COLUMBUS, Ohio — For the most part, it wasn’t a December to remember on the recruiting trail for Ohio State and Urban Meyer. Fortunately for the Buckeyes, it usually doesn’t stay that way for very long.
Ohio State lost three of its most coveted prospects, with 5-star defensive end Brenton Cox, 5-star safety Jaiden Woodbey and 4-star quarterback Emory Jones all flipping to other schools. Adding insult to injury, the latter two defections came on Dec. 20, the day that kicked off the early signing period. And to top it off, the Buckeyes missed out on homegrown 5-star offensive tackle Jackson Carman, who was widely projected to end up in Columbus but instead chose to play for Clemson.
If there were ever a way to sour fans on the No. 2 class in the country, the Buckeyes figured out a way to accomplish that.
But the calendar turned to January, and Meyer went right back to doing what he does best in January — owning recruiting battles. The Buckeyes didn’t sign a defensive end in the early signing period, but Meyer came from behind to chase down Penn State in Tyreke Smith’s recruitment. The 4-star defensive end from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, committed to the Buckeyes on Jan. 4, giving Ohio State the nation’s No. 60 overall prospect.
And now it looks like more good news is on the way. Even though the Buckeyes missed out on adding 4-star defensive end Jayson Oweh, that miss may have positioned them to land 4-star prospect Tyler Friday. Long thought to be a Michigan lean, Friday appears likely instead to end up in scarlet and gray in what should be a doubly satisfying win on the recruiting trail for the Buckeyes.
The Buckeyes have also issued a late offer to 4-star outside linebacker Javontae Jean-Baptiste with an eye at putting him at defensive end. All signs there look good in terms of the Buckeyes beating out the other schools chasing him.
As for offensive tackle — the other big position of need — help could also be on the way. Waldorf (Md.) North Point 4-star tackle Rasheed Walker will take an official visit to Ohio State on Jan. 19. The Buckeyes are still chasing Penn State in that recruitment, but the odds of landing him look much better than they did a few months ago.
The Buckeyes had some setbacks in December, but bad recruiting news doesn’t usually last long in Columbus.