With just over a month until college football's first early signing period, Ohio State has the top-rated recruiting class in the country. Where the Buckeyes finish the cycle, though, depends heavily upon how things unfold over the next few weeks.
Head coach Urban Meyer and his staff currently holds 18 commitments, including four five-star, 12 four-star and two three-star prospects, and are expected to sign between 23 and 25 total players in 2018.
For Ohio State to end Alabama's seven-year run atop the composite rankings, the Buckeyes will have to land several of their top remaining targets while holding onto a number of elite commits. What are their chances of doing just that? We examine.
10. FOUR-STAR DEFENSIVE TACKLE TOMMY TOGIAI
The Buckeyes already hold commitments from five-star defensive tackle Taron Vincent and junior college transfer Antwuan Jackson — who was a four-star prospect when he signed with Auburn in 2016 — so this position isn't one of great need. However, landing a play of Togiai's caliber would only add to what may be the strongest unit in the class.
Togiai is set to announce his college decision in December, and both Ohio State and Washington feel comfortable in their standing with the Idaho native. Distance doesn't appear to be a factor, so it'll come down to his relationship with the respective staffs.
CHANCES: TOSS UP
9. FOUR-STAR OFFENSIVE TACKLE RASHEED WALKER
With only four-star Max Wray in the fold, Ohio State hopes to land at least one more offensive tackle this cycle. And while there are a few names ahead of Walker on the priority chart, there's no doubt the Buckeyes would accept his commitment at any point in time.
The holdup, however, is Walker is seemingly torn between Ohio State and Penn State. The Nittany Lions have been considered the favorite in his recruitment for much of the process thanks to proximity, but might not have enough room for him in their class as the staff chases three defensive ends.
CHANCES: TOSS UP
8. FOUR-STAR DEFENSIVE END TYREKE SMITH
Similarly, Ohio State's only pledge at the defensive end position is five-star Brenton Cox. And with several starters set to graduate or head for the National Football League, the Buckeyes hope to bring on as many as three players at the position in 2018.
As one of the top-rated players in the state, it was assumed from the jump that Smith would end up at Ohio State. He's developed a great relationship with Penn State head coach James Franklin over the last year and a half, however, and the Nittany Lions are widely considered the favorite to land his commitment in January.
7. FOUR-STAR DEFENSIVE END JAYSON OWEH
Oweh is set to announce his college intentions on the same day as Smith, as the two are set to play in the Under Armour All-America Game on Jan. 4. That means Penn State could land two of Ohio State's top targets in a matter of hours, though a more likely scenario is one chooses the Buckeyes and the other picks the Nittany Lions.
Defensive line coach Larry Johnson has developed a strong bond with Oweh, who has talked his desire to seek patience from the staff as he goes through the process and develops as a player. Not sure anyone is better at that than Johnson.
6. FOUR-STAR WIDE RECEIVER KAMRYN BABB
Meyer and wide receivers coach Zach Smith made Babb a priority from the beginning of the recruiting cycle, and most — including myself — anticipated he'd already be a part of the class. In fact, he's been on commitment watch every time he's stepped on campus for the past six months.
Babb put his recruitment on the back burner a bit, though, after he tore his ACL this summer. He wants to check out a few more schools, namely LSU, UCLA and USC, before making a final decision.
5. FIVE-STAR CORNERBACK TYSON CAMPBELL
Looking to bring on one more cornerback to pair with four-star Sevyn Banks, Ohio State is expected to welcome Campbell for an official visit following the season. If the Buckeyes miss out on Anthony Cook in the coming weeks, the staff could make a significant push for Campbell's services.
Miami has become the overwhelming favorite in Campbell's recruitment, however, thanks to proximity and the Hurricanes' turnaround under head coach Mark Richt. It was also difficult to envision him leaving the South, anyway.
4. FIVE-STAR CORNERBACK ANTHONY COOK
Ohio State was considered the favorites for Cook from the moment the staff offered him a scholarship nearly two years ago. That lead disintegrated, however, when Texas made a significant push this fall for the Houston native under new head coach Tom Herman.
Cook was supposed to announce his college decision late last month — with LSU also one of three finalists — but pushed it back indefinitely as he remained torn among the Buckeyes, Longhorns and Tigers. Without another trip to Columbus in the works and graduation just a few weeks away, it'll take a miracle to pry him from home.
CHANCES: HIGHLY UNLIKELY
3. FIVE-STAR OFFENSIVE TACKLE CADE MAYS
Just a few months ago, it was impossible to imagine Mays anywhere other than Tennessee. But with all of the turmoil surrounding former head coach Butch Jones and the state of the program as a whole, the Volunteer legacy is at least looking around.
Mays took an official visit to Ohio State this past weekend, and sources within the program feel as if the Buckeyes made a stellar pitch. It just won't be enough to overcome the southern draw of Clemson or Georgia — or Tennessee, if the Volunteers knock it out of the park with their next hire.
CHANCES: HIGHLY UNLIKELY
2. FIVE-STAR OFFENSIVE TACKLE JACKSON CARMAN
Much like Smith, everyone expected Carman to be a Buckeye from the very beginning. After all, there's no way Meyer was going to let a five-star prospect leave the state, right?
Carman didn't take too kindly to that, and named Clemson his leader this spring. He's also shown significant interest in USC, and will officially visit both schools in December. He's been to Columbus a handful of times this summer and fall, though, which makes me feel as if his level of comfort with the staff and the Buckeyes' need at the offensive tackle position will win out.
1. FOUR-STAR QUARTERBACK EMORY JONES
Didn't see this one coming, did you?
In order for Ohio State to steal the recruiting title from Alabama, the Buckeyes will have to stop the Crimson Tide from flipping Jones. And at this point in time, it appears that nobody — including Jones — knows what he's going to do.
Ohio State has offered two quarterbacks in the last few weeks and kicked the tires on several others, but make no mistake, Jones is the staff's top priority. Both schools offer the same path to playing time, compete for national championships every year and send players to the NFL at an unprecedented rate. So will relationships or proximity win out?
We'll have to wait and see.
CHANCES: TOSS UP