Meet Ohio State’s early signing recruits

Joey Kaufman,Bill Rabinowitz
[Adam Cairns]

S Lejond Cavazos

6-1, 196

Bradenton, Florida

Cavazos is expected to be the only signee from Florida in Ohio State’s recruiting class, a deviation from the Urban Meyer era in which it inked multiple players from the state, benefiting from Meyer’s ties as a former coach for the Gators. Cavazos is a versatile recruit and could end up as either a cornerback or safety for the Buckeyes. Top SEC programs, including Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana State, also recruited him. Cavazos recommitted in April after decommitting in the aftermath of Meyer’s retirement.

WR Mookie Cooper

5-9, 193

St. Louis

Cooper was ruled ineligible for his senior season after he transferred high schools, leaving Trinity Catholic to join Pattonville in Maryland Heights, Missouri. The move was sparked by an intention to graduate a semester early in order to enroll at Ohio State before spring practices. As a junior in 2018, he helped Trinity win its first state championship by catching 28 passes for 834 yards and nine touchdowns. Cooper was committed to Texas for a month last spring before settling on the Buckeyes by the summer.

DL Jacolbe Cowan

6-5, 262

Charlotte, North Carolina

While Ohio State assembled much of its recruiting class in the summer, Cowan was one of three prospects to commit during the fall. Recruiting analysts like his long frame as a lineman, and he can play multiple positions on the defensive line as an edge rusher or tackle. Cowan had 42 tackles and 12 sacks during his senior season, helping Providence Day win a state championship in Division II for North Carolina’s private schools.

WR Julian Fleming

6-2, 199

Catawissa, Pennsylvania

Fleming is the highest-rated prospect in the Buckeyes' recruiting class, one of two five-star commits, and the second overall player in the nation behind defensive tackle Bryan Bresee, a Clemson commit, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings. He picked Ohio State over Penn State. He participated in the long jump in spring and is regarded for his overall athleticism. Among the incoming class of receivers, Fleming could have the best chance to play right away, as seniors K.J. Hill, Austin Mack and Binjimen Victor depart.

OL Josh Fryar

6-5, 300

Beech Grove, Indiana

The addition of Fryar continues a trend for the Buckeyes as they have pursued more prospects with greater familiarity with the center position rather than relying on converted guards or tackles. Last offseason, they brought in Harry Miller, a top-ranked center recruit from Georgia. Fryar has played both guard and center in and could ultimately compete with Miller for the spot once Josh Myers, currently a redshirt sophomore, departs. Fryar also plays on his high school basketball team.

DE Ty Hamilton

6-3, 250


Hamilton is the younger brother of DaVon Hamilton, the Buckeyes’ nose tackle who blossomed into an all-conference standout over a five-year college career despite a lower recruiting pedigree. The younger Hamilton is similarly ranked as a three-star recruit, though more of an edge rusher. Earlier this month, he helped lead Pickerington Central to the Division I state title, its second in three years, and was all over the field, totaling more than 100 tackles during his senior season. He also lined up at outside linebacker.

DL Darrion Henry

6-5, 279


Henry is the second-highest rated recruit in Ohio behind Paris Johnson, his teammate at Princeton. He excelled as a pass rusher in high school, and recruiting analysts remarked on his quickness at the line of scrimmage. But he is big enough that he could be a candidate to find himself as a defensive tackle for the Buckeyes. The Buckeyes got a commitment from Henry in the summer after staving off pushes from Alabama, Louisiana State and Tennessee. Among the three schools he took official visits, Henry had first visited Louisiana State.

OG Jakob James

6-5, 285


James helped Elder reach the Division I state high school championship game this season before ultimately losing to Pickerington Central, where he faced defensive lineman Ty Hamilton, a fellow Ohio State commit. Though projected as a guard by several recruiting services, he also lined up at left tackle this fall. James was the Greater Catholic League South Division's co-offensive lineman of the year with teammate Luke Kandra, who is headed to Louisville. Listed at 285 by 247Sports, he is the lightest offensive lineman commit along with Luke Wypler.

OT Paris Johnson Jr.

6-7 290


Johnson, one of the two five-star prospects in the Buckeyes’ recruiting class, was the top-ranked player in Ohio. He played his senior season of high school at Princeton after transferring from St. Xavier in an effort to graduate early. Johnson is regarded for his imposing size and several video clips of his knockdown blocks went viral on social media during his senior season. He was the first player to commit in the class in the summer of 2018, though continued to take some official visits, including to Georgia and Louisiana State last spring.

OT Trey Leroux

6-8, 355


In purely physical terms, Leroux is the biggest recruit in this class and one of three who is listed at more than 300 pounds by 247Sports. He committed in March as the Buckeyes pursued more Ohio players during the first recruiting cycle under coach Ryan Day and accepted their commitments earlier. Though they were poised to sign eight in-state, Leroux was the only one from northeast Ohio, as six were from Cincinnati and Ty Hamilton was from suburban Columbus.

