Ohio State just lost out on one of its most important remaining targets in the 2021 class.
IMG (Fla.) Academy five-star offensive tackle JC Latham, the 6-foot-6, 285-pounder ranked No. 17 overall in the nation, committed to Alabama over the Buckeyes on Friday.
The race to attain the game-changing left tackle came down to Ohio State, LSU and Alabama, with Oklahoma in the mix as well, but the Buckeyes were unable to hold off the hard-charging Crimson Tide, who began to turn things in this recruitment back in late April.
Ohio State appeared to have the inside track for Latham since November when, following a spring visit, he made his second visit of the year to Columbus for the Buckeyes' 28-17 win over Penn State on Nov. 23.
That visit went a long way in Latham's mind, as he told Eleven Warriors two days after the visit, “I loved it. It was really incredible. All the fans and everyone was getting along with each other and people communicating with one another. Just the vibe was great.”
Latham said he still found himself comparing Ohio State and LSU head-to-head following his visit for the Penn State game. He was comparing how each school treated him and how comfortable he would be at each school, and though LSU was also a strong option that made him very comfortable, the Buckeyes that had the edge at the time.
Over the last two months, however, Alabama was able to convince Latham that the Buckeyes were a less attractive option after they signed one five-star left tackle in 2020 (Paris Johnson Jr.), got a commitment from another highly rated tackle in 2022 (Tegra Tshabola) and have Nicholas Petit-Frere and Dawand Jones on the depth chart.
Meanwhile, the Tide signed three offensive tackles in the 2019 class ranked in the top 80 overall (No. 7 Evan Neal, No. 40 Pierce Quick, No. 76 Amari Kight), but they did not sign an offensive tackle ranked inside the top 300 in 2020 and did not yet have an offensive tackle commit in the 2021 class prior to Latham's commitment.