Top-Five 2025 Defensive End Zahir Mathis Commits to Ohio State

By Garrick Hodge on January 10, 2024 at 1:04 pm
Zahir Mathis

Ohio State landed another top prospect in the 2025 class on Wednesday.

Defensive line coach Larry Johnson and the Buckeyes landed the commitment of four-star Philadelphia defensive end Zahir Mathis, giving OSU its first defensive lineman commit for the 2025 class.

The Mathis File

  • Class: 2025
  • Size: 6-6/225
  • Pos: DE
  • School: Imhotep Institute (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
  • Composite Rating: ★★★★
  • Composite Rank: #37 (#5 Edge)

Mathis chose Ohio State over Texas, South Carolina, Tennessee and Florida State, the other schools in his top five.

He picked up his offer from OSU in May. 

“It was joy, man. Smiles. It was great,” Mathis said in June of his reaction to earning an OSU offer. “Appreciate to be here, everything like that. So, very great for me. That conversation went many ways, I would say. He talked to me about coming down here, getting on campus, everything like that. So it was just pretty great. Just to be down here, to get on campus and work out with him actually, to be coached by Larry Legend himself, that's pretty good. … He's patient. He's not gonna rush you throughout too much. If you mess up, just get back up and get back on the field, you'll be OK. So just the basics. Basics is 100 percent.”

With Mathis in the fold, Ohio State now has six commits for the 2025 class, with four of the six being on the defensive side of the ball. Four of the six commits are top 100 prospects nationally, with Mathis joining Devin Sanchez, Tavien St. Clair and Blake Woodby

Pos Name Rating Rank Size School
CB DEVIN SANCHEZ ★★★★★ #6 NATL | #2 CB 6-2 | 170 North Shore (Houston, Texas)
DE ZAHIR MATHIS ★★★★ #37 NATL | #5 Edge 6-6 | 225 Imhotep Institute (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
QB TAVIEN ST. CLAIR ★★★★ #48 NATL | #3 QB 6-4 | 210 Bellefontaine (Bellefontaine, Ohio)
CB BLAKE WOODBY ★★★★ #76 NATL | #10 CB 5-11 | 180 St. Frances Academy (Baltimore, Maryland)
WR JAYVAN BOGGS ★★★ #224 NATL | #27 WR 6-0 | 188 Cocoa (Cocoa, Florida)
LB ELI LEE ★★★ #476 NATL | #50 LB 6-3 | 215 Archbishop Hoban (Akron, Ohio)
Prospect Rating Data: 247Sports Composite

Adding Mathis is the first step in producing what OSU hopes will be a larger defensive line class in 2025. Other defensive line targets for the Buckeyes in the class include Nasir Wyatt, Ari Watford, Elijah GriffinNathaniel Marshall, London MerrittMaxwell Roy, Trent WilsonMyron CharlesJarquez Carter and Brandon Caesar

Mathis has been interested in playing for Ohio State and Johnson since long before he picked up his offer from OSU. He closely followed Chase Young’s 2019 season, in which the former Buckeye pass rusher set a program record with 16.5 sacks en route to becoming a Heisman Trophy finalist and the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft. Along the way, Mathis learned about the position coach who helped make all of Young’s accomplishments possible.

“I learned about Larry Johnson (because of) Chase Young,” Mathis said. “The year Chase Young (dominated). It just impacted a big image on me because Chase Young was coming from the DMV and everything like that. Myself, I'm from Philadelphia, so just to be so close to home and everything, see his big impact on the world and everything like that. And then Larry Legend himself had both of the Bosa brothers. So it was pretty great.”

While he's focused on making the most of his football career, Mathis also appreciates what Ohio State offers in the classroom.

“It's a great school, wonderful school and everything like that,” Mathis said. “I actually want to come to college to get my engineering degree and business degree, so it would be good to get out and see the world, a complex of business outside of football. … At my school, we do a lot of STEM stuff. So a lot of STEM and engineering, stuff like that. So I'd just like to help out the world with STEM and everything like that. So one category, we had water pollution down in Jacksonville. We went down there to help out, fix that up."

Mathis gives Buckeyes a true pass rusher off the edge

Per 247Sports' composite rankings, Mathis is considered the 37th-best overall prospect and the fifth-rated edge prospect in the 2025 class. Mathis helped lead Imhotep Institute (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) to an undefeated 15-0 season by recording 52 tackles (5 for loss) with three sacks and a forced fumble in 2023.

At 6-foot-6 and 225 pounds, Mathis primarily played defensive end in a 4-3 scheme for Imhotep. He played both standing up on the edge and also with a hand in the dirt depending on the play.

Mathis has a quick first step and uses his combination of speed, strength and hand techniques to win pass rush attempts over opposing offensive tackles. His length also makes him effective at swatting down passes at the line of scrimmage. 

He'll need to add weight once he arrives on campus, but Mathis has the talent to crack the two-deep early in his OSU career.

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