A fast-rising defensive prospect in Ohio in the 2025 class is quickly appearing on Ohio State’s radar.
Canton prospect Dante McClellan has received interest from both safeties coach Perry Eliano and Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles as both a linebacker and a safety, as the 6-foot-3, 200-pound prospect has the skillset to do both.
“Both position group coaches were talking to me, and they were talking bout me playing both, so with time we'll see where I'll end,” McClellan told Eleven Warriors.
McClellan recently visited OSU in December for a bowl practice and was impressed by what he saw out of the team. He also visited campus earlier this month on Jan. 21 for an unofficial visit.
Had a great Unofficial visit at THE University of Ohio State! #BIA@RivalsFriedman @adamgorney @CraigHaubert @BrianDohn247 @DemetricDWarren @ErikRichardsUSA @JeremyO_Johnson @ChadSimmons_ @SWiltfong247 @RWrightRivals pic.twitter.com/TEPPlItQ6i— 25' Dante McClellan (@dante__il) January 22, 2023
“My main takeaway from the visit was seeing them practicing with tempo. The guys came out the locker room stretched and got straight to it from the beginning to end,” McClellan said of his visit to Ohio State.
The Buckeyes have also been putting in the effort to continue the relationship with him, as Knowles stopped by McClellan’s high school earlier this month.
“(Knowles) told me he liked what he was seeing and keep working hard, and it meant a lot actually showed that he wanted to recruit me and see me,” McClellan said.
McClellan has two Division I offers at this time, Akron and Kentucky, but he says getting an offer from Ohio State would be a dream come true.
“An Ohio State offer would be big time,” McClellan said. “I always watched them as a kid growing up in Canton, Columbus isn't too far. Being home and playing where my family could come see me with no problem (would be great).”
Last season for McKinley High School, McClellan lined up as both an outside linebacker and strong safety.
“My best on-field attribute is that I'm very versatile, I could line up over a receiver, or I could go in the trenches with tight ends and tackles,” he said.
McClellan said he plans on taking another visit to Ohio State this spring to watch a practice.
Quiet signing day expected for Ohio State
Unlike the Early Signing Period, Wednesday’s National Signing Day should be a lowkey affair for Ohio State, with no other high school prospect in the 2023 class expected to sign with the Buckeyes barring something out of left field. That didn’t mean the Buckeyes were done improving their roster for next year, though, as Ole Miss transfer cornerback Davison Igbinosun committed to OSU on Tuesday, a few days after taking an official visit to Columbus.
As it stands, the Buckeyes have the fifth-ranked recruiting class in 2023 in 247Sports’ national rankings behind Alabama, Georgia, Texas and Oklahoma. Should that ranking hold, it would be the fourth straight recruiting cycle in which the Buckeyes finished with a top-five class nationally.
While Ohio State finishing fifth appears likely, it’s not a guarantee. The biggest threat to usurp the Buckeyes from that top-five spot could be Oregon, who currently sits at No. 10. The Ducks are waiting on decisions from a few prospects, including one of the two remaining unsigned five stars in the 2023 class in Nyckoles Harbor (Duce Robinson is the other). Harbor’s destination remains a mystery, as South Carolina and Oregon both feel confident in landing the prized target. Should Oregon land Harbor, it would still need to land another signee, such as Rodrick Pleasant to surpass Ohio State in the national rankings.
The Buckeyes finished with 20 high school signees in total and five transfer portal additions. Their transfer portal additions give them the fifth-best ranking in 247Sports’ overall rankings for the 2023 class, as well, behind Alabama, Georgia, Texas and LSU.
Davidson to camp with Ohio State this summer
One of the top running backs in the 2025 class has confirmed he will take another visit to Ohio State.
Four-star Virginia tailback Gideon Davidson told Eleven Warriors he plans on camping at Ohio State in June despite already holding an offer from the Buckeyes. Mutual interest in Davidson exists on OSU’s part, as running backs coach Tony Alford visited Davidson at Liberty Christian Academy (Lynchburg, Virginia) in December.
In the regular season for Liberty Christian Academy, Davidson, who picked up his Ohio State offer on June 13, ran for more than 1,400 yards on 140 carries with 23 rushing touchdowns. He took a gameday visit to Columbus on Sept. 3 for the season-opening win against Notre Dame.
“Epic experience,” Davidson said of his OSU visit in September. “Connected with coach Alford. Met coach Day. The game staff was outstanding. The atmosphere here at the game was crazy good. The game was won in the second half by the running backs. Ohio State values the run game, and I like that a lot. I will be back.”