Football Recruiting

Buckeyes Finish Class Strong, Sign 4-Star New Jersey Defender

Javontae Jean-Baptiste 247

Javontae Jean-Baptiste, a 4-star prospect from New Jersey, has now officially joined Ohio State’s 2018 recruiting class.

Jean-Baptiste faxed in his letter of intent late Monday morning, becoming the 26th and final member of the class.

He played his high school football at Garden State powerhouse Bergen Catholic, and is listed at 6-foot-5 and 215 lbs. He’s rated the 16th-best OLB prospect in the class and 219th-best player overall. Ohio State’s official list of signees identifies him as a defensive end, providing some context to where he might play when he arrives in Columbus.

Jean-Baptiste is one of three players listed at defensive end in this year’s class, joining fellow New Jersey native Tyler Friday and Tyreke Smith, from Cleveland. All three figure to have an opportunity to get on the field early as Ohio State tries to replace the departed Jalyn Holmes, Tyquan Lewis, and Sam Hubbard.

There are only three defensive ends returning to the team this fall; Nick Bosa, Jonathon Cooper, and Chase Young, and Bosa seems likely to head to the NFL Draft this time next year.

Jean-Baptiste was a very late addition to the Buckeyes’ offer list, only earning a scholarship offer on January 9. After that, his recruitment moved quickly. He visited Columbus over the weekend of January 19, but did not commit. At one point in late January, he seemed likely to end up at Nebraska, and said he also considered Virginia Tech.

However, a home visit from Urban Meyer and defensive coordinator Greg Schiano on February 1 was enough to convince him to sign with the Buckeyes.

Jean-Baptiste helped secure Ohio State’s spot as the second-best recruiting class in the nation, trailing only Georgia.

[Header photo courtesy]