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Predicting Buckeyes 2021 class finish as unusual summer approaches

tywone malone-tywone malone ohio state-tywone malone football-tywone malone new jersey-tywone malone baseball
Tywone Malone is an important piece of the puzzle in the Buckeyes 2021 class. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State Football Recruiting

Predicting Buckeyes 2021 class finish as unusual summer approaches

COLUMBUS — There are just about six months until Ohio State football recruits in the Class of 2021 can put pen to paper and officially become Buckeyes.

That means there are at least six months left of intrigue and wonder about who is going to join the country’s top-ranked recruiting class as the Ohio State football staff looks to upend the SEC for the first time in more than a decade and sign what could end up being the highest-ranked group in the history of the internet recruiting era.

Currently, Ohio State has 18 commitments and among them are four different players who are ranked as 5-star prospects according to the 247Sports.com composite rankings, while Rivals.com also lists defensive lineman Tunmise Adeleye in that rarified air. It’s a class that is balanced and talented but is also only three-quarters full at this point. That’s going to change and the Buckeyes are swinging for the fences to finish it as strong as they’ve started it.

Now that we’ve reached the halfway point of the 2021 recruiting cycle, who stands out as the prospects most likely to round out Ohio State’s class? Lettermen Row is making some predictions.

Who will finish Ohio State 2021 recruiting class?

Here’s how, on May 22, we see the Buckeyes finishing this cycle, starting on offense.

  • WR • 5-star • Emeka Egbuka • Steilacoom (Wash.)
  • TE • 4-star • Hudson Wolfe • Savannah (Tenn.) Hardin County
  • OL • 5-star • J.C. Latham • IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)
  • DL • 5-star • J.T. Tuimoloau • Eastside Catholic (Sammamish, Wash.) High School
  • DL • 4-star • Tywone Malone • Bergen Catholic (Oradell, N.J.) High School
  • DB • 4-star • Jaylin Davies • Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) High School
  • DB • 4-star • Derrick Davis • Gateway (Monroeville, Pa.) High School

That would bring Ohio State to 25 members of the 2021 class and a group that would yield a composite recruiting “score” of 328.04, the best in the modern recruiting era. The Buckeyes have work to do with each of these players and there is so much uncertainty on the recruiting trail in general because of the Covid-19 pandemic but right now, they are in good shape to be the ultimate choice.

Getting a little deeper into these recruitments, here are the timelines and biggest hurdles to clear.

Emeka Egbuka

Egbuka has had two Ohio State visits in 2020 cancelled because of the pandemic and there’s going to be some concern about other teams slipping intoo the mix because of the uncertainty around when he’ll actually be able to get back to campus. Schools involved here include Washington, Oklahoma and Clemson and each of those programs is no doubt trying to sell Egbuka on the idea that the Buckeyes wide receiver room is “too deep” and that he’s better off elsewhere. The relationship with Brian Hartline is the best single connection for Egbuka on the recruiting front, though. The sooner that the country’s top-ranked receiver can get back to Columbus, the better, but for now the bonds with the Buckeyes are too much for another program to overcome.

Hudson Wolfe

Tennessee and Ole Miss are trying to upset the Buckeyes in the recruitment of Wolfe, who Rivals.com lists as the nation’s No. 1-ranked tight end. Wolfe has only been to Ohio State one time and that’s an advantage for their foes but he’s been the absolute top target for Buckeyes tight ends coach Kevin Wilson since last summer and that goes a long way for recruits and their families. Ohio State commitment Sam Hart has grown very close with Wolfe as have the rest of the current crop of Buckeyes verbals. Wolfe has no timeline for a decision so his choice may come down to whether or not he feels getting back on campus for a return visit — with his mother especially — is a requirement before an announcement is made.

jc latham-jc latham ohio state-jc latham buckeyes-jc latham football

Ohio State needs to fight off the onslaught of Alabama, LSU and Oklahoma if it wants to land J.C. Latham. (J.C. Latham/Courtesy)

J.C. Latham

Latham, the country’s top-ranked offensive tackle, wanted to be committed by this point but like so many other recruits he saw his plans get changed by the coronavirus outbreak. Ohio State and LSU were the primary contenders for much of the last six months but the additional time has allowed Alabama and Oklahoma to make a big move, especially the Crimson Tide who are promoting their NFL Draft success. The Buckeyes have the best longterm relationship with Latham but need to overcome a perception that they have an abundance of offensive tackles on the roster capable of keeping Latham off the field. For Ohio State, Latham getting back to the football field and the stability that it provides could help stem the Tide, quite literally.

