A 2025 defensive lineman from North Carolina was humbled when Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson stopped by his school on Jan. 19 and extended him an offer from OSU.
Three-star prospect Trajen Odom said he’s been a fan of the Buckeyes for several years and OSU has produced one of his football role models.
“Growing up, Ohio State was one of my favorite schools,” Odom told Eleven Warriors. “It was crazy and great to get the offer. Larry Johnson has coached some of the greats, including the Bosa brothers and Chase Young. Chase Young is one of my favorite players so I was really excited to get that offer.”
On his visit, Johnson and Odom had an extensive conversation, which left quite an impression on the 6-foot-5, 265-pound defensive lineman.
“In terms of football, he likes the player I am, he likes my build, he likes my versatility and how I’m athletic,” Odom said of his conversation with Johnson. “He also knows I’m a connection guy. He thinks I’m a fit for his program and the front they run. He said I’m one of the main guys on his board right now.”
Odom is considered the 381st-ranked prospect and the 37th-best defensive lineman per 247Sports’ composite rankings and has earned more than 30 Division I offers. Other schools that have offered Odom include North Carolina, Auburn, Duke, Florida State, Georgia, Maryland, Miami, Michigan State, NC State, Oregon, Oregon State, Tennessee, USC, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Washington and West Virginia.
With his build, it’s likely Odom will play defensive tackle in college, but his potential role hasn’t been completely defined by Johnson yet. The North Carolina product recorded 54 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, four sacks and one forced fumble in his junior season.
“Personally, I like being on the end more because it allows you to have more freedom. But my high school coaches have told me I’m better inside because I can create mismatches one-on-one,” Odom said. “So I’d say it’s likely I play interior in college. But coaches have been telling me that I’m a big end. So I can play at end on certain downs and then move to inside on third down. So it’s really both, I’d say I’m versatile. Coach Johnson has also told me he sees me as a big end and that I’ll be playing in certain situations.”
Odom said he plans on visiting OSU sometime this spring.
“Just what Larry Johnson has produced,” Odom said speaking on what’s most appealing about potentially playing for OSU. “And the brand of Ohio State. If you say Ohio State anywhere, people are going to know it. Also the connection to Nike and LeBron (James). Those are some things that stand out about Ohio State.”
Odom said he hopes to commit sometime in June once he takes his official visits, as he’d like to shut down his recruitment before his high school season begins.
“OSU is easily in the top three for me right now,” Odom said of where the Buckeyes stand in his recruitment. “For sure.”
Tarvos Alford sets March 30 commitment date
One of Ohio State’s top linebacker targets in the 2025 class has narrowed down his recruitment and will be making a college decision within the next two months.
Four-star Florida linebacker Tarvos Alford released a top six on Friday consisting of Ohio State, Florida, Florida State, Tennessee, Miami and UCF. He’ll commit on March 30, his late grandfather’s birthday.
All for you Grandpa! Wheres home? https://t.co/kSpiSFPFd0— Tarvos Tj Alford II (@TarvosAlford_II) February 3, 2024
OSU has done its best to show Alford he’s a priority target for them, with James Laurinaitis visiting him twice during the contact period in January. Alford plans to visit Columbus sometime this spring, likely before he makes his decision. With less than two months before his commitment, Ohio State can be considered the likely frontrunner for Alford.
“(Coach Ryan Day) was telling me how I’m a priority to them and that they really need me on campus,” Alford told Eleven Warriors of OSU’s first trip to see him in January. “He got into a little bit of how they’re going to challenge me to be a better person on and off the field, too. That was the main topic he was speaking on. Coach Laurinaitis talked about the same stuff.”
All-American Bowl now allowing juniors to participate
The yearly All-American Bowl traditionally reserved for the top high school seniors in the nation to showcase their talents is making a significant change starting with next year’s game.
Per the All-American Bowl, high school juniors will now be allowed to participate in the event in addition to the seniors selected for the game. The change was implemented in hopes that more juniors would announce their commitments during the live broadcast on NBC and to mitigate opt-outs of the bowl from seniors who enroll in their college of choice in December.