There finally appears to be a light at the end of the year-long tunnel.
Ohio State's spring practices are in full swing and will culminate on April 17 with the annual scrimmage. Ryan Day and his staff have been speaking with the media, but no one expects too much information to be handed out at this point in time. Still, we all know that the ongoing quarterback battle, the next wave of linebackers, and addressing the secondary are among the key spring storylines.
Meanwhile, Ohio State's 2022 recruiting class is doing quite well with 11 commitments in the fold and sitting atop the national team rankings. We're still in the midst of the year-long dead period, but that could finally be coming to an end on May 31. The Buckeyes are already working on a big visit weekend for early June, and several key names are aready on the list.
Things are about to pick back up in the recruiting world. And there are a number of items on Ryan Day's to-do list for the spring.
Seal the Deal With J.T. Tuimoloau
The college football world has mostly moved on from the Class of 2021, but that isn't the case for the teams that are still chasing the country's No. 1 overall prospect according to 247 Sports. Washington five-star J.T. Tuimoloau has long been waiting to visit some college campuses. The dead period has prevented that from happening, but he's now expected to make trips to places like Columbus and Tuscaloosa before deciding on his college destination.
It's now been over a year since the Buckeyes were labeled as the team to beat for the 6-foot-5, 277-pound lineman. That seemingly remains the case even though Tuimoloau has yet to visit the Ohio State campus. His basketball schedule and the COVID-19 pandemic have prevented any of those planned visits from taking place, but that's expected to change when things open back up; likely in June. Larry Johnson has been working on this one for a long while, but Alabama and Oregon remain firmly in the mix—especially the Crimson Tide.
Tuimoloau and his Eastside Catholic team are five weeks into their football season that got pushed back to the spring. He's yet to set up any of those planned visits, but the family has remained adamant that they'll take place before any decision is made. The Buckeyes remain the heavy crystal ball favorite.
Continue the Push for Kiyaunta Goodwin
The No. 1 player on our 2022 recruiting board has held the top spot since its debut back in November. Since that time, the recruitment of Charlestown, Indiana's Kiyaunta Goodwin has officially exploded. The 6-foot-7, 300-pound tackle with five-star potential has offers from all of the country's top programs and has narrowed his list down to five. Ohio State, Clemson, Alabama, Kentucky, and Michigan State are all in the race for the nation's fifth-best tackle and No. 47 overall prospect. But the top competition and perhaps even the leader – at least at the moment – isn't one of the usual suspects.
The Kentucky Wildcats may actually be out in front at the moment. Goodwin grew up idolizing Orlando Pace but hasn't been able to get back to Columbus to meet with the Ohio State staff. It seems that the dead period has helped the Wildcats, and Vince Marrow has proven to be a formidable foe on the recruiting trail. Lexington is only about 90 minutes east of Charlestown, which could also be working in UK's favor. A decision before June would probably be bad news for Ohio State. But for now, the plan appears to be waiting things out until those official visits can be taken.
Goodwin has the potential to be the crown jewel of Ohio State's offensive line class. After missing out on five-star J.C. Latham in the Class of 2021, Greg Studrawa is expected to add at least a pair of tackles this time around. It's looking like Wayne's Aamil Wagner could be one, but missing on Goodwin would be problematic after Ohio State held an early lead in his recruitment.
Time for some bigger dumbells took the 125s for a ride today 5x15 pic.twitter.com/OFSRjF85uw— Kiyaunta Goodwin (@K_Goodwin2022) March 29, 2021
Get Your Guy in the Backfield
Ohio State and Notre Dame are probably going to exchange some blows when it comes to 2022 running back recruiting. After landing TreVeyon Henderson and Evan Pryor, Tony Alford is looking to sign at least one of the country's best for 2022. Four-star back Dallan Hayden is slated to visit both the Buckeyes and Irish in the month of June, and it's looking like his recruitment will come down to the two Midwest powers despite his being a Tennessee legacy. Hayden will be in South Bend on June 11 and will then head to Columbus the following weekend.
Pennsylvania's Nicholas Singleton is also considering Ohio State and Notre Dame, but Penn State will have a say in that one as well. He'll visit all three schools in June prior to making a decision. Some believe that this one may also come down to the Buckeyes and Irish, and it seems unlikely that Hayden and Singleton end up at the same school. North Carolina four-star Omarion Hampton is visiting Ohio State on June 25. The Tar Heels may be the leader in the clubhouse at the moment.
Tony Alford should have a tailback committed by the end of June. It sure seems like he's going to grab one of Hayden or Singleton. Adding a player like Hampton to the mix would be a heck of a one-two punch if there's room for another pair in the backfield.
Beat Clemson Once Again
Ohio State and Clemson have had their share of back and forths of late. Julian Fleming and Bryan Bresee are just a few of the more heralded names that were sought after by both programs. The Buckeyes got the best of the Tigers in January when Justin Fields tossed six touchdown passes in the Sugar Bowl. Now, Ryan Day and Kerry Coombs are looking to deliver a few more blows on the trail.
Coombs has two talented corners already in the fold in Jaheim Singletary and Jyaire Brown. The Buckeyes are still looking for another to help complete the 2022 defensive back puzzle. St. Louis's Toriano Pride and Hollywood, Florida's Ryan Turner appear to be right up toward the top of the list. Pride is taking an official visit to Ohio State and then one to Clemson in June. He'll make a decision after those visits, and his recruitment is certainly trending toward a Buckeyes vs. Tigers battle.
Turner was just in Columbus over the weekend, and Clemson is firmly in the mix as well. He seems a bit more open and is considering other schools like Penn State and Boston College. Turner will look to take official visits in June and he too may look to decide between the two playoff foes. Listed as the nation's No. 33 cornerback, the national powers have taken notice and his stock appears to be on the rise.
Both Pride and Turner have commitable offers from Coombs and the Buckeyes. The best guess right now is that Ohio State adds one of them unless something changes with Jyaire Brown, which could potentially open up another spot. Brown has continued his communication with Notre Dame despite his commitment.
Strengthen the Out-of-State Relationships
The June visits are going to be huge for a number of reasons. Day has commitments from three five-star prospects with each one of them residing in national hotbeds outside of Ohio. There's been little doubt surrounding the status of Quinn Ewers, Caleb Burton, and Florida's Jaheim Singletary, but the Ohio State staff knows that the rest of the country will continue in their pursuits.
Obviously adding to the list of official visitors is going to be big in itself, but getting the chance to meet face-to-face with the current commitments will go a long way in keeping the class together. The Longhorns have a quarterback committed in California's Maalik Murphy (who has not looked good in his spring season) but will continue to recruit Ewers. Burton has yet to make his first trip to Columbus. The Gators and the rest of the SEC will certainly try to keep Singletary from heading to the Midwest.
Assuming the trio can make it to campus, it'll be a great opportunity for Day and Co. to strengthen those commitments while showing what the university and the city have to offer. It's truly looking like June could be one of the busiest months we've ever seen on the recruiting trail.