Five-Star Safety Caleb Downs, High-Priority Offensive Tackle Olaus Alinen Among Ohio State’s Most Important Official Visitors in June

By Garrick Hodge on May 29, 2022 at 10:10 am
Caleb Downs
Caleb Downs

Ohio State is ready for its biggest recruiting month of the summer.

June has become Ryan Day and Mark Pantoni’s preferred time for most prospects to take their all-expenses-paid trips to Columbus, as the Buckeyes will welcome more than 30 recruits on official visits next month. The last weekend in June is when things will get particularly spicy, with close to 20 prospects expected to take their officials that weekend.

Ohio State wouldn’t host a prospect on an official visit if it didn’t have genuine interest in that player, so every one of next month’s official visits can be considered important. The following five, however, might be the most important based on their talent and OSU’s positional needs in the class.

Caleb Downs 

The top-rated safety in the 2023 class is arguably the most important visitor Ohio State will host the entire summer. 

While the Buckeyes already have two safeties committed in the current class with Cedrick Hawkins and Malik Hartford, Ohio State would like to take at least three in 2023 and Downs is by far the most talented safety left on OSU’s board. 

The Buckeyes have a real shot at landing the 6-foot, 185-pound Georgia standout, but there are plenty of other fierce competitors for his services, such as Alabama, Georgia and Notre Dame. Downs, who last visited Ohio State in April, will take his official to Columbus June 24-26. Landing Downs would give OSU a player to build its secondary around in future seasons. 

Olaus Alinen 

It’s no secret offensive tackle is the Buckeyes’ biggest area of need in the current recruiting cycle. The Finland-born Alinen is the top offensive tackle who has confirmed an official to Columbus for next month.

This recruitment sure seems like it’s shaping up to be an Alabama vs. Ohio State battle, with both schools having reasons to feel good about where they stand with the 6-foot-6, 315-pound offensive tackle. OSU getting the final chance to make an impression on him, since he’ll visit Alabama first, could swing the pendulum in the Buckeyes’ favor. 

Five-star offensive tackle Samson Okunlola is still a high-priority target for Ohio State, but he has yet to schedule an official visit with the Buckeyes. Should that change, he’d also be near the top of the list of this summer’s most important visitors. 

Brandon Inniss

Good news: Ohio State is in excellent shape to land the nation’s top-rated wide receiver. However, official visits can change momentum in a hurry, and the five-star Florida wideout is still heavily considering the likes of Alabama, USC and Miami, among others. Inniss is the lone target on this list to schedule a visit on a weekend other than the final weekend in June, as he’ll make his visit to OSU from June 17-19. 

Inniss originally considered taking his OSU official visit in November for the Michigan game, so moving it up to June suggests a summer commitment is possible.

Ohio State dreams of adding three top-100 wide receivers – Inniss, Carnell Tate and Noah Rogers – to its 2023 recruiting class. Making another strong impression on Inniss would be a great start to attempting to turn that dream into a reality. 

Tackett Curtis

Jim Knowles has been to Many, Louisiana, so many times he’s officially earned the honor of having a sandwich named after him at a nearby restaurant.

Since Knowles was hired by Ohio State, he’s visited Curtis in his home state on four separate occasions. He’s not even trying to hide who his top linebacker target is in the 2023 class.

The Buckeyes are actively pushing to be the last official visit Curtis takes this summer and based on Curtis’ schedule, that appears to be likely. The 6-foot-2, 218-pound linebacker will visit OSU June 24-26 after taking trips to Wisconsin and USC earlier in the month. 

Between USC and Wisconsin, the Badgers are likely the biggest challenger to land Curtis. But Ohio State is considered the favorite heading into June and could seal the deal with a successful visit. 

Justice Haynes 

Of all the names on this list, Haynes is the least likely to end up with Ohio State. But he’s an important visitor nevertheless because the Buckeyes’ search for a second running back in the 2023 class could very well be Haynes or bust. 

Longtime target Richard Young canceled his official visit to Columbus, and although he hasn’t ruled the Buckeyes out of his recruitment, actions sometimes speak louder than words. If OSU can’t land a premier back of Haynes’ caliber, the Buckeyes will likely hold firm with Mark Fletcher as their lone running back in the 2023 cycle.

Haynes was offered by Ohio State in February 2021 and last visited Columbus in October for the Penn State game.

While there is mutual interest between Haynes and OSU, it’s going to be hard for him to pass up playing for his hometown Georgia Bulldogs. Haynes’ father, Verron Haynes, is a Georgia alumnus who played for the Bulldogs. But if there’s any chance for the Buckeyes to flip the momentum, it will be during his visit to OSU from June 24-26.

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