The true measure of coach Chris Holtmann’s first recruiting class at Ohio State won’t be known for years. And technically, the four players the Buckeyes signed Wednesday for the class of 2018 aren’t even his first class, considering the summertime additions of freshmen Kyle Young and Musa Jallow.
But one day shy of five months after accepting a job, any coach would have been happy to announce signing four players. The fact the Buckeyes signed these four gave Holtmann something more to celebrate.
“You’re not going to address every need in your first recruiting class,” Holtmann said. “That’s going to take some time. I think these guys are going to bring a great competitiveness. They’re great kids and come from really good families and will, I think, enjoy being here.”
The four are a step toward filling the need for bodies in the backcourt. C.J. Jackson and Jallow are the only recruited scholarship guards on the roster slated to return next season, making the additions of Luther Muhammad and Duane Washington key to the class.
Justin Ahrens, from Versailles, gives Holtmann one in-state recruit, and developing forward Jaedon LeDee could play either forward position and is the highest-ranked member of the class, according to ESPN.
All will play important roles as Holtmann tries to rebuild the Buckeyes. 247Sports ranks the class 17th nationally.
“It’s been well-documented that we are in the process of rebuilding our roster, and we’re just really excited about adding these four to the group that we currently have,” Holtmann said. “This group’s been a lot of fun to coach, and we’re excited about adding these four guys to it.”
Washington and Muhammad are combo guards who Holtmann said will be able to play at the same time. Muhammad’s high school coach, Nick Mariniello, said Muhammad will enter Ohio State as one of the nation's top two-way players in his class.
LeDee, meanwhile, has grown at least 4 inches in high school.
“His development is interesting because he grew up being a three, and then he grew,” Holtmann said.
Ahrens initially committed to the Buckeyes in the summer of 2016, under coach Thad Matta, but then opted to reopen his recruitment when Matta was fired in June. For now, Ahrens is the final member of a class that committed in a span of six days.
“I told him we should have a trophy up in my office for the head coach that saw you play the most in July,” Holtmann said. “I would get it, for sure. We wanted him to feel that. We really like what he’s going to bring.”
The Buckeyes still have scholarships available, but Holtmann might not use them to avoid the roster becoming unbalanced. He confirmed that the coaches will continue to look for another player in the class, probably a guard, but he added that the Buckeyes might try to lure a graduate transfer in the spring.