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. On Wednesday, we’re talking about young players to know with Ohio State interest.
Ohio State back in touch with Landyn Watson
Early in his recruitment, Hutto (Texas) defensive end/linebacker prospect Landyn Watson had a lot of very positive things to say about Ohio State. The country’s No. 14-ranked weakside defensive end, a close friend of Buckeyes freshman wide receiver Garrett Wilson, made an unofficial visit to Columbus last summer and left that trip raving about his experience.
Despite “falling in love” with the campus at Ohio State and experiencing a different culture and different people than he’d seen elsewhere, the 6-foot-3, 240-pound Watson committed to LSU just about a month following his visit with the Buckeyes.
That’s not quite as confusing as it sounds, though: Ohio State had not offered a scholarship to Watson — and to this point it still hasn’t. His decision to commit as early as he did to LSU may have played a role in that, because initially he had planned to come back to Columbus for a game-day visit during the season. He never did.
Recruiting is fluid, and things could be changing again with Watson, who decided to reopen his recruitment roughly two weeks ago. Since that decision, he’s been in contact again with the Buckeyes.
“I’ve been back hearing from Ohio State,” Watson told Lettermen Row. “I’ve been talking to [defensive line assistant coach Kenny] Anunike. He’s just been telling me that they still want me to be a part of the family up there.”
Originally from Wisconsin, Watson grew his Buckeyes interest during Urban Meyer’s tenure but saw a significant shift in the Ohio State defense this season.
“This year their defense has been really good and it starts with the defensive line,” Watson said. “Larry Johnson is developing NFL talent and taking things to the next level.”
As a defensive line prospect from Texas, Watson isn’t alone in having real Ohio State interest. He’s spoken to a few of his peers about the Buckeyes, and it’s getting easier and easier for players of his ilk to leave Texas for a chance to play at one of the country’s elite programs.
“I’m real close with Tunmise Adeleye and Landon Jackson,” Watson said. “They talk about Ohio State, and we all love what’s happening up in Columbus.
“Location for me won’t be much of a factor when trying to find a home. Sure, there are some big in-state programs, but the top programs [in college football] are out of state.”
Watson has upcoming visits to Texas Tech, LSU and Baylor, and he is hoping to get to Texas A&M and back to Ohio State as well in the near future.
Joe Brunner evaluates Buckeyes offer
Tuesday, we mentioned the recent scholarship offer Ohio State extended to 2022 offensive tackle Joe Brunner from Milwaukee. Brunner is ranked as the country’s No. 1 offensive tackle prospect in the sophomore class, and he told Lettermen Row that he was surprised a little by the Buckeyes interest.
“I was a little surprised by the offer,” Brunner said. “But more surprised at the timing of the offer. They were preparing for the Big Ten championship, so it was really their first chance to get out to see recruits during this period. For me to be one of the first recruits they came to see? That means a lot.”
The Buckeyes and every other program recruiting Brunner will likely be fighting an uphill battle. Wisconsin is the understandable favorite, but he intends to give every school a legitimate shot. Getting involved early is important for Ohio State and others.
“I am lucky to get these offers so early so I can take my time in deciding,” the 6-foot-6, 285-pound sophomore said. “They all have strong traditions of developing offensive lineman. That’s obviously important, and along with getting a good education, is a top priority. I think I have some really good choices so far, and I want to make sure I find the best fit for me.
“Obviously Wisconsin has a great tradition of developing offensive lineman and they have really done a great job of letting me know I am a priority and getting to know me.”
Brunner doesn’t know all that much about the Buckeyes to this point, but he is hoping to get a visit to the school scheduled around his basketball schedule.
“Ohio State wants to get me down as soon as possible, but with basketball, it will be hard to get there before spring,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll get to see a spring practice and then camp in the summer to get a chance to work with the coaches. I love that they are big and physical and they run the ball well.”
Ohio State offers 2022 Maryland linebacker
The last player the Buckeyes signed from Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic worked out pretty well for Ohio State. On Tuesday, Ryan Day’s program tried to get a head start on the recruitment of a player at the alma mater of Chase Young who could be the next big thing from the Maryland powerhouse program.
— JB (@JaishawnBarham) December 11, 2019
Jaishawn Barham is a 6-foot-3, 230-pound sophomore ranked as the No. 2 outside linebacker in the Class of 2022. The Buckeyes have become program No. 11 to offer the talented young linebacker, extending the opportunity just about a week after Kentucky and Michigan did the same.
Fast, aggressive and physically ahead of the majority of his peers, Barham is certainly a player to pay close attention to over the next two recruiting cycles. He has all the tools to become a 5-star prospect down the line.
Need more Ohio State recruiting #Stuff? Join the conversation below in the comments and sign up for Scarlet Sunrise, Lettermen Row’s morning newsletter that will get your day started with all the important Ohio State news you need to know. Prefer video? Follow Buckeyes football on YouTube with Lettermen Row. You can also get your recruiting fix by subscribing to Talking Stuff: The Ohio State Recruiting Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and Stitcher.