Ohio State’s roster for the 2018 season includes four players who graduated from Maryland high schools. All four of them could play huge roles for the Buckeyes this season.
Dwayne Haskins, from the Bullis School in Potomac, could play the biggest role of any Ohio State player this season as the Buckeyes’ new starting quarterback. The redshirt sophomore has yet to start a game for the Buckeyes, but has demonstrated huge potential as a vertical passer in limited action – including leading the Buckeyes to a second-half comeback win at Michigan last season – and could break out as one of college football’s top quarterbacks this season.
Chase Young, from DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, projects to potentially be the Buckeyes’ biggest breakout star on the defensive side of the ball. The top-rated recruit of Ohio State’s class of 2017, Young has all the tools to be a superstar defensive end, and the true sophomore is expected to pair up with Nick Bosa to form one of college football’s top tandems at the position this season.
Isaiah Prince, from Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt, is in line to be one of the Buckeyes’ top leaders this season. As a senior and third-year starter at right tackle, Prince – along with fellow third-year starter Michael Jordan – is expected to be a linchpin of the Buckeyes’ offensive line, and he’s among the top candidates to be a team captain this year, too.
Keandre Jones, from Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in Olney, began fall camp taking first-team reps at weakside linebacker and is among the players competing for a starting role at that position, where the Buckeyes need new playmakers to step up.
Ohio State has been aggressive in recruiting the state of Maryland in recent years, landing one of the state’s top two prospects for four straight years (Taron Vincent, who finished his high school football career at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, is also a Maryland native), and those efforts could pay off in a big way this season.
The Buckeyes’ recruiting efforts in Maryland aren’t new to the past four years – they pursued wide receivers Stefon Diggs in 2012 and Taivon Jacobs in 2013 before both ultimately decided to stay in their home state and attend the University of Maryland – but Prince started the trend of Maryland natives heading west to Columbus in 2015 (probably not coincidentally, the first full recruiting cycle for defensive line coach and area recruiter Larry Johnson, a former Maryland high school coach) when he chose the Buckeyes over the Terrapins and Alabama on National Signing Day.
“I chose Ohio State because the fact that it was a program for school, football and just being an overall man,” Prince said at Big Ten Media Days. “I can’t speak for why other players from that area choose Ohio State, but I can see why. It’s a great school. Why would you not want to come to Ohio State?”
The Buckeyes double-dipped in Maryland in 2016, stealing Haskins and Jones away from commitments to the Terrapins on the very same day, and could now reap the rewards from both of those flips this season. While Haskins has emerged as Ohio State’s potential next star at the most important position on the field, Jones appears to be an early frontrunner to start at outside linebacker along with Malik Harrison, though he still has to fend off competition from Baron Browning, Pete Werner and Dante Booker, among others.
Ohio State has made its biggest recruiting coups from Maryland yet in the past two seasons, landing back-to-back five-stars from the state in Young and Vincent, who are both potential game-changers for the Buckeyes’ defensive line. Vincent, as a true freshman on a loaded depth chart at defensive tackle, might not get his opportunity to play a big role until next season, but both Young and Vincent have the potential to emerge as first-round NFL draft picks by the time they leave Columbus.
The Buckeyes are set to add at least one Maryland native again in 2019, as they already have a commitment from Bullis School safety Bryson Shaw for next year’s recruiting class, while they also remain a frontrunner for defensive tackle D’Von Ellies, from the McDonogh School – where Johnson was the head coach from 1975 to 1991 – in Owings Mills.
Ohio State is also recruiting Maryland and the surrounding area aggressively for the class of 2020, emerging as an early frontrunner for Damascus High School defensive end Bryan Bresee – the No. 1 overall player in the entire class – as well as a trio of prospects from St. John’s College High School in nearby Washington, D.C. (linebacker Mekhail Sherman, wide receiver Rakim Jarrett and defensive tackle Tre Williams).
With Haskins and Prince on offense and Young and Jones on defense, Ohio State’s lineups are set to have a huge Maryland presence in 2018. And the Buckeyes have already laid the groundwork for that to continue to be the case for at least the next several years to come.