Football Recruiting

Morning Conversational: How Goes OSU’s Defensive End Recruiting?

Ohio State football recruiting Darrion Henry defensive end Larry Johnson

Today’s Topic: How Goes OSU’s Defensive End Recruiting?

Since Urban Meyer arrived, Ohio State’s defensive end recruiting has been impressive.

In fact, 5-star Cincinnati defensive end Adolphus Washington committed to Ohio State less than a week before Meyer would officially be named head coach.

Five-star prospect Noah Spence eventually joined that 2012 class as well.

In 2013, the Buckeyes added 5-star Florida defensive end Joey Bosa and 4-star North Carolina project Tyquan Lewis.

The following year, it was a pair of 4-star pass rushers in Sam Hubbard and Jalyn Holmes.

Because of that talent being stockpiled, 2015 4-star defensive ends Dre’Mont Jones and Jashon Cornell ended up at defensive tackle.

In 2016, it was 5-star prospects Nick Bosa and Jonathon Cooper, followed by 5-star end Chase Young the next year.

Last year, four defensive ends were added, including Cleveland prospect Tyreke Smith, who missed out on 5-star status by about two or three spots in the overall rankings.

This past winter, 5-star defensive end Zach Harrison came aboard, as did 4-star prospect Noah Potter.

So you can see the lineage of pass rushers over the last eight years.

As of yet, however, there are no 2020 defensive ends committed to the Buckeyes.

Cincinnati Princeton prospect Darrion Henry could eventually change that. He is the No. 3 strongside defensive end in the nation and has been to Ohio State a number of times.

His last OSU visit was for the spring game. He also visited Georgia and Alabama this spring.

The Buckeyes own all 12 Crystal Ball projections for Henry.

Linebacker teammate Jaheim Thomas (6-5 218) could end up at defensive end given his size.

Ohio State offered Thomas back in March, which came eight days after Alabama offered. Florida State has since offered as well.

Thomas could be projected in much the same way that current redshirt freshman defensive end Javontae Jean-Baptiste has progressed. Jean-Baptiste was an outside linebacker in high school as well, but his length and frame made him an intriguing prospect as a defensive end.

The Buckeyes are favored in Thomas’ recruitment as well.

On Thursday, 5-star North Carolina defensive end Demond Evans announced his Top 10, which included Ohio State.

Evans is the No. 2 weakside defensive end in the nation and the No. 16 player overall.

Obviously, the Buckeyes will need to get him on campus before things can take a truly serious turn.

Also on Thursday, 4-star New Jersey defensive end Amin Vanover included Ohio State in his Top 10 as well.

Vanover is ranked the No. 16 strongside defensive end in the 2020 class.

A couple of Midwest prospects will also bear watching, but are likely leaning elsewhere.

Lake Forest, Illinois defensive end Rylie Mills visited the weekend of April 26, but his Crystal Ball is all Irish right now.

Mills is the No. 9 strongside defensive end in the nation.

Port Huron, Michigan prospect Braiden McGregor is the No. 5 strongside defensive end in the 2020 class. He is taking his official visits this spring and has already been to Notre Dame. He also plans to visit Ohio State and Michigan. The Wolverines are seen as the team to beat here.

More names will emerge, but the Buckeyes can remain focused on a small handful of targets. Ohio State will likely only be losing two defensive ends after this season, and since they signed four in 2018, they won’t need a huge haul in 2020.

They are also off to a good start in 2021 with a commitment from 5-star Ohio defensive end Jack Sawyer.

[Darrion Henry, Larry Johnson photo courtesy Darrion Henry / Twitter. | Ohio State Recruiting]