Signed: Jermaine Mathews Brings Confident Attitude, Standout Playmaking Ability to Ohio State's Cornerback Corps

By Garrick Hodge on December 21, 2022 at 8:01 am
Jermaine Mathews

His fast rise over the summer won’t be forgotten any time soon.

Though his recruiting journey culminated Wednesday with the signing of his National Letter of Intent to Ohio State, four-star Ohio cornerback Jermaine Mathews experienced one of the fastest rises of any commit in the 2023 class.

In the weeks leading up to the recruiting camp that changed his life, Mathews wasn’t entirely sure if he was going to work out with the Buckeyes on June 1. 

The Mathews File

  • Class: 2023
  • Size: 6-0/175
  • Pos: CB
  • School: Winton Woods (Cincinnati, Ohio)
  • Composite Rating: ★★★★
  • Composite Rank: #136 (#16 CB)

Going through the camp circuit didn’t feel like a necessity to the rising senior, but Mathews eventually relented and worked out for the Buckeyes anyway, because he told himself he wanted a chance to receive an offer from the team he’d grown up rooting for his entire life and didn’t want to have any regrets years later. It turned out to be one of the best decisions of his life.

Not only did Mathews excel that day, he was one of the best performers OSU had at an individual recruiting camp the entire summer. In one-on-one drills, Mathews did not allow a single catch amid a dominant performance. He was also the only prospect throughout the camp circuit to have a small army of Ohio State players that doubled as a cheering section, as they screamed, “Offer this man” after every rep that went Mathews’ way. One of those players included former Winton Woods teammate Miyan Williams. 

“It was definitely a show to watch,” Williams said while attending Mathews’ commitment ceremony in July. “If you weren’t there, you missed out. I (told OSU coaches), ‘Ya’ll seen enough?’” 

A few hours later, Mathews had his offer from the Buckeyes in hand. Within a month, Mathews went from a three to a four-star recruit and picked up offers from the likes of Alabama, Oklahoma, LSU and others. But he committed to the Buckeyes exactly a month after receiving his offer on July 1. 

“It’s just a place where I feel like I can succeed,” Mathews told Eleven Warriors of why he committed to OSU. “They can help me on and off the field. It’s a great place for me.” 

Mathews ended his prep career in style with a standout senior season that proved he was one of the best players in Ohio, as he was named the Ohio Division II Defensive Player of the Year. In 12 games for Winton Woods, Mathews had 51 total tackles (5 for loss), four forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, six interceptions (three returned for touchdowns), 20 pass deflections and both a punt and kickoff return touchdown. The 6-foot, 175-pound prospect excels in man or zone coverage, can shut down a team's top receiver by himself and has a knack for being a playmaker and finding the end zone despite not being an offensive player.

Though Mathews had a relatively drama-free recruitment once he committed, Miami made a late push for Mathews in the month leading up to Signing Day. But Mathews dispelled any rumors of him flipping, putting out a statement on Twitter saying he was locked in with the Buckeyes.

“I’m excited to be a part of everything up there,” Mathews said of his future. “I’m even closer to the program than I was growing up in Ohio and knowing about Ohio State. I’m closer with it, and it feels so good. I just can’t wait to be up there.” 

Mathews will be an early enrollee with OSU and is expected to participate in spring workouts. 

“It’ll be great because all of us will be coming off our season, so we’ll all be ready to grind and get ready for the next one,” Mathews said. “I feel like getting a head start on learning the defense more and being at college will be beneficial. Just getting bigger, that’s the biggest thing for me. Just getting bigger and more fit and getting into the speed of college ball. I’m just trying to get ready to transition.”

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