By now, most of you know how gargantuan this weekend is for Ohio State from both a football and a recruiting perspective.
After all, Ryan Day said earlier this week that recruits want to come to Ohio State to play in these exact types of games.
With around 50 expected visitors in Columbus this weekend, OSU’s coaches and recruiting staff have their work cut out from them. At least half of those expected attendees would be considered priority targets, but not all of their visits have make-or-break implications for this weekend.
For a few key targets, though, whether or not they become Buckeyes could hinge on whether Ohio State makes a big impression on them this weekend. The following five prospects, in particular, are top targets who Ohio State could be making its final pitch to on Saturday.
Of course, this isn't to say other top recruits like Richard Young, the top-rated running back in 2023, isn't a top priority, because of course he is. But the following five visits might be most important in the immediate future.
Hero Kanu, 2022 defensive tackle: Kanu, a defensive tackle from Germany, seems to be infatuated with Oklahoma, if you read any recent interviews with him. The Sooners seem to be OSU’s biggest competition to land the 6-foot-5, 293-pound force in the trenches, but Ohio State will have the chance to impress both Kanu and his mother, who is flying in all the way from Germany to attend the visit with her son.
Xavier Nwankpa, 2022 safety: After all the momentum this summer surrounding Nwankpa to OSU, the 6-foot-2, 190-pound safety’s hometown Iowa Hawkeyes and Notre Dame seem to have gotten his attention this fall. Fellow 2022 visiting safety Zion Branch, who once looked destined for USC, appears to now be trending toward OSU. But Nwankpa is still taking his visit, and will have the chance to check in with both Matt Barnes and Kerry Coombs. The Buckeyes will have some ground to make up if they want to land the Des Moines, Iowa product.
Earnest Greene, 2022 offensive lineman: With the commitment of Avery Henry, Ohio State is probably going to take one more offensive lineman in the 2022 class. Greene, a 6-foot-4, 330-pound interior offensive lineman from California, would likely be the Buckeyes’ preferred choice. Greene will be the lone St. John Bosco (Bellflower, California) target OSU will host this weekend because his visit is of the official variety. It’s difficult to know where Greene stands with OSU at the moment, but 247Sports has a Crystal Ball projection of Greene to Georgia.
Omari Abor, 2022 defensive end: Larry Johnson has a track record of closing strong with top defensive line recruits, and if Ohio State can convince the five-star Abor to get on board for the 2022 class, Johnson will have done it again. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Abor will be making his second visit to OSU and is heavily considering the Buckeyes along with Alabama and Texas A&M. This one will be fascinating to monitor, though Abor isn’t expected to make a decision until January.
Carnell Tate, 2023 wide receiver: The IMG Academy (Bradenton, Florida) wideout is still in great standing with Ohio State, but as his recruiting battle remains a neck-and-neck affair with Notre Dame at the moment, the Buckeyes are going to have to make a good impression. Especially since a good portion of the recruiting industry thought his commitment would be with OSU had Tate stuck with his original commitment date of Oct. 8.
Final Penn State visitors list
While Saturday will be crucial for those prospects listed above, there are many more big names projected to visit Columbus this weekend. A complete list of expected attendees is below.
Of course, we released an early projected visitors list in Tuesday’s Hurry Up with the caveat of how fluid this all is, and three days proved that statement true. Shemar Stewart, Kam Dewberry, Christen Miller and all St. John Bosco prospects not named Earnest Greene were removed from the list. Tate, 2022 running back commit Dallan Hayden, offensive line commit Tegra Tshabola and cornerback commit Jyaire Brown and 2023 quarterback target Dante Moore were added, to name a few.
Some of these names will inevitably not show up, and some names not listed will probably attend. But, through a combination of our own intel, reporting from other outlets and announcements from recruits themselves, here’s an updated expected visitor list just over 24 hours before kickoff. If anything changes between now and then, we’ll update it in the forums.
Class of 2022: Caden Curry (DL), Omari Abor (DL), C.J. Hicks (LB), Kyion Grayes (WR), Kojo Antwi (WR), Caleb Burton (WR), George Fitzpatrick (OL), Avery Henry (OL), Earnest Greene (OL), Hero Kanu (DL), Jimmy Rolder (LB), Ryan Turner (DB), Xavier Nwankpa (DB), Zion Branch (DB), Marvin Jones Jr. (DL), Kye Stokes (DB), Dallan Hayden (RB), Tegra Tshabola (OL), Jyaire Brown (DB), Kaleb Brown (WR), Carson Hinzman (OL), Gabe Powers (LB)
Class of 2023: Dante Moore (QB), Carnell Tate (WR), Richard Young (RB), Justice Haynes (RB), Chris Culliver (WR), Zachariah Branch (WR), Ty Lockwood (TE), Luke Montgomery (OL), Joshua Padilla (OL), Brycen Sanders (OL), Keith Sampson (DL), Sonny Styles (LB/DB), Troy Bowles (LB), Jaiden Ausberry (LB), Elliot Washington (DB), Christian Gray (DB), Willtrell Hartson (RB), Anthony Brown (WR), Kayden McDonald (DL)
Class of 2024: Jadyn Davis (QB), Adrian Posse (QB), Jeremiah Smith (WR), Vincent Shavers (LB), Joshisa Trader (WR), Dylan Raiola (QB)
Class of 2025: Ryan Montgomery (QB)
Note: 2022 Ohio State defensive end commit Kenyatta Jackson Jr. had hoped to visit this weekend but likely will not be able to make it, his father told Eleven Warriors this week. Jackson Jr. hopes to attend either the Purdue or Michigan State game in November.
Wagner releases top five
Offensive tackle Aamil Wagner, the top-ranked uncommitted prospect in Ohio’s recruiting class of 2022, released his top five on Friday afternoon.
October 29, 2021
Wagner, a Wayne High School standout who begins the first round of the Ohio state playoffs against Dublin Coffman on Friday night, put out a list consisting of Ohio State, Kentucky, Penn State, Notre Dame and Maryland. He also announced a commitment date of November 11.
Wagner is ranked as the 134th-best prospect and the 12th-best offensive tackle in the 2022 cycle, per 247Sports' composite rankings. As you’ve probably already noticed, Wagner’s name is not listed above regarding Ohio State’s expected visitors this weekend. While Wagner visited Columbus earlier this fall for the home opener on Sept. 11, Kentucky has gained a lot of momentum in Wagner’s recruitment. The Wildcats also hold some sentimental value to Wagner as his older brother, Ahmad, played wide receiver for the Wildcats for two seasons. Wagner took a visit to Lexington on Sept. 4.
Aguero nearing decision
One of Ohio State's top defensive back targets in 2023, Joenel Aguero, said Thursday on Twitter that he’s nearing a decision.
Im ready to make my decision— Joenel Aguero (@Joenel_33) October 29, 2021
He did not mention a date a decision would be made, though. Aguero is rated the No. 25 prospect in the 2023 cycle. Considering he hasn't visited OSU since last summer, it would be surprising if he picked the Buckeyes barring something changing. Georgia has been trending up in his recruitment in recent weeks.