Every year around this time, people start looking at the best-case scenario for Ohio State’s recruiting class, and every year there is potential for a truly incredible class.
Of course, never once has the best-case scenario actually occurred.
Even the 2017 class, which featured five players in the Top 25, had a best-case scenario which featured five additional Top 25 guys who the Buckeyes were in on.
As it was, the OSU 2017 class finished No. 2 in the nation, which is one spot lower than where they stand with the 2021 class.
Ohio State currently has 14 commitments, with nine of them ranked inside the Top 100. They also have a pair of 5-star commits helping to pave the way for the future.
Pickerington (OH) defensive end Jack Sawyer is the No. 3 player in the nation and has been committed to the Buckeyes for over a year now. The 6-foot-5, 220-pound pass rusher is currently the No. 1 player overall in ESPN’s rankings. Ohio State freshman receiver Julian Fleming was ESPN’s top player in the 2020 class.
Also committed to the Buckeyes is Philadephia quarterback Kyle McCord, who is ranked the No. 3 pro-style quarterback and the No. 22 player in the class overall. He committed back in April and remained steadfast with Ohio State through the change in quarterbacks coaches from Mike Yurcich to Corey Dennis.
Surprising as it may be, Sawyer and McCord are unlikely to be the last of the Buckeyes’ 5-star commitments, at least based on where things stand at the moment.
Here are five other 5-star prospects Buckeye fans should be watching.
1. JT Tuimoloau – DT (6-5 277)
Tuimoloau (Eastside Catholic HS / Sammamish, WA) is the No. 1 defensive tackle in the nation and the No. 2 player overall. He is also a former teammate of current Buckeye freshman receiver Gee Scott, and Scott has already said he’s trying to build a Washington pipeline to Columbus. He is the No. 1 player overall in 247Sports’ own rankings. Currently, Ohio State is the Crystal Ball leader (four total projections) as both Bill Kurelic and Bill Greene of 247Sports have pointed their projections at Ohio State. Rivals’ FutureCast, however, has both projections aimed at Washington, including one by Marc Givler, who covers OSU recruiting for Rivals.
2. Emeke Egbuka – WR (6-1 190)
Egbuka (Steilacoom HS / Steilacoom, WA) is the No. 1 receiver in the nation, the No. 9 player overall, and the No. 2 player in the state of Washington. He visited Ohio State one year ago this weekend (pictured above). About 14 months ago he ran a 4.42 40-yard dash at a national combine. Travel is obviously shut down right now, but getting Egbuka back on campus will be key. Ohio State has recruited very well at receiver right now, which may encourage some receivers to come aboard, or discourage others due to the amount of competition. Egbuka belongs in the former, but work still needs to be done.
3. Terrence Lewis – LB (6-1 200)
Lewis (Chaminade-Madonna Prep / Hollywood, FL) is the No. 1 outside linebacker in the class and the No. 10 player in the 247Sports Composite overall. He committed to Florida over a year ago, but decommitted a few months later. He released a top six last month that did not have Ohio State in it. He tweeted recently that he has a new top five, but did not release those five schools. The Buckeyes are in touch, but Lewis seems to be a bit mercurial when it comes to his recruitment at the moment.
4. TreVeyon Henderson – RB (5-11 195)
Henderson (Hopewell HS / Hopewell, VA) is the No. 2 running back in the 247Sports Composite and the No. 17 player overall. In 247’s own rankings, he is the No. 1 running back and No. 11 player. ESPN has him as the No. 1 tailback as well and No. 13 player overall. He recently told 247 that Ohio State was his top school. The Buckeyes will be taking two running backs in the 2021 cycle and they already have Evan Pryor committed. Ohio State is the heavy favorite here right now. Landing Henderson would certainly help make up for the loss of Bijan Robinson in the last cycle.
5. Damon Payne – DT (6-4 297)
Payne (Belleville HS / Belleville, MI) released a top 10 last month, but that will obviously get pared down here in a bit. He is the top prospect in Michigan and the No. 3 defensive tackle in the nation. The Composite ranks him the No. 27 prospect nationally. He visited Ohio State a couple of times last spring. There is no consensus on where Payne is leading, which is not great news for the in-state Wolverines. Michigan has landed the top player in-state just once since 2010 (using Rivals’ rankings).
Bonus: JC Latham – OT (6-6 285)
Latham (IMG Academy / Bradenton, FL) is ranked the No. 42 player overall, so he is currently outside of the 5-star range. However, he is still one to watch because all 10 Crystal Balls are pointed at Latham. The IMG Academy has sent a number of players to Ohio State over the last few years and it looks like Latham could be the next.