With a glaring lack of depth at both positions, offensive tackle and defensive end were without a doubt Ohio State's biggest needs following the Early Signing Period.
You can now consider one of those positions addressed, though, as Ramsey, New Jersey, Don Bosco Prep four-star defensive end Tyler Friday pledged his services to the Buckeyes during a ceremony at his high school on none other than Friday afternoon.
Committed OHIO STATE wassgood ? pic.twitter.com/UMQrgPT3wj
— Big Smooth (@almighty_ty5) January 19, 2018
The Friday File
- Class: 2018
- Size: 6-foot-3, 263 pounds
- Pos: DE
- School: Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, NJ)
- Composite Rating: ★★★★
- Composite Rank: 4 (DT)
The 6-foot-3, 263-pound Friday is considered the fourth-best defensive tackle and No. 86 prospect overall in the Class of 2018, but the staff plans to move him to defensive end at the next level. He picked Ohio State over finalists Alabama and Michigan.
The Buckeyes were among the first programs to offer Friday a scholarship in December 2015, but it was nearly a year and a half before he made his first trip to campus.
The Wolverines, meanwhile, became the prohibitive favorite thanks to their recent recruiting efforts in the Garden State, which included landing highly sought-after prospects like Jabrill Peppers in 2014, Rashan Gary in 2016 and Cesar Ruiz in 2017.
With five-star Taron Vincent and junior college transfer Antwuan Jackson joining the fold this summer, defensive tackle wasn't a position of great need for Ohio State. But Friday's ability to move outside made him an intriguing option for the Buckeyes when the staff felt its grip slipping on four-star defensive ends Jayson Oweh and Tyreke Smith, so he took an official visit in mid-November.
When five-star Brenton Cox then reopened his recruitment in early December, defensive coordinator and area recruiter Greg Schiano and defensive line coach Larry Johnson turned up the heat on Friday. In the end, the ability to be developed by a coach of Johnson's stature — as well as Schiano's connections in New Jersey — helped the Buckeyes overcome Friday's comfort and familiarity with the Wolverines.
"I know that Tyler is very high on coach Johnson, and when he went on his official visit, he spent a lot of time with coach Schiano talking very in-depth about football," Don Bosco Prep head coach Mike Teel told Eleven Warriors. "I think he is very comfortable with those guys. Obviously, they're competing every year to be in the playoffs and for a national championship. That's important for him."
Friday becomes the 23rd member of Ohio State's Supreme '18 recruiting class, and joins the aforementioned Smith — who trended back toward the Buckeyes in mid-December and then announced his commitment at the Under Armour All-America Game last week. Pickerington North three-star Alex Williams is also listed as a defensive end, but may begin his college career on the offensive side of the ball.
The staff hopes to land at least one more player at the position, with fellow New Jersey four-star Javontae Jean-Baptiste their top remaining target. He's set to take an official visit this weekend, and a decision on his future could come anything during or shortly thereafter.