Morning Conversational: What’s Next for Ohio State Recruiting on Defense?
A week or so ago, we did this same topic and given how fluid things are right now someone suggested that we do it every week. It may not be necessary each week, but there is certainly a rationalization for it at the moment.
The Opening Finals have been taking place over the last few days, so current Ohio State commits continue to try to bring more players into the fold.
Decisions are also getting closer, including one this week.
Yesterday we talked about the offense, so today we move to the defense, and there is plenty to talk about.
First, among current commits, it is noteworthy that linebacker commit Cody Simon was timed running a 4.53 40-yard dash and a 4.19 20-yard shuttle on Monday.
Simon projects on the inside at Ohio State, which means a Will or Mike linebacker in the new defense. Having that kind of speed and agility against spread offenses is a necessity.
The Buckeyes could also be adding another linebacker to the class tomorrow.
Three-star Maryland linebacker Mitchell Melton will be deciding between Ohio State, Michigan, and Notre Dame. He has taken official visits to all three schools in the last three weeks.
A week or so ago, the Wolverines were seen as the favorites, but over the last few days, the Crystal Balls and FutureCasts have all swung overwhelmingly in Ohio State’s favor.
Melton is listed at 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds with a recorded 4.87 40-yard dash back in May. He is the No. 43 outside linebacker in the 247Sports Composite and the No. 657 player overall.
If he does commit to Ohio State, it will be interesting to see where he ultimately lines up. Could he become a pass-rushing edge linebacker, such as Michigan used last year with Josh Uche? Could this also be the future for current Buckeye freshmen Craig Young and Cade Stover? Time will tell.
Much of the buzz at The Opening over the last couple of days has surrounded 5-star California cornerback Elias Ricks.
Ricks (6-2 192) has been committed to LSU since last Christmas, but has long said he will be taking an official visit to Ohio State for the Penn State game this year.
Current Buckeye commit Lejond Cavazos has been working Ricks hard at The Opening.
Ohio State will swing for the fences with Ricks and will probably continue to do so until the fax is in.
A decision that will be happening much sooner will come on July 16 in the form of 4-star safety Lathan Ransom.
Ransom (6-1 200) is the No. 4 safety in the nation and the No. 76 player overall. He attends Salpointe Catholic in Tucson, Arizona and is the teammate of 5-star OSU running back target Bijan Robinson.
On Monday, Ransom told reporters at The Opening that he is down to Ohio State, Texas, and Notre Dame, and will be announcing his commitment on July 16. It is no surprise that those three schools were also his three most-recent official visits.
Currently, there are 15 Crystal Ball projections here and 14 of them have been cast for Ohio State. The FutureCast at Rivals is similarly tilted, with all eight picks pointing towards Columbus.
Four-star Caliornia linebacker/safety Kourt Williams is still in the process of deciding, but the vast majority of the projections have him heading to Ohio State.
Last week he put together a final five of Ohio State, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, and Penn State.
Williams recently explained his thought process for leaving the state for college football.
“I just feel like I have a better opportunity making it to the next level playing in a Big Ten, SEC type of school than Pac-12,” Williams told the LA Times. “Just go to a bigger football powerhouse. I think they can prepare me better.”
Williams sees himself as a hybrid safety/linebacker in college, which is why he likes Ohio State’s Bullet position. At 6-foot-1 and 216 pounds with 4.60 speed, he could be the ideal playmaker there provided he doesn’t keep growing into a linebacker.
There is also some movement on the defensive line.
Ohio State already has commitments from 3-star defensive end Ty Hamilton and 4-star defensive end/defensive tackle Darrion Henry. There are three defensive linemen who are seriously looking at Ohio State as well.
Four-star Texas defensive tackle Vernon Broughton (6-5 286) is the No. 6 tackle in the nation and the No. 70 player overall.
He has taken all five of is official visits, with a trip to Texas A&M being his final trip. Before that he was at Ohio State, LSU, Arkansas, and Texas. Even with the official visits out of state, there are those who don’t see Broughton leaving Texas.
A decision isn’t too far away now that his visits are complete.
North Carolina prospect Jacolbe Cowan is the No. 5 strongside defensive end in Rivals’ rankings and the No. 88 player overall.
Cowan took his official visit to Ohio State a little over two weeks ago, which was at least his third trip to Ohio State over the last year and a half. He also holds offers from Alabama, Clemson, LSU, and the like.
More official visits are expected this fall for Cowan, which could put Ohio State out of the picture just based on recency.
Four-star North Carolina defensive lineman Kedrick Bingley-Jones will be making his decision on August 6.
His last official visit was a couple of weeks ago to Ohio State.
Bingley-Jones is the No. 16 defensive tackle in the 247Sports Composite and the No. 166 player overall.
He took visits to Florida, Duke, Michigan, and North Carolina last month as well. Based on the Crystal Balls and FutureCasts — of which there are only four total (and no consensus) — not many have much of an idea of where he may end up.
With all of his visits over now, however, a decision looms.
Also, a little over a week ago, 3-star Utah defensive end Van Fillinger released his top six.
Top 6️⃣ ( no order ) pic.twitter.com/JWnvE3KOMP
— Van Fillinger (@van_filli) June 24, 2019