Ohio State football will host Friday Night Lights this week, the biggest offseason recruiting event of the year.
Traditionally a late July event, the Buckeyes moved it up this year due to the NCAA’s new recruiting calendar.
Incoming high school seniors can now take official visits between April 1 and June 24.
By moving Friday Night Lights to this week, Ohio State is able to combine one of its biggest recruiting events with the final weekend of spring official visits.
That has helped attract a massive list of talented players to Columbus.
The highest-profile prospect to make the trip will be 5-star DE Zach Harrison, from Lewis Center, Ohio. Harrison is ranked as the No. 4 overall player in the 247 Composite. He could end up the highest-ranked in-state prospect since Ted Ginn in 2004.
Harrison will make an official visit to Michigan on Thursday, then make his official visit to OSU this weekend. He won’t necessarily attend Friday Night Lights, though.
Harrison has been very quiet about his recruitment in general, but is likely to announce his decision on his birthday, August 14. That means this could be the last real chance the Buckeyes and Wolverines have to try to win his pledge in person.
He’s not the only high-profile recruit visiting OSU this weekend.
The quarterbacks who may be most likely to join the Buckeyes’ 2019 and 2020 classes will also be there.
Brian Maurer, a 3-star prospect from Florida in the 2019 class, will make his first visit to Columbus.
I Will Be at THE Ohio state June 21-22 #GoBuckeyes ?
— Brian Maurer (@maurerera_2) June 15, 2018
With the recent announcement that Wisconsin commit Graham Mertz was shutting down his recruitment, Maurer is now considered the Buckeyes’ top target at the position in this year’s class.
One of the top names on their 2020 quarterback board will also be there. Jack Miller, a 4-star prospect from Arizona in the 2020 class, will make the trip to Columbus.
Can’t wait to get back to ?️hio State next weekend! #GoBucks
— Jack Miller (@jackjamesmiller) June 15, 2018
Miller is rated as the No. 5 pro-style quarterback and No. 78 overall prospect for 2020.
This will be Miller’s fourth visit to Columbus since last June. Considering he’s making those trips from his home outside Phoenix, it’s clear he has a genuine interested in the Buckeyes.
One more quarterback to watch is C.J. Dixon, a 2020 prospect from Georgia. Ohio State just offered him a scholarship last week, and Alabama and Georgia quickly followed. He’ll be in Columbus this weekend as well.
Those quarterbacks could end up throwing to a pair of talented wide receivers from St. Louis. The first is 4-star WR Marcus Washington.
The No. 10 receiver and No. 62 overall prospect in the 2019 class, Washington is making his official visit this weekend and is considered a heavy Ohio State lean.
He has said he plans to take all five of his official visits, and may not announce his decision until the fall.
Due to some NCAA rules this will no longer be my commitment date. I also will be taking all 5 of my officials during the college football season…….Top 6 releasing May 13th https://t.co/UX6fK2OCBR
— Marcus Washington (@_MarcusW11) April 12, 2018
Washington is not the only St. Louis receiver who the Buckeyes will be courting weekend. Jameson Williams, a 4-star ranked as the No. 26 wide receiver and No. 148 overall prospect, will also make his official visit.
Just like Washington, Williams’ Crystal Ball reads 100% to OSU. He is visiting Alabama this week before heading to Columbus. As Gerd pointed out on Twitter, Williams’ highlight reel is crazy.
[Sees Jameson Williams averaged 30 yards a catch last year.]
Me: Probably just a bunch of bombs.
[Watches first five plays of junior highlights.] pic.twitter.com/TEhuWL39D5
— Tony Gerdeman (@TonyGerdeman) June 14, 2018
The Buckeyes have pulled a lot of skill talent out of Missouri during Urban Meyer’s tenure, and both Washington and Williams are likely to add their names to that list.
Another 4-star wide receiver coming in from out of state is Elijah Higgins, from Austin, Texas. He’s the No. 17 receiver and No. 103 overall player in the class. His recruitment is more wide open at the moment, with his Crystal Ball split between Stanford and Texas.
On the defensive side of the ball, 4-star safety Jordan Battle from Florida is on commitment watch. He is the No. 12 safety and No. 172 overall player in 2019.
Battle goes to school at St. Thomas Aquinas High School, the same program that produced Joey and Nick Bosa, among other prospects.
He’s making that trip with a few of his Aquinas teammates including 4-star OLB Derek Wingo.
— W1NG0 (@DerekWingo) June 20, 2018
Wingo is the No. 10 player at his position in the 2020 class and No. 178 overall, and has offers from OSU, Penn State, Clemson, Georgia, and a handful of other national powers.
One final prospect to watch this week is 4-star running back Darvon Hubbard from Arizona. A high school teammate of Jack Miller, Hubbard is an Ohio native.
The 10th-ranked running back and 83rd-best player in the 2020 class, Hubbard holds offers from national powers such as Alabama, Georgia, and Auburn, but has not yet received an offer from Ohio State.
He camped at OSU last weekend, and impressed the coaching staff. If he earns an offer at Friday Night Lights, he could be another potential Buckeye commitment at some point soon.
TheOzone staff will be at Friday Night Lights to cover all of the action, and keep you up to date on any new scholarship offers or commitments.