Ohio State has signed two players for its 2017 recruiting class, but the Buckeyes are still looking to add more to the class.
Assuming that Trevor Thompson does not return for his senior season, Ohio State still has two scholarships available for next year.
Here’s a look at three names, two of which have popped up recently and a third that has been around for some time now.
Thomas Allen, SG, Wolfeboro (N.H.) Brewster Academy
Last fall, Ohio State was considered among the leaders for the 6-2, 180-pound guard. He even took an official visit to campus Oct. 7 after having visited Nebraska, North Carolina State and Saint Louis previously.
One day after visiting the Wolfpack, Allen committed to and eventually signed with the program. But after the program parted ways with coach Mark Gottfried, Allen has asked for and been given his release from his letter-of-intent, making him a free agent once again.
He was the lone signee to the program. In an interview with The (Raleigh) News & Observer, though, Allen said that wasn’t the only reason for his decision to leave the school. Since transferring to Brewster for his senior year, Allen said he’d gotten calls from a number of schools and was starting to feel that he had rushed his commitment.
It’s unclear whether Ohio State would be interested in picking things back up with Allen, but at one point there was enough interest to bring him to campus on an official visit. According to 247Sports, Allen was visited by Nebraska shortly after his decommitment. Wednesday, Allen retweeted a list of schools to have contacted him since his decommitment: Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Texas, Auburn, Tennessee, Providence, Butler, Xavier and Nebraska.
According to the News & Observer, Allen is planning to visit some schools after the college basketball season ends Monday and pick one in mid-April.
Scout.com lists Allen as a four-star recruit and the No. 33 shooting guard in the country. 247Sports and Rivals.com list him as a three-star prospect.
Mark Smith, PG, Edwardsville, Ill.
This might be the most likely publicly known name out there on Ohio State’s recruiting board, and the Buckeyes are far from the only team showing interest in the 6-5, 225-pound former baseball prospect.
Of the top 100 national recruits rated by 247Sports, only 12 of them are still uncommitted. Allen is one of them, checking in at No. 92 nationally. As a result, Kentucky has recently shown interest and Michigan State’s Tom Izzo paid him an in-house visit complete with scholarship offer, which according to The (Champagne-Urbana) News-Gazette is Smith’s 13th high-major offer this calendar year.
Illinois, under new coach Brad Underwood, could be making keeping Smith home a high priority.
Ohio State offered him a scholarship in late February. Smith was initially slated to visit the Buckeyes last weekend, but the visit got moved.
Scout, Rivals and 247Sports all list Smith as a four-star prospect.
M.J. Walker, SG, Jonesboro (Ga.) Lithia Springs
Of the three names, this one has the biggest upside but is arguably the longest shot for the Buckeyes. A five-star recruit and McDonald’s All-American, Walker was offered long ago but hasn’t mentioned Ohio State in some time.
That is, until practice this week leading into the All-American game, when in an interview with Scout he listed the Buckeyes as a school still kind-of, sort-of recruiting him.
“UCLA, Kansas, Virginia Tech, Maryland, Ohio State, Florida State, UNLV was talking about something,” he said. “These are just a couple of the schools I’m thinking about maybe.”
The 6-5, 205-pound Walker is rated the No. 4 shooting guard in the country by 247Sports and the No. 22 overall prospect. ESPN ranks him 19th nationally and the No. 4 shooting guard.
Florida State looks to be a leader for Walker, but the senior told Scout he’s looking to take some visits soon and that he’s not in a hurry to make a decision.
Also, Ohio State assistant coach Greg Paulus still follows Walker on Twitter. He doesn’t follow Allen.