Today marks the start of a crucial busy recruiting period for Chris Holtmann and his new staff at Ohio State.

This evening, the Buckeyes are hosting four-star prospect Noah Locke on an official visit. The 6-2, 160-pound product of Owings Mills (Md.) McDonogh School chose them over Kansas as the final team to get an official visit, and he will get a firsthand look at the program for the next two days.

247Sports.com ranks Locke as the No. 15 point guard in the nation and the No. 76 overall prospect.

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Ohio State is Locke’s first destination. He’ll take official visits to Providence (Aug. 31), Xavier (Sept. 9), Michigan (Sept. 16) and Florida (Sept. 30).

Locke is just the first of many visits upcoming for Holtmann’s staff. Before the middle of October, the Buckeyes could host more than a dozen recruits on official visits.

The football team will host Oklahoma on Sept. 8, and that will be a big recruiting weekend for the basketball team as well. Monday, four-star small forward prospect Jaedon LeDee from Houston (Texas) The Kinkaid School announced that he will use an official visit to check out the Buckeyes that weekend.

He won’t be alone. That weekend, the Buckeyes will also host two high-priority guard prospects: Elijah Weaver from Oldsmar (Fla.) Christian School and Luther Muhammad from Jersey City (N.J.) Hudson Catholic. Nationally, 247Sports lists Weaver as the No. 9 point guard, Muhammad as the No. 14 shooting guard and LeDee as the No. 30 small forward.

On Sept. 20, the Buckeyes will host rising three-star shooting guard Eric Hunter from Indianapolis Tindley School. 247Sports lists him as the No. 24 prospect at his position.

Then comes another big weekend. On Sept. 22, Ohio State will host a pair of four-star prospects from Florida: point guard Michael Devoe from Montverde Academy and power forward Darius Days from Gainesville The Rock School. They are nationally rated 16th and 20th, respectively, at their positions.

A pair of Ohioans will also take official visits that weekend. Four-star combo guard Dwayne Cohill from Parma Heights Holy Name will also visit, as will Versailles shooting guard Justin Ahrens. Cohill is the nation’s No. 7 combo guard prospect, while Ahrens, a former Ohio State verbal commitment, is ranked 43rd at his position but figures to climb after a strong summer.

Finally, on Oct. 13, the Buckeyes will host three-star power forward Riley Battin from Oak Park, California, for an official visit. He’s rated as the No. 50 prospect at his position.

Ohio State has one verbal commitment for the class of 2018: Torrence Watson, a three-star shooting guard from St. Louis (Mo.) Whitfield School. Holtmann is likely looking to sign a four-man class with two more guards and one post player.

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy