Ohio State lost out on one of the top remaining prospects in 2023 as Venice, Fla., five-star defensive end Damon Wilson (6-4, 230) signed with Georgia on the opening day of the Early Signing Period.
Wilson is the No. 13 overall prospect and No. 2 defensive end in the class, and would have been Ohio State’s highest-rated prospect for this cycle. His signing with Georgia leaves Ohio State with just one five-star recruit in the class in Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) American Heritage five-star wide receiver Brandon Inniss (6-0, 190).
Georgia won out for Wilson’s services over Ohio State, which was his other finalist. The Buckeyes had gone back and forth with the Bulldogs in recent months over Wilson’s recruitment, with both teams seemingly gaining momentum at points, but Georgia was able to take the momentum in recent weeks with an in-home visit to secure Wilson’s commitment.
As for the Buckeyes, Wilson made an unofficial visit this past spring and made his official visit to Ohio State when the Buckeyes faced Notre Dame in the season opener. He made a return visit for Ohio State’s loss to Michigan before hosting head coach Ryan Day on a home visit in December, though Day’s final shot at Wilson wasn’t enough to convince him to spend the next three or four years in Columbus.
One of the most star-studded prospects this cycle, Wilson made a name for himself during his high school career at Venice. He finished with 269 career tackles, with 37 going for a loss, with 31 sacks, including a school-record 15 sacks in his junior season.
Having lost out on Wilson, the Buckeyes still have a grouping on the defensive line that includes Indianapolis (Ind.) Lawrence Central four-star Joshua Mickens (6-5, 225), Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic four-star Jason Moore (6-6, 255), Dublin (Ohio) Coffman four-star Will Smith Jr. (6-3, 260) and Suwanee (Ga.) North Gwinnett four-star Kayden McDonald (6-3, 310).