Heat Check: Ohio State's Recruiting Board Sees More Clarity As the Buckeyes Enter a Pivotal Stretch of Visits

By Garrick Hodge on March 12, 2024 at 1:35 pm
Faheem Delane

Things have been relatively quiet on the Ohio State recruiting front.

Ohio State's 2025 class has held firm at eight since last month's edition of the Heat Check was published. That's expected with the quiet period taking over February and limiting recruiting traction. But with the active period now in full swing, Ohio State is expected to host many talented prospects on campus over the next month, which should crank up the excitement and possibly result in a few decisions from a few targets.

At least one Ohio State target in this month's edition of the board is ready to commit later this month, but we'll get to that in a bit.

As always, rankings for Eleven Warriors’ monthly recruiting editorial have no perfect formula but are based on a combination of many factors, including roster needs for the Buckeyes in future seasons, the caliber of the player and how likely that player is to come to Columbus on National Signing Day.

FAHEEM DELANE S 1 2 ★★★★ Oregon•Alabama•Texas•LSU
DAVID SANDERS JR. OT 2 3 ★★★★★ Clemson•Alabama•Georgia•South Carolina•Tennessee
DORIAN BREW CB 3 1 ★★★★★ Texas•Texas A&M•Michigan•Oregon
JAIME FFRENCH WR 4 11 ★★★★★ Florida State•Miami
JUSTIN HILL DE/LB 5 5 ★★★★ Alabama•Penn State•Miami•Georgia•Oregon•Michigan
LONDON MERRITT DE 6 6 ★★★★ Alabama•Florida State•Clemson•Georgia•Florida
TREY MCNUTT S 7 7 ★★★★ Notre Dame•Penn State•Tennessee•Michigan•Oregon•Georgia
MICAH DEBOSE OT 8 4 ★★★★ LSU•Auburn•FSU•Alabama
MARQUISE DAVIS RB 9 8 ★★★★ Michigan•Miami•Kentucky•Tennessee
TARVOS ALFORD LB 10 9 ★★★★ Florida•Tennessee•Miami•Florida State•UCF
JORDON DAVISON RB 11 10 ★★★★ Texas•Oregon•Texas A&M•Alabama•Georgia•USC
DAKORIEN MOORE WR 12 NA ★★★★★ LSU•Oregon•Texas

Faheem Delane

You could make a case for several prospects that they should be in the No. 1 spot right now. We went with Delane, considering he has a perfect combination of all three factors that determine a prospect's ranking in this exercise. Do the Buckeyes need a safety? Yes. Is Delane a highly-touted prospect? By nearly every recruiting metric. Is he likely to end up at Ohio State? The Buckeyes should be considered the favorite at the moment. Tim Walton and Matt Guerrieri could make a statement for OSU should they land the elite safety prospect.

David Sanders Jr.

Sanders is the country's top-rated offensive tackle, which is arguably the highest position of need for Ohio State in 2025. The North Carolina prospect is also scheduled to visit the Buckeyes later this spring and included Ohio State in his recent top schools list, so there's at least a puncher's chance in this recruitment. This feels like a recruitment Ohio State can win, but we'd stop short of calling the Buckeyes the favorite. How his spring visit goes ultimately could determine how likely it is Sanders ends up in Columbus in the future. Should he decide to commit elsewhere, it certainly won't be for a lack of effort on Ohio State's part.

Dorian Brew

There's been plenty of traction with Brew from other schools in the past month, especially Texas, leading to some in the recruiting industry speculating that Ohio State may not be as a consensus favorite for Brew as initially thought. A source close to the Buckeyes told Eleven Warriors this month that there's still plenty of optimism Brew eventually lands in Columbus, though. The Buckeye legacy is also expected to be back on campus sometime this spring for a visit.

Jaime Ffrench

Is Brian Hartline about to pull another five-star wide receiver from Florida? That's still to be determined, and there's a long way to go between now and December's Signing Day. Still, the Buckeyes are in a great position to eventually land the highly coveted Florida prospect. 

Justin Hill

The Swiss Army Knife from Winton Woods remains very much a priority for Jim Knowles and Ohio State, with the Buckeyes staying in good standing with Hill. Though the Jack position hasn't really been utilized lately in Knowles' defense, Hill seems like a perfect candidate for that role should OSU wish to instill it going forward.

