The first player to commit to Ohio State's 2023 class has now reopened his recruitment.
Four-star shooting guard George Washington III, the No. 106-rated prospect in the country and No. 2 player in Ohio, announced Monday he has decommitted from the Buckeye program.
Washington, who initially committed to Ohio State in November 2021 while living in Louisville, moved to Dayton, Ohio, to play at Chaminade Julienne for his senior year of high school. Since Washington committed, the Buckeyes have received pledges from three other highly-touted 2023 prospects, including Washington's AAU teammate (All-Ohio Red) Devin Royal.
With Washington, Royal, St. Marys Memorial center Austin Parks and top-50 wing Scotty Middleton, the Buckeyes had the No. 5 recruiting class in the country entering the week. But now with just three commits in the group, Ohio State could work fast to replace Washington's spot at shooting guard.
The Buckeyes had a number of high-profile visitors on the sidelines at Ohio Stadium for this past weekend's football season opener against Notre Dame, including Bronny James – son of LeBron James and the No. 41 overall prospect in the 2023 class – and 6-foot-4 combo guard Taison Chatman, the 31st-ranked recruit in the country.
LeBron and Bronny James enjoying themselves at Ohio Stadium: pic.twitter.com/Y7D5KzPfZS— Griffin Strom (@GriffinStrom3) September 3, 2022
While James' recruitment is still largely shrouded in mystery, things could quickly be heating up between Chatman and the Buckeyes. The top-ranked recruit in Minnesota, Chatman plays at Totino-Grace and clocks in as the No. 8 combo guard in the country. Chatman put the Buckeyes on his top five schools list back in July along with Minnesota, Kansas and Virginia.
Even with four commits in Ohio State's 2023 class, a source told Eleven Warriors the program might still have been open to taking a fifth player in the cycle. But following both the decommitment of Washington and Sunday's news that veteran forward Seth Towns is stepping away from the program, a five-player class appears all the more likely.
While the Buckeyes could replace Towns' scholarship ahead of this season with a player who has multiple years of eligibility remaining, it looks likely that the program will hold the extra opening for the 2023 class instead.
The loss of Washington now gives Ohio State the ninth-ranked recruiting class in the country in 2023, and No. 3 in the Big Ten behind Michigan State and Maryland.