Heat Check: Jordan Seaton, Brandon Baker and Booker Pickett Jr. Comprise Top Three of Ohio State's Recruiting Board with the 2024 Class Nearly Wrapped Up

By Garrick Hodge on September 15, 2023 at 12:30 pm
Jordan Seaton
Jordan Seaton

We’ve had a bit of a lull since the last Heat Check has appeared on Eleven Warriors.

Frankly, most of that has stemmed from Ohio State’s 2024 class not being all that far away from completion. There’s only a handful of targets left on the Buckeyes’ board that feel like realistic options at this point. 

Another spot was taken up on Friday, after OSU flipped Virginia Tech defensive line commit Eric Mensah to solidify its interior defensive line depth.

But, there are still enough possible options on the board left that it’s worth writing at least one more 2024 Heat Check before pivoting to Ohio State’s 2025 class, though we've cut the number of prospects mentioned from 12 to nine. 

In case you need a reminder, the criteria used to select the top targets for Eleven Warriors’ Ohio State recruiting board editorial is based on many factors, including roster needs for the program in future seasons, the caliber of the player and how likely that player is to sign with the Buckeyes.

For this edition, we will be a little more loose with the last category since the majority of players on this list probably are considered longshots to end up in Columbus, though there’s always at least a puncher’s chance.  

JORDAN SEATON OL 1 NA ★★★★ Alabama•Colorado•Florida•Florida State•Oklahoma•Oregon
BRANDON BAKER OT 2 7 ★★★★★ Texas•Nebraska•Florida State•Oregon
BOOKER PICKETT JR. DE 3 11 ★★★★ South Carolina•Miami•Georgia•Florida State
ERNEST WILLOR JR. DL 5 NA ★★★★ Maryland•Penn State•Auburn•South Carolina
DYLAN STEWART DE 7 3 ★★★★★ South Carolina
KOBE BLACK CB 9 8 ★★★★★ Texas•Texas A&M•LSU•Oregon

Jordan Seaton 

Seaton is one of two high-profile offensive linemen the Buckeyes have their sights on in the 2024 class, and he holds the top spot in the September version of the Heat Check because his recruitment seems a bit more wide open than the other’s (more on that in a minute). The IMG Academy product had been recruited by Ohio State for a long time, then the two parties hit a lull in communication for a bit. But the Buckeyes are now back in the mix for Seaton, as he plans to take an official visit to Columbus sometime this fall. While it would probably be smart to take the field over Ohio State for Seaton at this point, it’s absolutely a recruitment Justin Frye and the Buckeyes can win. 

Brandon Baker

The only reason Baker is No. 2 and not No. 1 on this list is because it’s difficult to not see him ending up at Texas right now, though Ohio State still has a slim chance to win that recruitment. Baker is the country’s No. 1 offensive tackle and will take an official visit to Nebraska this weekend before committing on Sept. 24. If Ohio State has a last-minute recruiting pitch up its sleeve, now is the time to use it. 

Booker Pickett Jr. 

Pickett Jr., the nephew of former Ohio State nose tackle Ryan Pickett, is likely the top remaining edge target for the Buckeyes in the 2024 class. The Buckeyes will have some stiff competition for the Florida product, though, as Pickett Jr. is also considering Miami, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida State. Pickett Jr. visited Ohio State for its spring game in April and plans to make another trip to Columbus again for an official visit sometime this fall. If the Buckeyes can land him, a defensive line class headlined by Justin Scott, Eddrick Houston and Booker Pickett Jr. doesn’t sound too bad, does it?

Nicholas Rodriguez 

Rodriguez committed to Missouri on July 3, but his recruitment may not be over just yet. After Ohio State missed out on its top remaining linebacker target Kyngstonn Viliamu-Asa in the summer, the Buckeyes have circled back some with Rodriguez, who took an official visit to Columbus in June. Rodriguez was one of several recruits in attendance last weekend during the Buckeyes’ home opener against Youngstown State, and spent some time hanging out with five-star Ohio State wide receiver commitment Jeremiah Smith.

It’s unclear just how likely a flip from Mizzou is for Rodriguez, but considering he and his family made the visit to Columbus on their own dime from Florida, there’s certainly interest from both parties. The high school teammate of Ohio State running back commit Jordan Lyle would give the Buckeyes their third linebacker in the 2024 class if the coaching staff can execute the flip. 

Ernest Willor Jr. 

Ohio State is also very much in the mix for Maryland prospect Ernest Willor Jr., a defensive lineman who likely is a better fit for the interior defensive line at the next level. The top-80 prospect in the 2024 class has already discussed taking an official visit to Ohio State and other schools Willor Jr. is considering include Penn State, Maryland, Auburn and South Carolina. This is likely a recruitment that will go the distance, as Willor Jr. likely will commit a few weeks before National Signing Day and then be an early enrollee at his school of choice. 

Chance Robinson

Robinson is a very talented wide receiver, though he almost feels like he’d be a luxury considering Ohio State already has Jeremiah Smith, Mylan Graham and Jeremiah McClellan in its 2024 class. But the Miami commit could visit Ohio State sometime this season, and it’s hard to bet against Hartline getting the players he wants to come to Columbus. 

Dylan Stewart

Stewart may be committed to South Carolina, but the Buckeyes are still pushing for the five-star defensive end. Ohio State will continue to recruit Stewart until National Signing Day, though it remains a longshot he ends up in Columbus at this point.

Marquise Lightfoot

In a similar tone as Stewart, Ohio State would still love to flip Lightfoot from Miami if possible, but the odds are stacked against it, especially with Miami’s fast start to this season. But the Buckeyes will continue to pursue both targets until the ink is dry in December.

Kobe Black 

At this point, it would be a complete and total shock if Kobe Black doesn’t end up at Texas. But I suppose crazier things have happened, and he did love his official visit to Ohio State in June. 

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