Looking at Ohio’s Best in 2018 and Where They Stand with the Buckeyes – Part One

Ohio's Best

With the recent suggestion that Ohio State should recruit more kids out of their own home state, I decided to take a look at the top 20 kids in Ohio (per 247Sports) and see where their recruitment stands and what I think the likelihood of them becoming a Buckeye is. We will start off today looking at prospects 20-11.

No. 20 – Meechi Harris – No. 60 Wide Receiver / No. 394 Overall Nationally (per 247Sports Composite)

We start our look at Ohio’s top 20 with Xenia, Ohio’s Meechi Harris. Harris is a 6’2” 188 lb. wide receiver who currently has 11 offers to date. His most notable offers come from Iowa, Minnesota, Purdue and Wisconsin out of the Big Ten, along with Iowa State from the Big 12. Last year Ohio’s No. 20 prospect was Joel Honigford and he ended up signing with Michigan, so we know the caliber of player ranked No. 20 overall from the state is good enough to end up with a Power 5 team. I would imagine Cincinnati with Luke Fickell at the helm will be pushing hard to land one of Ohio’s best as well. I don’t see Harris receiving a Buckeye offer, but he will make one team happy to have him with his skill set.

No. 19 – Antwuan Johnson – No. 14 Inside Linebacker / No. 375 Overall Nationally

Johnson (6-1 210) hails from Dayton Dunbar, which is a school we will see well represented in the top 20. Just outside of this group at No. 21 is Dunbar running back Tavion Thomas, who might find himself in the Top 20 soon as he continues to pile up Power 5 offers. Johnson, meanwhile, is a former Wolverine commitment who also has offers from Kentucky, Iowa, Louisville and West Virginia. He has had a busy February hitting up a lot of Junior Days, trying to get familiar with coaching staffs and the campus atmosphere. He has visited Kentucky quite a few times since his decommitment, and right now I would put them at the front of his list if he were to commit soon.

No. 18 – Michael Dowell – No. 29 Safety / No. 346 Overall Nationally

I had a chance to speak to Michael and his head coach at St. Edward recently, and while he has a couple of brothers playing for the Spartans, he maintains that they do not have an edge in his recruitment. He and his coach believe that he will end up playing cornerback or safety in college. Dowell (6-0 195) currently has 15 offers from programs like Michigan State, Cincinnati, Iowa, Maryland and Minnesota. He hasn’t made plans to visit any schools yet, but when a decision is made I believe that he will end up in East Lansing playing alongside his brothers.

No. 17 – Aeneas Hawkins – No. 30 Defensive Tackle / No. 338 Overall Nationally

Aeneas Hawkins (6-3 265) is the first player on the list to have received an offer from Ohio State. With the Buckeyes striking out with their big targets at defensive tackle in 2017, they are again focusing their efforts on landing a difference maker up front. While Hawkins might not be a Marvin Wilson or Jay Tufele, he is certainly a force up front. He is ranked as a 3-star currently, but has over 30 offers from most of the top programs in the country, so I would say he is a bit underrated right now. I have Hawkins as a Buckeye when all is said and done.

No. 16 – Blaine Scott – No. 17 Offensive Guard / No. 335 Overall Nationally

Blaine Scott is a mammoth offensive lineman coming in at 6’4” 310 lbs out of Portsmouth, Ohio. While the Buckeyes haven’t and probably won’t offer Scott, he has a choice of 28 offers right now with Duke being the front runner per his 247 crystal ball projections. If the Buckeyes miss out on some of their other targets like they did last year, would Blaine be a Thayer Munford type where the Buckeyes swoop in and offer late? Even if they did would they be able to switch his commitment which will take place on May 5.

No. 15 – Josh Whyle – No. 16 Tight End / No. 334 Overall Nationally

Probably the guy that I am least familiar with is Ohio’s No. 15 player, Josh Whyle (6-6 215) out of Cincinnati’s LaSalle High School. Whyle has 11 offers so far, and has received quite a few of those this month. Kentucky, Ohio, Temple, Purdue and Rutgers have offered the 3-star tight end in February along with Wisconsin earlier. While I don’t foresee Whyle being on the Buckeyes’ radar with so many other tight ends in their focus, he has the size and ability to be a big target for a lucky quarterback at the school of his choice.

No. 14 – John Dirksen – No. 23 Offensive Tackle / No. 296 Overall Nationally

Another flying-under-the-radar kid is John Dirksen (6-5 295) out of Maria Stein, Ohio. He recently picked up his biggest offer to date when Notre Dame came calling. He adds that to his offers from Iowa State, Kentucky, Michigan State and Northwestern. Again I do not see the Buckeyes making a move for Dirksen unless they miss on some of their national targets. I wouldn’t be surprised to see an early Notre Dame commitment coming from him.

No. 13 – Malik Vann – No. 11 Strong-Side Defensive End / No. 255 Overall Nationally

In my prediction article a few weeks back I had Ohio’s No. 13 player in the class, however I am rethinking that the farther away we get from Ohio State making an offer. With 20 offers to date from some of the more prevalent programs in the country, Malik Vann (6-2 243) has his choice of colleges to attend. While it seems like the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame have jumped out to a little bit of a lead, he also has Michigan State, Wisconsin, Florida State and Oklahoma on his top list of schools. He is set to announce his school of choice in June, and its looking less and less likely that Ohio State will become involved.

No. 12 – Christopher Oats – No. 15 Outside Linebacker / No. 236 Overall Nationally

With Palaie Gaoteote off to USC (for now), the Buckeyes are going to have to look elsewhere for their linebackers for the class of 2018. Enter Christopher Oats, a talented linebacker out of Cincinnati’s Winton Woods High School. Oats (6-4 215) currently has an Ohio State offer to go along with his other 10 offers, and recently named Ohio State and Cincinnati as his leaders. Right now the experts have him crystal balled to Ohio State 100%, but in talking with some recruits right now, Cincinnati and Luke Fickell are doing something special down there and cannot be counted out. Still, I think Oats ends up in Scarlet and Gray.

No. 11 – Brenden Bates – No. 11 Tight End / No. 221 Overall Nationally

Like Oats above, Bates hails from the Queen City of Cincinnati, but plays his high school ball for Archbishop Moeller. Bates is listed at 6’5” 230 lbs, which is an ideal size for a tight end, and he currently has 10 offers from Cincinnati, Duke, Indiana, Iowa and Kentucky among others. Again, like Whyle above, I don’t believe that the Buckeyes will offer Bates unless they miss out on their other highly-ranked targets.

Well, there you have the prospects ranked Nos. 20-11 in the state of Ohio for the class of 2018. While I don’t see many of them grabbing the attention of Ohio State, all of them have the ability to make an impact at Power 5 schools if they choose that path.

Check back later on as we take a look at the Top 10 kids from Ohio and where they might end up.