J.T. Tuimoloau

It’s very — very — rare that a player ranked inside of the top 10 nationally will commit sight unseen to any college program, even one as high-profile as the Buckeyes. The 6-foot-5, 290-pound Tuimoloau is also very rare. In a day and age when top-tier recruits are typically relentless in their self promotion, the country’s No. 2-ranked overall player stays far away from the spotlight and so does his family. His recruitment is a bit of a mystery but he’s developing a solid relationship with Ohio State and Larry Johnson and according to people who know, feels that playing for Johnson could elevate his game even more. He needs to get on campus though and like fellow Washington-resident Emeka Egbuka, the sooner it happens the better.

Tywone Malone

Malone is a different kind of defensive tackle than Tuimoloau and the Buckeyes are working overtime to try and land them both in the Class of 2021. Like Tuimoloau, there’s not a lot of actual discussion from Malone about his recruitment and a lot of the talk around him is just that: talk around him. That said, the talk around him is pretty positive when it comes to Ohio State but Alabama, Rutgers, Texas A&M and others are hoping for an official visit to throw a wrench into the Buckeyes plans. The fact that Malone seems intent on playing baseball in college could also provide a similar wrench. Still, the buzz is positive for Ohio State and Larry Johnson is very involved in this recruitment.

Jaylin Davies

Davies told Lettermen Row he probably would have committed to Ohio State this spring if he’d been able to make a visit he had planned. The Buckeyes are working to make that visit happen as soon as possible and when it does, the talented defensive back from California is the prime target to complement Jakailin Johnson and Devonta Smith at cornerback in the Class of 2021. Arizona State is fighting to keep Davies on the West Coast. Ohio State would love to land a talented cornerback from anywhere but adding one from Mater Dei High School, one of the country’s most talent-rich programs? That makes the potential addition of Davies even more valuable.

Derrick Davis-Derrick Davis football-Derrick Davis ohio state-Derrick Davis defensive back-Derrick Davis recruit-Derrick Davis pittsburgh

Derrick Davis was offered by Ohio State in 2018. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Derrick Davis

Ohio State has been recruiting Derrick Davis for three years now and there’s no reason to think it’s going to slow down anytime soon. Penn State, Clemson, Georgia and others are fighting that longterm relationship and trying to convince Davis that the Buckeyes aren’t going to have room for him in the defensive backfield because Ohio State has five commitments there already and is still pursuing cornerbacks like Davies and Arizona’s Denzel Burke as well. What makes Davis a great fit for the Buckeyes is his versatility and his personality. He can play multiple positions and could potentially grow into a linebacker making him the right kind of candidate to play the bullet position a la Pete Werner.

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Bhami123
Bhami123

Jager Burton?

Nate
Nate

Nice write up. That would be a killer finish to an amazing class.

Semperfibuck
Semperfibuck

Hope you are clairvoyant, Birm. Do you speak with the players enough to develop a sense of their personalities (as you mentioned with Davis.) What % do you develop a “he’s ok but” sense for?

Chris Sturgill
Chris Sturgill

Fellas,
Just do it! Make this the best class ever assembled. The Avengers for last years robbery!!

Steve Kelley
Steve Kelley

Clemson played poorly for most of the Fiesta Bowl and had about a dozen holding and pass inteference calls not flagged against the Ohio Buckeyes but still outscored you 29-7 after the bad start to win again.Honk if you are 0 and 6 alltime in bowl games versus teams from South Carolina.Honk if you have lost more bowl games than you have won.Ohio Buckeyes are the most corrupt college football program there is.Clemson Football…. Leading the way on and off the field….in the classroom…. and a role model for how programs should be ! Will Buckeye fans ever stop crying and acting like Liberal elitists ????

