It’s almost time for The Game in Columbus. Ohio State hosts Michigan for a chance to win the Big Ten Championship and, with a little luck, get back to the College Football Playoffs.
This football season has been undeniably difficult for the Buckeyes, and this weekend provides Urban Meyer and his program a chance to exorcize some demons against Ohio State’s biggest and most hated rival. It’s a chance for Ohio State to refute the notion that Michigan’s program is on the rise while its own is in the middle of a freefall.
There’s a lot at stake, on the field, no doubt. There’s also a lot at stake on the recruiting trail.
Thanks to a subpar home schedule, The Game also will provide the Buckeyes something else they’ve not had this season: a huge recruiting weekend. Ohio State will welcome in dozens of top targets from across the country with the hope of locking down the future of the program.
The lists that follow are not gospel — there are certainly going to be names that have been missed and some that will not show up that are expected — but if you’re looking for a who is who of Ohio State targets in the Class of 2019, 2020 and 2021, here they are.
Ohio State official visitors, commitments in town this weekend
Let’s start with the players who will have their trips to Ohio State paid for by the Buckeyes this weekend, the official visitors.
- ★★★ • Bryson Shaw, defensive back, Maryland, Ohio State commit
- ★★★• D’Von Ellies, defensive tackle, Maryland, uncommitted
- ★★★ • Renardo Green, defensive back, Florida, Florida State commit
- ★★★ • Cavon Butler, defensive tackle, Ohio, Kentucky commit
- ★★★ • Jared Harrison-Hunte, defensive tackle, New Jersey, uncommitted
Ohio State has three defensive tackles making official visits as Larry Johnson continues to evaluate the next wave of Buckeyes defensive linemen. Wake Forest (N.C.) 3-star defensive lineman Jaden McKenzie is also visiting.
There are also a number of 2019 commitments making their way to town to get to know some top prospects.
- ★★★★ • 2019 quarterback Dwan Mathis, Michigan, Ohio State commit
- ★★★★ • 2019 running back Steele Chambers, Georgia, Ohio State commit
- ★★★★ • 2019 offensive lineman, Ryan Jacoby, Ohio, Ohio State commit
- ★★★★ • 2019 defensive end Noah Potter, Ohio, Ohio State commit
- ★★★★ • 2019 linebacker Cade Stover, Ohio, Ohio State commit
- ★★★ • 2019 athlete Craig Young, Indiana, Ohio State commit
Key weekend for Ohio State with in-state flip targets
The Buckeyes are fighting to land a handful of players from inside of Ohio that have already committed to other schools. To win these battles, Urban Meyer and his coaches will need to quickly firm up relationships with these young people and convince them that it’s just different for an Ohio kid to be suit up for the Buckeyes.
Right now, Ohio State has only 14 commitments in its 2019 class and landing these kids has become increasingly important as signing day approaches.
- ★★★ • 2019 tight end Tyler Foster, Pickerington North, Ohio commit
- ★★★ • 2019 defensive tackle Cavon Butler, Toledo Whitmer, Kentucky commit
- ★★★★ • 2019 linebacker Tommy Eichenberg, Cleveland St. Ignatius, recent Boston College decommit
- ★★★★ • 2019 linebacker Jestin Jacobs, Clayton Northmont, Iowa commit
- ★★★ • 2019 offensive lineman J.D. Duplain, Strongsville, Michigan State commit
Ohio State is likely to welcome back Foster, Eichenberg, Duplain and Jacobs for an official visit in the future if this weekend goes well.
A huge weekend for the Ohio State Class of 2020
Ohio State will welcome in 2020 commits Jack Miller, Jake Wray and Lejond Cavazos, bringing that trio together for a game almost a year after a meeting that set the ball rolling on what’s already become one of the country’s premier 2020 groups.
Oh yeah, the Mayor of Columbus, Paris Johnson, Jr., will also be back in town, as he has been for every Ohio State home game this year. That group will have their hand’s full with a loaded group of 2020 visitors, including a number of the Buckeyes highest-regarded talents.
