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Josh Padilla is one player widely projected to Ohio State in the 2023 recruiting class. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State Football Recruiting

After mixed recruiting bag in April, big things coming for Buckeyes

COLUMBUS — It’s beginning to feel like a regular spring on the Ohio State recruiting trail.

That is a very, very good thing for the Buckeyes and the country’s No. 3-ranked 2022 class. The long-wait for recruiting freedom is almost over, and on-campus recruiting efforts are set for a return on June 1.

That doesn’t mean everything is going perfectly for Ohio State. The month of April was a bit of a mixed bag for Ryan Day’s program, actually. Yes, the dead period is over. But the Buckeyes also suffered their first decommitment of the 2022 cycle when top-50 prospect Dasan McCullough flipped his commitment to Indiana, a move made in order to play for his father and with his two brothers. Even if the move is understandable from a human perspective, it stings from the football side.

Even in the world of recruiting, the hope is that April showers brings May flowers, I guess. And for Ohio State, the showers it experienced in April, outside of McCullough’s decision, aren’t impossible to recover from.

Let’s look back at April and how the Buckeyes handled the Lettermen Row recruiting to-do list for last month.

No. 1: Ohio State received concrete answer on dead period

Priority No. 1 for Ohio State and for everyone else was the same: End the darn dead period. That finally happened, and almost immediately schools around the country got to work planning seriously huge recruiting weekends in June.

There will only be four weeks of live recruiting this summer, so the Buckeyes are going to be very busy. But the decision sets up an absolutely pivotal eight-week stretch. Right now, Ohio State has 40 official visits planned for June in the Class of 2022. That’s a lot.

The biggest reason the dead period needed to end? That was so the country’s top 2021 prospect could finally schedule his official visits. J.T. Tuimoloau has not, to our knowledge, done that. But it’s going to happen, and the Buckeyes are going to get one of them. Of all the visits in June, that’s the one that matters the most for Ryan Day, Larry Johnson and Ohio State.

Bottom line? It’s great that the dead period is over, even if most kids around the country would have preferred a few more weeks of open recruiting to work with.

No. 2: Kiyaunta Goodwin committed to Kentucky without taking any visits

One of the key prospects Ohio State had been hoping to host in June was Kiyaunta Goodwin. The huge offensive tackle with 5-star talent decided in early April to make a college commitment, leading to a major loss for the Buckeyes. He had talked repeatedly about being unwilling to commit to a school he’d not visited. So, when push came to shove, he picked Kentucky. There was a concern from the Goodwin camp that the dead period would not end, but even when it did just two days before his commitment date, he stuck with his timeline and selected the Wildcats.

All hope isn’t lost here, however. It’s just a bit more challenging now for Ohio State than it could have been. Goodwin has insisted that he will take official visits, and that means there’s at least a window open for the Buckeyes to land him still.

It needs to be a big ol’ window to accommodate the 6-foot-7, 310-pound lineman. If Ohio State can get him on campus at some point, that window becomes a door. The question then is whether or not Kiyaunta Goodwin decides to walk through it.

No. 3: Ohio State still waiting for first 2023 commitment

The third item on the April to-do list was a bit subjective, and it’s hard to really count it as a loss for Ohio State. Still, the month ended without the Buckeyes getting their first commitment in the Class of 2023.

That doesn’t mean they didn’t move closer to it. The month of April provided a few key opportunities for a number of Ohio State targets to hang out and get to know each other — specifically Sonny Styles, Luke Montgomery and Josh Padilla. That trio met up at the Ohio State spring game, and there are plans to spend quality time together in June at various schools, including back in Columbus.

The Class of 2023 may be getting off to a slower start than most, but the events of the last year-plus make that understandable. The young group would have normally already had a year on the recruiting road, now it’s just getting started. It may be wise to set up more modest expectations around their decision timelines.

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