Signed: Lathan Ransom Adds Highly Touted Playmaking Safety to Ohio State's Secondary

By Dan Hope on December 18, 2019 at 9:06 am
Lathan Ransom

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.

With a new defensive scheme that utilizes only one deep safety in its base formation, Ohio State doesn’t need to recruit as many total safeties as it did in previous years, but it needs the safeties it does bring in to have diverse skill sets and be able to handle the responsibility of playing in center field all by themselves.

The Ransom File

  • Class: 2020
  • Size: 6-foot-1, 190 pounds
  • Pos: S
  • School: Salpointe Catholic (AZ)
  • Composite Rating: ★★★★
  • Composite Rank: 5 (S)

Lathan Ransom appears to be exactly the kind of prospect who should fit the bill.

The fifth-ranked safety in 247Sports’ composite rankings for the recruiting class of 2020, Ransom officially signed with the Buckeyes on Wednesday and immediately becomes a leading candidate to play a marquee role in Ohio State’s secondaries of the future.

Listed at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds, Ransom has the size and athleticism to fit the prototype for the safety position. He’s skilled in coverage and shows a knack for making plays on the ball – as a defensive back, wide receiver and punt returner at Salpointe Catholic High School – while looking just as comfortable coming downhill to make tackles and deliver hard hits.

Over the last three years with the Lancers, Ransom recorded 188 tackles, 11 interceptions and 15 pass deflections on defense, accumulated 2,855 all-purpose yards on offense and as a returner and scored 27 total touchdowns.

Ransom committed to Ohio State in July, less than one month after making his official visit to Columbus. He was recruited by many of the nation’s top programs, including Texas – where his Salpointe Catholic teammate and one-time silent Ohio State commit Bijan Robinson, a five-star running back, is headed – but ultimately, he decided to become a Buckeye, in part because of the relationship he built with Ohio State co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Jeff Hafley.

Even though Hafley is leaving Ohio State after this season to become the head coach at Boston College, Ransom stood strong in his commitment and locked himself into the Buckeyes’ class of 2020 on Wednesday.

Ohio State’s defensive scheme isn’t going to change even with Hafley’s departure, so he still projects to most likely play the single-high safety role for the Buckeyes in the future, though his well-rounded skill set could also enable him to contribute as a nickelback or even as a bullet/hybrid linebacker.

Ransom is not planning to enroll early, so he won’t arrive at Ohio State until summer, but it still wouldn’t be a surprise to see him compete for immediate playing time as a true freshman. Josh Proctor and Marcus Hooker are the leading candidates to replace Jordan Fuller in the starting lineup at safety next season, but Ransom’s tools make him an intriguing candidate for an early role on special teams and potentially a situational role on defense if he can get up to speed quickly.

He becomes the third top-100-ranked safety to sign with the Buckeyes in the last four years, joining Proctor in 2018 and Isaiah Pryor (who has since transferred to Notre Dame) in 2017.

Much like Proctor has been groomed as Fuller’s future replacement over the past two years, Ransom could find himself in the same position over the next year or two and eventually become one of the most important players in the Buckeyes’ secondary by the time he becomes an upperclassman.

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