Ohio State’s off week presents the staff with an imperative window of time for recruiting, going on the road between the Buckeyes’ practices without a game lingering over the weekend.
While head coach Urban Meyer kept his coordinators Monday in Columbus to correct issues exposed by Purdue in last Saturday’s 49-20 loss, he sent majority of the coaches out on the trail for commitments and targets alike across 2019 and 2020 as OSU builds both classes.
As the focus remains on Ohio State’s 2019 group, which sits in the 247Sports composite team rankings at No. 15 in the nation and No. 3 in the Big Ten, BSB looks into the Buckeyes’ current cycle and starts with OSU’s 14 commitments in order from the past year to the past month.
Nester’s commitment to Ohio State in August 2017 was the group’s first and among the Buckeyes’ most important. The 6-6 1/2, 314-pounder plays in Huntington (W.Va.) Spring Valley’s run-oriented offense with experience at multiple positions up front through the years. Currently, though, the four-star recruit plays guard and plans to line up there at OSU. On path for early enrollment over the past year, he most recently came to Columbus during an unofficial visit Sept. 1 for the Oregon State game. Nester is the 247Sports composite’s No. 73 overall prospect, No. 2 offensive guard and No. 2 player in West Virginia.
Also on the offensive line early in the cycle, Ohio State picked up Jacoby’s pledge out of Mentor, Ohio, back in March. The 6-5, 270-pounder could end up at either guard or tackle when he joins the Buckeyes but his high school plays him on the blind side. Jacoby recently rolled through Columbus for OSU’s Sept. 22 game against Tulane, Meyer’s first of the season. The four-star Jacoby is the 247Sports composite’s No. 297 overall prospect, No. 29 offensive tackle and No. 6 player in Ohio.
When he committed in April, “Rocket” Hickman had been listed as an athlete with two-way potential but his future was always on defense. The 6-1, 200-pounder played both sides of the ball for Wayne (N.J.) DePaul Catholic before a torn ACL in October prematurely ended the 2018 season. He is the 247Sports composite’s No. 124 overall prospect, No. 11 safety and No. 3 player in New Jersey but could grow into an outside linebacker at the next level. His last known trip to Columbus came the weekend of April 13 for the April 14 spring game, which ultimately resulted in the four-star recruit’s pledge.
Not long after Jacoby’s commitment, Ohio State went 2 for 2 at Mentor when Potter — the younger brother of men’s basketball junior center Micah Potter — pledged in April after the spring game. The 6-5 1/2, 250-pounder picked up national offers throughout the months before his decision in favor the Buckeyes. He tagged along with Jacoby for OSU’s game Sept. 22 vs. Tulane. Potter is the 247Sports composite’s No. 327 overall prospect, No. 26 strongside defensive end and No. 7 player in Ohio.
Continuing Ohio State’s roll in April, Chambers committed to Ohio State midway through the month, giving the Buckeyes three pledges in five days. The 6-2 ,215-pounder remains rated as a four-star athlete from Roswell (Ga.) Blessed Trinity Catholic but enters OSU at running back. His addition became more imperative after Avon, Ind., four-star running back Sampson James flipped in October to Indiana after the two attended the Oct. 6 game against the Hoosiers on an unofficial visit for each. He is the 247Sports composite’s No. 252 overall prospect, No. 10 athlete and No. 30 player in Georgia.
Closing out April, Ohio State flipped Shaw from Wisconsin. The three-star safety from Potomac (Md.) Bullis, which produced Buckeyes sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins, has had an interesting recruiting road dating back to an original commitment to Maryland men’s lacrosse early as a freshman in high school. The 6-2, 175-pounder then focused on football as a junior in 2017 and issued his verbal to the Badgers before he saw co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach Alex Grinch join OSU’s staff in January with an all-in approach. Shaw is the 247Sports composite’s No. 665 overall prospect, No. 55 safety and No. 11 player in Maryland.
On the second-t0-last day of the month, Ohio State locked up two commitments starting with the four-star Stover. The 6-5, 235-pounder decided to stay home with the Buckeyes after he officially visited Columbus the weekend of April 20 his official visit to Oklahoma the previous weekend of April 13. Stover’s pledge provided OSU with the 247Sports composite’s No. 122 overall prospect, No. 5 outside linebacker and No. 3 player in Ohio’s loaded crop. His long frame, however, leaves room to possibly develop into a defensive end at the next level. In the meantime, he has taken unofficial visits to Ohio Stadium for Sept. 1 vs. Oregon State and Oct. 13 vs. Minnesota.
