One of the Buckeyes’ key 2023 defensive line targets enjoyed his visit to Ohio State on Saturday.
Four-star defensive end AJ Hoffler made his second trip to Columbus last weekend, with his mother accompanying him on the trip. Hoffler also made a visit with his father for Ohio State’s Nov. 20 game against Michigan State, and the Buckeyes offered the 6-foot-5, 245-pound standout from Atlanta on that trip. Hoffler, who continues to say Ohio State is leading his recruitment at the moment, came away impressed from his second trip to OSU.
“The visit was great, I got to see everything from the campus to the facilities,” Hoffler told Eleven Warriors Sunday night.
In November, Hoffler said he would consider committing to Ohio State on his second visit to Columbus. That didn’t end up happening, primarily because he wanted to talk with defensive line coach Larry Johnson about his future plans and how long he wishes to continue coaching. That conversation went well this weekend, but Hoffler is targeting to make a commitment by his birthday in August.
“My favorite part was getting to meet with Coach Johnson,” Hoffler said. “The conversation with him was good, he told me he wasn’t going anywhere as of now.”
Hoffler told Eleven Warriors he’s planning on visiting Ohio State for a third time later this summer. That trip will likely be an official visit.
OSU offers Hartford
Hoffler wasn’t the only prospect who made an unofficial visit to Columbus this weekend. Four-star 2023 safety Malik Hartford made the trek to Ohio State from Cincinnati on Saturday and left campus with a scholarship offer.
Hartford is ranked as the 217th-best prospect in the 2023 cycle, per 247Sports’ composite rankings. While the Buckeyes are relatively new to Hartford’s recruitment, new safeties coach Perry Eliano was Hartford’s lead recruiter at Cincinnati, which is one of the 22 Division I schools that have already offered the 6-foot-3, 175-pound standout. Other schools on his offer sheet include Notre Dame, Indiana, Iowa State, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan State, Purdue, Tennessee and West Virginia.
Hartford plays at Lakota West High School, where he was teammates with recently enrolled Ohio State cornerback Jyaire Brown and offensive lineman signee Tegra Tshabola. Hartford made 58 tackles and recorded two interceptions for Lakota West last season. He becomes the sixth player from Ohio in the 2023 class to pick up an Ohio State offer, joining commits Will Smith Jr. and Joshua Padilla as well as Luke Montgomery, Austin Siereveld and Brenan Vernon (a Notre Dame commit).
Well deserved https://t.co/5Ro77fEQva— Tegra Masta T Tshabola (@tshabola_tegra) January 22, 2022
Wilson picks up Buckeyes offer
Ohio State was back on the recruiting trail Monday, offering four-star 2023 Florida edge rusher Damon Wilson.
Wilson is considered the 103rd-best prospect and the eighth-best edge rusher in the 2023 class. He currently holds 20 Division I offers including Alabama, USC, Penn State, Ole Miss, Michigan State and Florida. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Wilson attends Venice High School (Venice, Florida) and is high school teammates with OSU 2023 safety target Elliot Washington.
Trotter releases top eight
One of Ohio State’s 2023 linebacker targets is expanding his recruitment. Back in June, four-star Philadelphia linebacker Josiah Trotter released a top-four list that included Ohio State, Clemson, South Carolina and Penn State. He expanded his school finalists on Monday, releasing a top-eight list consisting of Ohio State, Texas A&M, West Virginia, Notre Dame, Penn State, Virginia Tech, Clemson and South Carolina.
First off I would like to thank God, I would not be here without him. I would like to thank all the coaches who have offered me to be able to play at the next level. I will be focusing on these 8 schools for the remainder of my process.@rledits24 @BrianDohn247 pic.twitter.com/vb13cIIjnv— Josiah Trotter (@TrotterJosiah) January 24, 2022
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Trotter is considered the 264th-best prospect nationally and the 24th-best linebacker in the 2023 class. Trotter plays for St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia, the same high school that produced Ohio State quarterback Kyle McCord and wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. Trotter’s father is former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Sr. and his brother is current Clemson linebacker Jeremiah Trotter Jr. He picked up his Ohio State offer on June 7 when he took an unofficial visit to Columbus.
Arnold commits to Oklahoma
Cross one 2023 quarterback target off the list.
Four-star 2023 Texas signal-caller Jackson Arnold announced his commitment to Oklahoma on Monday.
Arnold is ranked as the 72nd-best prospect and the seventh-best quarterback in the 2023 class. He was offered by Ohio State on Oct. 16. His commitment leaves three quarterbacks in the 2023 class who have offers from Ohio State and remain uncommitted: Dante Moore, Nicholaus Iamaleava and Dylan Lonergan.
Smith Jr. commitment reaction
In case you missed it, Ohio State added a big legacy recruit on Sunday with the commitment of three-star 2023 defensive tackle Will Smith Jr.
As it usually is, Twitter was filled with all sorts of reactions, both from current Ohio State staff members and recruits and from those who played with his late father, former Ohio State and New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith.
Congrats @iwillsmithjr on committing to The Ohio State University. I know your dad is proud of you and your accomplishments. This is only the beginning, I can't wait to see you in the scarlet & grey... #WillSmith93LegacyStillLivesOn #BuckeyeNation https://t.co/YbCb5o1XSw— Mike Doss (@THEMikeDoss) January 24, 2022
Biiiig Legacy Vibes!!! https://t.co/wfjyjmmMDK— cameron jordan (@camjordan94) January 24, 2022