Keenan Bailey has landed his top remaining target for the 2024 cycle.
At long last, the Buckeyes have accomplished their years-long goal of taking two tight ends in a recruiting class by converting on their top in-state target at the position in the 2024 class, landing a commitment from four-star Ohio prospect Damarion Witten while on his official visit to Columbus.
Witten, a 6-foot-4, 215-pound tight end, was offered by the Buckeyes on Sept. 6, just three days after he visited OSU with a host of his high school teammates for the Buckeyes' season opener against Notre Dame.
“It was great, getting recruited and offered from a school you have dreamed of since I was little, it’s an honor,” Witten told Eleven Warriors after getting his offer. “I have always been rooting for OSU. My favorite moment is when (Glenville alumnus) Cardale Jones won the Buckeyes a National Championship.”
While former OSU offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson was the one that originally offered Witten, Bailey wasted no time forming a relationship with the Ohio standout and let him know immediately he was a priority target.
“Me and coach Bailey got really close over time since he got the job,” Witten said. “He said I was the first tight end he called and he wanted to keep working with me. Ever since that day, he’s been truly showing me that he cares.”
When Ryan Day speaks about recruiting publicly, he often talks about selling recruits on playing for brotherhood and how OSU considers itself a family. That really resonated with Witten.
“The most appealing thing (about potentially playing at OSU) is Coach Day,” Witten said. “He really loves the team and the players.”
The Witten File
- Class: 2024
- Size: 6-4/215
- Pos: TE
- School: Glenville (Cleveland, OH)
- Composite Rating: ★★★★
- Composite Rank: #347 (#19 TE)
It's fitting that West and Witten committed on the same day, as the Glenville-to-Ohio State pipeline has officially been re-opened with Reese already in the fold, as OSU has three Tarblooders in back-to-back classes after 21 Tarblooders played for the Buckeyes from 2002 to 2017.
“It would mean a lot for us to re-open the Glenville to Ohio State pipeline back up," Witten said. "It would be something everyone at Glenville would appreciate.”
Glenville will now boast two future Buckeyes this upcoming season, and West and Witten will continue their collegiate careers together at the next level. Both prospects also took their official visits together.
According to 247Sports’ composite rankings, Witten is considered the 347th-ranked prospect and the 19th-rated tight end in the 2024 cycle. Witten is the 16th commitment for OSU in the 2024 class, the second tight end commitment along with Max LeBlanc and the seventh in-state commitment joining West, Garrett Stover, Devontae and Deontae Armstrong, Marc Nave and Sam Williams-Dixon.
OSU now has two tight ends in a recruiting class for the first time since 2016, when the Buckeyes signed three tight ends.
Witten committed to Ohio State over the likes of Texas, Tennessee, Purdue, Lousiville, Iowa State, Kentucky, Michigan State, Michigan and Pittsburgh.
|WR||JEREMIAH SMITH||★★★★★||#2 NATL | #1 WR||6-3 | 198||Chaminade-Madonna Prep (Opa Locka, Florida)|
|WR||MYLAN GRAHAM||★★★★★||#17 NATL | #4 WR||6-1 | 170||New Haven (New Haven, Indiana)|
|CB||BRYCE WEST||★★★★||#49 NATL | #4 CB||5-11 | 177||Glenville (Cleveland, Ohio)|
|QB||AIR NOLAND||★★★★||#59 NATL | #6 QB||6-3 | 195||Langston Hughes (Fairburn, Georgia)|
|RB||JAMES PEOPLES||★★★★||#77 NATL | #6 RB||5-10 | 192||Veterans Memorial (San Antonio, Texas)|
|OT||IAN MOORE||★★★★||#112 NATL | #6 IOL||6-5 | 295||New Palestine (New Palestine, Indiana)|
|LB||GARRETT STOVER||★★★★||#138 NATL | #12 LB||6-0 | 195||Big Walnut (Sunbury, OH)|
|LB||PAYTON PIERCE||★★★★||#159 NATL | #15 LB||6-1 | 225||Lovejoy (Lucas, Texas)|
|S||JAYLEN McCLAIN||★★★★||#243 NATL | #22 S||6-0 | 185||Seton Hall Prep (West Orange, New Jersey)|
|TE||MAX LEBLANC||★★★★||#275 NATL | #14 TE||6-4 | 222||Baylor School (Chattanooga, Tennessee)|
|RB||JORDAN LYLE||★★★★||#326 NATL | #28 RB||6-0 | 180||St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Laderdale, Florida)|
|OT||DEONTAE ARMSTRONG||★★★★||#333 NATL | #30 OT||6-6 | 280||St. Edward (Lakewood, OH)|
|TE||DAMARION WITTEN||★★★★||#347 NATL | #19 TE||6-4 | 215||Glenville (Cleveland, OH)|
|OL||DEVONTAE ARMSTRONG||★★★★||#359 NATL | #21 IOL||6-4 | 265||St. Edward (Lakewood, OH)|
|OL||MARC NAVE||★★★||#617 NATL | #39 IOL||6-5 | 315||Central Catholic (Toledo, OH)|
|RB||SAM WILLIAMS-DIXON||★★★||#714 NATL | #73 ATH||5-11 | 203||Pickerington North (Columbus, OH)|
|Prospect Rating Data: 247Sports|
Witten brings pass-catching skillset to Columbus with frame to develop as a run blocker
Witten played a big part in helping Glenville win its first state championship in program history and finishing off a perfect 15-0 season in 2022.
While Witten is a tight end capable of being a dynamic pass-catcher, his biggest strong suit, he’s also very willing to learn to improve his craft as a blocker.
“My biggest strength is the way I can run the routes and open up the holes for the running backs,” Witten said.
Though Witten is willing to be a blocker whenever asked, he'll need to work on his in-line blocking technique and will also have to build on his frame at the next level. He’ll likely need to bulk up before playing a major role in Ohio State’s offense, but the upside is there for Witten to be a complete tight end.
“They’ve told me I’m a mismatch tight end,” Witten said. “I can stay, flex, go outside and play receiver and match up with a DB and be used as a mismatch. I want to be used as a tight end and a receiver at the same time.”
In his junior season, Witten split time between being split out wide, in the slot and lining up with a hand in the ground on the line of scrimmage for Glenville. The Tarblooders aren't afraid to split him out wide and utilize him like a wide receiver when they need a big play.
He's shown great playmaking ability, both from winning contested jump balls to also making long plays in the screen game. Last season, Witten took a screen pass 99 yards for paydirt, showing greater-than-average speed for a tight end. On rare occasions, Witten even took handoffs for Glenville in the backfield as the Tarblooders took advantage of size and athleticism as a ballcarrier.