Recruiting Rundown: Ohio State Hosts 2020, 2021 Priority Prospects

By February 4, 2019 (6:46 pm)Football, Garrett Stepien
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National Signing Day is right around the corner Wednesday as Ohio State caps its 2019 class with several targets left along the offensive line, but the first weekend in February set the stage for the Buckeyes’ recruiting efforts across the next two cycles.

OSU hosted a longtime commitment, top targets and priority prospects Saturday when underclassmen across the classes of 2020 and 2021 came to Columbus for unofficial visits. Among the recruits on campus, BSB sorts through the notable names and where things stand.

Two of Ohio’s best available in 2020, Cincinnati Princeton’s four-star duo of defensive end target Darrion Henry (6-6, 260) and outside linebacker prospect Jaheim Thomas (6-5, 218) took the trek north up Interstate 71 to Columbus — the first time since Nov. 24 for Ohio State’s 62-39 rout of Michigan at Ohio Stadium. With the tandem, Cincinnati St. Xavier 2020 five-star offensive tackle commitment Paris Johnson Jr. (6-7, 285) came back to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center.

As the 247Sports composite’s No. 46 overall prospect, No. 4 strong-side defensive end and No. 2 player in Ohio, Henry has been atop the Buckeyes’ board since he emerged from his Feb. 19 visit with an offer. Henry holds 25 offers and has taken an abundance of trips over the past year with several to OSU — most recently heading to Notre Dame (Dec. 15), Tennessee (Jan. 26) and Purdue (Jan. 27).

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day and defensive line coach Larry Johnson stopped Jan. 11 by Princeton to inquire about Henry and Thomas. Henry has been in possession of an offer from the Buckeyes for nearly a full year, but Thomas — with 25 offers — has had to wait on OSU. Ranked the 247Sports composite’s No. 255 overall prospect, No. 17 outside linebacker and No. 4 player in Ohio, Thomas took trips to Notre Dame (Dec. 15), Tennessee (Jan. 26) and Purdue (Jan. 27).

Committed to Ohio State since June 28, Johnson leads the Buckeyes’ group for the next cycle as the 247Sports composite’s No. 6 overall prospect, No. 1 offensive tackle and No. 1 player in Ohio. Since former Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer retired Jan. 2, Johnson’s status has remained unchanged despite visits elsewhere — Notre Dame (Dec. 15), Tennessee (Jan. 26) and Georgia Tech (Jan. 27) — during Day’s elevation at OSU.

Recently offered Jan. 16 by Ohio State, the Philadelphia St. Joseph’s duo of 2021 targets — quarterback Kyle McCord (6-3, 195) and wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (6-3 1/2, 174) — became a trio when linebacker prospect Jeremiah Trotter Jr. (6-0, 190) tagged along for the trip to Columbus.

While the Buckeyes offered McCord (15 offers) and Harrison (eight offers), Trotter might be next after visiting campus with the two.

Like Harrison, whose father is former Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison (1996-08), Trotter is another NFL legacy as the son of former Philadelphia Eagles linebacker (1998-01, 2004-06, 2009).

Trotter currently holds offers from Maryland (March 1), Temple (April 25), Syracuse (May 7), Houston (Dec. 13), Baylor (Jan. 16), Oklahoma State (Jan. 17) and Central Florida (Jan. 26) as OSU continues to evaluate early on.

Speaking of legacies, one with Ohio State blood returned to campus when Pickerington (Ohio) Central 2021 wide receiver Lorenzo Styles Jr. (6-1, 170).

Among his 14 offers early on, including Notre Dame (June 17) and Michigan (Nov. 28), Styles picked up an offer Dec. 7 from the Buckeyes and had previously visited Nov. 24. He is the son of former OSU linebacker Lorenzo Styles (1992-94).

Nine days after Ohio State extended an offer Jan. 24 to Blake Corum, the 2020 four-star running back from Baltimore St. Frances made it out to Columbus.

The 5-9, 180-pounder possesses 29 offers after he added Tennessee (Jan. 24) and Penn State (Jan. 29) to his growing list later in the week.

Corum is the 247Sports composite’s No. 244 overall prospect, No. 19 running back and No. 12 player in Maryland.

From up north, Donovan Edwards drove down to Columbus for an Ohio State visit after Day and co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison stopped Jan. 17 by West Bloomfield, Mich., for the 2021 running back and 2020 four-star safety target Makari Paige (6-3, 182).

The 5-11, 190-pound Edwards picked up an offer Sept. 22 during his game-day trip to Ohio Stadium for the Buckeyes’ 49-6 victory against Tulane.

He holds 13 offers — from Michigan (April 17), Pittsburgh (April 30), Syracuse (May 7), Kentucky (May 7), Missouri (May 7), Purdue (May 8), OSU (Sept. 22), Michigan State (Sept. 29), Penn State (Nov. 13), Notre Dame (Dec. 13), Indiana (Jan. 16), Miami (Jan. 24) and Minnesota (Jan. 25).

Another product of West Bloomfield also made the trip to Ohio’s capital in 2021 defensive back prospect Maxwell Hairston (6-0), who visited Michigan (Jan. 26) beforehand.