Las Vegas Bishop Gorman four-star safety Zion Branch listed Ohio State among his top five schools, along with Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma and USC.
Branch is rated as the fourth-best safety and No. 49 overall prospect in the 2022 class. He is also the top-rated prospect from the state of Nevada, and comes from the same high school as current Ohio State defensive tackle Haskell Garrett.
The 6-3, 190-pound Branch was compared to Los Angeles Chargers safety Rayshawn Jenkins by 247Sports’ Blair Angulo.
“Strong frame with projectable length. Carries 190 pound with ease and should be able to tack on muscle. Highly physical defensive back with good ball-tracking skills. Well-rounded defender that can cover, make plays on ball and impact the run game closer to the line of scrimmage,” Angulo wrote of Branch. “Versatility to fit at various spots, with chance to help out in the box. Natural feel in space and roams the secondary with confidence. Reacts quickly, closes on ball carriers and wraps up well. Displays top-notch instincts and motor, with the range to cover ground. Could improve overall fluidity and athleticism in man situations. Potential multi-year Power Five starter, All-Conference type performer and NFL Draft Day 2 selection.”
Branch visited Ohio State on the first weekend of June, which was also the first weekend after the recruiting dead period had ended. He also made visits to Oklahoma and USC later in the month and has plans to visit with both Alabama and Clemson on Nov. 5 and Nov. 12, respectively.
Currently, has five crystal ball predictions, one of which is for the Trojans back on Feb. 18. The rest are in favor of the Buckeyes, and all of them have come after Branch’s visit to Columbus. If Branch were to choose Ohio State, he would be the sixth defensive back of the 2022 class, but the first safety. The class currently includes Little Elm, Texas four-star cornerback Terrance Brooks; West Chester (Ohio) Lakota West four-star cornerback Jyaire Brown; Jacksonville (Fla.) Robert E. Lee five-star cornerback Jaheim Singletary; Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna Prep three-star cornerback Ryan Turner; and Seffner (Fla.) Armwood three-star athlete Kye Stokes, who is expected to play in the secondary at the next level.
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