Ohio State has seven commitments in the fold for the 2020 recruiting class, and it's a group that thus far ranks No. 6 in America. Four-star defensive back Lejond Cavazos was the most recent pledge and the Texas native – who now stars at Bradenton's IMG Academy – is the lone defensive commit for Ryan Day and Co.
In what is expected to be a larger class, it's reasonable to think the Buckeyes can sign upwards of 24-25, which would be a far cry from the 17 signees for the Class of 2019. The spring game is now a thing of the past and the early wave of official visits is already underway and won't conclude until June. Needless to say, the next few months are going to be of paramount importance for the Ohio State coaching staff and every other staff across the country.
We updated our recruiting board a few weeks back, but there have been several changes of late that will be factored into the May update. Today we're looking at the five biggest recruiting battles and where the Buckeyes stand with each one.
Paris Johnson Jr. • Offensive Tackle • Cincinnati • ★★★★★
St. Xavier tackle Paris Johnson Jr. has been committed to Ohio State since last summer. The five-star is also currently in Athens, Georgia for the third time in six weeks. While there's no real reason for panic, this one is certainly worth watching. Urban Meyer was a big part of the Johnson commitment, but Ryan Day and the staff have done a good job since Meyer's departure.
Johnson has made several visits to schools like Notre Dame, Tennessee, and LSU, but the Bulldogs are looking like the stiffest competition. The good news is that the 6-foot-7.5, 295-pounder has been a regular in Columbus as well. The Georgia official is this weekend and trips to Ohio State and LSU are still on the calendar. Keeping the nation's No. 4 prospect in the fold is clearly a top priority for the Buckeyes' staff.
Julian Fleming • Wide Receiver • Catawissa, Pennsylvania • ★★★★★
Long thought to be a Penn State lean, Clemson has emerged as the biggest threat for the nation's top wide receiver prospect. Julian Fleming hasn't been shy about his relationship with Brian Hartline, and that's probably the biggest factor helping the Buckeyes at the moment.
The five-star has already made one official visit to Tuscaloosa and is slated to check out Athens next month. His track schedule has made things a bit difficult, but it's certainly fair to assume that Ohio State and Clemson are also in line for officials. With his girlfriend attending Penn State, it wouldn't be wise to rule out the Nittany Lions either. The Buckeyes remain in a great spot with this one.
Mekhail Sherman • Linebacker • Washington, D.C. • ★★★★★
There was a time when Mekhail Sherman seemed close to pledging to Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes. That time seems like it was forever ago, unfortunately, as Ohio State seems to have fallen behind Georgia and perhaps others in the pecking order. Sherman is back in Athens for their spring game and that marks his second trip dating back to early March.
Can the Buckeyes overcome the Meyer departure and make another push this spring? It's possible, and we should find out more next weekend when he makes the official visit to Columbus. Ohio State is very much trending in the wrong direction for Mekhail Sherman at the moment.
Kendall Milton • Running Back • Clovis, California • ★★★★★
Running back is a major need for the class and California's Kendall Milton and Arizona's Bijan Robinson are at the top of the wish list. Milton's leaderboard seems to be a bit easier to read right now with the Buckeyes and Sooners likely at the top. He too is at Georgia this weekend and the Bulldogs are pretty much always a threat these days.
There are a few tidbits with this one that may be helping Ohio State. Earlier this month, Milton took a three-day unofficial visit to Columbus, and by all accounts, things couldn't have gone much better. Oklahoma already has one five-star tailback in the class with Texan Jase McClellan and last week five-star all-purpose back Chris Tyree was in Norman. It's now looking like the Sooners may have the edge on the Irish for Tyree, and one has to think Lincoln Riley landing another touted tailback could factor into the Milton destination.
Michael Carmody • Offensive Tackle • Mars, Pennsylvania • ★★★★
Ohio State has positioned itself nicely for four-star tackle Michael Carmody. He's been on campus twice in the last month and many experts are now forecasting the 6-foot-6, 285-pounder to end up with the Buckeyes. Penn State and Virginia Tech are also in the picture, but the Nittany Lions may be in the three hole at the moment after being the presumptive favorite. One of Carmody's classmates and best friends will be playing baseball for the Hokies next year, so we'll see if that has any influence.
The Buckeyes have four linemen in the fold and oddly enough there have been a few questions as to whether or not Carmody is a take for the staff. Everything I've heard is that this isn't really a question at all and he's absolutely a priority target for Ryan Day and Greg Studrawa. Ohio State could take six linemen in 2020 and Carmody is at the top of the wish list right now.