Scruz Buck
Scruz Buck

Just a matter of time until Clemson gets caught again…and Dabo is a sanctimonious hypocrite.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/sports/1982/11/24/list-of-charges-made-against-clemson-by-ncaa/caf641bb-34f6-41a2-bd99-8de9e774f458/

Steve Kelley
Steve Kelley

Urban Meyer loses his job for covering up one of his coaches who beat women.A few months ago osu players arrested and charged with rape/sexual assault and kidnapping.The car dealership scandal at osu a few years ago that got covered up as usual.OSUs ongoing payoff of hundreds of millions of dollars to settle lawsuits because an osu faculty member sexually abused many osu athletes in the PEDophile scandal.Untold other CYA scandals (seems to be a standard occurrence in the little ole Big10 with MSU & PSU also participating.Ryan Day would look like Satan if he had horns with that hateful look on his face.OSU fans and program are the most hated in college football and it’s easy to see why with that huge bankroll and holier than thou attitude.Dabo is one of the best and nicest coaches ever and he doesn’t whine,cry, and make excuses like osu coaches,fans,and some players.Clemson players near the top in college football academics ahead of osu.But…… this is what you expect when you become the best and asvend to the top.The teams you spank and own start whining,crying,and brining out delusional fake news.Clemson Rulz !

Mike
Mike

and Clemson plays in a joke conference against joke teams. After your girl qb leaves and ends up 2 or 3 in the Heisman, you go right back to the crapper again where you belong playing in your D1AA conference.

Doc McGarey
Doc McGarey

But that will help them reach the Playoffs. That’s the little mans plan /pitch

Steve Kelley
Steve Kelley

Hahaaaaaaaaaa…. so funny.Osu needs to continue playing teams like this years schedule to uphold your imagined powerhouse schedule.Lets see…hmmmmmmm…. theres the Bowling Green Strikers or Pinsetters or whatever…… the Rutgers Scary Nights should be a barnburner,and if you can beat the Buffalo “Bills” other teams will probably concede and not even show up.This Lettermens Row is way better than Eleven Warriors because the fans here seem to be a higher class and don’t use profanity as much.This is fun.Where would sports be without rivalries? Thanks and ya!ll have a blessed Memorial weekend.GOD Bless our troops and our country paid for by the blood of many fallen heroes.

Steve Kelley
Steve Kelley

Osu and Big10 very overrated.ACC is much better than the Big 10 in football,basketball,and academically.Osu needs to stay in the PigPen Pig10 where it belongs.Keep recruiting all those great Southern boys and pay them those big bucks and fringe bennies to come play in Columbus concrete jungle and one of the highest crime rates in the country and a million inhabitants.Oh…by the way…. its funny to see that in your mind the Ohio Buckeyes got beat by a girl QB…. Hahaaaaaaaa !

Buck68
Buck68

Every season some Buckeyes prove once again that no one can long tell the difference between a dirty pig getting more reps in the mud… and a clean pig who jumps into the mud.

Apparently… the nature of pigs escapes us. And thus we blind ourselves to the lifelong opportunities to choose to get washed, even get rescues without number…, IF,

…IF we choose to acknowledge the Name of the one we so often mock, vilify, curse… and ban.

nb. Isn’t it ‘probative’ [aka “piercing of bone and marrow”] that, in our very scorns denials & spurnings; and, by all the places and things we ‘truly’ worship… we pervert our mantras of love and reveal the comparisons with … the selfless love greater than ours?

For surely, who would ‘LIKE’ someone who “dominates” us, and ‘forces’ us to play with an inflated pigskin, controlled by referees who ‘always’ call us for ‘holding’ and never ‘them’ who ‘are to blame’?

Buck68
Buck68

i cannot even ‘mention’ that name… but.

but, i am so lucky because i am free – even encouraged – to spurn, vilify, blame, wail, pity myself, hyperbolize all day long…and so froth?

do occasionally, you wonder, ‘who is stronger’… the weak one who always keeps watch, or some ‘best bully ever’?

i do, but that is in part a mystery, and not at all to my credit whenever i ‘happen’ to do… a tiny piece of ‘what’s best for me’. For as Scruz says: “It’s only a matter of time before [i am] caught again” ‘being the “sanctimonious hypocrite” that describes my “desperate” nature.

