After months on top of the national recruiting rankings, Ohio State finds itself coming to a bit of a crossroads on the football recruiting trail.
With 18 commits, the Buckeyes are looking to add five to seven more of the country’s best 2018 prospects, and they seem to have really zoomed in on a few players in particular. If they miss on some of the big names they’re chasing, you could see a significant adjustment in the overall projections come February.
Where the Ohio State recruiting class ranks
- National rank: The Buckeyes have the nation’s No. 1-ranked recruiting class for 2018, per the 247Sports composite. The Buckeyes lead Texas, which has surged into the No. 2 spot.
- Big Ten rank: Obviously, Ohio State ranks as the Big Ten’s No. 1 class, outpacing No. 2 Penn State. The Nittany Lions have 23 commits, but the Buckeyes’ per-player average is more than 4 points better in the 247Sports composite rankings.
Latest news for Ohio State recruiting
- Total commits: 18
- By state: California (1), Florida (2), Georgia (3), Maryland (1), New York (2), Ohio (3), Oklahoma (1), Pennsylvania (1), Tennessee (2), Virginia (2)
- Last commitment: Ohio State got on the board in September as JUCO defensive tackle Antwuan Jackson picked the Buckeyes over Alabama and others. Jackson is the No. 3-ranked JUCO player in the Class of 2018.
- De-commitments: The only de-commitment Ohio State has had came courtesy of American Heritage (Plantation, Fla.) 4-star defensive end Andrew Chatfield. He decided to reopen his recruitment in August.
Top Ohio State commits for 2018
With four players ranked as 5-star prospects, Ohio State recruiting is off to a great start. Clemson is the only other program with more than one 5-star player committed.
Here are the Buckeyes’ top-ranked players so far in the Class of 2018:
|PLAYER||POS||NATIONAL RANK||POS RANK||STARS|
Ten of the Buckeyes’ 18 commits are ranked inside the top 5 at their position, and 11 are ranked among the country’s top 100 prospects.
Ohio State 2018 commits by position
As is the case with most good recruiting classes, Ohio State has made sure to address its needs position-by-position in 2018.
- Quarterback (1): Ohio State landed Franklin (Ga.) 4-star QB Emory Jones — one of the Buckeyes’ top 2 targets at the position — in July 2016. He’s entertaining conversations with Alabama and Florida State, but most signs point toward Jones signing with the Buckeyes.
- Running back (2): Seffner (Fla.) 4-star prospect Brian Snead is the country’s fourth-ranked running back and has become a fan favorite since committing at Friday Night Lights in July 2016. Snead has not visited any other school and will sign with Ohio State. The Buckeyes added a second tailback in the class in June, landing Murfreesboro (Tenn.) 3-star talent Master Teague III, who picked Ohio State over Georgia.
- Wide receiver (1): The Buckeyes are looking to land two players at this position and added their first last Sunday. Wayne (Huber Heights, Ohio) High School 4-star standout Blue Smith committed to Ohio State over Kentucky.
- Tight end (1): Ohio State’s top target at the position, Jeremy Ruckert, committed to the Buckeyes over Michigan on July 17.
- Offensive line (2): Former Georgia commit Max Wray committed to Ohio State in April, shortly after his first visit to the school. He’s a tackle with the versatility and athleticism to play anywhere on the line if needed. Ohio State also addressed its need at center, landing a verbal pledge from Matthew Jones. The country’s third-ranked guard is from Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, N.Y., the school that produced Carolina Panthers running back Curtis Samuel and Buckeyes sophomore defensive back Jahsen Wint.
- Defensive tackle (2): With Jackson’s addition, the Buckeyes now have two defensive tackles in the Class of 2018. Taron Vincent, the top-ranked DT in the country, committed to the Buckeyes in early April.
- Defensive end (1): Five-star DE Brenton Cox picked the Buckeyes over home-state Georgia in April, though the Bulldogs and others are coming hard after the Stockbridge star. He’s a first-team All-American, according to USA Today.
- Linebacker (3): Three 4-star prospects make up this group. Pope, Virginia’s Teradja Mitchell and Dallas Gant from Toledo, Ohio, are a talented trio.
- Defensive back (4): Ohio State has three safeties committed: Jaiden Woodbey of Fontana, Calif., and Josh Proctor from Owasso, Okla. (both 4-star recruits), and Marcus Hooker of New Castle, Pa. They are joined by cornerback Sevyn Banks of Orlando, Fla. Woodbey and Proctor announced recently they were shutting down their recruitment, but Oklahoma, among others, won’t go away quietly.
