Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic and linebacker/edge-rusher Mekhail Sherman of Washington St. John’s College Prep.
Lloyd is already ranked as the country’s top 2020 running back by 247Sports and holds offers from Ohio State, Michigan, Maryland, Virginia Tech, South Carolina, Kentucky, Rutgers, Boston College and several other programs. At 5-10 and 190 pounds, he’s already achieved an impressive level of physical development for a sophomore prospect and should be one of the country’s most productive and complete young running backs.
— MarShawn Lloyd (@LloydMarshawn) January 29, 2018
Sherman is a player who could ultimately play his college career as a defensive end, outside linebacker, or just a pure edge-rusher in the mold of NFL superstars Von Miller or Khalil Mack. He’s 6-3 and 234 pounds already and his sophomore year is drawing to a close with an offer list that includes Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, Tennessee, Maryland, South Carolina, Virginia and Syracuse.
— Mekhail Sherman💫 (@JuicedUpK9) January 29, 2018
Ohio State makes the cut for Theo Wease Jr.
Theo Wease Jr., a 5-star wide receiver in the Class of 2019, named the Buckeyes among his top 7, which he tweeted out Monday. Wease plays at Allen (Texas), one of the country’s most well-regarded and prolific high school football programs. He is also teammates with 2019 quarterback Grant Tisdale, arguably Ohio State’s top quarterback target in that class.
Wease listed the Buckeyes alongside Texas A&M, Oklahoma, TCU, UCLA, USC, and LSU in his top 7 and stated that he would be “shutting down [his] recruiting process” and focusing on those seven schools alone. Texas was a surprising omission from the list, but Ohio State’s inclusion was certainly not. Check out an interview from Wease earlier in January where he discussed his interest in the Buckeyes and his plans to take a spring official visit to Columbus.
Top 7……. pic.twitter.com/CPW9OOekmb
— Theo Wease Jr (@_TheoWeaseJr) January 29, 2018
Top 2020 star to visit Columbus
One of the top 2020 prospects in the country will be visiting Ohio State on Tuesday — Oak Park (Mich.) offensive guard Justin Rogers. He is ranked the No. 1 offensive guard in his class by the 247Sports composite and has become a frequent visitor to Ohio State’s campus the last several months.
Rogers received his offer from Ohio State in July of 2017, shortly following a visit to the Buckeyes’ Friday Night Lights camp in The Horseshoe. Following that trip, he visited Ohio State twice during the season, spending time on the sideline for both the Oklahoma and Penn State games.
Coming to the ⭕️ Tuesday 🗣
— Justin Rogers (@AllAmerican52JR) January 27, 2018
This will be Rogers’ first visit to campus since the season concluded. Although he also holds early offers from many of the country’s top programs, the 6-4, 265-pound prospect’s 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions currently reads 100 percent in favor of the Buckeyes. Rogers’ offer list includes Ohio State, Michigan State, Florida State, Tennessee, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Oregon, Kentucky, Arizona, Boston College and many other programs.
Buckeyes raiding the Steel City
Ohio State linebacker coach Billy Davis spent his Monday all over Pittsburgh. Davis, who took over Pittsburgh recruiting when he was hired to replace former Buckeyes defensive coordinator and current Cincinnati Bearcats head football coach Luke Fickell, made stops at several Pittsburgh-area high schools. Among the prospects he visited were Pine-Richland offensive tackle Andrew Kristofic, Aliquippa defensive back Marlin Devonshire Jr., and Norwin safety Jayvon Thrift, all members of the 2019 class.
Kristofic and Devonshire both hold offers from Ohio State and Kristofic is fresh off of a weekend visit to Columbus. Land of 10 will have a full report and a notebook full of quotes shortly from prospects on Davis’ visit to Western Pennsylvania and on Kristofic’s visit to campus. In the meantime, check out a recent interview with Devonshire on his visit to Ohio State during bowl practices in December.
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.