The highest-rated defensive pledge in Ohio State's recruiting class of 2022 is reopening his recruitment.
Jaheim Singletary, a five-star cornerback, announced his decommitment from Ohio State on Sunday, delivering a blow to college football's top-ranked 2022 recruiting class.
Decommitted Respect my decision— Jaheim Singletary (@Jaheim2_) August 1, 2021
Recruitment 100% back open get at me pic.twitter.com/6ZB9tPvSCq
As the nation's 14th-best overall prospect and fifth-rated cornerback in the cycle, Singletary has been a longtime top target for Kerry Coombs and the Buckeyes, who landed a commitment from the Tampa, Florida, native on Jan. 2 during the recruiting dead period. He took a self-guided visit of the campus shortly thereafter.
That, however, didn’t prevent Southern schools from chasing after the 6-foot-1, 170-pound cover corner. He took a trip to Kirby Smart's Georgia program in June, and he visited Miami this past week. Even after making an official visit to Ohio State in late June, Singletary has decided to back off of his commitment to the Buckeyes.
Ohio State has done whatever it can to lock in Singletary's commitment. After all, he's the fourth-highest rated cornerback prospect to ever pick the Buckeyes and has been viewed as a key piece for Coombs and Matt Barnes to bring the Buckeyes’ secondary back to BIA status.
However, a little over a month after Singletary's official visit to Ohio State, he is officially weighing his options, meaning the program has lost the commitment of the highest-ranked member of its 2022 secondary class.
Ohio State still has four defensive backs in its recruiting class of 2022: four-star cornerback Terrance Brooks, four-star cornerback Jyaire Brown, three-star cornerback Ryan Turner and three-star athlete Kye Stokes.
Ohio State still holds the No. 1 spot in 247Sports' team composite rankings for the recruiting class of 2022, but its lead over Penn State has slimmed to just .16 points. While the Nittany Lions have 24 commitments in their 2022 class, Ohio State is now down to 15 commitments following the decommitments of Singletary and tight end Benji Gosnell over the past week.
The Buckeyes could sign as many as seven defensive backs in the 2022 class. Four-star safeties Zion Branch and Xavier Nwankpa remain two of the Buckeyes' top priorities among uncommitted prospects, but Singletary's decommitment could now put them back in the market for another cornerback, as well.
They'll have to decide whether there's another cornerback worth adding to the class, though, as only three of the top 11 corners in the class – Singletary, Denver Harris and Gentry Williams – are uncommitted. Harris was previously targeted by the Buckeyes but is currently viewed as a Texas lean, and Williams hasn't been connected to the Buckeyes.
Two other five-star cornerbacks – USC-bound Domani Jackson and Michigan-bound Will Johnson – were priorities of Ohio State but are unlikely to end up in Columbus. Johnson has deep family ties to the Wolverines and Jackson told Eleven Warriors at The Opening 7-on-7 Invitational that, despite other reports, he does not plan to take a visit to Ohio State this fall.
Four-star cornerbacks Julian Humphrey and Ephesians Prysock both visited Ohio State in June; Humphrey is committed to Florida and has not received an offer from the Buckeyes, but Prysock is uncommitted.
Singletary was set to be a core piece of the Buckeyes' secondary of the future. Now, unless they can get him back into the fold, they'll have to figure out how to best move forward without him.