Defensive Linemen Who Could Join Kenyatta Jackson Jr. in Ohio State’s Recruiting Class of 2022

By Garrick Hodge on October 20, 2021 at 5:30 pm
Caden Curry
Caden Curry

Ohio State finally has its first defensive line commitment for 2022.

Kenyatta Jackson Jr. saw to that on Tuesday, becoming the first defensive lineman to give his verbal to Larry Johnson and the Buckeyes in the current recruiting cycle. Of course, once the initial hype of a commitment wears off, fans naturally ask, what’s next? 

That’s a tough question to answer initially as it pertains to the future of Ohio State’s 2022 defensive line recruiting. In a perfect world, OSU would like to take around four or five defensive linemen, so Jackson Jr. committing to the Buckeyes shouldn’t deter any other potential defensive line target who is truly considering Ohio State. 

Of course, other factors could come into play regarding how many defensive linemen eventually sign with the Buckeyes, including decisions made by players on the current roster. Some players that were projected to turn pro in the summer may elect to return to school for another year (Tyreke Smith is an example of a player who still has the option to use his free COVID year of eligibility), while other players could decide to transfer and open up more roster spots.

Nevertheless, the following defensive linemen are those who Ohio State is expected to make a significant push for between now and signing day to wrap up its 2022 class. Ohio State will not land all of them and couldn’t take all of them even if it wanted to, but the Buckeyes would still love to add three or four more of the following players.

Caden Curry

The Buckeyes seem to be in a good spot with the four-star defensive tackle from Indiana. Curry, one of Ohio State’s top priorities, already visited Columbus on Sept. 11 for the home opener against Oregon and could do so again for the Oct. 30 game against Penn State.

While his other top five schools of Oregon, Alabama, Indiana and Clemson can’t be discounted, OSU looks like the team to beat for the No. 69 overall prospect and 12th-ranked defensive lineman in the 2022 class, per 247Sports’ composite rankings. If we had to predict the most likely of this list to end up with Ohio State, Curry would be the pick for the top selection.

Christen Miller

Ohio State already knows it’s in a good position with the 6-foot-4, 285-pound four-star defensive tackle from Georgia. Miller has already said publicly he’s down to Georgia and Ohio State, with the four-star tackle taking a visit to each so far this fall.

While it’s presumed his hometown Bulldogs are the favorite to land him, Miller scheduled another visit to Columbus for Oct. 30 for the Penn State game. It’s intriguing, to say the least, that an out-of-state prospect from a non-Midwest state is taking a second in-season visit. This one won’t be decided until January, but it certainly bears watching till the end.

Hero Kanu

The German-born 6-foot-5, 293-pound four-star Kanu has an Ohio State visit penciled in for Oct. 30, and the Buckeyes are going to have a chance to make quite the impression.

Kanu recently put Ohio State in his top five, along with Georgia, Oklahoma, Notre Dame and LSU. While Kanu told 247Sports he enjoyed his visit to Oklahoma last weekend with his mother, the Buckeyes seem to have a good chance to land the prized defensive tackle. But OSU, along with all of his other suitors, will most likely have to wait until January to find out where Kanu will be taking his talents.

Shemar Stewart 

The five-star Stewart put Ohio State in his top five in late August and has announced he will take an official visit to Columbus on Oct. 30 for the Penn State game. Rated the No. 8 overall prospect in the 2022 class, Stewart would be an incredible addition to the Buckeyes.

Per Sports Illustrated, it seems Texas A&M may have a bit of momentum with the Florida resident. But all of that can change after one visit. Stewart has said he’s going to take his time and sign in February, which means he’ll probably be one of the last of OSU’s targets to commit. Stewart’s talent is so obvious, though, that Ohio State will make sure it leaves room for him if it has a chance to land him.

Omari Abor

You’re probably noticing a trend with these paragraphs. Like the four athletes listed before him, the five-star Abor also plans to visit Ohio State on Oct. 30. Like Stewart, Abor’s trip to Columbus will be an official visit.

There’s been an uptick in momentum for the Buckeyes’ chances to land the Texas resident, who is rated as the 18th-best prospect in the class, over the last few weeks. Abor is said to be high on both Alabama and the Buckeyes and also included LSU, Texas A&M and Texas in his final five. While Abor doesn’t plan to take his commitment to February like Stewart, he likely won’t decide on a school until January.

Other potential options

Four-star defensive tackle Chris McClellan seemed like a good bet to be a Buckeye back in the summer. Now, it appears Oklahoma is the leader to land the in-state prospect. 

Ohio State would love to add a push rusher of Enai White's caliber, but the Buckeyes appear to be fading in his recruitment, especially with six 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions placing White at Texas A&M.

Marvin Jones Jr. is also getting a mention in this space because 247Sports is reporting Ohio State is getting consideration from Jones Jr. for a visit on Oct. 30. But the safe bet is to go with the field over the Buckeyes for the Florida product. 

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