Outside of June, December may be the busiest month for Ohio State recruiting.
In addition to preparing for a Cotton Bowl matchup against Missouri on Dec. 29, the Buckeyes are both hoping to put the finishing touches on their 2024 recruiting class and find impact additions in the transfer portal, which opened last week.
With a busy recruiting season in full swing, we take a look at four recruiting goals for Ohio State for December.
Find a transfer portal QB
Since Kyle McCord entered the transfer portal on Monday, Ohio State’s pursuit of a replacement via the portal has been shrouded in mystery. The expectation remains that OSU will take a quarterback from the portal this offseason, but who exactly is the million (or $1.5 or $2 million if Nebraska coach Matt Rhule is to be believed) dollar question.
There’s been some smoke regarding the Buckeyes and their interest in Duke transfer quarterback Riley Leonard, but Notre Dame still appears to be the frontrunner to land Leonard. OSU was named a team to watch for Washington State quarterback Cam Ward in the opening hours of portal season, but there hasn’t been a lot of buzz connecting the two since.
UCLA transfer Dante Moore has also been loosely connected to OSU. But a graduate transfer might make more sense for this roster than a player like Moore who has multiple years of eligibility remaining considering OSU has Devin Brown, Lincoln Kienholz and five-star 2024 commit Air Noland waiting in the wings.
Oklahoma transfer Dillon Gabriel is off the board and headed to Oregon, but Kansas State quarterback Will Howard could also be an intriguing option. It’s not fully clear which signal-caller is Ohio State’s preference a week into transfer portal season, but that will likely change soon.
Finish the 2024 cycle strong
Ohio State’s 2024 class currently sits at 22 commits 10 days away from National Signing Day, a number the Buckeyes would love to see increase. OSU is wrapping up official visits this weekend with two of its top remaining targets in the 2024 class, defensive tackle Carlon Jones and safety Koi Perich. Both of those prospects have official visits scheduled to other schools next weekend, but the Buckeyes certainly wouldn’t complain if they ended their recruitment before then.
OSU is still in heavy pursuit of four-star defensive lineman Amaris Williams, and while he made two visits to Columbus during the fall, Auburn and Georgia have made late pushes for the North Carolina product. Florida, the team Williams committed to in June, is also trying to hang on in that race as well.
Finishing strong includes retaining your own commitments as well, and there’s a very real threat that Miami could flip running back commitment Jordan Lyle, though he remains in the class as of now despite heavy smoke connecting him to the Hurricanes within the last week.
We haven’t written much about the handful of Florida schools working tirelessly to flip Jeremiah Smith, mostly because it’s been a widely held belief that as long as Ryan Day and Brian Hartline are in Columbus, Smith will be as well. That sentiment hasn’t changed, even as Smith finishes an official visit to Florida State this weekend.
Identify other potential impact players in the portal
While the potential addition of a transfer quarterback is getting most of the attention, Ohio State should also be looking to add impact players at other positions via the portal. The Buckeyes took nine transfers last offseason combining both the fall and spring windows, with three turning into full-time starters.
Michigan State defensive tackle Derrick Harmon is the first transfer prospect to take an official visit to Ohio State, which starts on Sunday and runs through Monday. Adding Harmon would be a significant boon to the interior defensive line as he was ranked the eighth-best interior defensive lineman in the Big Ten last season per Pro Football Focus’ 2023 grades.
Ohio State is also scheduled to receive an official visit from one of the top pass rushers available on the transfer market, UTSA defensive end Trey Moore. Moore, who is finishing an official visit to Texas this weekend, finished third in the nation with a whopping 14 sacks last season. He’ll be hard to pry away from Texas, but landing him would be a coup if the Buckeyes can pull it off.
Other positions OSU could be in the market for include offensive line, tight end, linebacker, safety and running back.
Hope for the unexpected flip
Flipping four-star linebacker Kyngstonn Viliamu-Asa from Notre Dame still seems like a pipe dream at this point, but OSU has remained in contact with him and his “likes” on his Twitter account are very Buckeye-heavy.
It would probably go a long way toward making that dream a reality if OSU found a full-time assistant job for James Laurinaitis, who has developed a strong relationship with Viliamu-Asa.