London Merritt

Merritt has confirmed to Eleven Warriors he'll take two more visits to Ohio State, one coming sometime this spring and the other being an official visit in June. The Buckeyes remain a firm player to win Merritt's recruitment sometime this summer, which would give them two outstanding defensive ends in the 2025 cycle if they can add Merritt alongside Zahir Mathis.

Trey McNutt

Like Delane, McNutt is certainly a priority safety prospect for Ohio State in 2025, especially with the Ohio prospect being a legacy. Ohio State is still in a good position to keep the Shaker Heights prospect in-state, but it will face plenty of competition to do so. A potential pairing of McNutt and Delane combined with the already impressive cornerback haul Ohio State has in 2025 would be an unprecedented secondary haul for the Buckeyes, yet it seems within reach.

Micah DeBose

DeBose has confirmed he'll take an official visit to Ohio State, and like Sanders, this feels like a recruitment the Buckeyes certainly can win. But it's still fair to be wary of picking Ohio State over the field as of now. LSU has positioned itself well in this recruitment. But pairing Carter Lowe with either DeBose or Sanders would be a massive win for Ohio State, and it will go down swinging with both tackle prospects.

Marquise Davis

The urgency to land Davis is twofold for Ohio State. On one hand, Davis is not only one of the top prospects in Ohio, he's a top-tier running back nationwide in 2025. That alone makes him a must-get for the Buckeyes. On the other hand, one of Ohio State's main competitors for Davis is Michigan, and while the Buckeyes have reason to feel good about where they sit with Davis, it wouldn't be ideal to lose another in-state running back to their rival for a second straight recruiting cycle (Jordan Marshall in the 2024 class).

Tarvos Alford

Arguably Ohio State's top linebacker target, Alford is expected to come off the board on March 30 after he announces his commitment. With James Laurinaitis' promotion to linebacker coach, Ohio State has more than positioned itself well for Alford heading into his commitment and should be considered the favorite a few weeks before his decision. Still, a lot can happen within a few weeks, but there's a lot to like about where Alford and Ohio State sit as of now.

Jordon Davison

Maybe, just maybe, Ohio State could break the dreaded Mater Dei curse that's seen them miss on prospect after prospect from the famed California high school powerhouse. Davison and his family are indeed serious about Ohio State and will take a multi-day visit to Columbus later this spring. Should that visit go well, the Buckeyes may continue to position themselves in the driver's seat for the talented California prospect.

Dakorien Moore

Moore may already be committed to LSU, but the Buckeyes are very much in the thick of this recruitment. Five-star Ohio State cornerback commit Devin Sanchez has been in Moore's ear about teaming up with him in Columbus for a few months and likely won't stop any time soon. Moore is also expected to visit Ohio State this weekend and considering who's in charge of recruiting wideouts to the Buckeyes, it can't be discounted that Ohio State eventually flips Moore before all is said and done with the 2025 cycle.

Honorable mentions

Four-star tight end Nate Roberts was the prospect that just missed the cut this month. Roberts is still Ohio State’s No. 1 tight end target in the 2025 class and included OSU in his recent top five schools, but we went with the upside of potentially adding a player like Moore considering he’s the No. 1 wideout in the country and Brian Hartline continues to be wide receivers’ main recruiter at Ohio State.

Running backs: Bo Jackson, Jeff Overton, Akylin DearWaltez ClarkByron LouisTory Blaylock, Harry Dalton and Donovan Johnson

Offensive linemenMichael Fasusi, Lamont RogersTy Haywood, Jayvon McFadden, Joshua Blackston, Jack LangeDouglas Utu, Brayden Jacobs, Avery Gach, Mason Short and Kaden Strayhorn

Defensive linemenZion GradyIsaiah GibsonNasir Wyatt, Damien ShanklinMaxwell Roy, Trent Wilson, Myron CharlesJaveon CampbellJarquez CarterMariyon DyeLandon Rink, Trajen OdomDarren Ikinnagbon and Brandon Caesar

LinebackersMadden FaraimoRiley Pettijohn, Elijah BarnesGavin NixAbduall Sanders Jr.Elijah Melendez and Max Granville

SafetiesJonah WilliamsCody HaddadKainoa WinstonDeShawn Stewart, Anthony SaccaJadyn Hudson and Messiah Delhomme

Wide receiversKaliq LockettAndrew Marsh, Daylan McCutcheonWinston Watkins Jr.Phillip BellNaeshaun MontgomeryVernell Brown III, Taz Williams Jr.Talyn Taylor and Edward Coleman

Tight endBrock Schott, Luka Gilbert, Landon Pace

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