Four Storylines Surrounding Ohio State Football Recruiting in November As The Game Approaches

By Garrick Hodge on November 7, 2022 at 11:35 am
Tyseer Denmark

November has the potential to be a massive month for Ohio State football recruiting.

Between the last few targets in the 2023 class nearing decisions, the opportunity to gain momentum in the 2024 cycle and the biggest game of the year approaching at the end of the month, there’s no shortage of potential storylines in the recruiting realm.

As the Buckeyes continue what looks to be a trek to approach the Michigan game undefeated with an 11-0 record, we look at the four biggest potential storylines surrounding OSU recruiting until Dec. 1. 

Will the Buckeyes land a commitment from Tyseer Denmark? 

Four-star 2024 Pennsylvania wideout Tyseer Denmark is currently the only Ohio State target with a set commitment date. Wouldn’t you know it, he’s pulling the trigger on Nov. 24, two days before the Michigan game. Denmark’s commitment date is in honor of his mother, who is celebrating her birthday that day. 

Two and a half weeks from his decision, there’s speculation Denmark’s pick will likely be either Ohio State or Penn State. I’d be surprised if the Buckeyes aren’t the hat on the table Denmark chooses in the end, primarily because of his relationship with Brian Hartline and his desire to play for a championship-caliber team. 

“How bad they want it,” Denmark told Eleven Warriors in June regarding the most appealing thing about playing for Ohio State. “They want it like they haven’t won anything yet. They go out and compete every day like they haven’t accomplished anything. That’s also the type of guy I am. All they do is compete. I love that. Every time I come here everybody’s competing. There’s not one person here that thinks he’s better than somebody.” 

Denmark, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound prospect, has made two visits to OSU, one for the Buckeyes’ spring game in April and the other over the summer for a seven-on-seven tournament. 

“Columbus, it feels like home,” Denmark said. “It feels like a good place for me. I always feel love with coach Hartline and coach (Ryan) Day. So it feels great to be back on campus.” 

He relished both of those visits and planned to return for “the team up north” game, as he called it. Might he be doing that two days after pledging to Ohio State?

“Definitely, I have to come back for the team up north game,” Denmark said. “I want my brothers to see that experience. That’s the game I really want to be at. I want to be at a couple of games, but that’s the one I really want.” 

Do any of the three premier five-star 2023 DE’s pull the trigger?

There’s no question Ohio State fans (and the OSU football staff, for that matter) are eagerly anticipating the decisions of priority 2023 five-star defensive end targets Keon Keeley, Damon Wilson and Matayo Uiagalelei. But when might those decisions arrive? 

Uiagalelei is likely deciding on National Signing Day at the earliest, so that rules him out from pulling the trigger in November. Wilson just finished visiting Georgia for a second time this fall, and a decision could come before the month is out, considering he plans on being an early enrollee. Keeley’s timeline is less specific, but with the momentum recently swinging to Alabama after his official visit in October, the longer this one goes on, that’s probably a good thing for Ohio State. 

Just how large will the visitor list for The Game grow to? 

With more than 60 recruits in attendance for Ohio State’s season opener against Notre Dame, that remains the Buckeyes’ biggest recruiting weekend of the season. Could a potential matchup of two unbeaten, top-five programs see the Notre Dame visitor list surpassed? Especially since the seasons of most high school players will be wrapped up by then? It’s certainly possible. 

For starters, Eleven Warriors has confirmed that Ohio State targets KJ Bolden, Miles Lockhart, Emaree Winston and Kristopher Jones, among others, will all be in attendance, and five-star cornerback Ellis Robinson IV is currently considering it. As the anticipation for the rivalry game grows, so too will the visitor list, which figures to give the Notre Dame game at least a run for its money. 

Will Samson Okunlola or Caleb Downs be among those in attendance?

By now, if you’re a regular follower of Ohio State recruiting, you may have fatigue from reading about the uncertainty regarding whether or not five-star offensive tackle Samson Okunlola will take an official visit to Columbus on Nov. 26 or not. But as the Michigan game draws closer, it becomes all the more intriguing to find out just how real of a shot the Buckeyes have of getting the Massachusetts product on campus and, in turn, landing him. 

Ohio State has probably at least benefited from some primary challengers for Okunlola (Miami and Michigan State come to mind) looking like dumpster fires in the 2022 season. Okunlola is precisely the type of premier offensive tackle prospect the Buckeyes have sought to cap off their 2023 recruiting class, and considering the tackle depth next season for the Buckeyes, he’d have a chance to start as a freshman. If the Buckeyes can pull this one out, it would be a tremendous recruiting victory for Justin Frye in his first season on the job. 

Meanwhile, the Buckeyes also are trying to get Alabama safety commit Caleb Downs to Columbus for the Nov. 26 game. Downs, a Georgia prospect, just visited Athens for the Bulldogs’ victory against Tennessee on Saturday, so the five-star talent seems at least open to taking other visits. The problem is Downs is currently expected to visit Alabama for the Iron Bowl this year on that date instead. But things can change quickly in recruiting. While it probably remains a longshot at best, getting Downs to visit Columbus instead of Tuscaloosa on Nov. 26 would go a long way towards flipping the top-rated safety in the 2023 class.

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