Ohio State landed a pledge from 2022 Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade-Madonna Prep four-star defensive end Kenyatta Jackson Jr. (6-5, 235 pounds) on Oct. 19, snapping one of the longest class-wide commitment droughts in several years for the Buckeyes in the process. He was OSU’s first 2022 pledge since Englewood (Colo.) Cherry Creek four-star offensive tackle George Fitzpatrick (6-6, 285) joined the group on July 9. Ohio State did land a commitment from 2023 Thompson’s Station (Tenn.) Independence four-star tight end Ty Lockwood on Aug. 19.
Jackson is the 15th member of Ohio State’s class, which has jumped back into the No. 5 spot in the team rankings after falling as far as No. 8. He’s the first defensive lineman to join the class, in what’s expected to be another four-man group up front for longtime defensive line coach Larry Johnson.
His commitment is not expected to impact the recruitments of other major defensive end targets like Duncanville, Texas five-star Omari Abor (6-4, 240); Opa Locka (Fla.) Monsignor Prep five-star Shemar Stewart (6-5, 260) or Philadelphia Imhotep Institute four-star Enai White (6-5, 230). The Buckeyes would like at least one more defensive end, and then two of Greenwood (Ind.) Center Grove four-star Caden Curry (6-3, 250); Rancho Santa Margarita (Calif.) Catholic four-star Hero Kanu; Ellenwood (Ga.) Cedar Grove four-star Christen Miller or Columbus (Ga.) Hardaway five-star USC pledge Mykel Williams at defensive tackle.
As for the commitment at hand, Jackson is one of the nation’s top edge rushers and overall players. He’s a consensus four-star prospect, ranked as the No. 78 player, No. 7 edge rusher and No. 11 prospect in the state of Florida in the 247Sports composite player rankings.
A teammate of fellow Buckeye commitment four-star cornerback Ryan Turner (6-0, 180) and a longtime OSU target, Jackson cited his relationships with Ohio State players and coaches, as well as multiple strong trips to Columbus, as the deciding factors behind his choice.
“It was just the relationships I’ve built with the coaching staff, especially Larry Johnson,” Jackson said. “My family loves him. You know his track record, what he puts into the NFL. I believe that he’ll develop me as a great pass rusher and a great man.
“My mind was made up Oct. 12. Me and my dad had a talk about the schools and just shortly after, something just told me that Ohio State was the best decision.”
It’s been a dominant senior season for the edge rusher, who had 32 tackles and eight sacks through just five games – drawing high praise from his coach in the process.
“He’s long. He’s smart. He’s athletic as hell for his size. Ohio State or Oklahoma – they are going to be getting a hell of a football player,” Chaminade-Madonna Prep head coach Dameon Jones told 247Sports. “He has made so many plays since he has been here. There have been times when he just takes over games and make plays for me.”