Heat Check: Five-Star Defensive End Dylan Stewart Finds His Way On the Board for the First Time As Spring Visits Are Set to Begin

By Garrick Hodge on March 5, 2023 at 8:35 am
Dylan Stewart

In the March edition of the Heat Check, there’s not much turnover, as only one new name cracks the board.

But things are far from quiet on the recruiting front despite only one new addition from last month's edition. In fact, they’re about to ramp up full steam ahead as the quiet period comes to a close this week and the Buckeyes will begin to host recruiting visitors on campus to observe spring football practices. There’s no shortage of players expected to be on campus, some of them extremely high-profile targets. 

Before an important month kicks off for OSU both developmentally and from a recruiting standpoint, we’ll take a look at where things stand with some of the Buckeyes’ top priority targets.  

For those that are new to the recurring monthly series, the criteria when used to select the top 12 for Eleven Warriors’ Ohio State recruiting board editorial is based on many factors, including roster needs for the Buckeyes in future seasons, the caliber of the player and how likely that player is to come to Columbus on National Signing Day.

With plenty of spring visits on the horizon for OSU this month and next, the Buckeyes hope to increase their commitment total for 2024 prospects, which currently stands at three. 

KJ BOLDEN S 1 1 ★★★★★ Alabama•Georgia•Arkansas•Auburn•Florida State
BRYCE WEST CB 2 2 ★★★★ Michigan•Michigan State•Penn State
JORDAN MARSHALL RB 3 3 ★★★★ Michigan•Tennessee•Wisconsin
SAMMY BROWN LB 4 4 ★★★★★ Oklahoma•Tennessee•Georgia•Clemson
JORDAN SEATON OL 5 5 ★★★★ Alabama•Clemson•LSU•Georgia
CHARLES LESTER III CB 6 6 ★★★★★ Alabama•Florida State•Florida•Georgia
JOSHISA TRADER WR 7 7 ★★★★★ Florida•Florida State•Miami•Tennessee
MYLAN GRAHAM WR 8 8 ★★★★ Alabama•Notre Dame•Tennessee•Purdue
GUERBY LAMBERT OT 9 9 ★★★★ Notre Dame•LSU•Michigan•Georgia•Penn State
DYLAN STEWART DE 10 NA ★★★★★ Alabama•Michigan•Georgia•Penn State
DAMARION WITTEN TE 11 11 ★★★★ Michigan•Kentucky•Iowa State•Michigan State
NIGEL SMITH DE 12 12 ★★★★ Oklahoma•Texas A&M•Texas•Texas Tech

KJ Bolden

Ohio State’s top target in 2024 has already locked in an official visit to Columbus, as the top-rated safety in the cycle will venture to OSU on June 16. The Georgia prospect could also make a visit to campus in the spring too, but that visit has yet to be finalized. 

Bryce West

According to four-star cornerback Miles Lockhart, West could make an official visit to OSU on June 16, the same weekend as Bolden and various others, forming what could be the most important recruiting opportunity for the Buckeyes in the calendar year. West has said multiple times in the past he plans on taking his recruitment the distance and there’s no reason to believe that’s changed. Michigan is also going to be a true thorn in the side of OSU to land the top prospect in Ohio in 2024, but the Buckeyes remain in good standing with the Glenville product.

Jordan Marshall

Like West, Michigan will be a strong contender for Marshall, who Ohio State is very much in the mix for along with Tennessee and Wisconsin. Marshall will likely visit Columbus sometime this spring and remains the top running back target on the Buckeyes’ board as OSU hopes to take two tailbacks in 2024.

Sammy Brown

It’s going to be tricky to get the nation’s top-rated linebacker on campus for a spring visit, as Brown has track conflicts for the majority of March and other visits set in April. But the Georgia prospect is going to take an official visit to Columbus this summer, so the Buckeyes have a chance here. Clemson remains the team to beat for now.

Jordan Seaton 

Seaton remains a top offensive line target for the Buckeyes, and Ohio State still should be considered the favorite for the Washington, D.C. lineman. 

