The Hurry-Up: Ohio State Linebacker Target Jalon Walker Locks in Commitment Date, Buckeyes Extend Two More Tight End Offers in 2023 Class

By Zack Carpenter on March 1, 2021 at 6:30 pm
Jalon Walker

The Hurry-Up is your nightly dose of updates from the Ohio State football recruiting trail, keeping tabs on the latest from commits and targets from around the country.

Walker locks in decision date

In November, four-star outside linebacker Jalon Walker out of Salisbury (North Carolina) whittled his list down to a top six of Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, North Carolina, Georgia and Auburn.

On Monday, the No. 50 overall player and No. 5 OLB in the 2022 class locked in a commitment date of March 28 with a decision coming down to that group of six.

Walker made the list of 10 when we broke down the top remaining targets for the Buckeyes, but as I mentioned that day, I wasn’t high on their chances of landing him. I’m still leaning that way right now, as we expect Clemson to win out in that recruitment. He has not visited Ohio State, but he has made trips to Clemson, Georgia, Alabama and North Carolina.

Though Walker has said that not making a visit to a school would not necessarily be a deterrent in him deciding whether or not to commit to a particular program, it’s still shaping up here that this will not go the Buckeyes’ way.

Extra attention is likely to be sent the way of five-star linebacker Shawn Murphy, the No. 17 overall player and No. 1 ILB in the 2022 class. Murphy has been a top target for Ohio State for months, though there might be some concern about overall athleticism there. He struggled during the Elite Underclassmen Camp in Obetz, Ohio this past summer, and it showed pretty clearly.

It may have just been a bad day. Perhaps Murphy is a much better player in pads when he actually gets on the field, and that would not be out of the ordinary. Plenty of players who are just like that. Murphy had not played in a competitive football game since the fall of 2019 with the state of Virginia pushing football back to the winter/spring of 2021.

Murphy, who dropped down to No. 64 overall and No. 2 as a four-star inside linebacker per 247Sports own metrics, is now getting his shot at showing just how good he is. His Unity Reed (Virginia) High School team got back into action on Saturday, and you can check out some of Murphy’s plays in the tweets below.

Buckeyes extend two new offers

After having offered 11 players in an eight-day span in the 2023 class recently, Ohio State added two more to that group on Monday.

Jaxon Howard

First came an offer to Minneapolis star Jaxon Howard, a sophomore at Robbinsdale Cooper High School.

Howard is a 6-foot-4, 225-pounder and was named to the MaxPreps Sophomore All-America team as a second-teamer as an all-purpose player. He helped lead Robbinsdale Cooper to a 4-3 mark as a sophomore.

The top-rated player in Minnesota from the Class of 2023 impacts the game at a high level on both sides of the football.

Howard is the top-ranked player in Minnesota, and he comes in ranked No. 47 overall and No. 10 as an athlete. He is being evaluated as a tight end prospect by the Buckeyes right now. His offer sheet is highlighted by Arizona State, Baylor, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, Texas, USC and Wisconsin in addition to the Buckeyes.

It’s a hell of an impressive list of nearly 50 offers for Howard, whose recruitment is already shaping up to be a national battle early on.

Mac Markway

The other tight end prospect Ohio State offered on Monday has a shot at being a top-three player at the position when the 2023 cycle is over and done with. And he hails from a school that the Buckeyes are familiar with.

Mac Markway is the No. 100 overall player and No. 3 tight end in the 2023 class, and he’s the state of Missouri’s No. 3 prospect out of DeSmet (St. Louis) High School.

DeSmet, of course, is the home of four-star 2021 Ohio State cornerback signee Jakailin Johnson, and Markway’s coaching staff has built up great relationships with Ohio State's coaching staff and the people in the building, highlighted by head coach Robert Steeples.

Markway, a 6-foot-4, 250-pound four-star prospect, holds offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oregon, Stanford and USC.

Goodwin lands Clemson offer, dishes top 13

Since we’re on the topic of offers, and since I’m negligent and forgot to bring this up yesterday, one of Ohio State’s top-tier targets – its No. 1 target in my opinion – added a huge offer over the weekend.

Eventual five-star offensive tackle Kiyaunta Goodwin announced on Saturday that Dabo Swinney and Clemson had come calling with an official offer.

Not coincidentally, the No. 47 overall player and No. 5 OT put the Tigers in his list of top 13 schools on the same day. Ohio State was the early leader for Goodwin, and the Buckeyes should still be considered to be occupying that space for now.

But this has quickly become a national recruiting battle for Goodwin, one that the Buckeyes absolutely need to win for their future along the offensive line. Alabama has been the top competition for Goodwin, but now that Clemson has finally extended an offer we can expect the Tigers – backed by the similar program offerings that Ohio State has in culture, location and the iron-sharpens-iron mantra – to be in the thick of things here over the next several months.

Header photo: Jalon Walker – Don Callahan/247Sports

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