- ★★★★ • 2020 quarterback Jack Miller, Arizona, Ohio State commit
- ★★★★ • 2020 running back DeaMonte Trayanum, Ohio
- ★★★★ • 2020 offensive lineman Jake Wray, Georgia, Ohio State commit
- ★★★★★ • 2020 offensive lineman Paris Johnson, Ohio, Ohio State commit
- ★★★★ • 2020 defensive back Lejond Cavazos, Florida, Ohio State commit
- ★★★★ • 2020 running back Mike Drennen II, Ohio
- ★★★ • 2020 running back JuTahn McClain, Ohio
- ★★★★ • 2020 running back EJ Smith, Ohio
- Not Ranked • 2020 running back Talyn Parker, Ohio
- ★★★★ • 2020 wide receiver Rakim Jarrett, Washington (DC)
- ★★★ • 2020 wide receiver Maliq Carr, Michigan
- ★★★ • 2020 wide receiver Devell Washington, Michigan
- ★★★ • 2020 wide receiver Ian Stewart, Michigan
- ★★★★ • 2020 offensive lineman Geirean Hatchett, Washington
- ★★★★★ • 2020 offensive lineman Justin Rogers, Michigan
- ★★★ • 2020 offensive lineman Jakob James, Ohio
- ★★★ • 2020 offensive lineman Dallas Fincher, Michigan
- ★★★★ • 2020 defensive lineman Darrion Henry, Ohio
- ★★★★ • 2020 defensive lineman Jacolbe Cowan, North Carolina
- ★★★ • 2020 defensive lineman Dane Middlebrook, Indiana
- ★★★★ • 2020 defensive lineman Tre Williams, Washington (DC)
- ★★★ • 2020 linebacker Bengally Kamara, Ohio
- ★★★★ • 2020 linebacker Jaheim Thomas, Ohio
- ★★★★★ • 2020 linebacker Mekhail Sherman, Washington (DC)
- ★★★ • 2020 defensive back Sammy Anderson, Ohio
- ★★★ • 2020 defensive back Elijah Eberhardt
- ★★★★ • 2020 defensive back Enzo Jennings, Michigan
- ★★★★★ • 2020 defensive back Fred Davis, Florida
- ★★★★ • 2020 defensive back Makari Paige, Michigan
- ★★★ • 2020 athlete Qian Magwood, Ohio
- ★★★ • 2020 athlete Brian Branch, Georgia
This is a huge weekend for Ohio State’s 2020 recruiting class. I don’t think there are any imminent commitments, but a few of the bigger names on this list, especially Mekhail Sherman, could be worth watching. He has a very close relationship with Urban Meyer already.
A chance for young Ohio State targets in the Class of 2021 and 2022 to develop early relationships
There’s a developing battle for some of the best young players in Ohio and Michigan between the Buckeyes and the Wolverines, and this weekend is a big chance for Urban Meyer’s program to stake their claim as the place to be.
Here are a few of the key names in the 2021 class that will be in town.
- ★★★★ • 2021 running back Donovan Edwards, Michigan
- Not Ranked Yet • 2021 wide receiver Lorenzo Styles, Ohio
- Not Ranked Yet • 2021 wide receiver Jayden Thomas, Georgia
- Not Ranked Yet • 2021 offensive lineman Wyatt Milum, West Virginia
- ★★★★ • 2021 lineman Damon Payne, Michigan
- ★★★★★ • 2021 defensive lineman Jack Sawyer, Ohio
- ★★★★ • 2021 defensive back AJ Kirk, Ohio
- Not Ranked Yet • 2022 quarterback Chase Harrison, Ohio
- Not Ranked Yet • 2022 quarterback Alex Brown, New Jersey
Ohio State and Michigan kick off at noon on Saturday. Lettermen Row will try and bring reaction and insight from as many of these young stars as possible over the following week.