Recruiting is all about comfort and relationships. Sometimes you're gaining momentum on the trail, sometimes you're losing it. How are some of Ohio State's key prospects trending? Let's take a look.
We knew that June was going to be a whirlwind of a month, and it certainly did not disappoint. When we last updated our board on June 1, Ryan Day's 2022 recruiting class was ranked second in the country behind Georgia.
What a difference a month can make.
The Buckeyes are now back on top and have a comfortable lead over the second-ranked Fighting Irish. The class is up to 16 commitments and probably has room for another seven or eight before all is said and done. There's a real chance that Ohio State finishes in the top spot, but we all know that can be difficult thanks to the 28-man classes that can be found in the SEC.
Since we last met, Day and Co. have added four new additions to the class. Dallan Hayden had long been Tony Alford's top guy at tailback. Brian Hartline swooped in and grabbed one of the Wolverines' top targets in four-star wideout Kaleb Brown. It took Kerry Coombs just two weeks to offer and land stud Texas cornerback Terrance Brooks. And then just yesterday Hartline did it again when he beat out the SEC for Georgia wideout Kojo Antwi.
On top of the four new 2022 commitments, there were countless visitors on Ohio State's campus. In fact, every single player on our board made their way to Columbus in June. There was also a monstrous late addition for the 2021 class. Perhaps you heard about J.T. Tuimoloau's 4th of July announcement? Landing the nation's top prospect (per 247 Sports) certainly seems good.
A busy month means plenty of changes to our 2022 recruiting board.
|PROSPECT||POSITION||RANK||PREV.||RATING||OTHERS IN THE MIX|
|XAVIER NWANKPA||SAF||2||2||★★★★||Texas A&M•Notre Dame|
|KAM DEWBERRY||OL||9||NA||★★★★||Texas A&M•Texas•Oklahoma|
|AAMIL WAGNER||OT||11||3||★★★★||Notre Dame•Kentucky•Penn State|
- Last month's edition can be found HERE.
The biggest remaining areas of need are undoubtedly in the trenches and at safety, so it should be no surprise that those position groups dominate our board. There aren't any changes at the very top as Caden Curry and Xavier Nwankpa remain at No. 1 and No. 2. Curry made several unofficial visits last month and will take his officials in the fall. Nwankpa made his way to Columbus, College Station, and South Bend for his June officials.
It's going to be a national battle for Curry, but I think it's fair to side with Larry Johnson and the Buckeyes ultimately landing the Indiana lineman. As for Nwankpa, his recruitment will come down to Ohio State, Notre Dame, and Texas A&M. Kerry Coombs has five defensive backs committed, and one of those (Kye Stokes) is likely to play safety. Coombs and Nwankpa have talked about how he would be used in Columbus. He's now targeting a fall decision, but the Buckeyes still look like the favorites.
Texas edge rusher Omari Abor is up to No. 3 after he visited all of his top options in June. It's still looking like Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Alabama for the five-star, but he's not expected to announce until the Under Armour All-American game in January. He was recently seen chumming it up with J.T. Tuimoloau on social media.
I think June made it abundantly clear that Ohio State is the leader for Las Vegas safety Zion Branch. I'm sure he'll continue to make trips to Southern Cal, but I certainly agree with the Buckeyes' position as the heavy crystal ball favorite. Could a commitment from Nwankpa shake things up a bit? Perhaps. But again the plan is for Ohio State to add two more safeties before February, and the top duo hasn't changed.
California offensive lineman Earnest Greene is a guy who could play guard or tackle at the next level. The St. John Bosco product has drawn comparisons to Wyatt Davis and was in Columbus last month for an unofficial visit. Ohio State is a serious player here – probably the favorite – and an official visit has already been set up for the Oregon game. Greene makes a big jump up to No. 5 on the board.
Have we been underestimating Ohio State's chances with Philadephia edge rusher Enai White? The 6-foot-5, 230-pounder is a major target for Larry Johnson, but we've long expected that he'll end up in the SEC. That may still end up being the case as he could prefer playing as an outside backer in a 3-4 scheme. He took official visits to Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia, and Florida in June. A return trip in the fall would make things interesting, but he's also hinted that a decision could come soon.
Johnson is probably going to sign five defensive linemen for the 2022 class, and he may be getting on the board sooner rather than later. Oklahoma's Chris McClellan makes his debut at No. 7 on our board, and it wouldn't be a surprise if he ends up in the commitment column in the near future. He's coming off a fantastic official visit and the Buckeyes appear to have built a solid lead over both Florida and Oklahoma.
Out of the long list of players that flocked to Columbus in June, Hero Kanu may have benefitted the most. The German-born defensive lineman impressed at Ohio State's camps and has shot up the defensive line board. Listed as the nation's No. 82 prospect, Kanu now plays in California and is set to announce his decision at the All-American Bowl on Jan. 8. He'll be a major priority moving forward and you have like where LJ has the Buckeyes positioned.
Kenyatta Jackson is down to No. 10 on our board, but the Florida edge rusher is still a realistic option for Ohio State. He made his official visit on June 25 and also checked out Florida, Oklahoma, and Alabama last month. I get the vibe that the Buckeyes are battling the Crimson Tide and Sooners right now. But Clemson could also be a factor if he's still on the market when Dabo allows official visitors in town this fall.
June provided a little bit of clarity along the offensive line, and I think Humble, Texas product Kam Dewberry should absolutely be viewed as a commitment candidate right now. He's got some fall officials planned as well, but it wouldn't be a surprise if he made an announcement prior to that. His recent official visit to his dream school could move up his timeline. At 6-foot-4 and 313 pounds, Dewberry is another prospect who could play tackle or guard in college.
I'm not entirely sure what to make of the Aamil Wagner recruitment right now. Out of all the realistic offensive line targets on Ohio State's board, he might be the only pure tackle. That's something that should be working in his favor even if he's more of a developmental prospect. Right now I think I'd probably take the field – whether it be Notre Dame, Kentucky, or Penn State – over the Buckeyes, but maybe I'm just misreading this one.
And so we've once again hit a dead period. I imagine there will still be plenty of news in July – much like we saw yesterday with the Antwi commitment – since prospects were finally able to make their long-awaited official visits last month. The focus will soon be switching over to their upcoming seasons, so a number of decisions could go down before that all gets started.
Ohio State is essentially done at five of the nine big position groups. Now, the coaching staff will be working to keep the 16 commitments solid while fighting off other programs; especially when it comes to Coombs' star-studded group of corners. Offensive line, defensive line, and safety are the biggest remaining areas of need, and Al Washington could use another linebacker as well.
Things will slow down a bit thanks to the dead period, but it's now a waiting game to see when some more 2022 dominos begin to fall. To the surprise of no one, the Ohio State staff killed it in June and will absolutely be competing for the recruiting crown all the way up until the end of the cycle.