Tony Alford-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football
Tony Alford will get his first chance to show Jahmyr Gibbs what Ohio State is about this weekend. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State Football Recruiting

Jahmyr Gibbs headlines visitor list as Buckeyes host Maryland

Stay in touch or be left out because Ohio State recruiting is a 24-hour, seven-day-per-week obsession. What’s the latest news as the Buckeyes build for the future? Get that and more Sunday through Thursday on Lettermen Row. Today’s notebook is about the Buckeyes home game with Maryland and which visitors are most important for Ohio State.

Jahmyr Gibbs visit headlines Ohio State recruiting weekend

Ohio State has another noon Big Ten showdown set for Saturday with Maryland coming to town. But the Buckeyes aren’t using this weekend as a major recruiting showcase — maybe because there’s a major College Football Playoff showdown coming in two weeks.

That doesn’t mean there won’t be some key visitors on campus, though, and none will be more important to the 2020 recruiting class and its conclusion than Dalton (Ga.) 4-star running back Jahmyr Gibbs.

Gibbs, who has been committed to Georgia Tech since May, recently visited LSU and Alabama. And he has two more planned trips to Tuscaloosa while the Crimson Tide continue to look for a third running back in their 2020 class. Of course, Ohio State is still looking for its first commitment at the position in this cycle, and that’s why Gibbs and his family are visiting this weekend. The unofficial visit, as we reported here on Lettermen Row in early October, could be critically important for the Buckeyes.

Ohio State’s running back recruiting has been the hot topic of this cycle, and right now it’s Gibbs and Iowa State commitment Miyan Williams who present the best opportunity for the program to find a fit for the offense. There’s a tentative plan in place for Gibbs to return for an official visit if this weekend goes well, so it could be a key moment for Tony Alford and Ohio State.

Landon Jackson unable to make it to Ohio State

Alongside of Jahmyr Gibbs, the biggest expected visitor to Columbus this weekend had been Texarkana (Texas) 5-star defensive lineman Landon Jackson. The 2021 prospect told Lettermen Row a few weeks back that he was going to be in town and eager to continue building his relationship with Larry Johnson and his friendship with 5-star Buckeyes verbal Jack Sawyer.

Unfortunately for Ohio State, this visit is not going to happen, as Jackson’s travel couldn’t be facilitated. There’s been no drop off in his interest in the Buckeyes, though, and he plans to make his first college visit at a later date.

Ohio State and Alabama are two of the out-of-Texas programs that have made a major impression on the Pleasant Grove talent, and there’s plenty of time for Johnson and the Buckeyes to grow off of that.

Local standout Kaden Saunders returning to see Buckeyes

Westerville South athlete Kaden Saunders made his first trip to Ohio State this season two weeks ago for the Wisconsin game, and the 5-foot-10, 180-pound prospect had a good time getting caught up with the assistant coaches in Columbus. He was also impressed by the atmosphere in the stadium, especially when the weather that day was considered.

“It was better than I thought,” Saunders said. “I wasn’t expecting so many people to be there. It was nice. I really like the style of offense and how they didn’t change up the play-calling even though it was raining. They sling the rock regardless, that’s what stood out to me.”

With eight early offers, including Michigan, Penn State and Michigan State, the sophomore standout is a player to watch in Ohio. He wants to play wide receiver at the next level and will get his next opportunity to talk with Brian Hartline on Saturday when he returns to campus.

Ohio State has two commitments at the receiver position already in 2021, and there’s a trio of clearly defined remaining targets in Emeka Egbuka, Beaux Collins and Troy Stellato. That could help players like Saunders get some early attention and evaluation from the Buckeyes.

Maybe that begins this weekend.

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