We’ve reached the end of the 2016 high school football season, and that means it’s time for the country’s best players to put on the pads one more time before college and represent themselves and their hometowns in any number of high school All-American games.
The “big two” are the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and the Under-Armour All-America Game, the latter of which takes place Sunday – New Year’s Day – from Orlando, Fla. (1 p.m. ET, ESPN). As you’d expect, a number of Ohio State commitments, and targets, in the 2017 recruiting class will be represented.
If you’re a Buckeyes fan, who and what should you be looking for?
Ohio State commitments
Three different Ohio State pledges are expected in Orlando, though only two will suit up and play in the game.
- Trevon Grimes • Wide Receiver • Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) • St. Thomas Aquinas • Jersey No. 16
- Grimes will not play in the game on Sunday as he continues to rest, recover and rehab after ACL surgery in October. He is the country’s fifth-ranked wide receiver.
- Marcus Williamson • Defensive Back • Westerville (Ohio) • IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) • Jersey No. 9
- The nation’s 16th-ranked cornerback, Williamson will be one of 10 players from the IMG Academy participating in the game on Sunday. He’s been committed to Ohio State since April 2015 and will enroll early with the Buckeyes. He’ll arrive in Columbus on Jan. 9.
- Isaiah Pryor • Defensive Back • Lawrenceville (Ga.) • IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) • Jersey No. 13
- The third and final Ohio State commitment in this contest, Pryor will once more line up alongside his roommate at IMG, Marcus Williamson, and wreak havoc from the safety position. He’s the only pure safety being recruited by the Buckeyes and, like Williamson, will enroll early at Ohio State.
Ohio State targets
Ohio State does not have much room left in its 2017 recruiting class, but there are a few names worth paying attention to on these rosters. Two will make their college decisions during the game.
- Markquese Bell • Defensive Back • Bridgeton (N.J.) • Bridgeton • Jersey No. 3
- If Bell decided to postpone his commitment much longer, there was a real chance the Buckeyes could be his pick. But with a decision being made at the Under Armour All-America Game, it’s now unlikely he picks Ohio State. Rutgers, Maryland, and Virginia Tech are all hot and heavy after the country’s seventh-ranked athlete, and the vibe right now seems to be that he will stay at home in New Jersey with Chris Ash and the Scarlet Knights.
- Josh Falo • Tight End • Sacramento (Calif.) • Inderkum • Jersey No. 2
- Though the Buckeyes have seemingly stopped their pursuit of a tight end in 2017, if there was one they’d love to land, it’s Falo. He’s going to be a difference maker in college.
- Xavier McKinney • Defensive Back • Roswell (Ga.) • Roswell • Jersey No. 15
- There’s some scuttlebutt that McKinney – who visited Ohio State on Nov. 26 – could actually pick the Buckeyes when he announces his college choice at the game on Sunday. While I don’t believe that’s going to be the case, he’s gone virtually media silent since his trip, so all speculation is just that – speculation. Clemson, Alabama and Georgia remain in the conversation as well. A commitment from McKinney would signal some questions around the recruitment of Darnay Holmes, a 5-star cornerback out of California.
- Marvin Wilson • Defensive Line • Bellaire (Texas) • Episcopal • Jersey No. 99
- Perhaps the most important uncommitted recruit participating in this game is Wilson. The country’s top-ranked defensive tackle prospect will be a hot target for every prospect on hand but certainly a player that Grimes, Williamson and Pryor will be targeting with Ohio State talk. Wilson won’t make a decision until signing day, but is expected to release an updated, and likely final, top 5 at the game.