Antonio Williams is already on campus getting a taste of college life in the form of spoonfuls of weights from Ohio State strength coach Mickey Marotti, but saw his stock finish higher than a future rival in terms of recruiting rankings Tuesday.
The Ohio State four-star running back commit and early enrollee is No. 128 in the final Rivals.com prospect rankings for 2016 following his two-touchdown performance in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl. One-time Buckeye commitment and now Michigan early enrollee Kareem Walker fell 140 spots to No. 181, after falling short of expectations at the Under Armour All-American game Jan. 2.
Williams saw his stock rise immensely to No. 122 on the list in December, but Tuesday marked the first time he was held in higher regard than Walker, who was previously the top-ranked running back in the country. That holds true even with Williams' six-spot drop in the final rundown.
As Birm noted in Monday's Hurry Up, the Buckeyes have nine commitments currently in the Rivals top-100, which was released after three big-time pledges—Binjimen Victor, Keandre Jones and Dwayne Haskins Jr.—said yes to Urban Meyer.
Tuesday, the final top-250 was released. A rundown of the 11 Ohio State connections:
- No. 21 • Nick Bosa • DE
- No. 30 • Keandre Jones • LB
- No. 66 • Demario McCall • ATH
- No. 71 • Jake Hausmann • TE
- No. 78 • Jonathon Cooper • DE
- No. 91 • Binjimen Victor • WR
- No. 96 • Austin Mack • WR
- No. 99 • Michael Jordan • OL
- No. 100 • Dwayne Haskins Jr. • QB
- No. 128 • Antonio Williams • RB
- No. 224 • Luke Farrell • TE
Each one of those players is a 4-star recruit according to Rivals, with the exception of Jones and Bosa, who are both 5-stars.
Meyer and his staff aren't stopping there however. Three of their biggest remaining targets are also present in the final rankings.
Defensive tackle Rashard Lawrence—who is set to announce his college choice Friday between Ohio State and LSU—is No. 105 in the final slate, while defensive back Damar Hamlin is No. 126. Wide receiver Sam Bruce is No. 47.
The Buckeyes are yearning for another defensive tackle in the class, so Lawrence is of top priority. And, it seems like the teachers at his high school aren't making things easy on him with his decision date three days away.
Game on Man I love my teachers pic.twitter.com/ohLr2FteY7— Rashard Lawrence (@Rashard_99) January 19, 2016
Ohio State's class is ranked No. 1 by Rivals, Scout and 247Sports after its huge haul Monday. Michigan's class—which was as high as No. 2 at one point—currently sits sixth. Its lone commitment from a player in the top-100 is offensive lineman Ben Bredeson, who is ranked 60th.
National Signing Day is Feb. 3.