It wasn’t long after a shocking loss that Ohio State made a step toward building its future. Following Saturday’s 58-57 loss to Nebraska at Value City Arena, coach Thad Matta officially extended a scholarship offer to sophomore point guard Jeremiah Francis from Pickerington Central.

Francis, a four-star member of the class of 2019 according to both ESPN and 247Sports.com, is rated the No. 2 prospect in Ohio for his class by the latter.

“I knew they’d been wanting to offer for a while now,” Central coach Eric Krueger told The Dispatch. “I think they just wanted to do it the right way in person. There’s a lot going on. They wanted to do it at the right time.”

The Ohio State offer was exciting for Francis, Krueger said.

“He’s still a young kid,” he said. “He’s only a sophomore. All the recruiting process is starting for him. Obviously, being here in Columbus, he was excited to get that offer.”

Francis is the son of Jerry Francis, who scored 1,486 points for the Buckeyes from 1986-89.

Named first-team all-district and all-conference, Francis averaged more than 15 points per game for the Tigers this season. He also holds offers from Purdue, Nebraska, TCU and West Virginia and is entertaining interest from a growing number of schools.

“Him getting ready to go into summer prior to his junior year, that’s always a big summer for kids with AAU,” Krueger said. “I think he’ll have a lot of offers this summer. I think it’s important for Ohio State to offer now and start building that relationship because I think he’ll continue to get offers.”

After scoring 27 points in a win at Westerville South in early January, Francis said he hoped his performance sent a message to the Ohio State coaches in attendance.

Now that Francis has the offer, Krueger said the sophomore doesn’t seem to be in a major rush to make a decision. In its “crystal ball” projection, 247 gives the Buckeyes a 100 percent chance of landing Francis.

“He’s a scoring point guard,” Krueger said. “He’s doing a lot of things, but he can score. He’s really hard to stop, both full-court and in half-court because he shoots the ball so well. If he gets going downhill, he’s really tough.”