A number of big-time battles are looming large.
The last few weeks have been fairly quiet on the trail as Ohio Stae has held steady atop the national recruiting rankings. Ryan Day is sitting at 10 commitments, and with the way things are trending, he and his staff have a legitimate shot to take the top spot when next February rolls around.
Things are about to pick up again as Feb. 29 marks the end of the dead period, which means a number of the Buckeyes' top targets will be heading to Columbus in March and throughout the spring and summer. The annual spring scrimmage is sure to once again be a star-studded affair, but plenty more will go down before we get to April 11.
If Ryan Day and the Buckeyes are aiming for the No. 1 spot, there are a handful of big-time battles they'll need to win. Today, we look at the most important remaining showdowns for the Class of 2021 and what programs Ohio State must overcome.
Donovan Edwards, ★★★★ RB
NATL: #33 • POS: #3 • MI: #1
The top running back target for both the Buckeyes and Wolverines hails from West Bloomfield, Michigan. At 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, Donovan Edwards may be at the top of the wishlist for Kirby Smart and the Georgia Bulldogs as well. We've spent plenty of time talking about Tony Alford's struggles during the 2020 cycle, but the outlook is quite positive this go-around.
Yesterday, 247 Sports' Steve Wiltfong and Allen Trieu submitted crystal ball picks in favor of Ohio State, and those are two people you should absolutely be paying attention to here. The spring and summer months will tell the tale as the country's No. 3 tailback seems to be on track to decide before the start of his senior season.
- The Competition: 1. Michigan, 2. Georgia
Tunmise Adeleye, ★★★★ DE
NATL: #31 • SDE: #3 • FL: #6
Larry Johnson has two great ones in the fold already in Jack Sawyer and Mike Hall, but he's still on the prowl for another three or four in the trenches. Texas native turned IMG Academy pass rusher Tunmise Adeleye is right at the top of the board, but the Buckeyes are locked into a battle with a few SEC programs for the country's third-best strong-side defensive end.
Adeleye is planning to announce his decision on Aug. 1, and Ohio State is certainly going to need to get him back on campus in the coming months. That visit is expected to take place in March and he's then planning on returning for an official. The Gators are making this one very interesting as he'll soon be making his second trip to Gainesville, but IMG Academy hasn't exactly been good to Florida of late.
- The Competition: 1. Florida, 2. Alabama
Evan Pryor, ★★★★ RB
NATL: #84 • RB: #5 • NC: #4
If Donovan Edwards is at the top of the board, then North Carolina's Evan Pryor isn't too far behind. The duo visited Georgia together right before the dead period, and there's a chance they end up playing their college ball together. Pryor is the country's No. 5 player at the position, and he's aiming to decide by early April.
If Pryor and Edwards do end up together, it's going to be at either Ohio State or Georgia. The 5-foot-10, 190-pounder is hoping to check out his favorites again next month, and that should include a visit to Mack Brown and the Tarheels. North Carolina is doing pretty well on the trail of late, and that's certainly a big concern right now in the recruitment of Evan Pryor.
- The Competition: 1. North Carolina, 2. Georgia
Jordan Hancock, ★★★★ CB
NATL: #85 • CB: #6 • GA: #9
Kerry Coombs is back and in the midst of a crucial cornerback chase. While St. Louis' Jakailin Johnson is likely the top target, Georgia's Jordan Hancock has surged up the board in what appears to be a bit more of a defined battle. Ohio State is going head-to-head with Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide, but Georgia certainly can never be discounted for an in-state talent.
Hancock has already made three trips to Tuscaloosa, and the most recent one may have given the Tide the edge. The good news for Coombs and the Buckeyes? He's expected to make an unofficial trip to Columbus this spring before returning for an official in June. Ohio State needs a trio of corners in 2021, and Hancock is right up toward the top of the list.
- The Competition: 1. Alabama, 2. Georgia
Troy Stellato, ★★★★ WR
NATL: #126 • WR: #21 • FL: #17
This wideout room is now one of the team's greatest strengths, but adding another three or four for 2021 remains on the agenda. Troy Stellato and Emeka Egbuka are the top remaining targets for Brian Hartline. Egbuka is a freak of an athlete and one of the nation's top overall prospects, but right now we've got a much clearer picture in the Stellato recruitment.
Stellato is talking to several programs and plans on checking out Georgia and Notre Dame this spring. A return trip to Clemson also seems likely, and Dabo Swinney and the Tigers are without question the top competition for the 6-foot, 172-pound slot receiver. We'll be on the lookout to see when he gets back to Columbus.
- The Competition: Clemson
J.C. Latham, ★★★★ OT
NATL: #35 • OT: #5 • FL: #7
Greg Studrawa's turnaround on the recruiting trail has been a big storyline of late, and that's already paying off for the Class of 2021. The Buckeyes have commitments from tackle Ben Christman and guard/tackle Donovan Jackson, but they're still looking to add another pair. The likely scenario is for Day and Co. to seek out another pure tackle to go along with an interior prospect.
Right now, IMG Academy's J.C. Latham is the guy at tackle. A converted defensive end, Latham is about 6-foot-6 and 285 pounds, and his upside is through the roof. The Wisconsin native is heading back to Columbus in April and will also be in Baton Rouge on an official visit. Ohio State is out in front, but this one may come down to the wire with the Tigers.
- The Competition: LSU