Bruce Thornton, Felix Okpara, Roddy Gayle, Brice Sensabaugh, Bowen Hardman Sign National Letters of Intent With Ohio State

By Griffin Strom on November 10, 2021 at 1:27 pm
Bruce Thornton, Brice Sensabaugh, Roddy Gayle
Twitter/@bricepsensa, Instagram/@brucethornton_, @roddyg_23

Chris Holtmann's most highly touted Ohio State recruiting class to date is now official.

All five members of the Buckeyes' five-man 2022 class – Bruce ThorntonFelix Okpara, Roddy Gayle, Brice Sensabaugh and Bowen Hardman – signed their National Letters of Intent during the first day of the early signing period to officially become Buckeyes on Wednesday.

The class, which is Holtmann’s largest since taking over the Buckeye program in 2017-18, features four four-star, top-75-rated prospects in Thornton, Okpara, Gayle and Sensabaugh, as well as a three-star recruit in Hardman. Ohio State's 2022 class ranks sixth in the nation, per 247Sports’ composite team rankings, and is No. 1 in the Big Ten. 

“We are excited to officially welcome Roddy, Bruce, Bowen, Felix and Brice to our Basketball family,” Holtmann in an Ohio State release. “Not only will this group have a big impact on the court, but the collective character of these five fit our program and the University community perfectly. The future is bright for this class and it will serve as a foundational piece for the coming years of our program.”

Holtmann previously landed the Big Ten’s top class in 2017 and 2019, but this is his first class at Ohio State to place higher than 14th in the national rankings.

Thornton, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound point guard out of Milton High School in Alpharetta, Georgia, is the top-rated player in the Buckeyes' class. Thornton is the No. 41 prospect in the country, the top recruit in the state of Georgia and the sixth-ranked point guard in the class. Thornton was the third commit in Ohio State's 2022 class, and figures to be the point guard of the future for the Buckeyes following the departure of Penn State transfer Jamari Wheeler at the end of the 2021-22 season.

“We are really excited to add Bruce to our program. During the recruiting process, we had a front row seat to his work ethic and his ability to impact winning at the highest level," Holtmann said. "Combine that with who he is as a person and the support around him, there is no doubt that he fits perfectly in the Scarlet and Gray. Bruce exemplifies the toughness, skill, and leadership combination that we look for in our guards and Buckeye Nation is going to love watching him.”

A Branson, Missouri, center out of Link Academy, Okpara is the second-most highly-ranked recruit in the group. The 6-foot-11 big man is the No. 50 overall prospect in the country and the 11th-rated center. The Nigeria native committed to the Buckeyes in July to become the fourth commitment of the class for Ohio State. With Joey Brunk, Kyle Young and E.J. Liddell all expected to depart from the Buckeye program at the end of this season, Okpara provides Ohio State with a much-needed big who can pair with Zed Key moving forward.

“Felix is another tremendous addition to our program. From the day we met Felix and his family, it was obvious that they are a tight knit group and we are thrilled to welcome them to our family," Holtmann said. "Felix provides length and athleticism like we haven’t had before at his position. His ability to impact the game on the defensive end of the floor is special, and we know his skill is continuing to improve because he is an elite worker. Buckeye Nation is going to love his personality and passion, and we can’t wait for him to put on the Scarlet and Gray.”

Gayle is the No. 63 recruit in the country, the second-ranked prospect in the state of Utah and the No. 6 shooting guard in the class of 2020. The New York native, who is completing his high school career at Wasatch Academy in Mount Pleasant, Utah, is a 6-foot-4, 195-pound scoring guard who was recruited primarily by Buckeye assistant Jake Diebler and committed to Ohio State on Nov. 13, 2020.

“We want to officially welcome the Gayle family to Ohio State. Roddy fell in love with Ohio State after a visit to the Schottenstein Center against TTUN, and we have enjoyed getting to know him and his family since that day," Holtmann said. "Roddy is a gifted athlete with two-way potential that provides positional size and versatility on the perimeter. His heart for helping others though will be equally impactful in our community as it will be on the court! We’re looking forward to getting him to Columbus.”

The most recent commitment in Ohio State’s class is Orlando, Florida, forward Brice Sensabaugh, an AAU teammate of Thornton's who plays high school ball for Lake Highland Prep. The 6-foot-6, 240-pound prospect is the No. 74 player and No. 21 small forward in the country, as well as the 15th-ranked recruit in the state of Florida. Equipped with guard skills despite a power forward’s frame, Sensabaugh will help fill the void created by the expected departures of Liddell, Young, Justice Sueing and Seth Towns after this season.

“Brice is a great addition to our Basketball family. Ohio State holds a special place in he and his family’s hearts, which was made obvious on their visit to Columbus," Holtmann said. "Brice is one of the best scorers in his class and his combination of size and skill make him a perfect fit for the Big Ten Conference. We are excited for the impact he will make on our program and we know that he is going to represent Buckeye Nation with great pride and passion.”

The first commit in Ohio State's 2022 class was Princeton High School product Bowen Hardman, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard out of Cincinnati who ranks eighth among Ohio prospects and 48th among two-guards in the class. Alongside Thornton and Gayle, Hardman will help replace the likes of Wheeler and Jimmy Sotos in the Ohio State backcourt next year.

“We are excited to officially welcome Bowen and his family to The Ohio State University and our basketball family. His ability to shoot the ball and create space on the floor make him a perfect fit in our system," Holtmann said. "He has the potential to really grow as a player as his strength improves each year. I know he can’t wait to put on an Ohio State uniform and begin to achieve his dreams of being a Buckeye.” 

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