Running back is one of the most important positions for Ohio State to recruit in the 2024 cycle.
Considering the Buckeyes may not take a running back in 2023, OSU desperately needs a premier tailback to anchor its 2024 class, and maybe even two. Its top target may just reside in the state of Ohio.
Four-star 2024 Cincinnati running back Jordan Marshall started his junior season by picking up an offer from Ohio State after an impressive recruiting camp workout in June. He ended it by being named the Ohio Division I co-Offensive Player of the Year after he ran for 1,951 rushing yards, scored 34 total touchdowns and racked up 364 receiving yards this season. But Marshall and Archbishop Moeller saw their season end prematurely with a loss to Springfield in the state semifinals, so the 5-foot-11, 195-pound running back still feels he has plenty to prove.
“I mean, our season didn’t end the way I wanted it to end and so we still got a lot of work to do,” Marshall told Eleven Warriors. “And we've already been back in the gym. We were going to wait till after the new year, but I wanted to get started and get right back out there. We have a good chance to go right back to it. So, what I appreciate about my guys after wrapping up this season is we know we’ve got to work hard. I think we were the best team this year, so I'm excited to see how we bounce back and how I can help my team be better.”
In addition to training for next season, a priority for Marshall this offseason is having his recruitment wrapped up by early summer. So it’s no surprise Ohio State is putting a full-court press on the in-state talent. Ohio State running backs coach Tony Alford stopped by Archbishop Moeller Monday to visit Marshall and the pair had a productive conversation. Marshall is certainly a priority to Ohio State, as he said Alford communicates with him every single day.
“We talked for a little bit, talked about the running back room and the opportunities I would have at Ohio State,” Marshall said of his conversation with Alford Monday. “Which I pretty much already know, and he always keeps it real with me, that's one reason I bond with him so much. I want to be surrounded by kids that are gonna challenge me and he said, ‘We'll be able to do that day in and day out. And not only as a football player, but a man.’”
Alford invited Marshall to watch OSU’s bowl practice on Saturday, and Marshall will be making the trek to Columbus for that experience.
“Something I want to see just after the Michigan game is how they play and how their energy and everything is for that day,” Marshall said. “So, I'm excited to see what their bounce back is and having an opportunity to play in the College Football Playoff is big. So I’m excited to see the energy and intensity they bring.”
Marshall’s trip to OSU Saturday will be his second of the fall, as he took his first-ever OSU gameday visit on Nov. 26 for the Michigan game. The Cincinnati standout isn’t your typical recruit from Ohio, as he never considered himself a Buckeye fan growing up. But, his grandfather was, and accompanied Marshall on the trip, which was a special moment for the pair of them.
“It was great,” Marshall said of his gameday visit. “I was so excited to just be down there and see them compete. They're a really good team. My grandpa got to come along and he's always been a big Ohio State fan. So it was great to get down there and see it. I was excited. I didn't get to see Miyan (Williams) run as much as I wanted to, but he’s still trying to get healthy and everything. But it was an exciting day down there and the environment was crazy.”
At the game, Marshall spoke with both Alford and Ryan Day.
“Coach Alford was just excited I was coming down,” Marshall said. “And that it was my first game ever at Ohio State. So they were just excited for me to come see their environment and be down there with them. It was a great time. And coach Day was pretty locked in, which I liked that about him. So it was good just to see them coach and be out there.”
After watching the Buckeyes play in person, Marshall feels strongly about Ohio State’s run game and how he’d be utilized in Day’s offense.
“I would say they're explosive all over the field,” Marshall said. “And that really helps the running game if you're explosive at receiver. And having TreVeyon (Henderson) and Miyan, they're two guys that are going to be phenomenal and go to the league. So it's cool to see how much they both get involved. Even at the Michigan game, the younger guys got in there and get their chance to see how good they are, too. So it was really good to see how many opportunities all of them had.”
Ohio State will be a strong contender for Marshall’s commitment. So will Michigan, Penn State and Tennessee, which are all schools Marshall visited this fall. Marshall will continue to be patient in the coming months, as he expects a few more offers to roll in before he determines which five schools he’d like to make official visits to. But Marshall is closer to the end of his process than he is to the beginning.
“I have pretty much narrowed it down,” Marshall said of his recruitment. “I'm gonna commit early summer, that's the goal right now to just commit in early summer. So I’ll try to take my officials around the spring, so we have a good mix right now. There's a few other schools that are going to offer, so we're just trying to see what those five are going to be that I'm gonna take my officials to on spring break.”
Marshall said he envisions Ohio State will likely be one of the five teams earning one of his official visits.
“Relationships are really big, and how much they win,” Marshall said regarding the most appealing things to him about Ohio State. “I want to win and I want to compete for a national championship someday and they're going to do that. So just that part and then coach day and Alford are great people and I love being around them every time I’m at Ohio State. So just those guys and you can tell the bond and everything they have there.”