Eric McFarland, the First Player in the 2028 Class to Receive an Ohio State Offer, Has High Interest in OSU Early in Recruitment

By Dan Hope on June 17, 2024 at 8:35 am
Eric McFarland

Ohio State offered Eric McFarland before he’s even played a single snap of high school football. It wasn’t hard to see why when he participated in Ohio State’s third high school football camp of the summer last Tuesday.

The major recruiting media outlets won’t begin ranking the 2028 recruiting class for more than a year from now, but it appears very likely that McFarland will be a five-star recruit when it comes time for his class to be ranked. While he’s listed at only 5-foot-8 and 180 pounds entering his freshman year of high school, McFarland already demonstrates a skill set well beyond his years with elite speed, excellent quickness and rare route-running skill for a receiver of his age.

McFarland said he chose to camp at Ohio State last week because he wanted to show he’s the best receiver in the recruiting class of 2028, and he felt like he did.

“I think I did fantastic, actually,” McFarland told reporters after Tuesday’s camp. “I did my thing, showed out.”

While he still has his entire high school career to go before he enrolls in any college, the interest between him and Ohio State is already high on both sides. An incoming freshman at IMG Academy, McFarland is also a member of the South Florida Express 7-on-7 program that has sent several elite receiver prospects to Ohio State in recent years, namely current freshman Jeremiah Smith and sophomores Brandon Inniss and Carnell Tate (who also played at IMG Academy). McFarland looks up to all of them for inspiration and also named Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Garrett Wilson as Ohio State receivers who have impressed him in recent years.

McFarland is also intrigued by the prospect of playing for Ohio State wide receivers coach Brian Hartline.

“He’s a great receiver coach,” McFarland said. “How he tries to build a relationship with new recruits and stuff, I like that. I wanna make sure I can come somewhere I have a good relationship with the coach.”

McFarland, who is from Las Vegas though he’ll attend high school in Florida, has already received 11 offers. Arizona, Arizona State, Florida State, Georgia, Missouri, Toledo, UCF,  UNLV, Washington and Wisconsin are the other schools that have offered McFarland thus far.

The school he’s most hoping to receive an offer from that he hasn’t yet is LSU. McFarland considers Ohio State and LSU to be his two dream schools because of the recent history both of them have of producing elite receivers.

“LSU and Ohio State are both Receiver University,” McFarland said. “You got people that came from LSU like Odell (Beckham Jr.), Jarvis Landry, Ja'Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson. And then you got here, JJ, Carnell, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, you got a lot of people that came here, too. So I want to be a part of that.”

At this stage in McFarland’s recruitment, there’s still plenty of time for other schools to impress him. He’s still two years away from college coaches even being able to call and text him directly yet, but McFarland says the biggest way other schools can impress him is by “building a great bond with me and show me what they're doing.”

The fact that Ohio State offered McFarland as early as it did, though, shows how serious the Buckeyes’ interest in him is. The only other player they’ve offered in the 2028 class so far is quarterback Neimann Lawrence, who was also part of the SFE contingent that camped at Ohio State on Tuesday.

McFarland said he has no timeline in mind as of now for when he will make a college decision.

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