Ohio State’s 2020 recruiting class got off to a great start on Monday afternoon when Marietta, Georgia, four-star offensive tackle Jake Wray committed to the Buckeyes, something most deemed inevitable the moment his brother, Max, pledged his services to the staff a little more than a year ago.
The 6-foot-5, 290-pound Wray — who is considered the 14th-best offensive tackle and No. 91 prospect overall in his cycle — is shutting down his recruitment entirely and will focus all of his efforts on bringing some of the nation’s best prospects with him to Columbus.
“Our class is going to be exciting,” Wray told Eleven Warriors.
That said, the Early Signing Period is still 19 months away, and it’s pretty difficult — if not impossible — to predict the staff’s needs at each position this early in the process. A number of have prospects have already emerged as top targets for the Buckeyes, however.
They are as follows:
PARIS JOHNSON JR.
Cincinnati St. Xavier four-star offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr. is not only widely regarded as the best player in the state, but also at his position nationally. And at 6-foot-7 and 275 pounds, it’s easy to see why.
Johnson has been to campus numerous times since Ohio State offered him a scholarship in December, but he doesn’t plan to make a decision on his future until National Signing Day. He’s likely to have more offers than any other prospect in the country by the time that rolls around.
Johnson’s delayed timeline, position and hometown has — unfortunately — already sparked early comparisons to former Fairfield five-star offensive tackle Jackson Carman, who spurned the Buckeyes for Clemson last cycle. But it's certainly too early in the process for such speculation.
Ohio State has been considered the favorite to land Damascus, Maryland, five-star defensive end Bryan Bresee from the time defensive line coach Larry Johnson offered him a scholarship during a one-day camp last June.
Since then, the 6-foot-5, 290-pounder — who is considered the nation’s top-ranked player, regardless of position — has picked up offers from big-time schools like Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Penn State.
Bresee was last on campus for the thrilling win over the Nittany Lions last October, and is likely to return to campus again for another one-day camp or Friday Night Lights in July. He’s also unlikely to make a decision until his senior year.
Ohio State also extended an early in-state offer to Cincinnati Princeton four-star defensive end Darrion Henry back in mid-February. At 6-foot-6 and 260-pounds, he also has all of the tools to be an elite defender at the next level.
Henry has flown a bit under the radar nationally, but — as the second-ranked prospect in the state — currently holds early offers from Midwestern schools such as Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Penn State and Pittsburgh.
At this point, Henry’s just focused on building a relationship with the aforementioned Johnson, head coach Urban Meyer and cornerbacks coach/area recruiter Taver Johnson.
Oak Park, Michigan, four-star offensive guard Justin Rogers is actually the odds-on favorite to be Ohio State’s next commitment for the Class of 2020. He’s been very outspoken about his affinity for the Buckeyes and was actually back on campus on Sunday, marking at least a half-dozen trips to Columbus since last summer.
As the top-rated player in the Mitten State, Rogers holds 30 offers from some of that nation’s top programs, including Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Oregon and Tennessee. He plans to visit a number of those schools this spring and hopes to make a decision this summer.
JACK MILLER III
Though Ohio State is still without a quarterback in the current recruiting cycle, the staff has already identified Scottsdale, Arizona, Chaparral four-star pro-style signal caller Jack Miller III as its top target for next year.
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Miller has been to campus twice before, including the above-mentioned win over Penn State. He has a strong relationship with the staff, too, thanks to the Buckeyes staying at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort — where his father is the general manager — during their last two trips to the Fiesta Bowl.
Miller recently narrowed his list of double-digit scholarship offers to Florida State, LSU, Ohio State, Ole Miss and South Carolina, will plans to make an early decision. It would be a surprise if he ended up anywhere other than Columbus.
Akron Archbishop Hoban four-star running back/linebacker DeaMonte Trayanum became just the third in-state prospect in his class to land an offer from Ohio State after he lead the Knights to their third-consecutive state championship last fall.
The 5-foot-11, 215-pounder is being recruited at both positions by schools like Michigan, Notre Dame and West Virginia, but the Buckeyes view him first and foremost as a running back.
Trayanum made his first trip to campus earlier this month, where he spent a considerable amount of time with Meyer, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Ryan Day and running backs coach Tony Alford. He’s in no hurry to make a decision, but plans to return for the season opener against Oregon State.
If you can believe it, a commitment from Bradenton, Florida, IMG Academy four-star safety Lejond Cavazos has seemingly been in the works for decades. But how?
Well, Cavazos’ father, C.J., was an assistant at Dallas’ famed Carter high school when Meyer — then the wide receivers coach at Notre Dame — served as the Fighting Irish’s area recruiter. The two formed a strong bond, and now Meyer is recruiting his son.
The younger Cavazos, though not given a position ranking by the 247Sports Composite, is already among the most sought-after prospects in his class. And he’s quite familiar with the Buckeyes following three separate trips to Columbus in the last year. Ohio State is the overwhelming favorite to land his pledge, and he plans to return for Friday Night Lights this summer.
Other notable targets include Lakeland, Florida, four-star running back Demarkcus Bowman; Hyattsville, Maryland, DeMatha Catholic four-star running back Marshawn Lloyd; Oakdale, Connecticut, St. Thomas More four-star defensive tackle Tre Williams; and Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas three-star linebacker Derek Wingo.