Finding the right fit for your college football program isn't just about what happens on the field, but off it as well. Today, Ohio State added a key piece. How will that commitment impact the Buckeyes?
Ohio State landed a commitment from one of the top-rated players in the state when Mentor four-star defensive end Noah Potter pledged his services to the Buckeyes on Monday evening following an unofficial visit for the annual Spring Game.
Let's take a closer look at what Potter – the No. 240 prospect overall in the Class of 2019 – brings to Columbus.
ON THE FIELD
The 6-foot-5, 250-pound Potter wears No. 97 in high school because he wants to emulate Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa and his younger brother, current Ohio State defensive end Nick. He looks every bit the part, too.
“He fits all of the physical traits, moves well and plays the game hard,” Mentor head coach Steve Trivisonno told Eleven Warriors. “He’s got a motor to him and does a lot of things well.”
Potter finished his junior year with 68 tackles, 32 quarterback hurries, 10 sacks, eight tackles for a loss, one pass breakup and one forced fumble to lead the Cardinals to the state championship game last fall. He was named second-team all-Ohio as a result.
“He’s been hard to block one-on-one. He’s been able to control his side for us and force teams to try to run away from him,” Trivisonno said. “He’s been pretty dominant, especially for a kid who’s only been playing football since his eighth-grade year. He’s developing into a great player.”
Mentor has several offensive linemen with offers from programs all over the country, including Ohio State three-star offensive tackle commit Ryan Jacoby and uncommitted three-star offensive guard Nick Samac. It’s helped Potter’s game mature considerably over the last year.
“One nice thing he gets is competition every day that a number of guys don’t necessarily get to see that every day,” Trivisonno said. “That helps him develop and get where he needs to be.”
With that said, Potter must continue to work on his technique and get stronger if he wants to overpower elite offensive tackles. That shouldn’t be an issue, though, once he gets into the Buckeyes’ strength and conditioning program.
“That comes with time,” Trivisonno said. “You look at Noah, and he’s still a young-looking kid. You don’t look at him and say, ‘Well, there’s a grown man.’ His better days are still coming. He’s going to get better and better as he gets bigger and stronger and better knowledge of [the game].”
IN THE CLASS
Potter becomes the fifth member of Ohio State’s Dynasty ‘19 recruiting class, joining the aforementioned Jacoby, Indiana four-star running back Sampson James, West Virginia four-star offensive tackle Doug Nester and New Jersey four-star athlete “Rocket” Ronnie Hickman.
In the matter of a few months, defensive end went from being a position without much depth to one with plenty of young, hungry talent waiting in the wings.
The Buckeyes are tasked with replacing the departed Tyquan Lewis, Sam Hubbard and Jalyn Holmes and return only three ends in juniors Nick Bosa and Jonathon Cooper and sophomore Chase Young this fall. But since the staff closed the last recruiting cycle with four-star defensive ends Tyreke Smith, Tyler Friday and Javontae Jean-Baptiste and three-star Alex Williams, early projections show they’ll only take two in 2019.
That said, Ohio State hopes to pair Potter with Olentangy Orange five-star Zach Harrison, though he’s not particularly close to making a decision. All indications are that he will end up with the Buckeyes after taking several official visits this spring and into the fall, however.
Other top targets at defensive end include Tennessee four-star Ani Izuchukwu, who committed to Mississippi State earlier this week; Kansas four-star Marcus Hicks; North Carolina four-star Terrell Dawkins; and Georgia five-star commit Nolan Smith II, who the Buckeyes are trying to get on campus for an official visit this fall.
You certainly already know Potter's brother, Micah, who has averaged 4.1 points and 2.8 rebounds in two seasons as a role player on the Ohio State basketball team. The Buckeyes used that family connection in their pursuit of Potter, sending him the following graphic back in March.
— Noah Potter (@noah_potter10) March 21, 2018
Potter's pledge always seemed inevitable because of his older brother, but he reiterated that wasn't the reason he decided to become a Buckeye on Monday evening.
"I'm doing it because coach [Larry] Johnson is the best defensive line coach," he said. "It just so happens Micah goes there and it's my [favorite] team."
Potter's individual success should truly come as no surprise, as he comes from a long line of sibling athletes.
His oldest brother, Caleb, played baseball at West Virginia before he eventually transferred and finished his career at Southern New Hampshire. Throw in their younger sister, Emma — who is only a freshman but is already being recruited by Ohio State, Virginia Tech and West Virginia to play soccer in college — and the Potters will soon be a perfect 4-for-4 when it comes to producing Division I athletes.