With the dog days of summer on the way out, football recruiting is shifting to a busier time of the year: the regular season.
During the football season, schools can accommodate official and unofficial visits to campus. Recruits can visit campus when the football team is travelling or on a bye week, but home games give the coaches a chance to wow recruits with a game experience.
Ohio State has seven home games this fall, and several are shaping up to be major recruiting events. You can expect the best of the best to show up to Ohio State on three weekends in particular.
Sept. 6-7: vs. Virginia Tech
The question for this game isn't who's coming to Columbus, it's "who isn't?" Urban Meyer is going to be hosting two of the best players in the nation in Torrance Gibson and Josh Sweat. Gibson has the Buckeyes as his favorite, while Sweat has OSU in his top five. This could be a good chance for the coaching staff to seal the deal with Gibson and impress Sweat even more.
Lawrence Cager, Jacques Patrick, and Branden Bowen are the other major 2015 prospects coming to the Virginia Tech game. Cager has us as his favorite and it wouldn't surprise me if he committed that weekend, although he plans on committing at the All-American game.
The 2016 and 2017 classes will be also be represented in Week 2. St. Thomas Aquinas HS in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. is sending 2016 DE Nick Bosa and 2017 WR Trevon Grimes to the game, and North Ridgeville running back Demario McCall is scheduled to come as well. 2016 LB Brendan Ferns ought to show up; Ferns' father he told me they are "almost certain" to come to the Virginia Tech game. Given the quality of the opponent and the talent Ohio State is bringing in, I like OSU's chances of landing a commitment on this weekend.
Sept. 27-28: vs. Cincinnati
Cincinnati is one of two Ohio schools on the regular season schedule, and it's the closest thing Ohio State has to an intrastate rivalry game. Not many 2015 prospects that have scheduled an official visit for this game so far, but it's a night game at Ohio Stadium. As schedules become clearer, look for more prospects to schedule their official visit for this game.
The biggest announced name for the weekend of the Cincinnati game is 2016 TE Jake Hausmann. Given their concerning lack of depth at the position, the Buckeyes need to show Hausmann how they will use their tight ends in the future. The Buckeyes have a decent chance with Hausmann as is, but they need to impress.
Another major prospect scheduled for Cincinnati is coming again is 2016 WR Austin Mack. A top-100 player in his class according to 247Sports' composite rankings, Mack impressed the coaches at Friday Night Lights with a strong performance against Eric Glover-Williams; he may attend several games this year. 2016 offensive tackle Michal Menet, from Reading, Pa., is also scheduled to take a visit that day.
Nov. 29-30: vs. Michigan
The Game always brings out the best prospects for both schools, as prospects want to get a chance to experience this rivalry. Without question, the top prospect coming to this game is running back Damien Harris. The one-time Michigan commit hopes to decide on a school after this game, which would essentially give Ohio State the last official visit. The red carpet will not be rolled out for Harris alone; joining him is Will Sunderland, a safety from Oklahoma City. I do not like the Buckeyes' chances with Sunderland, as the Sooners seem to be his heavy favorite.
For the 2016 class, Tommy Kraemer and Liam Eichenberg will be the headliners. Kraemer, a five-star offensive tackle from Elder High School in Cincinnati, is believed to favor either Ohio State or Notre Dame. Eichenberg, a fellow offensive tackle from St. Ignatius in Cleveland, is another player the Buckeyes want to impress. Eichenberg has said that he and Kraemer have talked about playing together, meaning that if they do not end up in South Bend, Ohio State could be in the mix.
Delaware, Ohio's Ethan Tucky, one of the fastest linebackers in the nation, is visiting. He could have an offer by the time of the Michigan game, and if he already has an offer he could commit. Austin Mack is supposed to make another appearance at the Michigan game, and Bruce Judson, the 2017 star athlete, could be a future commit attending this game. Judson wants to decide on a school soon and the Buckeyes are his leader.