The Hurry-Up: Top-15 2026 Prospect Maxwell Riley Had “Fun Experience” at Ohio State’s Home Opener, Top-Ranked 2024 OT Brandon Baker Puts OSU in Top 5

By Garrick Hodge on September 11, 2023 at 5:30 pm
Maxwell Riley

One of Ohio State’s top targets in the 2026 class was back at OSU on Saturday.

Four-star offensive tackle Maxwell Riley attended his first-ever OSU game during the Buckeyes’ home opener, which the Avon Lake resident relished having grown up in Ohio. 

“I thought it was a pretty fun experience overall,” Riley told Eleven Warriors. “I got to share it with my mother and grandmother. It was fun to experience that with them. Obviously Ohio State got the win, but there’s always room for improvement, which is what coach Day was saying in the locker room. I thought the offensive line overall played pretty well. It was pretty cool (to be there), I decided when I was in seventh or eighth grade that if I was going to go to an Ohio State game, I wanted my first game to be on a recruiting visit.” 

While on the visit, Riley spoke with both Justin Frye and Ryan Day, with both Ohio State coaches telling him they are impressed with what he’s put on film so far this year.

“They told me they’ve been watching my film and told me they saw a lot of improvement from last year,” Riley said. “That was pretty cool to hear from them.” 

OSU was Riley’s third Division I offer, and since the Buckeyes gave him the offer in the spring, the team has been open about how they see him as a priority in the 2026 class. 

“I would say staying close to home and that the program has been built in the last 50 to 60 years, there’s a lot of Big Ten championships and national championships there,” Riley said of the most appealing thing about potentially playing for OSU. 

Riley, who holds 13 Division I offers, says he doesn’t have any more visits set in stone as of yet, but hopes to take trips to Penn State, Florida State, Clemson and another Ohio State game this fall. The 6-foot-5, 263-pound Riley says the next OSU game he attends will likely be against Penn State in October or against Michigan State in November. 

Riley, considered the 14th-best player and third-ranked offensive tackle in the 2026 class, has anchored Avon Lake’s offensive line this season and has helped his team to a 3-1 start so far. 

“As a team we just want to be the best we can be. I think we have a lot of potential this year,” Riley said. “Obviously we want to win out and win the conference, the region, then state, in that order. As for goals for myself, I just want to keep getting better every week as an individual, that’s all you can ask for.”

Once Riley’s sophomore year concludes, he says he’ll focus on trimming his school list down and be more selective with schools he’s considering by the spring or summer, though he doesn’t have a concrete decision timeline as of yet. 

Brandon Baker releases final five ahead of commitment

Ohio State’s top remaining target in the 2024 class had already set a commitment date for Sept. 24, his birthday. On Sunday, five-star offensive tackle Brandon Baker announced the five schools that would be in consideration when he makes his decision in less than two weeks: Ohio State, Texas, Nebraska, Florida State and Oregon. 

Ahead of the commitment, Texas and Ohio State are the two programs in the best position for Baker, with Texas seemingly holding a slight edge over the Buckeyes at the moment. Baker also has an official visit to Nebraska set for Saturday.

Outside of Baker, Ohio State’s lone remaining scholarship offensive line target in the 2024 class is Jordan Seaton, who plans to take an official visit to Columbus this fall. 

Aidan Bryant earns a PWO offer

Another recruiting visitor Ohio State hosted for its home opener on Saturday was 2024 Indiana offensive lineman Aidan Bryant, who walked away with a preferred walk-on offer from the Buckeyes. 

The 6-foot-5, 285-pound offensive tackle is a multi-sport athlete who has received interest from the likes of Ohio, Miami (Ohio), Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, Kent State and Northern Illinois. 

Nigel Smith commits to Oklahoma

A longtime Ohio State defensive end target has committed elsewhere. Four-star 2024 Texas product Nigel Smith committed to Oklahoma on Friday, which had been expected for a few months after official visits wrapped up in June. 

Ohio State is still sitting at only two commits on the defensive line in the 2024 class: Five-stars Justin Scott and Eddrick Houston. The Buckeyes are still in heavy pursuit of edge prospect Booker Pickett Jr. and will continue to have conversations with Miami commit Marquise Lightfoot up until National Signing Day.

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