Recruiting is all about momentum. Sometimes you're gaining it, sometimes you're losing it. What prospects are trending up with Ohio State? Let's take a look.
April isn't quite behind us yet, but thus far it's been a month that's seen a number of prospects' interest in the Buckeyes heat up while a few others seem to be cooling down a bit.
No changes in regard to Ohio State's standing in the national recruiting rankings as they still are tops in America despite no new commitments so far this month. Tyjon Lindsey was a big mover the last time we checked in on the class. This time there's a new name at defensive end and some changes at the top of the board.
(This board will be updated over the next several months as we try and monitor the ups and downs of the 2017 class.)
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Before digging into things, I suppose this would be a good time to clarify that there is no exact science to our recruiting board. It's basically a combination of team needs, the level of interest from the player, and how hard we feel the staff is pursuing them. There are certainly some other factors at play, such as the commitments who are already in the fold and how we view their current standing in the class.
To start off, Trevon Grimes is no longer listed atop the Buckeyes' board. Why is that so? It's becoming more and more difficult to ignore the fact that the five-star hasn't been back to Columbus in nearly two years. There have also been some rumblings that certain family members prefer that he stay in the state of Florida for college.
Further, Zach Smith went on a pretty lengthy Twitter tirade the other day which was apparently directed at other coaching staffs and how they are recruiting some Buckeye targets. Despite Nebraska wanting it to be about them, Smith would later indicate that he was referring to a certain SEC school. Something just doesn't feel quite right at the moment even though crystal ball picks continue to come in for the Buckeyes.
Cincinnati Colerain defensive back Amir Riep takes over the top spot on our board. With the uncertainty surrounding Shaun Wade's commitment and Lamont Wade seeming to be a bit concerned about the early enrollment spots at Ohio State, keeping the in-state defensive back at home has become increasingly important. Riep was back in Columbus last week for the spring game and made the trip to East Lansing to check out the Spartans yesterday. A decision is still expected before his senior season.
Michigan st great Andre Rison! pic.twitter.com/ZZGsZ7fSrU— Amir Riep (@Riep_Amir) April 23, 2016
The news of Todd Sibley's grayshirt request could mean that even more focus could be placed on Clinton, Mississippi's Cam Akers. The five-star was in Columbus last month and is planning a return trip this summer with parents in tow, but it will be a tall task keeping him away from the SEC. Najee Harris is another name to watch at running back. The nation's top-ranked prospect visited Ohio State last week but hasn't said a whole lot about the visit. A return trip to Columbus could definitely turn this into one to watch a little more closely.
The aforementioned Lamont Wade remains a priority target, but things just seemed a bit off a few weeks ago when he was interviewed at the Rivals Camp Series in Columbus. Wade has expressed some concern about being able to enroll early at Ohio State. One would certainly think that the Buckeyes would figure out a way to accommodate a talent such as his, but the numbers crunch could make things a bit tricky. Wade was at Penn State this weekend, his fourth trip to Happy Valley this spring.
Much like Todd Sibley, the recruitment of Danny Clark also appears to be in a bit of a strange spot right now. The Buckeyes' quarterback commit was notably absent from the spring game, electing to make the trip to Tuscaloosa instead. The family has gone pretty quiet since the Bama visit, so it's tough to pinpoint exactly where things stand.
Five-star Tate Martell announced this week that he would be taking all five official visits this fall, and some folks in Aggieland suspect that a decommit could be coming sooner rather than later. If it were to happen, it would be silly to assume the Buckeyes are automatically in the catbird seat. USC and a number of other schools remain hot on the trail.
Four-star defensive end Chase Young makes his debut on the board as the Buckeyes continue to be one of the top two schools for the DeMatha Catholic standout. Young has built a great relationship with Larry Johnson and his April visit to Columbus may prove to be a game-changer. The 6-foot-5, 220-pounder was expected to return for the Buckeye spring game but ended up making the short trip to the University of Maryland instead. The Terps appear to be the main competition right now, though a visit to Bama is looming.
Joshua Kaindoh released a surprising top four this week. The list included Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame, and Penn State while the presumed favorite Terrapins were nowhere to be found. There is some speculation that the five-star defensive end could be doing some trolling, but there's also a real possibility that a recent visit to South Bend could have swung things in favor of the Irish.
The Buckeyes don't appear to be a real possibility at this point, which is why Kaindoh is close to coming off the board.