College football programs have wrapped up their final days of the January evaluation period, which ran from Jan. 12 to Feb. 2. The evaluation period has allowed Ohio State coaches to traverse the country pursuing top prospects from coast to coast, and they’ve taken full advantage of that, beginning on Jan. 12 and running through last week as well. Here are the stops the coaches made this week:
Monday, Jan. 29
There were four stops of note from the Ohio State coaches to lead off the final week of the January evaluation period.
Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch stayed local, popping over to Lewis Center (Ohio) Olentangy Orange, the home of the country’s best prospect in the 2019 class. Zach Harrison, a 6-foot-6, 240-pound defensive end, is a 5-star and the new No. 1 player on the 247Sports rankings, although he’s still No. 4 in the composite rankings. Coaches from Michigan and Cincinnati also made the trip to see Harrison.
Running backs Tony Alford traveled to Dayton (Ohio) Dunbar, the home of Ohio State running back target Tavion Thomas, who de-committed from Oklahoma the morning of Alford’s trip to Dunbar and will take an official visit to Columbus, Ohio, on Feb. 3. Thomas most likely will join the Ohio State class on Wednesday.
Defensive line coach Larry Johnson and head coach Urban Meyer were in the Washington D.C. area throughout the day on Monday, where they extended multiple new offers.
Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic, a private school powerhouse, was one of their main stops. While at DeMatha, the Buckeyes coaches offered 2020 running back MarShawn Lloyd, a player who has a real chance to be the top running back in the 2020 class. Ohio State had already offered two 2019 prospects at DeMatha — 4-star wide receiver DeMarcco Hellams and 4-star safety Nick Cross. As usual, DeMatha will continue to have a lot of talent in the coming classes. It’s the same high school program that produced star freshman defensive end Chase Young for the Buckeyes.
The other primary stop in the nation’s capital for Meyer and Johnson was St. John’s College Prep. It was at St. John’s that they offered 2020 defensive end/outside linebacker Mekhail Sherman, one of the nation’s top edge rushers in his class already. Sherman described Ohio State as his “dream school” in an interview with Rivals.com analyst Marc Givler.
Sherman is the only St. John’s prospect to hold an Ohio State offer, but the program has a lot of talent. In the 2019 class, running back Keilan Robinson, cornerback Aman Greenwood, wide receiver Quinten Johnson and defensive Tre’Mon Morris-Brash are all Power 5 prospects. The 2020 class is a similar story — wide receiver Rakim Jarrett (one of the top prospects in the country), cornerback Luke Hill, defensive end Greg Hudgins and athlete Mordecai McDaniel all hold Power 5 offers. Even the 2021 class looks loaded, with linebacker Antwain Littleton and defensive tackle Taizse Johnson holding Power 5 offers already and offensive lineman Colin Henrich looking ready to join them.
Tuesday, Jan. 30
There were no notable recruiting stops by Ohio State coaches on Tuesday.
Wednesday, Jan. 31
It was a busy day for Meyer on the recruiting trail. The Buckeyes head coach started his day in Belleville (Mich.), one of the Midwest’s most talented programs at the moment. Belleville is home to 5-star tackle Devontae Dobbs, the country’s No. 1 offensive lineman in the 247Sports composite rankings for the 2019 recruiting class. Julian Barnett, a 2019 defensive back and Michigan State commit, is also a big Ohio State target that the Buckeyes would be happy to flip. Belleville prospects like 2019 defensive end Jalen Hunt, 2020 cornerback Andre Seldon and 2021 defensive lineman Damon Payne are expected to be Power 5 recruits, and Payne is expected to be among the best players in the nation.
He concluded the day with a critical in-home visit, traveling to Waldorf (Md.) North Point for his meeting with 4-star tackle Rasheed Walker alongside assistants Greg Schiano and Larry Johnson. Walker is expected to choose between Ohio State, Penn State and Virginia Tech on National Signing Day.
Thursday, Feb. 1
Meyer and Schiano were all over northern New Jersey. The duo made stops at some of the area’s most prolific private school powerhouses, beginning with Wayne (N.J.) DePaul Catholic. DePaul is the home of 2019 athlete Ronnie Hickman, a 4-star prospect who is currently on Ohio State’s campus for an unofficial visit on Feb. 2-3. Additionally, Hickman’s teammate is 2019 Penn State dual-threat quarterback commit Ta’Quan Roberson, a 3-star prospect. Roberson has not yet been offered by Ohio State.
Ramsey (N.J.) Don Bosco Prep was the next stop for Meyer and Schiano. Don Bosco is the home of recent Ohio State commit Tyler Friday, a 4-star defensive lineman in the 2018 class, and 2020 running back Jalen Berger, who was offered by the Buckeyes coaches during their stop at the school. Berger also holds offers from programs like Alabama, Michigan, Penn State, Florida, Michigan State and many others.
Finally, they traveled to Oradell (N.J.) Bergen Catholic to see 4-star defensive Javontae Jean-Baptiste, one of Ohio State’s final remaining targets in the 2018 recruiting class. The Buckeyes had their in-home visit with Jean-Baptiste on Thursday and they’ll compete with Nebraska, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech and Boston College for his signature. Nebraska is widely regarded as the favorite for Jean-Baptiste at the moment.
In Georgia, Grinch was extending just the third Ohio State offer in the 2021 class to Carrollton (Ga.) linebacker Chaz Chambliss, a physical marvel at 6-3 and 220 pounds as a freshman. He was also checking in on 2020 linebacker/defensive end Kevin Swint, Chambliss’ teammate, who has held a Buckeyes offer since June.
Alford made his way to Lakeland (Fla.) on Thursday. Alford has become very familiar with the Lakeland Dreadnaughts program in his time as a college coach, and he extended an offer to 2020 running back Demarkcus Bowman during the visit. Lakeland is also home to 2019 tight end Keon Zipperer, who holds an Ohio State offer, and other Power 5 prospects like 2019 defensive end Latrell Jean, 2020 wide receiver Fenley Graham and 2019 defensive end Tre Huntley.
Friday, Feb. 2
It was a quiet Friday for the Ohio State coaching staff, but the Buckeyes did have coaches on the road. Meyer made a morning stop at Warwick (R.I.) Bishop Hendricken for recently offered 2019 offensive tackle Xavier Truss, who hopes to visit during the spring.
Great to connect with @OSUCoachMeyer today. Excited to see a Rhode Islander getting attention from big time programs. @xtruss94 @HendrickenHawks .#RowleyQBs #eastcoastfball #atougherbreed pic.twitter.com/DSfbAIVcyR
— Rowley QBs (@RowleyQBs) February 2, 2018
Additionally, Grinch stayed local in central Ohio, stopping at Columbus Marion-Franklin to check in on a nearby program. Marion-Franklin does not currently have any prospects of note.