A year ago, this was the weekend when Ohio State’s annual Friday Night Lights camp would take place. It was moved up from its customary late July date in order to coincide with the NCAA’s new allowance for spring official visits.
This year, however, the June Friday Night Lights has been replaced with what OSU is calling the Buckeye Bash Barbecue and it is closed to the public and the media.
Aside from good food, Friday will feature over two dozen elite official and unofficial visitors, and possibly a commitment or three along the way. And that’s just the 2020 prospects.
This weekend will also feature visits from the 2021 class, including Buckeye quarterback commit Kyle McCord, who was ranked the No. 9 player in the latest Rivals100.
It’s going to be a big weekend.
Here’s a look at many of the attendees.
Zachary Evans is the No. 1 running back in the nation. This will be an unofficial visit, as we talked about earlier in the week. The Buckeyes are not a likely landing spot for Evans, but the fact that he is paying his own way from Texas isn’t insignificant.
Clark Phillips will be making his announcement at 3:00 pm Friday. The Buckeyes are expected to be his choice, and his commitment could be the first of two or three this weekend.
Paris Johnson committed to Ohio State nearly a year ago, but has taken numerous visits since Urban Meyer stepped down.
The Buckeyes are still seen as the team to beat. A recommitment would be welcome by Ryan Day and his staff.
Darrion Henry is the No. 2 player in the state of Ohio and a teammate of Paris Johnson.
Henry could be on the verge of a commitment to Ohio State.
Lathan Ransom has had Ohio State in his top group of schools for a while, but the Buckeyes are still seen as an outsider here.
Ransom is a teammate of 5-star running back Bijan Robinson, who visited Ohio State last week. Robinson’s visit went very well, but not well enough to convince any prognosticators to cast a Crystal Ball in OSU’s favor.
Jaylan Knighton is a dynamic and elusive running back who will be making an official visit to Ohio State this weekend.
The Buckeyes could be a sleeper pick here for Knighton, who holds offers from all of the nation’s powerhouse programs.
The Ohio State running back situation continues to be a kaleidoscope of questions and answers. Ohio tailback DeaMonte Trayanum visited earlier in the week as well.
Makari Paige is one of Ohio State’s top safety targets. He just received an offer from Oklahoma this week as well.
Paige took an official visit to Penn State last weekend.
Earlier in the month, Paige put Ohio State in his top group of schools.
Cameron Martinez is another top prospect from the state of Michigan that Ohio State loves.
Martinez could end up in the slot or in the secondary.
Florida State and Notre Dame offered him in May. He took an official visit to Northwestern in May and was at Minnesota last week.
Joe Royer earned an offer from Ohio State at an OSU camp earlier in the month.
Following his performance, he was bumped up in 247Sports’ own rankings to the No. 3 tight end in the nation and the No. 2 player in Ohio.
The Buckeyes are seen as the overwhelming favorite here.
Ohio State will be the fifth and final official visit for Kedrick Bingley-Jones, who has set a commitment date for August 3.
Jones’ previous four visits have been to Florida, Michigan, Duke, and North Carolina.
Jalin Conyers is one of three tight ends making their official visit to Ohio State this weekend.
Conyers was at Georgia last weekend, but all eight Crystal Ball projections are pointing Oklahoma’s way.
Conyers was on OSU’s campus a month ago for an unofficial visit as well.
Cam Large is the third tight end taking his official visit to Ohio State this weekend.
The Buckeyes are looking to take two tight ends in this recruiting cycle, so it may be a matter of the first two to commit get the available scholarships.
Cody Simon is an athletic linebacker with offers from programs like Miami, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Penn State, and Stanford.
Earlier this spring, he ran a 4.62 at a regional combine.
The Buckeyes are trending well with Simon despite just offering six weeks ago.
Simon took an official visit to Nebraska two weeks ago.
The Buckeyes are seen by some as the favorites for Calinfornia linebacker Kourt Williams. Like Cody Simon, Williams is an athletic linebacker who does well in space. He was clocked with a 4.60 40-yard dash back in February.
Williams has previously taken official visits to Texas A&M, Tennessee, Oklahoma, and Penn State.
Few linebackers have been as impressive during the camp season this spring as Williams.
Ohio State is still on the hunt for another offensive lineman.
Indiana prospect Josh Fryar took his official visit to Indiana earlier in the week, which followed a Penn State official visit last weekend.
Fryar also took an official visit to Oregon back in May. Alabama offered back in April and Oklahoma offered in May.
Sam Adams is another running back to watch. Last month he put Ohio State in his top six, so this visit could go a long way toward moving the Buckeyes up on his list.
Adams took his official visit to Florida earlier in the week, and was at Washington two weeks ago.
The Buckeyes are involved with a large number of very talented tailbacks. They may have other players rated higher on the board than Adams, but are they in a position to slow play anybody at this point?
Several commitments will also be making visits. Offensive lineman Grant Toutant will be taking his official visit to Ohio State, while receivers Julian Fleming, Gee Scott, and Jaxon Smith-Njigba will be making unofficial visits. Expected to be in Columbus this weekend is defensive back commitment Lejond Cavazos as well.
Both of the Buckeyes’ 2021 commitments — defensive end Jack Sawyer and quarterback Kyle McCord — will be on hand as well.
They will be joined by 2021 targets like Ohio receiver Jayden Ballard, Ohio offensive tackle Ben Christman, Texas defensive end Tunmise Adeleye, Ohio safety AJ Kirk, Ohio receiver Lorenzo Styles Jr., Michigan running back Donovan Edwards, and Missouri cornerback Jakailin Johnson.