Heat Check: Buckeyes Add Big Piece in September, Five-Star Target Set to Announce in the Coming Weeks

By Andrew Ellis on October 3, 2017 at 1:15 pm
Four-star defensive end Jayson Oweh moves up our 2018 recruiting board.

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.

October has arrived and the Buckeyes still have the nation's No. 1 recruiting class. Larry Johnson added a big piece to the line last month when JUCO defensive tackle Antwuan Jackson made his commitment. Jackson will join forces with the nation's top 2018 tackle, IMG Academy's Taron Vincent

The biggest recruiting weekends of the season were expected to be the Oklahoma and Penn State games. One of those has come and gone, but the Penn State game certainly looms large both in terms of the College Football Playoff and the Ohio State recruiting scene. All eyes will be on Columbus come Oct. 28, and you absolutely should be there enjoying the festivities.

The Buckeyes have 18 commitments, and while a whole lot is yet to unfold, there's likely going to be room to add about six more to that number.

An updated look at the 2018 recruiting picture:

NAME POSITION RANK Prev. Rating Others In the Mix
JACKSON CARMAN OT 1 1 ★★★★★ Clemson•USC
KAMRYN BABB WR 2 2 ★★★★ LSU•Michigan•ND
ANTHONY COOK CB 3 3 ★★★★★ Texas•LSU
TYREKE SMITH DE 4 5 ★★★★ Penn State•Alabama•USC•Oregon
JAYSON OWEH DE 5 6 ★★★★ Penn State•Notre Dame
RASHEED WALKER OT 6 9 ★★★★ Penn State•Maryland
TOMMY TOGIAI DT 7 7 ★★★★ USC•Washington
MICAH PARSONS DE 8 4 ★★★★★ Penn State•Georgia•Nebraska•Bama
TYSON CAMPBELL CB 9 10 ★★★★★ Miami•LSU•Clemson•Bama•UF•FSU
PATRICK SURTAIN JR. CB 10 NA ★★★★★ LSU•Florida State
NICHOLAS PETIT-FRERE OT 11 11 ★★★★ Florida•Alabama•Notre Dame
  •  Last month's version can be found HERE.

Very little has changed on the Jackson Carman front. He was supposed to head to Madison last weekend for an official visit but changed those plans upon learning that he wouldn't be able to enroll early even if he were to side with Wisconsin. There will be a lot of chatter and USC and Clemson apparel, but we still expect this one to end up in Ohio State's favor.

The Kamryn Babb recruitment has been almost eerily quiet since he suffered a torn ACL a few months back. The four-star continues to be at the top of the wide receiver board and really seems to be the only player the Buckeyes are paying a whole lot of attention to. He's expected to make his official visit this month, and it would be no surprise if he were a part of the class before the calendar turns to November. 

Defensive back recruiting has a chance to get really interesting, and we should have a much clearer picture here in a few weeks. Anthony Cook has been the top cornerback target for several months now, but Tom Herman and the Longhorns have made a major push. Cook was in Austin last week for his official visit, and he's now saying Ohio State and Texas are tied at the top of his list. 

Could this just be the post-visit high that happens quite often in the recruiting world? It certainly could be, but it's never wise to underestimate proximity to home and Cook has a strong relationship with several Longhorn players and commits—including teammate Al'Vonte Woodard. He was in Columbus for the Oklahoma game and will check out Baton Rouge in two weeks.

Cook has said he wants to play for a winning program and would be watching the Longhorns closely this season. Texas is currently 2-2 and they will face off against Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and Baylor this month. Cook will enroll early and is scheduled to announce on Oct. 30. 

The Buckeyes continue to recruit five-star American Heritage teammates Tyson Campbell and Patrick Surtain Jr. The odds certainly aren't in Ohio State's favor, but LSU has looked anything but formidable and that could impact Surtain's recruitment a bit. Campbell likely won't leave the state of Florida, but getting these guys back on campus would be a big step in the right direction. 

Nabbing another cornerback to go along with Sevyn Banks is pretty important even after the ridiculous 2017 haul. As with most instances, the Buckeyes extending new 2018 offers could be somewhat telling in regards to their pursuit of the top cornerback targets. For now, things still look to be on track. 

Sorting out the defensive end situation has also been a tricky endeavor. We've moved Micah Parsons down the board as we just aren't sure how the staff feels about him. The talent is undeniable, but there appear to be other question marks and his recruitment may be swinging back in the Nittany Lions' favor. 

As for the other two top targets – Jayson Oweh and Tyreke Smith – may they also be leaning toward Penn State at the moment?

We still feel the Buckeyes are going to land two of the three, but this is far from a done deal. Some believe that Smith is trending away from Ohio State and Oweh genuinely seems to go back and forth. Both are announcing at the Under Armour Game on Jan. 4, so that will be a huge day for Urban Meyer and James Franklin. 

Elsewhere on the line, there's still a real possibility that a third defensive tackle ends up in the class. Tommy Togiai is the most likely candidate right now, but it will be difficult to keep him away from USC and the Pac-12. He's already used his official visit to Columbus and won't check out Southern Cal until mid-December. Steve Wiltfong threw in a crystal ball for the Buckeyes last month, but USC still has a slight edge.  

Besides the aforementioned Jackson Carman, offensive tackle recruiting should still be prioritized. We've talked about Max Wray potentially ending up at a number of spots along the line, so signing two pure tackles is something that needs to get taken care of.

Rasheed Walker moves up the board and there are several reasons for this. For starters, the staff has been in constant contact and it looks like he's the top guy after Carman. Penn State was long thought to be the favorite, but there's a serious numbers crunch going on in Happy Valley. This is one that the Buckeyes absolutely can win.

Nicholas Petit-Frere continues to be the other one to watch, but his recruitment is much more open right now. Florida, Notre Dame, Alabama, and Ohio State all remain in the running for the four-star from Tampa. There's a long way to go with this one.

October brings with it some of the biggest matchups of the season, and we all will be watching intently. Elsewhere, Texas and Penn State are likely the two programs that Ohio State fans should be monitoring most closely. The Nittany Lions stand in the way of the Buckeyes and a potential East Division title, and James Franklin has his sights set on several of Urban Meyer's top targets.

As for the Longhorns, this one is really all about Anthony Cook. The wins and losses often don't mean a whole lot for some of these kids, but Cook is a different case. If Texas struggles through October, then we should probably feel a bit more confident about his announcement. 

In the entertainment world, the month is already off to a somber start.

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