We are officially 13 days from the start of the Early Signing Period, and suddenly, there’s an overwhelming amount of news from the recruiting cycle to delve into.
Let’s not waste any time.
Uiagalelei puts OSU in top 3, Wilcox adds Buckeyes to top 4
Two of Ohio State’s top remaining priority targets for the 2023 class have cut down their school lists.
While five-star California defensive end Matayo Uiagalelei has seemingly felt the most connected to USC, Oregon and Ohio State since the start of the summer, the talented pass rusher officially narrowed down his school list to those three Thursday.
Uiagalelei, the brother of former Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei (now in the transfer portal), is expected to make a decision around National Signing Day, and the Buckeyes will continue to put the full-court press on him until a decision is made. Ohio State offensive tackle commit Luke Montgomery is certainly doing his part.
This is home brother https://t.co/GjIfZb24Qs— Luke Montgomery (@lukeMonty8) December 8, 2022
Meanwhile, three-star running back Jamarion Wilcox announced a final four of Ohio State, Kentucky, Auburn and Clemson. He has not yet set a decision date, though Kentucky is currently trending for the 5-foot-9, 195-pound tailback from Georgia.
Thank The Man Above pic.twitter.com/hG3CZlpFhb— //\\1//\\ (@JamarionWilcox1) December 8, 2022
Hartford wins Ohio Division I Co-Defensive Player of the Year
Four-star 2023 safety Malik Hartford is the latest in-state Ohio State commit to rack up an individual award to honor his senior season, as the Lakota West standout was named the Ohio Division I co-defensive player of the year along with St. Edward’s Wyatt Gedeon.
This season, Hartford recorded five pass breakups, 43 tackles (4 for loss), two interceptions and one defensive touchdown. He’s the third Ohio State commit to be named an Ohio defensive player of the year, as Arvell Reese (Division IV) and Jermaine Mathews (Division II) also earned those honors.
Meanwhile, Ohio State offensive lineman commitment Luke Montgomery was named to the Ohio Division I first-team All-State team for the second straight season. Joining him as first-team selections were Hartford, Joshua Padilla, Will Smith Jr. and Austin Siereveld.
2024 Ohio State running back target Jordan Marshall was named the Ohio Division I co-offensive player of the year alongside Medina’s Danny Stoddard. Marshall finished this season with 1,951 rushing yards, 34 total touchdowns and 364 receiving yards. 2024 OSU cornerback target Aaron Scott also earned first-team All-State honors for Division I.
OSU makes in-home visits to Inniss, Rodgers, Walker
Ohio State coaches have made a flurry of visits to various prospects around the country in the past week but have also made it a priority to give in-home visits to their 2023 commits. On Wednesday, Ryan Day and wide receivers coach Brian Hartline visited both five-star Florida wideout Brandon Inniss and three-star Connecticut offensive lineman Miles Walker. Thursday, they checked in on four-star Florida wideout Bryson Rodgers.
A special thank you to coach Hart and coach Day for stopping by and spending time with me this morning . So blessed to call these two family and my coaches. I can not wait to get to Columbus in January. #gobucks pic.twitter.com/tJoCZSqUma— Bryson Rodgers (@IBryson13) December 8, 2022
Perlotte commits to Georgia, Owens commits to Texas A&M
Two players with Ohio State offers came off the market in the last 24 hours.
Five-star 2023 running back Rueben Owens didn’t even make it four hours after his decommitment from Louisville before announcing a new home, committing to Texas A&M late Wednesday evening.
Meanwhile, five-star Georgia 2025 linebacker Jadon Perlotte stayed home and committed to the Bulldogs over Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson and Oregon.
Okunlola to commit Dec. 15
We’ve written a lot about five-star 2023 offensive tackle Samson Okunlola without him ever making concrete plans to visit Columbus. Well, I’m here to tell you that trend is not changing today, but it will likely be over soon. Okunlola has announced a commitment date of Dec. 15, which will end a recruitment the Massachusetts product has played close to the vest.
Ohio State kept in contact with Okunlola throughout his recruitment, even without him visiting for the Michigan game on Nov. 26. The Buckeyes were open to him visiting this weekend, but Okunlola will visit Florida instead, per 247Sports. With his commitment about a week away, Florida or Miami seem to be in the driver’s seat to land the top-tier talent.
He said what about why he’s transferring?
This last section has nothing to do with Ohio State, but it’s worth including because of how strangely forthcoming a collegiate running back was on his way out from a school. Mississippi State running back Dillion Johnson announced on his Twitter account he’d be looking for a new home, with a standard graphic you see from most players in this era.
Only, the latter half is anything but the standard procedure. After Johnson said a bevy of thank yous to his teammates and fans, he ended his letter by saying, “with that being said, since I am not very tough and (Mississippi State head coach Mike) Leach is glad I am leaving, I will be entering the transfer portal with the hopes of finding a more fit playing environment for me. Thank you.”
Whether you read that as a player refreshingly telling it like it is with some transparency or simply sour grapes from an athlete on his way out, it’s hard to argue that college football doesn’t remain undefeated.