Ohio State lost a commitment late last week from Nashville Christ Presbyterian Academy four-star linebacker Kane Patterson, who was the first and only prospect to reopen his recruitment in the wake of the university’s investigation into head coach Urban Meyer and the news of his three-game suspension.
Patterson’s decision was not a surprise to the Buckeyes’ coaching staff given his relationship with Meyer and family’s convictions, but certainly leaves a bitter taste with how hard they worked to land his pledge over Alabama and home-state Tennessee earlier this summer.
It also leaves Ohio State with just two commitments at the linebacker position in Lexington four-star Cade Stover and Indiana three-star Craig Young, though there's a chance both could develop into defensive ends once they get into a college strength and nutrition program.
Georgia four-star athlete Steele Chambers may also end up playing linebacker in college, though his preference at the next level is running back — and that’s where he’ll begin his career.
That, coupled with a lot of young talent on the roster, could force the staff to stand pat and shift their focus to the 2020 recruiting class to fill the gap, especially with Washington D.C. five-star Mekhail Sherman and St. Thomas Aquinas four-star Derek Wingo already showing heavy interest in the Buckeyes. But if they do try to add another linebacker this cycle, there are a number of names to keep in mind, particularly in-state options who may land an offer late in the process.
That includes (in alphabetical order):
REYNOLDSBURG THREE-STAR DEZMAN COOPER
The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Cooper is the nephew of former Ohio State linebacker Joe Cooper. He’s camped with the Buckeyes several times over the last two years and is an impressive physical specimen, but some view him as a "tweener" who is not quite fast enough to play linebacker and not quite big enough to play defensive end at the next level. His lone offer is from Miami (OH), but there’s no doubt he’d jump at the chance to become a Buckeye late in the process.
CLEVELAND ST. IGNATIUS THREE-STAR TOMMY EICHENBERG
The 6-foot-3 and 225-pound Eichenberg garnered quite a bit of attention from programs across the Big Ten before he committed to Boston College in June, with offers from Iowa, Maryland, Michigan State, Minnesota, Purdue and Rutgers. He’s visited Ohio State a handful of times, but showed during last week’s loss to Akron Archbishop Hoban (eight tackles, including two for a loss) why he’ll be someone to monitor throughout his senior season.
YOUNGSTOWN CARDINAL MOONEY THREE-STAR LUKE FULTON
One of five prospects from the state of Ohio committed to Michigan State at the moment, the 6-foot-3 and 215-pound Fulton is your typical, hard-nosed linebacker who will likely develop into a player who causes headaches for Ohio State if he sticks with his pledge. He visited campus a few times last season, but quickly built a strong relationship with the Spartans and never looked back.
CLAYTON NORTHMONT THREE-STAR JESTIN JACOBS
Another Big Ten-bound Ohioan, the 6-foot-3 and 210-pound Jacobs committed to Iowa back in May. He told Eleven Warriors following a visit this spring that Ohio State was his dream school growing up, but the Buckeyes never offered — and he wasn’t going to wait around for it to happen. He’ll be difficult to flip from the Hawkeyes, which means he’s probably going to be another one of those players the staff wishes they had in a few years.
MASSILLON WASHINGTON THREE-STAR JAMIR THOMAS
Two cycles ago, Ohio State added a late commitment from Massillon Washington four-star offensive tackle Thayer Munford and he’s in line to start for the Buckeyes this fall. The staff could go back this year for the 6-foot-1 and 215-pound Thomas, who has attended several games and camped in Columbus in the past and has developed into quite the leader for the Tigers as a senior. Cincinnati is the perceived favorite in his recruitment at the moment, but Ohio State would easily jump to the top with an offer.