The Hurry-Up: Five-star 2026 DE Zion Elee Says Ohio State Stands "Really High" with Him, Damien Shanklin Will Commit July 5 and Social Reaction from Trajen Odom's Commitment

By Garrick Hodge on June 28, 2024 at 5:30 pm
Zion Elee

One of the top defensive end prospects in the 2026 class made his first visit to Ohio State earlier this month and came away impressed with the Buckeyes.

Five-star Maryland product Zion Elee picked up an offer from Larry Johnson and Ohio State on May 8 and wanted to see the campus in person in short order. The Joppatowne (Joppa, Maryland) standout proved more than deserving of that offer after he camped at Ohio State on June 17 and flashed as one of the more impressive defensive linemen in a star-studded group. 

“It felt good being in Columbus finally,” Elee said. “I think it’s a great campus and Larry Johnson is a very good coach. I was working with him the whole day and he really got me right for one-on-ones. The biggest thing I learned was probably about my get-off and balance,” Elee said. “I worked on my balance in one of the individual drills and it showed in the one-on-ones.” 

While the Buckeyes are trying to put the finishing touches on their 2025 recruiting class, they’ve also started putting a big priority on 2026 prospects. Especially since coaches can now directly contact juniors in high school, as of June 15.

“I heard from coach Johnson that day and he sent me a couple graphics,” Elee said. “(The relationship) has been great, we’ve been talking more and more frequently every week and stuff like that.”

The 6-foot-5, 225-pound prospect says he hopes to return to campus for a game sometime this fall and is intrigued by what the Buckeyes have to offer. Per 247Sports’ composite rankings, Elee is the No. 22 prospect and No. 3 edge rusher in the 2025 class. He’s also picked up 23 Division I offers and Ohio State could be a bigger player in his recruitment.

“They stand really high,” Elee said describing where OSU sits with him at the moment.

Damien Shanklin to commit July 5

An Ohio State defensive end target in the 2025 class has moved up his decision date. Originally scheduled for a late August commitment, four-star Indiana prospect Damien Shanklin announced he’ll be committing next week instead on July 5 and choose from a final three of Ohio State, LSU and Alabama. 

Shanklin took an official visit to OSU on June 7, then returned to campus on June 18 to watch his high school compete in a seven-on-seven competition in Columbus. 

“It was amazing, going over everything with coach Larry Johnson, talking football and just having meetings with him.” Shanklin told Eleven Warriors of his official visit. “I really like the development part as well too. Since I was a kid, OSU has been my dream school, just growing up watching Ohio State, they’ve always been good at what they do when it comes to football.” 

One week away from his commitment, Shanklin is still likely an LSU lean at this point and the Tigers figure to be the pick unless something drastically changes between now and next week.

OSU commits, staffers react to Trajen Odom’s commitment

In case you missed it earlier on Friday, Ohio State has landed its 21st commitment in the 2025 class with four-star defensive tackle Trajen Odom giving his verbal to the Buckeyes. 

Odom is the fourth defensive lineman to commit to OSU this cycle, joining Zion Grady, Zahir Mathis and London Merritt

Following the commitment, a slew of reactions poured in on social media from Ohio State staffers, commits and targets. We’ve compiled some of their reactions on Twitter below.

Mariyon Dye commits to Tennessee

While Johnson secured Dye’s commitment on Friday, another coveted defensive line target in 2025 is headed elsewhere. One week after taking his official visit to Columbus last weekend, four-star defensive end Mariyon Dye committed to Tennessee on Friday. 

With Dye no longer in the fold, OSU will continue its pursuit of Shanklin, Malik Autry, Maxwell Roy, Jarquez Carter and Jahkeem Stewart if he reclassifies for 2025 as Johnson looks to fill up the current class.

Faizon Brandon leaves OSU off top four

Another top quarterback option in the 2026 class is seemingly off the board for Ohio State. Four-star North Carolina prospect Faizon Brandon released a top four earlier this week consisting of Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina State and LSU. He also set a commitment date for Aug. 3. 

With Brandon seemingly off the board, only two of the 11 other quarterbacks OSU has offered in the 2026 class remain uncommitted: Jonas Williams and Brady Palmer. Perhaps the Buckeyes’ future signal caller is one of those two prospects, but it also wouldn’t be surprising if Ryan Day and Chip Kelly eventually expanded their board if necessary.

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