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In-State Prospects Highlight Weekend Official Visitors For Ohio State

By June 24, 2023 (8:00 am)Football

The final weekend of official visits for Ohio State in June features a smaller group than some of the recent big recruiting weekends in Columbus, but it does not make it any less important.

The Buckeyes are expected to host seven prospects on campus from June 23-25, with several high-profile in-state recruits leading the way. Note that there will be one commitment on campus in Lucas (Texas) Lovejoy four-star linebacker Payton Pierce (6-1, 225), who committed in April.

As for the uncommitted prospects, Ohio State will host a trio of in-state prospects, including Springfield four-star cornerback Aaron Scott (6-0, 170) and four-star cornerback Bryce West (5-11, 177) and four-star tight end Damarion Witten (6-4, 215), both out of Cleveland Glenville.

Scott and West have seemingly similar recruitments developing, both considered top-100 cornerbacks with their decision appearing to come down to Ohio State and Michigan. The Wolverines have made headlines in recent weeks for their pursuit of both prospects, hosting the pair for official visits earlier this month, but the Buckeyes are still viewed as the favorite to land both, and that could be solidified coming out of their official visits this weekend.

Witten, meanwhile, is likely down to just Kentucky and Ohio State in his recruitment, having taken an official visit to the Wildcats earlier this month. Kentucky and head coach Mark Stoops did just accept a commitment on Friday from Alexandria (Ky.) Covington Catholic tight end Willie Rodriguez (6-4, 240), which could signal shifting priorities for Kentucky.

This will also be the second visit to campus in as many weeks for Witten, who took part in a one-day recruiting camp back on June 14. At that camp, he spent time at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center with tight ends coach Keenan Bailey.

“The day he got the job, he hit me up and told me, ‘I want you. You’re No. 1 on my (recruiting) board and I’m not going to stop recruiting you until you’re a Buckeye,’” Witten said. “For me, that was a big deal because I’ve never had anyone tell me that I was No. 1 and that I’m needed.”

Along with Scott and West, another cornerback on campus will be Chandler (Ariz.) Basha four-star Miles Lockhart (5-10, 185), whose official visit comes just a couple of weeks before his commitment on July 6. A two-way player at Basha at corner and running back, Lockhart is the No. 357 overall prospect and No. 31 cornerback in the class, and holding additional offers from Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Iowa State, Northwestern, Oregon, Texas A&M, Washington and Wisconsin, among others.

This will be the fourth visit to Ohio State for Lockhart, and is expected to be his last ahead of his planned commitment. The Buckeyes are viewed as a heavy favorite to land his services.

The two other visitors will be Chicago St. Ignatius five-star defensive lineman Justin Scott (6-4, 310) and Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco four-star linebacker Kyngstonn Viliamu-Asa (6-3, 230).

Scott, the No. 14 overall prospect and third-ranked defensive lineman in the class, has taken recent official visits to Georgia, Miami (Fla.) and Michigan, with the Bulldogs and Hurricanes viewed as ahead of the Buckeyes in his recruitment. He was originally supposed to commit in January, however, giving Ohio State one more shot in his recruitment as his final official visit.

Viliamu-Asa has already announced Notre Dame, Ohio State and USC as his top three schools, and the Buckeyes will be his final official visit among his finalists. He is the No. 100 overall prospect and seventh-ranked linebacker in the class, and was the first offer sent out by Ohio State in 2024. The Buckeyes already have a pair of linebackers committed in the class with Pierce and Sunbury (Ohio) Big Walnut four-star Garrett Stover (6-0, 195).

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