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. Monday’s updates are focused on young prospects — including a pair from Ohio — who were in attendance as the Buckeyes beat Penn State over the weekend.
Tegra Tshabola excited to be back at Ohio State
The Buckeyes didn’t wait long to recognize that Lakota West (West Chester) High School offensive lineman Tegra Tshabola was the type of prospect worth building their 2022 offensive line around.
Ohio State offered the 6-foot-5, 300-pound sophomore three weeks ago, and since that time there’s been a growing buzz that Tshabola could quickly end his recruitment. The young lineman returned to Columbus for the game against Penn State and came into the weekend not expecting to commit — but not necessarily ruling it out as a possibility.
He didn’t commit, but he did find himself feeling that this trip had a different vibe to it than his previous visit to the school, when he didn’t have an offer from the Buckeyes.
“The visit was great,” Tshabola told Lettermen Row. “That atmosphere and the love for football in that stadium was like no other. It’s just the way that Ohio State plays. Very fast and physical. It really motivates me to become a better football player.”
Following the game, Tshabola was able to connect with the Buckeyes coaching staff and admits the decision not to commit was a tough one. He wants to be patient as other options appear. but he knows it’s going to take something truly special to overtake Ohio State.
“I spent a lot of time with the coaches,” he said. “Mostly [Ohio State assistant offensive line coach Kennedy] Cook and [offensive line coach] Greg Studrawa. We just talked about how things have been and about future plans. It made me feel like they really care about me and how much I could help the team in the future.
“Ohio State is my No. 1 so far. We talked about future plans and maybe about committing in the future, but as of now I’m just trying to get as many offers as possible.”
Outside of the coaches, Tshabola also spent a lot of time with Paris Johnson. The 5-star 2020 commitment has been around for a while: He played youth football with Tshabola’s brother and the sophomore is hoping to follow in Johnson’s shoes, starting with a trip next summer to learn more about the craft of playing along the offensive line from the same guy that helped teach the country’s top-ranked 2020 tackle.
“I’ve known [Johnson] since I was in the third grade,” Tshabola said. “He played on my brother’s team, the West Chester Outlaws. Next summer I’m going down to Atlanta to do my training with the same person who trained him, Willie Anderson.”
Ohio State commitment hard to put off for Michael Hall
Pulling the trigger and committing to Ohio State this weekend was also on the mind of Streetsboro 4-star 2021 defensive tackle Michael Hall.
“Honestly, I couldn’t even tell you how I [avoided] it,” Hall told Lettermen Row. “Meeting different recruits from all over the country, just creating a brotherhood with each other.
“That atmosphere in The ‘Shoe. The visit was just great.”
Hall has been to Columbus twice this season, and with the Buckeyes offer already in hand, his visit felt a little different. He was not being aggressively recruited by the Buckeyes commitments in attendance, but rather just hanging out with fellow Northeast Ohio juniors.
“I was hanging out with Ben Christman, Najee Story and Xavier Carlton,” Hall said. “Ben is still recruiting me somewhat.”
The urge to commit notwithstanding, a decision from Hall isn’t going to happen for a while if he can help it. He has a date set next summer that he’s aiming for — and until then, he’s going to try and focus on getting better.
“I’m just waiting on more to see my options,” he said. “I’ll be committing on June 13. I’m just going to get back in the weight room until then, but it’s gonna be 10 times more intense, along with more speed training. I am focused in the classroom and doing what I have to do so I can lead by example for the ones that look up to me.”
Buckeyes surge for Darrius Clemons following visit
Brian Hartline continues to impress on the recruiting trail. This past weekend, the second-year receivers coach made sure that 2022 receiver Darrius Clemons — a 6-foot-3, 180-pound prospect from Portland, Oregon — felt right at home in Columbus.
“I love Brian Hartline,” Clemons told Lettermen Row. “He is really down to earth and honest, which I like. We talked for nearly two hours back at the Woody after the game.”
Clemons has offers from seven schools early in the process, but not Ohio State. He’s fine with that. Hartline and the Buckeyes have given him a plan for what he’ll need to do in order to earn that, and the Michigan native is eager to do so.
“He wants me to come back for camp to see me move in person, and I can’t wait to do it,” he said. “He also said he hopes to come to see me in Portland in the late winter or the early spring.”
As for the game itself? It was everything Clemons hoped it’d be.
“It was a super important visit, I feel,” Clemons said. “Just to show their coaching staff that there’s mutual interest. I haven’t been to many places and my recruitment is just starting to pick up. so it was really cool, especially to see a game of the magnitude. It was just awesome to be able to take it all in.
“The whole experience was amazing. I can’t wait to go back.”
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