Chuck k
Chuck k

That’s right… I forgot that Dabo is the “chosen one” and as he said God favored his team.

Do you recall the term Clemsoning???
You may be Ok right now and maybe for a while longer as you play cupcakes all year.

Ohio State has been a standard for decades and will continue for decades… we are the “Buckeye Nation’” and will continue to put 100,000 plus fans in the shoe. Good luck with ever being able to climb that mountain and actually being relevant for more then a few years.

OH——IO

Buck68
Buck68

Chuckk:

IF we ‘have’ ‘a standard’… does that mean we have ‘the’ standard?

IF we are given gifts and knowledge ‘in part’… do we ‘have’ it all?

Awaiting a ‘mustard seed’ of what you are claiming… to move. I am failing to move… my smallest hill.

Or perhaps we choose in part as well… and it would be useful to ‘choose’ …one who is not only able, but willing, even “earnestly desires …whosoever names Him.

Meanwhile, Chuckk, do you claim to know the future: today, tomorrow, this year…what will “continue for decades”?

Doc McGarey
Doc McGarey

Climpson is going to be knocked down a couple notches when it comes to NIL unless they pay under the table. Ever been to Clemson SC? Woah!!! 👎👎👎

Steve Kelley
Steve Kelley

The ACC is better than the Big10 because our best team Clemson is better than all of your teams and the 2nd thru bottom teams in the Big10 are no better than our 2nd thru bottom teams.Osu plays mostly cupcake teams.Look at thus years osu cupcake schedule.The Clemsoning attacks are exactly why Dabo got fed up and started defending his team,players,school,and conference.He got tired of hearing it.Would your coaches not stand up for there team if they constantly got attacked? Nobody attacked FSU & yelled cupcake when they came into the ACC & dominated everyone the first ten years.Dabo is very beloved and runs the cleanest a d best program there is.Day is a joke compared to to Dabo.Like I said in another post… you can’t beat the Southern teams very often so go ahead and join us if you can’t whip us on the field and off.Do exactly what you have started to do… start recruiting those great Boys of the South and they will perhaps get you to the top someday….. especially with that humongus secret stash of $$$$$$$$$$$$ osu dishes out.Thats right….. if you can’t beat us import enough Southern boys to get you there …. or… Read more »

Steve Kelley
Steve Kelley

Oh…..Clemson has been relevant for quite a few years and will be for a long time.Alabama and Clemson have more titles than any programs in the real playoff era.Most of Osus titles were in the popularity poll era and one of Clemsons was in the popularity poll era.Not many teams going to be in the playoffs 5 years in a row and counting like Clemson.We had undefeated teams years ago and were not voted # 1 because we were just little ole Clemson.Thats precisely why Clemsons Deshaun Watson did not win two Heisman Trophies is because he did not play for Bama,Oklahoma,OhioSt,Michigan,Southern Cal,Texas,Georgia,Penn St,FSU,and well ,you get the drift.It’s kind of ironic that the Heisman Trophy is nssmed for former Clemson coach John Heisman.Look up his record when he coached at Clemson before going to another ACC school Ga.Tech and read the fantastic stories associated with his tim e at those schools.Clemson has a storied tradition from long ago even before 1978 snd the Gator Bowl and three years later in 1981 when we went undefeated and won our first Natty.CLEMSON > THE BEST IS YET TO COME !

Steve Kelley
Steve Kelley

Beginning to see a trend in case you have not noticed.The Buckeyes and most other northern teams have had big trouble beating teams from the South.The new trend seems to be ” if you can’t lick em join em”.Notice how the Buckeyes are turning to boys from the South to bring their gawme up to par.Might have to put an **** by any future titles indicating this title brought to you courtesy of Good Ole Southern Boys !

Jim Taser
Jim Taser

Steve: Has the South achieved higher than a 50% literacy rate and its citizens able to retain more than 10 teeth yet?

I guess your right, until OSU starts performing baptisms at practice we are so far behind Clemson….By the way how many National Championships has Clemson won again?

Buck68
Buck68

Tasered your humble ego with that mocking, Jim… Jimmy?

