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 talks the latest with Kojo Antwi, Jihaad Campbell and cornerback target Austin Jordan.
Kojo Antwi names final three, Ohio State confusion
Tuesday afternoon provided a bit of intrigue and surprise around the world of Ohio State recruiting, a place that for the last few years has had little of it. Brian Hartline has recruited as well as any coach in the country, and his success rate when he’s truly zeroed in on a particular receiver has been outstanding. That’s easily verified if it’s not believed anecdotally, so when 247Sports.com released a story on Lambert (Suwanee, Ga.) High School receiver Kojo Antwi with quotes from the country’s No. 13-ranked receiver suggesting he was no longer considering Ohio State, it was a bit of a surprise.
The Buckeyes have been one of the top schools for the 6-foot-1, 185-pound standout since they offered. Brian Hartline has also made him a priority, along with Kyion Grayes and C.J. Williams, since the commitment of Caleb Burton in November. Ohio State is absolutely still searching for a third receiver to complement Burton and Grayes, and Antwi has been at the top of the list, though it’s been a battlle with both Texas A&M and Georgia for positioning.
Grayes commitment last weekend could have played a key role in the decision by Antwi to drop the Buckeyes and replace them with the Alabama as he began to look toward making his own commitment in the next few weeks.
But Antwi told Lettermen Row on Tuesday evening that Ohio State was not out of the running for his commitment and that he has decided there’s no need to hurry up and make a choice.
“Ohio State is not out of it, I promise,” Antwi said. “I’m pushing my commitment back.”
There was a conversation with Brian Hartline on Tuesday afternoon, and whether or not Antwi does push his commitment back is up in the air. But what’s clear is that there’s been no stoppage of communication between Antwi and the Buckeyes, and that there’s no sense of a recruiting slowdown from the program because of the commitment of Grayes.
So what happened? There are a few potential explanations for Ohio State being left off the list initially, even if they’re moot because he indicated the Buckeyes are still in the mix. Antwi’s words could have been misinterpreted or misquoted, but that seems unlikely because Rusty Mansell is a veteran reporter with a sterling reputation. More likely is that when Grayes committed to the Buckeyes there was a rush of information from other schools intended to cause confusion and/or promote the concept that Ohio State was moving on, which isn’t true.
There’s also a good chance that Antwi himself is seeing a host of kids around the country committing and locking in a spot with the knowledge that they can make visits later if they want to, so there’s no harm, no foul. But that’s not necessarily the case, because if he commits to Texas A&M, Georgia or Alabama in the next few weeks, it’s more likely that the Buckeyes would just move down their list and increase the focus on C.J. Williams and Kaleb Brown and continue to evaluate other players for an offer — like Texas standout Jay Fair and local star Kaden Saunders.
Bottom line? Ohio State is not out of the running for Kojo Antwi, but they’re not in a winning position right now either.
Ohio State in the mix for major target Jihaad Campbell
There are not many defensive players in the Class of 2022 who have the skillset Jihaad Campbell does, and that’s one of the reasons why the IMG Academy star has the country’s best programs hot on his tail.
On Tuesday, he narrowed his recruiting list down to a more manageable eight schools, including Ohio State.
Final 8. pic.twitter.com/zqrC1RIHGP
— Jihaad Campbell (@RealJihaadC) March 2, 2021
Campbell hails from New Jersey originally and started his career at Erial High School in Timber Creek before transferring to the IMG Academy this past winter. Listed as a defensive end on his recruiting profiles, Campbell’s versatility has some schools recruiting him as a linebacker, and the Buckeyes see him as a prospect who could play on the edge with his hand in the dirt or in a stand-up role. He’s been in regular contact with Larry Johnson, and Al Washington has also begun reaching out to the 6-foot-4, 220-pound youngster.
“Ohio State is very consistent with their program,” Campbell told Lettermen Row. “It’s about how they operate. They develop young men and get them to the league too.”
Austin Jordan continues to have major interest in Ohio State
The Buckeyes have been considered one of the leaders in the recruitment of Denton (Texas) Ryan standout Austin Jordan for some time now, and he confirmed that yet again by including Ohio State on his parsed down top schools list.
Top 3 👀 pic.twitter.com/FTQ0qt56lZ
— Austin Jordan (@ezmoneyaust) March 3, 2021
Jordan, the nation’s No. 21-ranked cornerback, had recently made his list a top 10, but the extended dead period seems to have sped up his process even further. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound defensive back plays at one of the country’s most prestigious and talent-rich high school programs, and the competition he faces day in and day out at Ryan will certainly be something that helps him be ready to contribute early at the next level.
Ohio State has two cornerbacks committed in the Class of 2022 and are likely to add at least one more in that spot — plus it is looking to pick up a pair of safeties in the class. Jordan is capable of playing either spot, so that makes him a very intriguing option for Kerry Coombs, Matt Barnes and the Buckeyes.
If a decision comes anytime soon, however, it’s probably good news for either Oklahoma or Texas. The sense around the Ohio State side of things is that the Buckeyes would prefer to be more patient in their pursuit of a third corner, wanting to wait until they get a chance to see any of the 2022 prospects in person. Ohio State is trying to maintain its calm heading into the next few months. There will be plenty of conversations about the best path forward, though, because a lot of kids are accelerating their decisions.
Arizona tight end offered by Buckeyes
Ohio State has offered its third 2023 tight end of the week as Kevin Wilson and the Buckeyes continue to turn the focus to the country’s best sophomores.
After extending scholarships to Mac Markway and Jaxon Howard on Monday, Wilson reached out to Arizona standout Duce Robinson from Pinnacle High School in Phoenix.
Robinson is a 6-foot-6, 225-pound athlete who is now up to 20 offers including Georgia, Oklahoma and Oregon. A highly-touted baseball player as well, Robinson’s father Dominic was a standout recruit in the early 1990s and played his college football at Florida State. The Arizona sophomore is drawing comparisons to former Phoenix prep star Mark Andrews, who is now tearing up the NFL for the Baltimore Ravens after a stellar career at Oklahoma.
The Buckeyes have now offered four 2023 tight ends in total: Markway, Howard, Robinson and Tennessee’s Ty Lockwood.
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