The Hurry-Up: Ohio State Defensive Line Target Dominick McKinley to Commit Friday, Recruits See Ohio State As CFB’s Second-Biggest Brand, Micah Smith Will Visit for PSU Game

By Garrick Hodge on August 30, 2023 at 5:30 pm
Dominick McKinley

One of Ohio State’s top remaining targets in the 2024 class is ready to make his college decision.

Four-star defensive tackle Dominick McKinley will commit at 4:30 p.m. Friday and will choose from a final five of Ohio State, Texas, Texas A&M, LSU and Oklahoma.  

Leading up to the decision, McKinley’s destination is something of a mystery. All five of his finalists have some degree of optimism and he’s taken visits to each school. His official visit to Ohio State was on June 2, and the 6-foot-5, 290-pound prospect’s best relationship with a coach on the recruiting trail may be with OSU defensive line coach Larry Johnson. But distance could be a factor for McKinley, as OSU is the furthest away of his five finalists from his hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana.

A source close to the Buckeyes told Eleven Warriors on Wednesday that Ohio State still didn’t have a great feel for whether or not it would land McKinley.

If OSU can land McKinley, it would give the Buckeyes another standout in the defensive trenches in the 2024 class. The Louisiana product, who recorded 86 tackles with 18 tackles for loss and 10 sacks in his junior season, is ranked as the 38th-best prospect and No. 7 defensive lineman in the 2024 class. Combined with five-star defensive line commits Justin Scott and Eddrick Houston, McKinley would give the Buckeyes three top-40 overall prospects in their defensive class.

Micah “Champion” Smith to visit OSU for Penn State game

Ohio State’s contest with Penn State on Oct. 21 is setting up to be a big recruiting weekend. Standout 2026 offensive lineman Micah “Champion” Smith has confirmed to Eleven Warriors he’ll be among the recruits in attendance for that contest.

“My family and I will be up there for the Penn State game,” Smith said. 

The 6-foot-6, 295-pound Smith was offered by OSU on June 12 after an impressive performance at a recruiting camp. He has nearly 20 Division I offers and is the 67th-ranked prospect and the 10th-best tackle in 247Sports’ early top-100 rankings for the 2026 class.

OSU prioritizing CB Na’eem Offord 

Ohio State is in hot pursuit of five-star 2025 cornerback Na’eem Offord. The Alabama prospect told On3 this week he’s in contact with the Buckeyes almost every day along with Auburn, Georgia, Clemson, Miami, Alabama and Texas A&M. 

Though he doesn’t have a visit planned for the fall as of yet, he hopes to attend an OSU game sometime this season. He last visited Columbus in late July for the Buckeyes’ SummerFest recruiting event. 

“The visit was great,” Offord told On3. “I really like coach Tim Walton because he will tell you the truth and keep it real with you. Everything about coach Walton is real. He has been in the game for a while and he has coached some great players, so I like that I am getting to know him. At Ohio State, I liked the staff, the facilities and how welcoming they were.”

Offord isn’t in any rush to make a commitment and expects to make a decision sometime next year after he takes his official visits. 

Kobe Black’s recruitment expected to go late into the fall

Earlier this month, five-star 2024 cornerback Kobe Black released a top five that consisted of Ohio State, Texas, Texas A&M, Oregon and LSU. 

In an interview with 247Sports this week, Black said he expects to wait until either November or December to make his commitment.

"I'm thinking about making it after the season," Black told 247Sports. "It's not for sure, but it will probably be after the season. I'll have a big thing at my school and tell everyone to come and stuff."

Black took an official visit to OSU on June 16, but the Longhorns are the heavy favorite to land the Texas prospect. The Buckeyes are content with their 2024 cornerback class of Bryce West, Aaron Scott Jr. and Miles Lockhart, but would certainly add a player of Black’s caliber if the opportunity presented itself.

Recruits view OSU as second-biggest brand in CFB

I stumbled upon this earlier today and thought it would be interesting to share. 

Per the opinion of 1,000 high school football recruits surveyed by Official Visit last year, Ohio State is the second-biggest brand in college football, trailing only Alabama. 

In the survey, athletes were asked to rank college football programs based on brand strength, while Official Visit also included a rolling four-year average in their data findings.

Michigan failed to crack the top 15, as the Wolverines came in as the 16th-most recognizable brand in college football. Other Big Ten schools making the top 25 included Penn State (No. 13), Michigan State (No. 22) and Maryland (No. 24). Future Big Ten schools Oregon (No. 9), USC (No. 19) and UCLA (No. 20) also made the list.  

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