The future stars of Ohio State football officially begin their college careers, as standouts from all over the country put pens to their National Letters of Intent.
It took until the first day of the Early Signing Period, but Ohio State finally has its defensive tackle.
The McKenzie File
- Class: 2019
- Size: 6-foot-3.5, 280 pounds
- Pos: DT
- School: Wake Forest (Wake Forest, NC)
- Composite Rating: ★★★
- Composite Rank: 58 (DT)
Three-star Jaden McKenzie committed to play for the Buckeyes and signed his National Letter of Intent on Wednesday, opting to play for Larry Johnson's unit rather than remain close to home at an ACC school.
Ohio State has been interested in McKenzie for a while and offered him a scholarship on June 26. However, with schools such as North Carolina, Clemson, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech interested in him, McKenzie focused on universities located near him. As Johnson has done before, though, he built a steady relationship with the prospect that paid off over time.
McKenzie eventually decided to take a visit to Columbus, making the trek from North Carolina to Ohio in late November to watch the game against Michigan. His visit made enough of an impression that it made him feel comfortable enough to leave his confines of Wake Forest, North Carolina, to join the Buckeyes.
Wake Forest High School has produced many high-level collegiate talents, including Dexter Lawrence, and McKenzie hopes to be the next in line.
Ohio State already had a loaded, young depth chart of defensive tackles even before McKenzie committed. Dre'Mont Jones will head to the NFL in the spring, but both Robert Landers and Davon Hamilton are expected to return for their fifth seasons. Behind them are a group of formerly highly regarded high-school prospects, including Haskell Garrett, Taron Vincent, Tommy Togiai and Antwuan Jackson. McKenzie will slot in behind all of them as a freshman before attempting to work his way up the depth chart.
In the long term, McKenzie might be in an advantageous position since he's currently the only defensive tackle signed by Ohio State. But for now, he has a steep climb.