Jayson Oweh is surging upward on Ohio State's 2018 wish list.
It's no secret that Ohio State's defensive end play has been one of the strongest units since Urban Meyer took over in Columbus. With Tyquan Lewis, Sam Hubbard, and Jalyn Holmes all returning for 2017, the position is expected to be the strength of the defense.
It certainly doesn't hurt when former five-star prospects like Nick Bosa, Jonathon Cooper, and Chase Young are all waiting in the wings and poised to make some noise this season as well.
We've talked before about the exodus that will take place following the 2017 campaign and how imperative it is that the Buckeyes address the need at the position for the 2018 recruiting class. Five-star Brenton Cox and four-star Andrew Chatfield are already committed, so Larry Johnson is off to a tremendous start.
While he is a four-star in his own right, Oweh doesn't quite have the star power that Cox, Parsons, and Smith bring to the table. The Blairstown, New Jersey star checks in as the country's No. 212 prospect. Cox is ranked No. 22 while Parsons and Smith are No. 4 and No. 107 respectively.
That really shouldn't be too big of a surprise, though. The 2016 season – his junior year – was his first action on the football field. Entering his senior season, Oweh has played in just eight varsity football games. Still, that hasn't stopped some of America's best from pursuing the 6-foot-5, 236-pounder.
Ohio State, Penn State, Notre Dame, and Georgia have all extended offers. Right now it's the Buckeyes, Nittany Lions, and Irish fighting over one of the country's fastest-rising prospects.
This past April, Oweh put up some impressive numbers at The Opening regional event in New Jersey. Nike's testing page shows a third-place finish in the overall rankings, including a freakish 4.63 forty. Penn State offered shortly before the event while Ohio State and Notre Dame came calling shortly thereafter.
Earlier this week, 247Sports' Alex Gleitman reported that the four-star has narrowed things down to the three Midwest programs and will visit each school again in the coming weeks. A decision is then expected to come shortly thereafter.
Oweh was in Columbus on June 9th for the Buckeyes' one-day camp, and all reports have indicated that he and Larry Johnson really hit it off. Some have gone as far as saying that he may have moved to the top of the board at defensive end. Ohio State has certainly positioned itself quite well as the New Jersey product has the Buckeyes at the top of his list right now.
James Franklin's Nittany Lions were trending until the June trip to Columbus, so a return visit is big news for the folks in Happy Valley. The country's No. 10 strong-side defensive end is scheduled to return next Saturday for their annual Lasch Basch Barbecue, which is always one of year's top recruiting events.
Penn State remains a real threat in the Oweh sweepstakes as they have been recruiting him longer than both the Buckeyes and Irish. There also have been rumors of some family connections to James Franklin, which certainly wouldn't hurt Penn State's chances.
Needless to say, the upcoming return trip to Happy Valley is going to be a big one to watch.
Still new to the game, Oweh might not be the instant impact type of player that a Brenton Cox or Micah Parsons may very well be. When he transferred to Blair from Rutgers Academy, he was known more as a star on the hardwood. In fact, the driving force behind the transfer was Blair's superior basketball program.
The sky really is the limit with this one.
In his first season on the gridiron, he recorded over 40 tackles and seven sacks in just eight games. The measurables are clearly there as well, and the potential is something to get excited about. One East Coast source stated that Oweh has more potential than anyone he's scouted for the 2018 class, and the sky truly is the limit under the right coaching.
The numbers game is creating a tricky situation along the defensive line, but Larry Johnson would love to get his hands on this fast-rising prospect.
With a return trip to Columbus in the works, the Buckeyes should have an answer in the coming weeks.