Ohio State has an important weekend ahead of it.
The Buckeyes will host two priority prospects in the 2024 class at positions at need, while also hosting a coveted defensive tackle transfer target late in the weekend.
Let’s dive in.
2024 prospects Carlon Jones, Koi Perich make long-awaited official visits
Four-star defensive tackle Carlon Jones has seen his recruitment blow up late in his cycle, as the Texas product has received offers from USC and Alabama in the past few weeks.
Since Ohio State offered in late October, there have been multiple attempts by him to make it to campus for an official visit, but he’s always run into a scheduling conflict. That visit will finally happen this weekend, and defensive line coach Larry Johnson and other members of the Ohio State coaching staff are expected to put a full-court press on the 6-foot-3, 285-pound product.
“It felt great. They are one of the best teams in college football,” Jones told Eleven Warriors after receiving his Ohio State offer. “I’m very excited to get up there. I want to see how family-oriented the team and coaches are.
“(Coach Johnson and I) text occasionally. He wants me to play the three-technique. I believe he can help me get to the NFL. I love the intensity of Ohio State’s defense (from what it’s shown).”
Jones decommitted from Nebraska on Nov. 28, and Ohio State instantly became the new favorite for him throughout the recruiting industry. But USC offered him two days later, and Alabama swooped in late with an offer on Dec. 6. He’s scheduled to take an official visit to USC on Dec. 15. It’s likely he’d like to visit Alabama as well before making a decision.
Jones has told Eleven Warriors he will not be an early enrollee, so Jones is under no pressure to sign by Dec. 20, though he hasn’t ruled out that possibility either. Ohio State will do its best to convince Jones, who racked up 95 tackles, 30 tackles for loss, 17.5 sacks and 23 quarterback hurries this season, to end his recruitment this weekend and commit to Ohio State.
The Buckeyes will also host four-star safety Koi Perich this weekend, who is still currently committed to his hometown Minnesota Gophers. Ohio State is in a great spot with Perich, who, like Jones, will receive a full-court press from the Buckeyes’ coaching staff to join the Buckeyes in the near future with National Signing Day approaching. Perich has an official visit scheduled to Florida State on Dec. 15 as well, but Perry Eliano has done a great job putting Ohio State in a position to win this recruitment.
Willor Jr. no longer visiting, MSU transfer Derrick Harmon taking official visit
A third 2024 official visitor was supposed to be on campus this weekend, but four-star defensive lineman Ernest Willor Jr. will no longer make the trek to Columbus. Willor Jr. is down to Wisconsin and Maryland in his recruitment, with the Badgers being the favorite to land the Maryland product.
But there will still be a third visitor of interest on campus this weekend. Michigan State defensive tackle transfer Derrick Harmon will be on campus Sunday and Monday, a source told Eleven Warriors. Harmon is visiting Auburn this weekend before he eventually arrives at Ohio State.
The 6-foot-5, 320-pound Harmon has been a two-year starter for the Spartans and will have two years of eligibility remaining. Last season in East Lansing, Harmon recorded 40 total tackles, (3.5 for loss) with 1.5 sacks, a pass deflection and a forced fumble. Per Pro Football Focus’ grades for the 2023 season, Harmon was the eighth-best defensive tackle in the Big Ten last season with a 78 overall grade (80.5 in run defense, 72.3 in pass rush). The only OSU player graded higher was Tyleik Williams with an 81 overall grade.
Trevor Etienne considering Ohio State
In case you missed it on Thursday, we put together 13 intriguing non-quarterback transfers that Ohio State could have interest in this offseason. One of them was Florida running back Trevor Etienne, the brother of former Clemson star Travis Etienne.
According to The Associated Press’ Mark Long, the schools Etienne is considering are Ohio State, Georgia and Alabama.
Hearing former Gators RB Trevor Etienne is considering Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State right now.— Mark Long (@APMarkLong) December 7, 2023
One of those clearly would make his decision tougher to swallow for Florida fans.
Ohio State's pursuit of Etienne would probably be a lot easier if TreVeyon Henderson opts for the NFL, but either way, the Buckeyes will likely need to add depth at running back with both Evan Pryor and Chip Trayanum entering the transfer portal.
This season, Etienne ran for 753 yards on 131 carries with eight touchdowns while adding 21 catches for 172 yards and a touchdown for the Gators. In his two-year career with Florida, he totaled 1,472 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground.