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, including today’s talk about lineman Nick Broeker’s official visit, bad news on Julian Fleming’s planned visit and more.
Nick Broeker sets official visit to Ohio State
We’ve talked a lot in recent weeks about Springfield (Ill.) 2019 offensive tackle Nick Broeker. He chatted with Lettermen Row last week and said he would absolutely visit Ohio State for an official soon. He had hoped it’d be for the Michigan game this coming weekend.
“We will definitely be taking a visit to Ohio State,” Broeker said. “We’ve talked about the Ohio State and Michigan game as a potential date.”
That will not be the date for Broeker, though, because his basketball schedule will get in the way, as he worried it might.
“I have a basketball tournament,” he said. “So, I would’ve missed three games. I’ll be heading there on Dec. 10.”
An offseason official visit does not have nearly the same juice as a visit for the Michigan game would, but for Broeker, this isn’t about that. It’s about ensuring he’s making the right choice between Ohio State and Ole Miss, where he’s been committed since June. He’ll take his official visit to Ole Miss two days before heading to Ohio State, though, so he’ll get a real chance to stack the sides against each other before making a final call.
Julian Fleming unable to visit for Michigan game
The Ohio State and Michigan game being moved to the weekend after Thanksgiving every year plays a weird role in recruiting. Sure, it’s a long weekend for prospects around the country, but it’s also one that is usually spent with family or on the football field trying to win a state title.
That second component is going to keep 5-star wide receiver Julian Fleming from visiting Ohio State this weekend as he’d had planned for the last month.
“I can’t make it,” Fleming told Lettermen Row on Monday. “We had a game rescheduled for Saturday.”
That game will determine if Fleming and Catawissa (Pa.) Southern Columbia get a shot to play for a state championship. Fleming did visit Ohio State already this month, taking a trip to Columbus for the game against Nebraska.
Ohio State inks top-10 2019 basketball class
It’s been a relatively decent Monday for the Ohio State basketball program.
Earlier in the day, the Buckeyes made their debut in the AP Poll after a two-win week, including a big victory at Creighton. Later, Ohio State and Chris Holtmann put the finishing touches on an extremely talented three-man recruiting class in the 2019 cycle when Belleville (Ill.) West power forward E.J. Liddell put pen to paper and officially becomes a Buckeye.
I will be signing Monday due to the snow today! 6:30 P.M. at Belleville West #buckeyenation 🔴⚪️🌰
— E.J. Liddell (@EasyE2432) November 16, 2018
5-star point guard DJ Carton signed his letter earlier in the day and 4-star small forward Alonzo Gaffney did the same on Nov. 14. The class, ranked as the country’s eighth-best group, may be small, but it has big-time talent. Each player is on the 2019 Naismith High School Boys’ Watch List as the nation’s best prep player. Only Ohio State, Villanova and Florida have three signees on the list.
All three members of the recruiting class are ranked as one of the top-50 players in the country by 247Sports.com.
Mershawn Rice and Ohio State staying in contact
Ohio State is still holding out hope that it can hang on with Jordan Battle, the 4-star defensive back from Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas who is committed to the program but engaged in heavy flirtation with Alabama and other programs.
If the Buckeyes lose Battle, there could be an all-out push to land another defensive back prospect — and one of the better ones in Ohio isn’t playing defensive back now. Reynoldsburg’s Mershawn Rice is committed to Purdue, but currently that’s as a wide receiver. Last week, rumors began to circulate that Jeff Brohm would be leaving the Boilermakers, and because of that a number of Purdue’s top commits are already being discussed around the Big Ten for potential flips.
Ohio State has tried to maintain its communication with Rice even before the scuttlebutt about Brohm’s future really kicked into full gear. Safeties coach Alex Grinch has been in contact, but the 6-foot-2, 200-pound athlete isn’t really concerned because he doesn’t think Jeff Brohm is going anywhere.
“I still talk to Grinch from time to time,” Rice told Lettermen Row. “I know [Brohm] isn’t leaving, so I haven’t put too much thought into it.”
Grinch and Ohio State believe Rice is a better prospect on the defensive side of the ball. He’s refused to consider that as his college future, but concedes now that if he were to make a switch, he’d be more than capable of doing it well. He’s played both sides of the ball with great success at Reynoldsburg.
“I’m starting to focus on wide receiver,” Rice said. “But I do feel like if I was to make that switch to defensive back, I could be good there.”
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.