Agree – we do ‘baptize ourselves with our own fire…’ ‘at a 100% rate’ with every ‘rep’ of ‘experience’.

some ‘performance…’.

Edmund McGarey
Edmund McGarey

Can we kick this guy off for this BS post?! We don’t need this kind of stupidity on here.

Buck68
Buck68

Edmund, help please. I need every kind of “stupidity” as you name it. It helps me compare and contrast… all the way from the bottom stupid on up to where i can see you up yonder, way ahead.

;-{)}

Steve Kelley
Steve Kelley

Hoping you won’t be like Eleven Warriors site. You folks seem to be ok with posting false things about Dabo and Clemson,but when Dabo and Clemson or their fans defend themselves you don’t like it.But I get it ! This is a site for OSUfans exclusively and so rightfully so you can say anything you wish right or wrong and even cover up or hide facts and truth against yourselves or create falsehoods againdt Clemson or Michigan.So ggave at it…. soothe your hurt egos when the game results don’t turn out the way your dreams do.It’s quite alright…… CNN Fake News,MSDNC Conspiracy News,ABC,CBS,NBC.NY Slimes,and tje Wasdhington Compost do it so do your yhing.If you can’t win on the field or off the field,or in the classroom like Clemson feel free to soothe your ginormous inflated egos here.Thanks….and have a great weekend.

Steve Kelley
Steve Kelley

Yeah…in a Liberal world false information is ok,but when a person who has values on the opposite side of a debate posts a rebuttal to bring out the truth they are blocked or not able to respond.Thats ABC,CBS,NBC,MSNBC,CNN,WASHPO,NY TIMES CYA coverup the truth FAKE NEWS & VIEWS.So come on now,you stop spewing your low IQ from your rear end and find an ounce of common sense and decency Mr. Ed.I have seen some decent posters on Lettermen Row (far more than those on Eleven Warriors),but you seem to be one of the exceptions.Lets start the season….Kick it off…. Play ball…. and have some fair and fun debates on our favorite sport and teams.OSU fans post on Michigan and Clemson websites and I’ve yet to see anyone kicked off.Only reason to kick anyone off is use of profanity or threats.Blocking or kicking someone out is not America….it’s socialist,fascist,anti-American like those Liberal extremists who want to ban,block,kick out,remove,shut up,and punish anyone who has different beliefs or does not vote the way they do…… In this case anyone who pulls for a different team.Bruce Springsteen and that kind punish those who do not vote the way they do,or have the same beliefs they… Read more »

Steve Kelley
Steve Kelley

Hey Jim ! Hahaaaaa thats a good one.Then why has Osu started recruiting so many of our toothless ,low IQ Southern boys to play football in Columbus,Oh. ? I thought Justin Fields looked like a jackolantern in the toothies.What kind of courses is osu offering those imported Southern boys so they can pass and stay eligible ???????…. tire changing,how to boil water,how to dip snufffff.. hahahaaaaahaaaaa.. I love it.You have yourself an awesome weekend !

Brian yakata
Brian yakata

Latham should not worry. Stud will rotate oline just like johnson rotates dline. If spindler wanted in would he be a take? Just being greedy. Elated with the great 25 in 21.

Brian yakata
Brian yakata

As always birm is the word.

Brian yakata
Brian yakata

Birm, just saw that burke is cb to osu. Does that mean that davies or davis are out?

Clift Connor
Clift Connor

The ACC has been a joke for quite a while. Once Miami and Florida State imploded, the conference became the worse power 5 conference. Over the last 5 years, Clemson has been one of the best college football teams. Prior to that they pretty much been a pimple on a dog’s butt.
And the idea of a southern football team accusing us of having bag men is the biggest joke and self delusion I have ever heard.

Clift Connor
Clift Connor

Remember, self delusion is a generic trait of the Confederacy.

Kid Buckeye
Kid Buckeye

Denzel Burke moved pass all of them

Birm

Birm is Lettermen Row's Director of Recruiting and the site's primary Ohio State sports photographer. A Toledo, Ohio native, Jeremy has been in similar roles for elevenwarriors.com and Landof10.com and has been covering the Buckeyes for seven years.

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