Commit Watch: Friday Night Lights Brings Top Prospects to Columbus, Potential for More July Fireworks

By Andrew Ellis on July 20, 2017 at 10:10 am
2019 offensive tackle Doug Nester could be the first commit for Ohio State's 2019 class.
2019 OT Doug Nester

Friday Night Lights is nearly upon us again.

Ohio State's annual recruiting extravaganza is just over 24 hours away, and with it comes a myriad of storylines pertaining to the 2018 class and beyond. 

The list of visitors is constantly changing, and there's almost always a surprise or two at the event. Eleven Warriors will have more comprehensive and up-to-date list on Friday, but all indications are that it will be yet another star-studded affair.

Last year, the Buckeyes secured two commitments at the event. 2017 defensive end Chase Young, a four-star who would later see his stock soar, made things official after leaning toward Ohio State for the majority of his recruitment. The Young commit was no real surprise, but the pledge from four-star 2018 tailback Brian Snead did catch nearly everyone off guard. Snead was Ohio State's first commitment for the 2018 class and has been 100 percent on board ever since.

Today, we look at some potential visitors who may be on commitment watch this weekend, while knowing full well that it's always wise to expect the unexpected during these Friday festivities.

Class of 2018

Kamryn Babb has been Ohio State's top wide receiver target for as long as we can remember, and the four-star has only seen his stock rise after a solid showing at Nike's The Opening. Babb was in Columbus just over a month ago and had been expected to make the return trip on Friday. Due to some family obligations, the visit may no longer be in the plans.

While he has talked about visiting LSU and a few other SEC programs, it may be becoming less and less likely that those visits take place. Three days ago we would have had Babb on major commitment watch this weekend. Now, with the plans very much up in the air, we are all in wait-and-see mode as to when this all goes down.

Four-star defensive end Jayson Oweh has surged up Ohio State's board, and if Larry Johnson had his way, the 6-foot-5, 236-pounder would already be a part of what's going to be a stellar defensive line haul. We've talked before about the ridiculous potential, and the New Jersey product is coming off of a visit to Penn State for their biggest summer event. The country's No. 7 defensive end has been putting on a show all summer, and it's no surprise that he did the same in Happy Valley.

A decision is expected to come any time following this week's trips to both South Bend and Columbus. A week ago, Ohio State was out in front, but it sounds as though Penn State may be back on top. It seems more likely that Oweh will take some time to digest everything rather than announcing something this weekend, but you really never know. 

L'Christian Smith is still a candidate to be the next Ohio State commitment, and while he is expected on Friday, the four-star wideout seems content on announcing in late August. There has been some unconfirmed reports of K'Vaughan Pope getting back on campus, and that would certainly be big news as well as the four-star linebacker looks to find a way into the class.

Ohio State has offered four-star wideout Jahan Dotson, and while things may have heated up a bit over the spring, they've mostly fizzled since that time. Dotson is seriously considering both the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions, and I think it's reasonable to assume he would be in already if the Ohio State staff was ready to take him.

Babb and Smith are the top targets at wideout, but if Dotson impresses and the staff pushes for him, then anything is possible.

Class of 2019

Anything beyond the Class of 2018 is a pretty big question mark right now. Not due to lack of interest or anything like that, but because we just aren't sure if the Buckeyes are in a position to accept these potential commitments. Still, there are a few that at least appear to be definite takes, and some could be nearing decisions. 

West Virginia's Doug Nester doesn't seem to enjoy the recruiting process all that much, and that could be good news for Ohio State. In fact, with the Babb visit now up in the air, the nation's No. 3 offensive tackle may actually be the most likely to commit. This will be his fourth trip to Columbus this year, and the crystal ball is heavily favoring the Buckeyes. Nester is ranked as the nation's No. 39 prospect for the Class of 2019.

Another 2019 offensive lineman is expected on Friday, and he too appears to be leaning toward Ohio State. Cincinnati's Zeke Correll (Anderson) was offered by the Buckeyes in May and made the trek to campus in June. Correll is a Kentucky legacy, and while the Wildcats have had some success in the state of Ohio, Mark Stoops and Co. haven't exactly been winning battles against Urban Meyer.

Trey Knox is expected on campus yet again, and it may just be a matter of time before this one pops for Ohio State. The more realistic date for a decision is probably sometime this fall, however. Cade Stover hasn't confirmed his visit plans yet, but it seems like the state's No. 2 prospect could make things official at any moment.

Class of 2020

It's probably a little bit ridiculous to talk about the 2020 class, right? The Buckeyes have only offered 15 prospects for the Class of 2020 thus far, and the staff may not even be thinking about a scenario where someone wants to hop on board this early.

That being said, if there's anyone to watch, then it has to be Franklin, Tennessee's Jake Wray. The offensive tackle is the younger brother of 2018 commit Max Wray. There's no reason to think the 6-foot-5, 290-pound Freshman All-American is wanting to end things this quickly, but the family is clearly quite fond of what Urban Meyer is doing in Columbus.

Wray also holds offers from the likes of Alabama, Georgia, and Florida.

Friday Night Lights really is more about planting the seeds for the future classes than it is the current one. It will be interesting to see who really puts on a show for the Ohio State staff and what new offers are extended. Eric Glover-Williams, Damon Webb, and Binjimen Victor have all been some of the top performers over the years. 

While no one is necessarily expected to commit this weekend, I think it would be safe to set the over/under right at 1.5. Would likely bump that to 2.5 if we knew that Babb would be in attendance. If I were a betting man, Nester would be the one I'd be watching. You really just never know what to expect at these events, and again the Snead commitment last year is a perfect example of that.

Stay tuned for Andrew Lind's full visitor preview which will be hitting the shelves tomorrow morning.

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