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 Kiyaunta Goodwin, Jalon Walker and a pair of big-time 2023 offers.
Kiyaunta Goodwin ‘will not decide’ until visits can be made
On Saturday, Kiyaunta Goodwin announced his top-13 schools, a list that included the programs most people expected it would. Ohio State, Alabama, Kentucky, Clemson are up near the top of the list for the 6-foot-8, 305-pound standout from Charlestown (Ind.) High School, and that group has been jockeying for position in his recruitment over the last few months.
Toward the end of last week, Lettermen Row was in Louisville to spend a little time with Goodwin as he trained at Aspirations Gym with trainer and mentor Chris Vaughn. There was plenty of conversation about Goodwin and his recruitment — there will be more about him later this week on the site — but the crux of the discussion came down to a few key talking points. The first was exactly what anyone should expect.
“Kiyaunta is all about trust,” Vaughn told Lettermen Row. “And this dead period has really stopped him from being able to get around people to see who he trusts. He will not decide unless he can visit a school. And if the visits don’t happen, that could really change things.”
That may feel ominous for the Buckeyes, but the expectation is that the dead period should end on May 31, so there’s definitely a chance for summertime visits. That’d be vital for Ohio State as it tries to showcase its need at offensive tackle to Goodwin and his camp, while allowing Greg Studrawa his first true chance to make a very good relationship right now into something even better.
“I really like Coach Stud, he’s always having a good time and joking around on the phone,” Goodwin said. “And we talk a lot. I really like him, and I hope I can get the chance to get to know him better in person soon.”
There is some discussion with the Buckeyes commitments about potentially making a trip to Columbus in April for Goodwin, who continues to be impressed by the effort that the kids in the Ohio State 2022 class make.
“Not many commits from other schools get in touch,” he said. “Those guys are doing it a lot, and it’s not something other places do.”
Decision date set for Jalon Walker, Ohio State in precarious spot
A top Ohio State target that will decide before getting the chance to make a visit to Columbus is Salisbury (N.C.) 4-star linebacker Jalon Walker.
— Jalon Walker (@JalonWlaker) March 1, 2021
That’s not likely good news for the Buckeyes, who have had Walker as one of the players at the top of the list as linebackers coach Al Washington entertained the notion of a fourth linebacker prospect in the 2022 class.
Walker has been to Clemson multiple times and was permitted to watch the Tigers play Notre Dame in the ACC title game in December. Dabo Swinney’s program is the absolute leader in the clubhouse for his commitment, and the timing of his announcement is a pretty solid indicator of that. Still, Walker suggested no one team is out of it, and he’s still thinking about the Buckeyes.
“I think there is a good chance because of the relationship I have made with the [Ohio State] staff,” Walker said. “I’ve really connected with them for a long time now.”
The dead period is affecting every school in the country, but it’s going to hurt Big Ten schools that can’t host players from warmer weather parts of the country badly over the next few months as decisions get made without any real opportunity to change minds.
Ohio State offers big-time St. Louis tight end with Big Ten roots
The No. 3-ranked tight end in the 2023 recruiting class has picked up an offer from Ohio State.
DeSmet (St. Louis) High School standout Mac Markway was offered by Kevin Wilson. His father Matt played football at Iowa, and his uncle Steve Wisniewski suited up for the Buckeyes in the mid-1990s. His cousin Kyle starred at South Carolina and has been with the Cleveland Browns, so his family has a long history of playing football at a high level. That has helped him stay loyalty-free throughout his early childhood, but there’s no doubt the Buckeyes offer means a lot to him.
“I never really had a certain team growing up,” Markway told Lettermen Row. “I just changed it every week, but [Ohio State] was a very meaningful offer. My uncle played there, and he passed away when I was just a little kid. His son — my cousin — was so excited when I got it. I love the way they play. They have a winning mentality.”
Markway, 6-foot-4 and 250-pounds, has offers from almost 25 schools — including Alabama, Penn State, Florida, Notre Dame, Stanford, Michigan and a host of the nation’s best programs.
The Buckeyes signed cornerback J.K. Johnson from DeSmet in the Class of 2021. He has only a four-game sophomore season because of Covid-19 stuff, but his tape shows pretty quickly why he’s going to be a top player in the 2023 class moving forward. It also shows why some programs could view him as a defensive end.
Minnesota standout adds Buckeyes offer
Ohio State offered another 2023 tight end on Monday morning as well.
“After a great conversation with [Kevin Wilson],” Jaxon Howard tweeted. “I am blessed to receive an offer from Ohio State.”
With 45 early offers, there may not be a sophomore in the entire country with as many opportunities as Howard, who checks in at 6-foot-4 and 240-pounds and is also a standout baseball player at Robbinsdale Cooper (Minneapolis) High School.
With two tight ends already committed in 2022, the Buckeyes can begin trying to fill that role in their 2023 in earnest.
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