With 21 players already signed to national letters of intent, the Ohio State 2018 recruiting class is done … almost.
“I don't think it's over,” coach Urban Meyer said.
Specifically, he was talking about recruiting players from Ohio, of which there were just four in the group that signed Wednesday during the first day of the early signing period. Some see that as a disparity, and he does, too, though he and his staff also look at recruiting from a national perspective.
But his comment also related to what comes next for the Buckeyes and their 2018 class, which at the moment is No. 2 in the nation behind Georgia in the 247Sports composite of the major recruiting service ratings. Ohio State would still like to get at least two defensive ends and at least one offensive tackle in the February signing phase, and Rasheed Walker of Maryland is a name to keep in mind for that tackle spot.
One of the players Georgia signed Wednesday was defensive end Brenton Cox, a five-star prospect from Stockbridge, Georgia, who had been committed to Ohio State until decommitting three weeks ago. That’s where Meyer’s version of “it’s not over till it’s over” comes into play in terms of recruiting Ohio.
“I know there's at least one more that we're holding onto because he has a signing date or something,” Meyer said.
That would refer to Tyreke Smith, who is rated No. 4 among weakside defensive end prospects nationally. Because of NCAA rules, Meyer wasn’t allowed to name Smith, but the need, as outlined by the defection of Cox, and the proximity — Smith is from Cleveland Heights — narrowed it down.
Also still in Ohio State’s crosshairs is defensive end Jayson Oweh of Blairstown, New Jersey, who has let recruiting analysts know his list has been trimmed to Ohio State and Penn State.
The Buckeyes hoped to sign multiple defensive ends because they are losing Tyquan Lewis and Jalyn Holmes from their top-four rotation on this year’s team. Many believe fourth-year junior Sam Hubbard will declare for the NFL draft after the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 29 against Southern California.
Ohio State signed Pickerington North's Alex Williams, a late addition to the class. Although analysts believed Williams was a quick substitute for Cox, Meyer indicated the 6-foot-6, 250-pound Williams could wind up as a tight end or a defensive end. That means the Buckeyes have no true defensive ends in this class.
Smith and Oweh are expected to play in the All-America Game on Jan. 4 in Orlando, Florida, where each tentatively has planned to reveal his college choice.
“I have long said I expected the Buckeyes to land one of those two,” Bucknuts recruiting analyst Bill Kurelic said. “I feel they have a great chance at landing Smith. I think they have a reasonable chance at landing Oweh, too.”