- Athlete (1): Westerville, Ohio, running back Jaelen Gill is too versatile a player to put at one position, and Ohio State has no intention of doing that. Whether he’s a running back or a wide receiver, Gill is a special athlete from the Buckeyes’ backyard.
- Specialists (0): It’s not likely Ohio State will add a scholarship player at kicker, punter or long snapper in 2018, but there is an intriguing long-snapping option who is being considered.
Top Ohio State recruiting targets: 9 names to know
9. Micah Parsons • Defensive end • Harrisburg, Pa. • Harrisburg
A former Penn State commit, Parsons has been pro-Ohio State for a long time, thanks to his relationship with defensive line coach Larry Johnson Sr. Though Parsons would prefer to play in a 3-4 defense, the Buckeyes remain one of his top choices. The 5-star prospect and No. 5 overall recruit in the Class of 2018 is expected to decide near National Signing Day on Feb. 7. He made an official visit to Ohio State on Sept. 9.
8. Tommy Togiai • Defensive tackle • Pocatello, Idaho • Highland
Togiai may be the Buckeyes’ top remaining defensive tackle prospect after a three-day visit to Columbus in June. He’s coming off his official visit to Ohio State, and Ohio State has put itself in a good position to land the nation’s ninth-ranked DT. He will make trips to USC and Washington, at least.
7. Rasheed Walker • Tackle • Waldorf, Md. • North Point
With the pickup of Pope last week, a new name makes its way into our top 10 and it’s Rasheed Walker. The country’s 11th-ranked tackle has remained a target for Ohio State the last few months, though 100 percent of his 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions have him headed to Penn State. Despite the odds, it’s never wise to count out Johnson when he’s recruiting in Maryland.
6. Anthony Cook • Defensive back • Houston • Lamar
Cook potentially could be swapped out with Tyson Campbell. But I’m going with the Houston 5-star defensive back because he’s been into the Buckeyes for so long. Ohio State will have a to-the-wire fight with the Texas Longhorns and LSU Tigers to land the No. 2-ranked cornerback in the class, but an official visit last Saturday could be the thing to put it ahead for good.
5. Jayson Oweh • Defensive end • Blairstown, N.J. • Blair Academy
For a player who no one had heard of in January, it’s remarkable to consider the spot Oweh is in now. The 6-foot-6, 240-pound defensive end has skyrocketed up the Ohio State recruiting board and is one of the highest-priority players remaining. Penn State and Notre Dame are involved, but a Jan. 4 decision is likely to come down to the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions. Oweh was one of a handful of players who made an official visit to Ohio State on Sept. 9.
4. Nicholas Petit-Frere • Tackle • Tampa, Fla. • Berkeley Prep
Ohio State will hope to add at least two more tackles, and Petit-Frere is one of the names they have high on their recruiting board. It’s always tough to land Florida’s best talents, but an inviting depth chart in Columbus could help the Buckeyes here. The Tampa product is ranked as the No. 1 offensive tackle in the country. Petit-Frere moves up the list this week as the need for two more offensive tackles in the Class of 2018 is apparent.
3. Tyreke Smith • Defensive end • Cleveland Heights, Ohio • Cleveland Heights
Another Ohio prospect who has the Buckeyes in a battle. A former basketball player from California, Smith has shot up nationally. He’s proved himself time after time this spring and summer at recruiting combines against the best of the best. This is a must-get for the Buckeyes and, once again, they’re fighting Penn State, Notre Dame and others for his commitment. Smith will make his commitment at the Under Armour All-America Game on Jan. 4.
2. Kamryn Babb • Wide receiver • St. Louis • Christian Brothers College
Like Austin Mack in 2016 and Trevon Grimes in 2017, Babb has been the top wideout on Ohio State’s board for much of the 2018 recruiting cycle. There’s no reason for that to change anytime soon. Babb is a smooth route runner who catches everything thrown his way. The Buckeyes are in a good position to land him, but until he makes his announcement, expect LSU, Michigan, Oklahoma, Notre Dame and others to keep trying to sway the country’s No. 6 wide receiver.
Unfortunately, Babb tore his ACL in his right knee and is expected to miss his senior season.
1. Jackson Carman • Tackle • Fairfield, Ohio • Fairfield
A must-get for Ohio State from nearby Fairfield, Carman has had Buckeyes fans sweating since announcing that Clemson was his top school following a spring visit to South Carolina. The Buckeyes have worked overtime on Carman to keep him home, but Southern California also has made its way into the conversation. A decision is expected around December, and Carman is going to keep everyone guessing until then. This one is getting interesting as Carman has been a vocal dissenter about the Buckeyes’ offensive struggles, and some wonder if he’s leaning elsewhere.