The Hurry-Up: Four-star 2025 Running Back Akylin Dear Picks Up an Offer from Ohio State, Four-star 2025 Linebacker Elijah Barnes Includes Buckeyes in Top 10

By Garrick Hodge on March 1, 2024 at 5:30 pm
Akylin Dear

Ohio State has added another running back to its recruiting board for 2025.

Running backs coach Tony Alford offered four-star Mississippi prospect Akylin Dear on Thursday, the same day Dear released a top 12 list.

Dear, who has more than 20 Division I offers, included Ohio State, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Auburn, Miami, Texas, Florida State, Florida, Texas A&M, Mississippi State and Ole Miss in his top schools.

According to 247Sports’ composite rankings, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound Dear is considered the 68th-best prospect and the fourth-ranked running back in the 2025 class. In his junior season at Quitman High School (Quitman, Mississippi), Dear recorded 2,016 rushing yards and 27 rushing touchdowns while also throwing for three. As a sophomore, he ran for 800 yards and 21 touchdowns.

While Ohio State is a relative newcomer to Dear’s recruitment, it could be a factor for him going forward, as the Buckeyes continue to pursue other running back options including Marquise Davis, Bo Jackson, Jordon Davison, Jeffery Overton, Byron Louis, Waltez Clark and Harry Dalton.

Elijah Barnes puts Ohio State in top 10

One of the Buckeyes’ top linebacker targets in the 2025 class has narrowed down his recruitment. Four-star Texas linebacker Elijah Barnes released a top 10 on Friday consisting of Ohio State, LSU, Florida State, Texas A&M, SMU, Alabama, Oregon, USC, Nebraska and Texas.

Ohio State offered Barnes last May and has since built a relationship with Jim Knowles and linebackers coach James Laurinaitis.

“The offer was a blessing,” Barnes told Eleven Warriors in May. “I was excited because I know how big this opportunity is getting an offer from a big-time school. Coach Knowles came up here and offered me, he said that I was the type of person for their defense and that I’m the type of kid he wants to coach and that he wants to build a relationship with me.”

Barnes has already planned a spring visit to Ohio State and will be in Columbus on March 22. He’s considered the 105th-best prospect and the 14th-rated linebacker in the 2025 cycle. 

2025 WRs Vernell Brown, Taz Williams set spring visits 

A pair of talented wideouts in the 2025 cycle have locked in trips this spring to Ohio State.

Four-star Florida prospect Vernell Brown set his visit for March 19, and recently put the Buckeyes in his top 11 schools last week.

Brown last visited Ohio State in November for the Buckeyes’ game against Michigan State. He also plans to visit Syracuse, UCF, Georgia, Florida State, Florida and Miami this spring.

“Ohio State is the cream of the crop as it pertains to developing and producing the wide receiver position,” Brown told Eleven Warriors in June after earning his offer. “To earn an opportunity to become part of that meant a lot and reiterates that I am one of the top guys at the position in my class."

Four-star Texas wideout Taz Williams will be in Columbus on April 8 and also take trips to Texas A&M, Alabama, Michigan and Texas within the next few weeks. Like Brown, Williams also included OSU in a trimmed-down school list recently. 

Mark Zackery leaves Ohio State off top four

A cornerback with an Ohio State offer is moving in a different direction with his recruitment. Four-star Indiana prospect Mark Zackery left the Buckeyes off his final four schools released on Thursday which consisted of Notre Dame, Michigan, Florida and Cincinnati. 

Zackery earned his Ohio State offer last summer after a recruiting camp, but things have since trailed off as the Buckeyes have focused more on other targets, landing top-10 cornerbacks Na’eem Offord, Devin Sanchez and Blake Woodby so far in the 2025 cycle. 

Ohio State could still take one more cornerback in the class, but five-star cornerback Dorian Brew is its top remaining priority.

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