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Ohio State is welcoming in Oklahoma on Saturday night for a major matchup of Top 5 college football programs. As the season’s first marquee game on the Buckeyes home schedule, the Ohio State coaching staff also will welcome dozens of the country’s top 2018, 2019, and even 2020 prospects, giving them a chance to experience a game day in Columbus.
The list below probably will change, and it certainly doesn’t include every prospect expected to attend. It is, however, focusing on the players who are the Buckeyes’ highest-level targets.
Ohio State commits coming to town
As you’d expect, a handful of Ohio State commits are taking advantage of the chance to witness this colossal clash, and using official visits to do so.
Local guys Jaelen Gill and L’Christian Smith will make unofficial visits and serve as the welcoming committee for fellow verbals Master Teague III, Max Wray, Josh Proctor and Jaiden Woodbey, each of whom will be in town in an official capacity. Ohio State’s lone 2019 commit, 5-star offensive lineman Doug Nester, will make the short drive north from Huntington, W.Va.
The Class of 2018 commits will have one major job this weekend: work on bond-building with four of Ohio State’s top remaining targets in the class.
5-star cornerback, top-tier 2018 defensive linemen visiting
Which guys are those? If you’ve been reading our site for a while, none of the names will surprise you.
Ohio State has one cornerback committed for 2018 (Sevyn Banks) but would like to add at least one more. No one has been a target longer than Houston’s Anthony Cook. The 5-star defensive back prospect from Lamar High School will make his official visit to Ohio State this weekend with an Oct. 30 decision date in mind. He’s down to three schools: Ohio State, LSU and, of course, Texas.
I’m not saying that Urban Meyer’s non-stop recruiting efforts had anything to do with the comments made in the Longhorns direction this week, but I am not not saying it, either.
Along the defensive line is where things will really ramp up this weekend. The Buckeyes will host three of their top remaining targets — defensive ends Micah Parsons and Jayson Oweh, and defensive tackle Tommy Togiai.
As it stands, Ohio State has just two defensive linemen committed (5-star prospects Taron Vincent and Brenton Cox) on its way to as many as seven players at the position. This weekend will answer a lot of key questions for Larry Johnson’s group.
Atlanta defensive back Christian Tutt, a 4-star cornerback, also will be making an official visit to Ohio State.
Big-time 2019 prospects to watch
As noted, Ohio State has just one commitment for 2019 — Nester — but this weekend could serve as a major launching point for that class.
Oak Park (Belleville, Mich.) 4-star quarterback Dwan Mathis will be in town to see Ohio State again. He may be the Buckeyes’ top target at quarterback in 2019, though he continues to wait for an offer.
The Buckeyes will see 5-star running back Noah Cain for the third time since March. He’s their top target at running back for 2019, without question, and a player who has serious interest in Ohio State. The giant hurricane cancelling flights in Florida will not affect his travel from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., as he went home to Denton, Texas, earlier this week in order to be in the clear.
Ohio State is the leader for 4-star wide receiver Trey Knox, who will head north with teammate Master Teague. A commitment from Knox to the Buckeyes was expected on this trip, but he’s backed off that plan. However, I believe that there’s still an outside chance it happens because he knows it’s the school he wants to attend.
Georgia commit Jadon Haselwood is once again talking about a visit to Ohio State, as he’s done three times since issuing his verbal to the Dawgs, but we’ll see if he makes it.
Another Georgia star, tight end Ryland Goede will make his first visit to Ohio State. The Buckeyes offered the 6-foot-7, 235-pound prospect in January.
Outside of Nester, a handful of potential Slobs will descend on Columbus. Michigan stars Devontae Dobbs and Logan Brown, Minnesota star Quinn Carroll, Ohio standout Zeke Correll, West Virginia’s Darnell Wright and Florida’s Michael Tarquin top that list. Each of those players has an Ohio State offer and, well, they would make a pretty darn-perfect offensive line haul.
That trio of Ohioans have Ohio State offers, but a group of players such as Massillon’s Jamir Thomas, Columbus 3-stars Rodas Johnson, Mershawn Rice, John Branham and Dezman Cooper, as well as Springfield’s Isaiah Gibson — all of whom the Buckeyes are evaluating carefully — also will get a chance for face time with Urban Meyer’s staff. That’s huge for them and Ohio State.
The same can be said for Belleville (Mich.) 4-star athlete Julian Barnett, who will return to Ohio State on Saturday. With 21 offers, including from Clemson, Auburn, Alabama, Notre Dame, Michigan State and others, Barnett is a player to watch closely. Ohio State, and most schools, view him as a defensive back.
Names to know down the road
It’s too early to spend much time thinking about 2020 and 2021 prospects, but there are a couple of them coming to Columbus who merit a mention.
In the 2020 class, Tennessee offensive lineman Jake Wray, the younger brother of Ohio State commit Max, will be in town with his family. The Buckeyes have offered. Toledo Whitmer quarterback Riley Keller will be back at Ohio Stadium. He’s probably Ohio’s top signal caller in his class.
Don’t be surprised if Dublin (Ohio) Coffman star Michael Drennen II makes the short trip to Ohio Stadium, though he has not confirmed his intentions with Land of 10. Another Coffman prospect to watch, defensive back A.J. Kirk, is a 2021 prospect who will be on campus checking out the Buckeyes.