Ohio State football | Key defenders commit to Buckeyes' 2020 class

Bill Rabinowitz

Ohio State added two big defensive pieces to its 2020 recruiting class Saturday when Cincinnati Princeton defensive lineman Darrion Henry and New Jersey linebacker Cody Simon committed to the Buckeyes.

Henry is the No. 2 overall prospect in Ohio, behind new Princeton teammate Paris Johnson. Johnson, an offensive tackle, is committed to Ohio State and seems secure to remain so after wavering following the Buckeyes’ coaching change from Urban Meyer to Ryan Day.

Simon, who’s listed at 6 feet 1 and 218 pounds, is the 154th-rated prospect nationally and No. 4 in talent-rich New Jersey.

“The offensive class they’ve assembled so far is tremendous,” Bucknuts recruiting analyst Bill Kurelic said. “Now they’re doing the same thing on the defensive side of the ball with (four-star cornerback) Clark Phillips last week and Simon and Henry today.”

The two commitments moved Ohio State’s national ranking to No. 4, overtaking Michigan and Georgia. The Buckeyes have 15 commitments

Henry, a 6-4½, 280-pounder, picked Ohio State over LSU, Tennessee, Georgia, Kentucky and his hometown Cincinnati Bearcats.

“It’s huge in that he’s a tremendous prospect,” Kurelic said. “He’s the No. 2 overall prospect in Ohio. He’s the first defensive lineman committed to Ohio State for 2020, and he’s an in-state kid, and Ryan Day is making recruiting the state of Ohio a priority.”

Henry is ranked 121st among all prospects nationally in the 247sports composite rankings and 11th among defensive tackles. He played defensive end last year for Princeton and is viewed as capable of playing both defensive end and tackle.

“He’s got a Big Ten-type body already,” Kurelic said. “He’s aggressive. He has kind of a nasty attitude on the field, and I mean that in a good way. And he runs pretty well for a guy as big as he is.”

Simon picked Ohio State over Nebraska and Penn State.

“I was choosing between three schools, and Ohio State was the one that really felt like home to me,” Simon said. “I talked to a lot of the players and really got what they felt about the school.

“It was actually kind of cool how highly they talked about the program and the coaches and the area. I was just really happy with what I heard.”

Simon said the Buckeyes recruited him as a middle linebacker, though he is listed as an outside linebacker on some recruiting sites.

“He will hit you,” Kurelic said. “He’s very capable of being outstanding at either one of those spots. He’s one of the best players on the East Coast.”


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