One of the fastest-rising offensive tackles in the 2023 class is Massachusetts tackle Samson Okunlola.
Okunlola was recently elevated to a five-star prospect by 247Sports, and is considered to be the 35th-best player and the third-best tackle in the class by the recruiting network’s composite rankings.
“It feels great, I’m so blessed overall,” Okunlola told Eleven Warriors.
Considering offensive tackle is Ohio State’s biggest recruiting need in the 2023 class, it’s no surprise the Buckeyes are investing a lot of time and effort in recruiting the 6-foot-6, 295-pound prospect. On the same day they visited four-star New Jersey offensive tackle Chase Bisontis, offensive line coach Justin Frye and head coach Ryan Day also made the trek to Braintree, Massachusetts to visit Okunlola in person at Thayer Academy.
“It was good seeing them,” Okunlola said. “It’s always good when you get to see a head coach on campus.”
It was Okunlola’s first time meeting Frye, who he says he has spoken with three times.
“Every time we’ve talked on the phone, I’ve always thought pretty highly of him,” Okunlola said. “We’re supposed to do some more Zoom calls later on, but I think pretty highly of him. He’s a pretty good coach overall, we’ve talked a lot about the game.”
In addition to Frye, Okunlola says he also hears occasionally from OSU special teams coordinator Parker Fleming.
Ohio State is among the schools Okunlola is strongly considering.
“Right now I’ll probably drop a top five in a couple of months, but right now they’re around there,” Okunlola said.
Okunlola has only been to Ohio State’s campus once, a visit he made on his own accord during the dead period last spring after participating in a camp in Columbus. He’ll be allowed to interact with the coaching staff on his next visit to Ohio State, which he expects to make in either the spring or at the end of June. His college decision might not come until the fall, though.
“I’ll probably take two to three of my official visits in the spring, and the rest in the fall and commit after that when I’m ready,” Okunlola said.
When describing some of the biggest factors he’ll consider when choosing a college, a proven development track record and relationships with the coaching staff were at the forefront of his list. He also would like to see the field as quickly as possible, which is something OSU could potentially offer if its expected starting tackles for 2022, Dawand Jones and Paris Johnson, declare for the 2023 NFL draft.
“That factors in,” Okunlola said of potential early playing time. “You always want to play early if you can, so that factors in a little bit.”
Inniss to visit OSU in April
Ohio State is going to get another shot at landing the highest-touted wide receiver in the 2023 recruiting class. Former Oklahoma commit Brandon Inniss announced he will visit Columbus on April 2.
Inniss, who visited Ohio State last summer, is ranked as the eighth-best prospect and the top-rated wideout in the 2023 class. The 6-foot, 190-pound wideout is one of OSU's top 2023 targets at wide receiver along with fellow five-star Carnell Tate.
“Coach Hartline is like no other coach," Inniss told Eleven Warriors in early January. "He breaks down the game to you in a way that no other coach will. It’s amazing to see what their receivers do in and out every single year.”
Williams puts OSU in top eight
One of the top wide receivers in the 2023 class is getting closer to making a decision. Four-star Florida wideout Hykeem Williams released his top eight schools Monday evening, a list that consists of Ohio State, Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, Miami, Rutgers, Texas A&M and USC.
LEMME KNOW SUM pic.twitter.com/vEaZojwM0j— tha_boi.keem (@tha_boikeem) February 8, 2022
Williams was offered by the Buckeyes on Jan. 28 after a prank text from a Brian Hartline impostor led to actual communication with the Ohio State wide receivers coach. He hopes to visit Columbus either this spring or this summer.
“It would be awesome,” Williams told Eleven Warriors in January about potentially playing in Ohio State’s offense. “They produce great receivers. Just knowing you’re on an offense like that would be awesome.”
Williams is ranked as the 59th-best prospect and the 10th-best wide receiver in the 2023 class. In seven games for Stranahan High School (Fort Lauderdale, Florida) last season, Williams caught 31 passes for 693 yards and six receiving touchdowns.
Zinter to commit Friday
One of Ohio State’s tight end targets for 2023, four-star Preston Zinter, has set a commitment date. The Massachusetts resident will announce his college choice at noon on Friday.
I want to thank all of the coaches & college programs that have been recruiting me, with that, Im ready to announce my commitment!— Preston Zinter (@Preston_Zinter) February 8, 2022
I will be announcing my decision live on @CBSSportsHQ at Noon ET on Friday, Feb. 11 at Central Catholic High School. Livestream details to follow. pic.twitter.com/8fgUCci9me
Zinter, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound prospect, was one of two OSU targets to announce a commitment date on Monday, along with four-star offensive lineman Luke Montgomery, who set his for Feb. 17. Unlike Montgomery, though, Ohio State is not the favorite for Zinter. Zinter visited Columbus in June after receiving an offer from Ohio State in May, but he has not returned since. Most in the recruiting industry expect him to choose Notre Dame, who is recruiting him as a linebacker.
Zinter is ranked as the 329th-best prospect in the 2023 class. Ohio State already has one tight end committed in the class in Ty Lockwood, but would like to add one more in the cycle.