Hours after Stover, Ohio State gained its top-rated addition in Wilson. The five-star wide receiver from Austin (Texas) Lake Travis, which produced freshman quarterback Matthew Baldwin, became the first of two top-25 players at the position in the Buckeyes’ class when he chose OSU (April 13) over Texas (April 20) after his official visits between both weekends. With plans to enroll early in January, the 6-0 1/2, 181-pounder brings immediate-impact potential to Columbus as the rotation of receivers expects to unload several upperclassmen. Wilson is the 247Sports composite’s No. 15 overall prospect, No. 2 wide receiver and No. 2 player in Texas.
Decided on Ohio State for weeks after he spent his official visit in Columbus for the spring game over the weekend of April 14, Miller’s unofficial trip back to campus June 8 resulted in a commitment announcement two days later. Giving the Buckeyes consecutive five-star pledges across a little over a month, the 6-4, 300-pounder concluded the recruitment process after unofficial visits in the spring to Stanford (April 7) and Notre Dame (March 2). As the 247Sports composite’s No. 33 overall prospect and No. 2 center and No. 7 player in Georgia gave OSU its highest-rated offensive lineman. He has been an imperative piece to the class beyond the rankings, notably making an unofficial visit back up to Ohio for Meyer’s first game back Sept. 22 vs. Tulane.
Previously on Ohio State’s radar as a three-star wide receiver the past year, Young broke through over the summer at a one-day position camp in June when he worked out in front of the staff at multiple defensive positions and earned his offer. Several days later, Young announced a commitment, identifying as a three-star athlete with potential to play defensive back, outside linebacker or even defensive end after he repped all three in his workout with the Buckeyes’ position coaches. The 6-4, 200-pounder has since been back to Columbus on multiple occasions for game days in the fall. The three-star recruit from Fort Wayne (Ind.) Wayne is the 247Sports composite’s No. 569 overall prospect, No. 35 athlete and No. 9 player in Indiana.
Capped by a surprise official visit the weekend of June 22 at Ohio State during Friday Night Lights, the four-star Mathis flipped two days later from Michigan State after an all-in pursuit over the previous month and a half by the Buckeyes paid off. OSU offered the Oak Park, Mich., product at the start of May and he appeared to remain firm on his pledge to the Spartans after a return to East Lansing, Mich., but the subsequent trip to Columbus changed things completely. The 6-6, 205-pounder gave Ohio State its signal caller for the class after the Buckeyes struggled to find a quarterback among the cycle’s nationally depleted depth. Mathis, who returned to campus Sept. 22 for OSU’s game against Tulane, is the 247Sports composite’s No. 253 overall prospect, No. 9 pro-style quarterback and No. 7 player in Michigan.
Committed to Ohio State since the end of June, the four-star safety from Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas was the top defensive back on the Buckeyes’ board. The 6-1, 187-pounder took an official visit to Miami (Fla.) in the week leading up to his pledge-sealing official visit to OSU the weekend of June 22. He has remained committed to Ohio State despite several unofficial visits to see the local Hurricanes, plus an official visit Sept. 29 to Oklahoma for the Sooners’ game against Baylor. Battle — the 247Sports composite’s No. 93 overall prospect, No. 6 safety and No. 12 player in Florida — is expected to take his two remaining official visits with the first reportedly to come Nov. 10 at Alabama for the Crimson Tide’s game against Mississippi State.
Perhaps the best backstory in Ohio State’s class, Hamilton committed in July after he earned his offer in June in front of the Buckeyes’ staff at Friday Night Lights, where he notoriously took his 12-hour bus ride up from Memphis (Tenn.) Whitehaven. The 6-2, 263-pounder returned to Columbus for OSU’s Oct. 13 game against Minnesota. The three-star Hamilton is the only pledge at the position for Ohio State, but the Buckeyes are still open to another if the right fit comes between personnel and openings. He is the 247Sports composite’s No. 639 overall prospect, No. 28 tight end and No. 23 player in Tennessee.
Meyer’s university investigation and subsequent suspension slowed developments on the trail for Ohio State, which included Williams before he ultimately announced his commitment to the Buckeyes shortly after the head coach returned in September. The 6-1 1/2, 169-pounder is an electric four-star wide receiver from St. Louis Cardinal Ritter College Prep. Williams, who officially visited OSU the weekend of June 22 before an in-season trips to UCLA for the Bruins’ game against Fresno State, backed out of official visits to Oregon and Nebraska leading up to the Ohio State choice. With Wilson, Williams — the 247Sports composite’s No. 129 overall prospect, No. 23 wide receiver and No. 2 player in Missouri — gives the Buckeyes two top-150 recruits at a key skill position.