Ohio State’s third weekend of official visits concludes today, which means J.T. Tuimoloau’s time in Columbus – at least for now, as the Buckeyes will hope he chooses in a couple weeks to enroll at Ohio State and begin his college football career – is complete.
The usually quiet Tuimoloau hadn’t shared any updates with the public from his official visit as of Saturday night – though we did get some photos of his arrival at Columbus International Airport on Thursday – but the five-star defensive end’s decision could come soon after he makes his final two official visits to Oregon and Alabama this upcoming week.
However, the other four official visitors from this weekend – linebacker commit C.J. Hicks, running back Dallan Hayden, wide receiver Kojo Antwi and safety Jake Pope – did all take to social media to share updates from their visits, with Hicks hinting at the possibility that at least one of this weekend’s other official visitors could soon be joining him as a Buckeye commitment.
Buckeye Nation this will be a GREAT weekend just watch #GoBucks— CJ Hicks (@imcjhicks) June 19, 2021
THE Ohio State. pic.twitter.com/SODVvf9XDz— Jake Pope (@JakePope24) June 20, 2021
More from the recruiting trail:
Kaleb Johnson inspired by Miyan Williams
(Update: Kaleb Johnson announced Sunday night that he has committed to Cal.)
There are many parallels that can be drawn between Kaleb Johnson’s recruitment going into his senior year and Miyan Williams’ recruitment at this time two years ago.
Johnson, like Williams, is a three-star running back from southwest Ohio. Johnson is currently ranked as the No. 624 overall prospect in the class of 2022; Williams was ranked as the No. 627 overall recruit in the class of 2020. Johnson recently made an official visit to Iowa State, just as Williams did in June 2020, after which he committed to the Cyclones on July 4.
Williams, of course, ended up signing with Ohio State after receiving an offer from the Buckeyes later that year. And it’s possible Johnson could follow in his footsteps.
Johnson was the standout of the running back group at Tuesday’s Ohio State camp. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound senior from Hamilton, who runs a 4.51-second 40-yard dash, exploded through drills while showing quick feet and cutting ability.
Ohio State running backs coach Tony Alford could be seen giving Johnson individual coaching after many of his drill reps, and that resonated with Johnson.
“It was actually really a blessing, because I realized that I was the only one he was pulling aside and helping me for real,” Johnson said after Tuesday’s camp.
Whether Johnson will actually get the offer that Williams ultimately received is uncertain. Williams’ offer that September came only after Alford and the Buckeyes had missed out on many of their top targets in the 2020 class, such as Bijan Robinson, Kendall Milton and Jaylan Knighton. If the Buckeyes can land Hayden or another top running back in this year’s class, it may not have a spot for Johnson, as Ohio State’s emergence as a frontrunner for 2023 five-stars Richard Young and Treyaun Webb increases the likelihood that the Buckeyes will only take one running back in 2022.
That said, Johnson will be back at Ohio State to work out for the Buckeyes again on Wednesday, and he felt confident after Tuesday’s camp that they were going to offer him.
“They said they’re probably going to offer, so I’m waiting on that,” Johnson said. “They already said I’m a good enough player to be here.”
Despite being only a three-star recruit two years ago, Williams enters his redshirt freshman season as a candidate to start at running back for Ohio State this season, and that inspires Johnson to believe he could also have success with the Buckeyes.
“He’s coming up here already, about to play against 100,000 people, and that’s my dream to play in front of all them people and really show what I can do,” Johnson said.
If Johnson doesn’t get an offer from the Buckeyes to play running back, it’s also possible he could be a candidate to round out their linebacker recruiting class. Ohio State linebackers coach Al Washington put Johnson through a linebacker workout on Tuesday, and though he prefers playing running back, Johnson says he’d be willing to play linebacker for the Buckeyes if that’s what they wanted him to do.
“Whatever they want me to do, I’m ready,” Johnson said.
Johnson, who has only made two official visits to Iowa State and Michigan so far, said he would return to Ohio State for an official visit this fall if he receives an offer.
Two more 2023 tight ends add offers
In addition to the five official visitors, Ohio State also hosted several unofficial visitors this weekend, and most of them were tight ends from the 2023 recruiting class.
