COLUMBUS, Ohio — It was another busy week on the recruiting trail for the Buckeyes as they landed five more verbal commitments in the past seven days.
Sunday Recruiting Rundown — June 22
By Tony Gerdeman
On Tuesday it was four-star linebacker Nick Conner (6-3 225) out of Dublin, Ohio. One day later it was four-star defensive end Dre'Mont Jones (6-5 250) out of Cleveland.
Then one day after that, they landed a pair of commitments in three-star cornerback Denzel Ward (5-11 165) out of Macedonia, Ohio, and 2016 offensive lineman Tyler Gerald (6-5 300) out of Portsmouth.
As of Sunday morning, the 2015 class stood at nine players, but there were rumors that it could grow to 10 with the flip of Miami commitment Kevin Feder, and that's exactly what happened.
Feder (6-9 305) is a huge three-star offensive tackle prospect from Don Bosco Prep in New Jersey. He has never played offensive tackle in high school, and broke his leg prior to the season last year. The amazing thing is that he is still growing.
He worked out for the OSU coaches at a camp a couple of days ago and impressed them enough to earn an offer, which he accepted Sunday afternoon.
Baker Names His Top Eight
No longer conforming to the more standardized "Top Five" lists of preferred schools, more and more high school prospects are releasing lists of varying numbers.
Four-star Ohio athlete Jerome Baker has joined the latter group, releasing his top eight this past week.
As you can see in the picture that Baker (6-0 205) tweeted out, his top eight are Tennessee, Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame, Miami (FL), Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan State.
The Buckeyes are looking at Baker as a linebacker, and they continue to be the clear leader here.
Speaking of Ohio Linebackers
Five-star Cincinnati Xavier linebacker Justin Hilliard (6-2 230) visited both Notre Dame and Ohio State this weekend, which will be his final visits before his decision.
Hilliard tweeted on Sunday that he would be making his decision on July 2 at his school. His final five are Ohio State, Notre Dame, Alabama, Iowa and Michigan. Current wisdom has him down to Ohio State and Notre Dame, with the Buckeyes being the smart money.
Hilliard is rated as the top player at his position by all four recruiting services, though ESPN and 247Sports have him as an outside linebacker while Scout and Rivals list him as an inside linebacker.
Kirk Back in Columbus
One week after visiting Texas A&M, four-star Arizona receiver Christian Kirk (5-11 195) hopped on a plane on Friday and headed for Columbus.
The Aggies and the Buckeyes are the two leaders for Kirk, who is the #5 receiver in the nation per the 247Sports Composite ranking. OSU is thought to be running second here, however.
Pictured here with Justin Hilliard this weekend, the Buckeye players are working just as hard to land Kirk (and Hilliard) as the Buckeye coaches are.
Last year at The Opening, Kirk ran a 4.49 and a 4.15 shuttle. His SPARQ rating was the best among 2015 receivers.
He was named First-Team All-State last season, catching 61 passes for 1,082 yards and rushing for 676 yards on 59 carries. He already has nearly 2,700 yards receiving in his high school career.
Five-Star Safety Stops By For a Visit
Rashad Roundtree (6-1 195), the #2 safety in the nation per Rivals, was on campus for a visit to OSU earlier this week. Roundtree is from Evans, Georgia, so the Bulldogs are going to be difficult to beat in this one.
Roundtree plans on taking all five of his official visits, and the Buckeyes are likely to receive one of those visits. He spent two days in Columbus, and another two during the season would go a long way in helping the Buckeyes' odds.
Even though he is expected to end up at Georgia, his desire to see so many different campuses can only help Ohio State here.
Nation's Other Top Linebacker Will Visit OSU
If Justin Hilliard isn't the nation's top overall linebacker, then most would tell you that it is five-star Malik Jefferson (6-2 225) out of Mesquite, Texas.
While most expect Jefferson to stay in the Southwest, he has already scheduled his official visit to Ohio State. He will visit Columbus the weekend of November 1, when the Buckeyes play Illinois.
He also has official visits to UCLA and Stanford scheduled.
Big 2016 Ohio Defensive End Gets Offer
Prince Sammons (6-8 260), a 2016 four-star strongside defensive out of Cincinnati Hill Christian Academy was offered by Ohio State late last week following an impressive workout at an OSU camp.
As was expected, Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson worked closely with Sammons, which ultimately ended in an offer for the #3 strongside defensive end in the nation.
Sammons is still pretty raw and learning the nuances, but he has the frame and athleticism that screams potential. Scout ranks him the #29 prospect in the 2016 class overall.
The offer was one that Sammons was waiting for. He also holds offers from Tennessee, Louisville, Illinois and Kentucky. The Buckeyes are definitely out in front in this one.
The Troubles with Tight Ends
The Buckeyes lost their top tight end target when Chris Clark committed to the University of Michigan last week. Originally looking to sign two tight ends in 2015, Ohio State is struggling to find even one at the moment.
During a camp this weekend, they worked out three-star Pennsylvania tight end Amir Ealey (6-4 236). Ealey has not yet been offered by the Buckeyes, but he does have offers from Maryland, Pitt, Rutgers, West Virginia and the like.
If the Buckeyes do decide to offer, they would be right in the thick of it with Ealey.
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