When Doug Nester revealed early Wednesday that he would sign with Virginia Tech instead of Ohio State, the Buckeyes had extra incentive to land their other two offensive line targets on the official National Signing Day.
On Wednesday afternoon, four-star Hawaii lineman Enokk Vimahi signed with Ohio State. On Wednesday evening, three-star Indianapolis offensive tackle Dawand Jones did the same.
That puts the Buckeyes at the 85-player scholarship limit and completes their 17-member 2019 recruiting class.
“O-line was an area of concern for us,” Ohio State coach Ryan Day said. “We had to go out there and kind of uncover all the stones.”Join the conversation at Facebook.com/groups/BuckeyeXtraFans and connect with us on Twitter @BuckeyeXtra
In Vimahi’s case, that meant Day taking a commercial flight late last week to Hawaii for a three-hour visit before catching a red-eye back to Columbus.
Vimahi was considered a near-lock to sign with Southern California until he played at the All-American Bowl in San Antonio, Texas, with some Ohio State signees Garrett Wilson and Zach Harrison.
“The feedback we got about him was through the roof — (about him) and his family,” Day said. “That proved to be true. We thought he'd be a great fit here. We wouldn't just go over to Hawaii if it wasn't a good fit. It was. Then he came up for a visit, we all hit it off. That was great.”
At 6 feet 4½ and 263 pounds, Vimahi has the frame to play guard or tackle.
“Enokk is a very good athlete,” Day said. “He's a guy that we think can put on a lot of weight, get stronger. He's super-athletic. His father is one of his coaches. He from a young age has trained him to be an offensive lineman, but has done a lot of things with flexibility, body-weight stuff. He's very, very athletic, very agile. With his lower half, we think he's got the ability to put on a lot of weight.”
Vimahi’s plan is to attend college for one year before going on a two-year Mormon mission and then returning to school.
Jones, a 6-8, 360-pound tackle from Ben Davis High School, is considered more of a long-term project. He was also a Division I basketball prospect.
“He is a terrific two-sport athlete who was offered scholarships in both football and basketball,” Day said. “We love his athleticism and length. He comes from one of the premier high school programs in Indiana and the Midwest.”
Nester committed to Ohio State in August 2017. Though he never formally reneged on his pledge, it became clear that he was looking elsewhere lately, with Virginia Tech and Penn State the other options.
“Ohio State is always the best of the best and they continue to get great talent and great guys, but it’s a big city and I don’t know if I would fit in well there,” Nester told his hometown Herald-Dispatch of Huntington, West Virginia.
Ohio State’s 2019 recruiting class is ranked 14th nationally by 247Sports. That’s considerably lower than classes under Urban Meyer and behind No. 8 Michigan and No. 13 Penn State in the Big Ten, but much of that is because of the class’s size.
The Buckeyes had a small senior class, and a few players considered possibilities to enter the NFL draft, such as Jordan Fuller, Damon Arnette and K.J. Hill, elected to return to Ohio State.
In terms of ranking per prospect, the Buckeyes trail only Alabama and Georgia.
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