Barnwell, who was previously committed to Penn State before decommitting in January, is ranked as the No. 8 tight end and No. 103 overall prospect in the class of 2023. He told Eleven Warriors that his visit to Columbus, where he plans to return for a game this fall, was “truly amazing.”
“The offer meant a lot because Ohio State is a dream school of mine,” Barnwell said. “When I received the offer, I almost even shed a tear, it was an amazing moment.”
Williams, from Central Catholic High School in Portland, Oregon, does not yet have a composite recruiting ranking but is ranked by 247Sports as the No. 8 tight end and No. 142 overall prospect in the 2023 class. He added Ohio State to a list of offers that also includes seven Pac-12 schools – Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon, Oregon State, USC, Utah and Washington – as well as Georgia Tech.
Williams told Eleven Warriors he was “lost for words” when he received his offer, which came from Ryan Day himself, and said he also plans to return to Ohio State for another visit in the future.
Another tight end from the 2023 class who already picked up an offer from the Buckeyes in May, Massachusetts’ Preston Zinter, made an unofficial visit to Ohio State on Saturday.
Had a great unofficial visit @OhioStateFB! Big thanks to @ryandaytime @OSUCoachKDub @OSUCoachHinton @etwill21 for showing me what Buckeye football is all about! Cant wait to get back on campus! #GoBuckeyes pic.twitter.com/6wjqUiQYOo— Preston Zinter (@Preston_Zinter) June 20, 2021
St. Louis tight end Mac Markway, who was offered by the Buckeyes in March and is ranked as the No. 4 tight end and No. 77 overall prospect in the 2023 class, made an unofficial visit to Ohio State on Sunday.
Kevin Wilson and the Buckeyes have now offered 10 tight ends in the 2023 class, and almost all of them have made visits to Ohio State this month. Oklahoma’s Luke Hasz, the class’ top-ranked tight end, and California’s Walker Lyons both visited Ohio State during the first weekend of June. Swedish tight end Theodor Melin Öhrström picked up an offer after participating in the Buckeyes’ second high school football camp of the year, while Tennessee’s Ty Lockwood and Minnesota’s Jaxon Howard made unofficial visits last weekend. The only tight end with an offer who hasn’t visited Ohio State this month is Arizona’s Duce Robinson.
With so many tight ends not only receiving offers but also showing real interest in Ohio State by traveling to Columbus on their own dimes, the Buckeyes appear to have many good options at the position for the 2023 class, where they are now focusing all of their tight end recruiting offers since they already have Benji Gosnell and Bennett Christian committed for the 2022 class.
Ohio State “would definitely be No. 1” for Patterson
One 2023 prospect who doesn’t appear to be in the mix for the Buckeyes at tight end right now is Dakota Patterson, a four-star athlete from Kentucky ranked by 247Sports as the No. 155 overall prospect in the class. But he could be an option at wide receiver.
While some schools are looking at Patterson as a tight end, he spent his time at Ohio State on Wednesday with Brian Hartline, taking a tour of the facility with the Buckeyes’ wide receivers coach that morning before working out with the rest of the wide receivers at camp that afternoon. And though he didn’t leave Ohio State with an offer on Wednesday, he felt good about the relationship he was starting to build with Hartline and was optimistic that an offer could still come his way.
“I feel like I performed real well,” Patterson said after the camp. “Feel like I turned a few heads today and really put my name out there.”
At nearly 6-foot-3 and 192 pounds with a 4.6-second 40-yard dash time, Patterson is a tall, physical receiver who believes he would thrive if he had the opportunity to play for Hartline.
“I think Ohio State could mold me to be whatever they wanted me to be. And I’m ready for it. I’m ready to get in here and work my tail off,” Patterson said. “I wish I could get in here and let him get his hands on me and turn me into what he wants me to be, man. Because I know he’d do the right thing.”
A native of Corbin, Kentucky, Patterson already has an offer from his home-state Wildcats as well as Pittsburgh, Purdue, West Virginia and Wisconsin. He says Ohio State would vault right to the top of the list, though, if he received an offer from the Buckeyes – and there’s a chance he’d commit right away.
“It would definitely be No. 1, 100%,” Patterson said. “I don’t know what would happen if I got it. I might have to sign on it.”