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 update checks in on an important weekend in the recruitment of Paris Johnson and his Cincinnati peers.
Big weekend for Ohio State, Cincinnati trio
There are a number of important storylines developing in the Class of 2020 for Ohio State, but it’s pretty clear that none are more important than what is happening with Paris Johnson, Darrion Henry and to a slightly-lesser-degree, Jaheim Thomas.
That trio of Cincinnati stars has been all over the southern United States in recent weeks, making visits to Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama, picking up scholarship offers and making Twitter proclamations at every stop. Rumors that Johnson, the 5-star offensive tackle who has been committed to Ohio State since last June, actually made a second unannounced visit to Georgia this week have percolated as well, adding to the intrigue and understandable concern about the status of his pledge.
As Johnson continues to tweet his world tour, Ohio State commitments like Gee Scott, Jr. and former players like Demetrius Knox, Dwayne Haskins and Johnnie Dixon have all tweeted in response, imploring the country’s top-ranked tackle to consider how his social media campaign is being perceived and how it could be affecting the school he plans to play for in the future.
On Saturday, Johnson — and Jaheim Thomas — are expected at Ohio State in what could become a watershed moment for both sides. If Johnson did visit Georgia in secret, the Buckeyes weren’t aware of it. That’s not acting in good faith and could cause some worry. Ohio State’s approach to this point has been hands-off with these recent trips for Johnson, understanding that he was planning to take visits following Urban Meyer’s retirement but believing those were all being made with open communication about them. If that’s not the case any longer, then there’s an important conversation that needs to happen and could occur this weekend.
On Friday, Darrion Henry and his family are expected to be at Ohio State, a pivotal moment for Ohio’s second-ranked prospect and his family. There will be a sitdown with Larry Johnson and the Buckeyes with the hopes of locking this recruitment up for good.
Wednesday afternoon, we wrote about why Ohio State had not yet offered the 6-foot-5, 220-pound Jaheim Thomas, and his visit this weekend is going to be as important as any other. This could be a chance for both sides to discuss what is needed and how things will be attacked moving forward. I am going to go on record right now and suggest that an offer could come this weekend — as long as Thomas is willing to consider camp visits in June to figure out exactly where he fits in the defensive schemes.
What happens this weekend could go a long way toward shaping Ryan Day’s first full recruiting class, even more so than the group of 50 or so recruits visiting last weekend.
Turner Corcoran drops Ohio State from consideration
One of the Buckeyes top offensive line targets in the Class of 2020 for much of the last year has decided he will no longer be considering Ohio State.
“I know this is a little out of the blue, but I’ve come to the realization that Ohio State is not gonna be in my future,” Turner Corcoran shared with Lettermen Row on Wednesday night. “I figured that I needed to stay closer to home for it to be easier on my family and myself.”
The country’s sixth-ranked offensive tackle had planned to visit Ohio State for the spring game on April 13, but that visit is no longer happening. The discussion with the Buckeyes coaching staff was a difficult one to have.
“They were caught a little off-guard,” Corcoran said. “I mean, they were all really supportive. They were very respectful of my decision and told me they were rooting for me.
“Honestly it felt like breaking up with a girlfriend because of how close I grew with that staff over there at Ohio State.”
Ohio State in top group for Texas A&M decommitment
The Buckeyes are still in the mix for Akinola Ogunbiyi, a 4-star offensive lineman from Kempner (Sugar Land, Texas) who recently decommitted from Texas A&M.
— AKI® (@AkinolaOgunbiyi) March 28, 2019
The Oklahoma Sooners are the perceived leader here, but Georgia, Texas A&M, Alabama and LSU also made the cut for the 6-foot-4, 330-pound lineman.
Ogunbiyi is the country’s 12th-ranked offensive guard in the Class of 2020.
Interesting defensive end prospect has Buckeyes in top 5
Following a visit to Ohio State last Saturday, 3-star defensive end Aaron Lewis, a 6-foot-5, 235-pound prospect from Williamstown (N.J.) included the Buckeyes in his own newly released top-5 schools.
— aaron.lewis84 (@aaron_lewis71) March 26, 2019
Lewis is New Jersey’s 12th-ranked prospect according the the 247Sports rankings despite being a 3-star according to the composite rankings. He’s every bit of 6-foot-5 and 235-pounds and may have been the most physically imposing recruit walking the sidelines of Ohio State last weekend.
— aaron.lewis84 (@aaron_lewis71) March 24, 2019
Ohio State is looking for at least two defensive ends in 2020 and Lewis could be a player to pay attention to as spring turns to summer.
Jaedon LeDee enters transfer portal
After one season with the Buckeyes on the hardwood, big man Jaedon LeDee has entered his name into the transfer portal, according to Bill Landis of The Athletic. The move is in no real way a surprise to Ohio State, which was already pursuing another center to add to the recruiting class and is in a tight battle to land Ibrahima Diallo to potentially close out the most impressive group in the Big Ten right now. Chris Holtmann also isn’t typically opposed to going a different route to fill that void, and that could be something to monitor after one of his former recruits at Butler, Joey Brunk, decided to pursue a graduate transfer.