Have a question about Ohio State recruiting? This is the place for you, five days a week. Submit your questions on Twitter or on the Lettermen Row forums. Check in daily to see what’s on the mind of Buckeyes fans all over the country. Today we attempt to break down the Buckeyes big board at safety in the 2020 class.
Ohio State Recruiting Question of the Day
Can you rank or tier the Safety recruiting board? Seems like CBs with interest are everywhere but outside of Ransom who does the staff want?
— Tom Haney (@THaney22) March 18, 2019
There does seem to be a shortage of safeties around the country expressing Ohio State interest. And I’m not sure if that’s because the majority of the defensive backs recruited by Ohio State are so interchangeable that their current position doesn’t matter or if it’s because the program is adjusting the defense to include the new Bullet position and it’s causing some adjustment to the recruiting philosophies.
Either way, we know that a kid like Lathan Ransom is on the recruiting big board. Ransom is a 6-foot-2, 200-pound defensive back from Salpointe Catholic (Tucson, Ariz.) and the country’s fourth-ranked safety prospect. He was at Ohio State in late February and is the teammate of 5-star tailback Bijan Robinson, so his value is amplified for the Buckeyes.
Ransom’s place is secure. He’s been recruited hard by Ryan Day personally and has begun to get familiar with new defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley as well. Another defensive back Day has been personally involved with is West Bloomfield (Mich.) 4-star Makari Paige, who was a major target during Urban Meyer’s tenure and has seen that Ohio State interest carry over with the new coaching staff.
At 6-foot-3 and almost 200 pounds, Paige — like Ransom — is a big-bodied, rangy safety-type who can play from sideline-to-sideline and is capable of laying the wood in the middle of the field. He’s been to Ohio State probably a dozen times, and there’s very heavy mutual interest here.
New Jersey’s Jordan Morant can also be included on the list of interested safeties that the Buckeyes are interested in at this point. Ohio State’s recent rash of success in The Garden State was linked pretty closely with Greg Schiano, so it’s going to be interesting to see which assistant coach can really take on the mantle of Northeast recruiting ace, but that should be Hafley, who hails from the same area in New Jersey as Morant. The country’s eighth-ranked safety is expected to visit Ohio State sometime in early April.
After that group, things do get a little weird. The Buckeyes made the top group of schools for the nation’s top-ranked safety, R.J. Mickens, but they aren’t really recruiting him. There is a lot of interest on both sides with Georgia’s Brian Branch, who was on the verge of committing to Ohio State in November, so that recruitment does bear some watching as he plans to be back on campus on April 1.
Then there are players like Muskegon (Mich.) 3-star Cameron Martinez, who could easily play offense or defense and could end up playing as a nickel corner, a safety or in that new Bullet role in college. Erasmus Hall linebacker prospect William Mohan is another who fits that mold, and it’s hard to say exactly where those kids fit because so much of their development isn’t finalized yet.
Inside of Ohio, there are standouts like Westerville’s Rickey Hyatt, Akron’s Ethan Wright and Trotwood-Madison’s Sammy Anderson who are all worth taking a real look at as the summer camp season rolls around as well, if they want to vie for an offer.
The names are out there and the questions will be answered in the months to come.
The best way to stay on top of all that recruiting #stuff? Subscribe to Lettermen Row’s Recruiting with Birm newsletter.