Charles Lester III

Florida State remains the perceived leader for Lester, but OSU certainly has the Florida prospect’s attention. Lester has set two visits to OSU, one on April 1 and an official visit on June 16. The Buckeyes’ impression on Lester in April will be critical to set up another big push for the five-star talent later this summer.

Joshisa Trader

Trader will be tough to pull from his home state of Florida, but if anyone can do it, it’s Brian Hartline. While Trader and five-star OSU wideout commit Jeremiah Smith visited Florida State this weekend, Smith’s commitment to Ohio State still appears strong at the moment, and Smith will likely be in Trader’s ear about joining the Buckeyes. 

Mylan Graham 

Graham will be back at Ohio State next weekend for a spring visit, and the Buckeyes remain in good shape for the Indiana product, though it’s far from a guarantee he winds up in scarlet and gray. The 6-foot-1, 170-pound prospect visited Columbus multiple times last fall and the Buckeyes will get their next chance to make a strong impression on Graham this week.

Guerby Lambert 

Ohio State could use another highly-touted offensive tackle to pair with four-star tackle commit Ian Moore, and Lambert would certainly fit that bill. If OSU misses out on Lambert, other options who could replace him on this list include Liam Andrews, Brandon Baker and Max Anderson.

Dylan Stewart

The five-star defensive end has locked in a spring visit to Ohio State on March 24, a big development after the Washington, D.C. product last visited OSU last summer. Stewart will be making various spring visits over the next few weeks so it’s imperative the Buckeyes stand out to Stewart if they want a chance in this recruitment.

Damarion Witten

Witten remains the likeliest target for Ohio State to add at the tight end position, as the Buckeyes continue to be in hot pursuit of that coveted two-tight end class.

Nigel Smith

Smith likely won’t be a spring visitor to OSU, but that’s mostly because he’s already been to Ohio State numerous times. He’s told Eleven Warriors he’ll likely take an official visit to OSU in the summer, and the Buckeyes still have a decent chance to land the four-star Texas product. 

Honorable mentions

Another month, another Heat Check without a quarterback featured in Ohio State’s recruiting board. But that doesn’t mean the Buckeyes aren’t hard at work trying to find a premier talent at the position. Four-star Georgia prospect Air Noland is scheduled to visit Columbus on March 31 and the signal caller told Eleven Warriors he’s talking to OSU coaches every day. He isn’t ranked on the list because he doesn’t yet hold an offer from the Buckeyes, which could change soon. But if that offer comes, things could get serious in a hurry. Jadyn Davis and Julian Sayin also remain in consideration. 

Elias Rudolph has been removed from the board because he’s no longer considered an in-state prospect after his recent move to Florida. Speculation around the recruiting industry is he may consider schools in the Southern region more seriously, though Ohio State could remain a big player for the former Ohio pass rusher.

Other highly touted defensive linemen who Ohio State is in pursuit of include Justin ScottKingJoseph Edwards, Kamarion Franklin, Eddrick Houston, Williams Nwaneri and David Stone

Aaron Scott is another cornerback positioned highly on OSU’s recruiting board, and targets Marcelles Williams and Ify Obidegwu will both visit Columbus this spring. Miles Lockhart seems like a safe bet to end up in the class at some point if things continue to progress well.

As mentioned above, OSU wants to take two running backs in its 2024 class. Other candidates considered for the top 12 were Sam Williams-Dixon (who will visit OSU Tuesday), James Peoples and Stacy Gage

Four-star safety Jordon Johnson-Rubell will be on campus in late March and is certainly a prospect worth watching. 

Andrews, Baker and Anderson all remain candidates to emerge as top targets at tackle and Marc Nave, Deontae and Devontae Armstrong and Donovan Harbour are interior offensive linemen being highly recruited by OSU. 

Not much has changed on the linebacker front for OSU, as Booker Pickett Jr., Payton Pierce, Kristopher Jones, Edwin Spillman, Aaron Chiles and Kyngstonn Viliamu-Asa all remain options below Brown. 

Terrance Moore and Micah Hudson merited consideration for the board as two additional wide receivers Hartline and Ohio State are high on.

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