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 we’re talking about a pair of young prospects in the Class of 2022 with major Buckeyes interest.
Ohio State still working hard on Earnest Greene
The no-recruiting summer has hurt Ohio State in a number of ways. But the Buckeyes are plugging along trying to make the most of the increased time that’s available for relationship building. Unfortunately, the NCAA hasn’t changed its rules to allow for more conversation with 2022 prospects, so like everyone else, the Buckeyes are limited in how often they can talk to rising-junior prospects.
One of the players who is a top target for Ohio State is St. John Bosco (Bellflower, Calif.) 4-star Earnest Greene. The massive offensive lineman — all 6-foot-4 and 330-pounds of him — is doing his best to keep in contact with the Buckeyes.
“I’ve been in contact with Ohio State a lot,” Greene told Lettermen Row. “I’ve been watching their games over and over.”
The repeat viewings of Buckeyes games is happening so that the country’s No. 2-ranked offensive guard prospect can study the play of Wyatt Davis, who also hails from St. John Bosco. Davis and incoming Ohio State freshman Kourt Williams have been playing a key part in guiding Greene’s understanding of the program.
“Most of the conversations have been with Wyatt, Kourt and the coaches,” Greene, who was offered in April, said. ” I talked to Kourt about it at school when he came back from Ohio State the first time and he spoke very highly about it.”
Ohio State’s pitch is simple, and it goes right back to Wyatt Davis.
“It’s really just been been like, look at Wyatt,” Greene said. “He’s an All-American, going to be a first-round NFL pick and he walked the same hallways as I am right now at Bosco. I can be that guy too.”
Greene wants to make visits to a few schools he’s not been to yet, and he wants to return to Ohio State before narrowing down his list or making a decision. But there’s no real timeline for that right now. He understands why so many of his classmates have made early decisions but isn’t really in that same place.
“I can’t speak for those guys because I don’t know what they’ve done,” he said. “But I know I’d want to visit with my family at least once before that decision is made.”
Bennett Christian releases top three, Buckeyes in mix
The Buckeyes lost out on one potential tight end prospect this week when Jack Nickel picked Notre Dame. But then they found out Wednesday they’re still very much in the mix for Bennett Christian from Allatoona (Acworth, Ga.) High School as the 6-foot-5, 225-pound athlete narrowed his top schools list to three.
Ohio State, Tennessee and Penn State are the final three options. The Buckeyes efforts have been led by Kevin Wilson, who offered Christian in early June. Tennessee is the only school of the three that has hosted the country’s No. 18-ranked tight end. As a Volunteers legacy — his father, Bill, played in Knoxville — that makes sense. There is a plan for getting north in the next few months, regardless of whether or not the coaches will be able to provide help on the campus tour.
“I’ve been to Tennessee,” Christian told Lettermen Row. “I’m visiting Penn State and Ohio State within the next two months. I’ll actually be on campus.”
Both the program and the relationship with Kevin Wilson are driving the interest in Ohio State.
“They are one of the best programs in the nation,” Christian said. “It’s a great coaching staff with great players.”
Ohio State will watch 2023 St. Louis defensive back closely
Kerry Coombs, Matt Barnes and the Buckeyes struck gold in St. Louis yet again this cycle, landing 4-star cornerback J.K. Johnson from DeSmet High School. That program, one of the best in St. Louis, also harbors a 2023 prospect that Ohio State will likely get to know pretty well in the next two recruiting cycles.
Early in July, Lettermen Row mentioned that Buckeyes commit J’yaire Brown was one of the top two defensive back prospects in attendance at the Underclassmen Report combine in Obetz. The other player was Christian Gray, the aforementioned 2023 cornerback from DeSmet.
Gray was long-armed and rangy, flashing excellent change-of-direction ability and quick feet in a frame that was already close to 6-foot-2 and 175-pounds. He is being mentored by Johnson, and the current Buckeyes commit is one of the players he looks up to the most.
It’s very early in the process. But the connections made in St. Louis in the past, and Gray’s talent and upside, almost certainly lends to this young player turning into an Ohio State target in the near future.
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