OLB Mitchell Melton

6-3, 235

Olney, Maryland

While a three-star prospect, Melton was also recruited by other Midwest blue-blood programs. Michigan and Notre Dame were once the favorites to secure his commitment, and he took official visits to the schools in June before pledging to the Buckeyes. Considered a talented pass rusher, Melton had 19 sacks during his senior season and helped Our Lady of Good Counsel High School win the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference for the first time since 2012. Some recruiting analysts have wondered if Melton might ultimately move to defensive end, or he could serve as a stand-up pass rusher.

QB Jack Miller

6-4, 210

Scottsdale, Arizona

Miller’s senior season was limited by an injury that cost him to miss four games before he returned in mid-October. In seven games for Chaparral High School, he threw for 1,621 yards, 15 touchdowns and four interceptions, with a 59.1 percent completion percentage. He had a particularly productive high school career, starting as a freshman at Scottsdale Christian Academy, before transferring, and finished with more than 9,000 passing yards. Miller was one of the first 2020 recruits to reaffirm his commitment to Ohio State when Urban Meyer announced his retirement last year. His family is friends with Tim Tebow.

S Lathan Ransom

6-0½, 193

Tucson, Ariz.

The athletic safety from Salpointe Catholic High School is one of five defensive backs who reaffirmed his commitment to Ohio State after Jeff Hafley’s hiring by Boston College. He’s the No. 5 safety and 79th overall prospect in the 247Sports composite rankings. He has good size and should be able to add bulk. Ransom is known as an instinctive player who relishes big hits. He’s versatile enough to play nickel cornerback as well as safety, where he has a lot of range. According to, Simon had 106 tackles in 12 games this season, including six for loss, and four interceptions.

TE Joe Royer

6-5, 225


The Elder product is rated the No. 11 tight end nationally in the 247Sports composite ranking. With Luke Farrell, Jeremy Ruckert and Jake Hausmann back next year, Royer will have time to develop. He has the frame to add weight to aid with blocking. As a receiver, he’s good at creating separation because of his skill as a route-runner. He’s adept at catching jump balls and can also bend for low passes. Royer was offered by Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Penn State and Wisconsin. He’s joined in OSU’s recruiting class by Elder offensive guard Jakob James.

WR Gee Scott Jr.

6-2½, 207

Sammamish, Wash.

The Eastside Catholic High School product caught 76 passes for 1,453 yards with 15 touchdowns this season for the 3A state champions. Scott is the No. 12-rated wide receiver and No. 62 overall prospect in the 247Sports composite rankings. Scott is a polished receiver with excellent hands. With 4.6 speed, he’s not a burner, but he has the size and body control to win 50-50 balls. Scott is known as a tenacious blocker, which is essential for Ohio State receivers.

K Jake Seibert

6-1, 190


The Buckeyes add another kicker from La Salle High School. Ohio State already has Drue Chrisman as its punter, and now it will add the country’s No. 2-rated place-kicker. Seibert made 9 of 13 field goal attempts this season for the Division II state champion. He had a 47-yarder in the regional final. Seibert also played wide receiver for the Lancers.

LB Cody Simon

6-1, 218

Jersey City, N.J.

His St. Peter’s Prep coach called him the heartbeat of the team because of his maturity, versatility and talent. According to the 247Sports composite rankings, Simon is the No. 9 outside linebacker and 123rd overall prospect in the country. He has been timed at 4.53 in the 40 and has excellent agility and quickness. Simon diagnoses plays quickly and is an excellent tackler. He played his best against top competition. Simon has the frame to add weight without sacrificing athleticism.

WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba

6-1, 188

Rockwall, Texas

Smith-Njigba had a monster senior season to raise his stock to the No. 3 wide receiver and No. 22 overall prospect in the 247Sports composite rankings. He had 104 catches for an astounding 2,094 yards and 34 touchdown catches against top-flight Dallas-area competition. Smith-Njigba is skilled at adjusting to the ball and has excellent hands. He also has the agility to shake defenders after the catch. Smith-Njigba is a good route-runner, with the ability to sell moves on defensive backs. His brother, Canaan, plays in the New York Yankees’ system.

QB C.J. Stroud

6-2½, 194

Rancho Cucamonga, California

Stroud didn't become a varsity starter until his junior year and so initially flew under the radar. His recruiting profile jumped after he was named the MVP of the Elite 11, the prestigious passing competition for rising high school seniors. Stroud is the sixth-ranked quarterback in the 247Sports composite rankings. Ohio State coach Ryan Day said Wednesday that Stroud and fellow 2020 quarterback Jack Miller will compete for the backup spot behind Justin Fields next year.

OT Grant Toutant

6-7, 320

Warren, Mich.

The De La Salle Collegiate lineman’s senior season was cut short when he sustained a torn labrum in September. That no doubt hurt his status in the 247Sports composite rankings (37th offensive tackle, 465th overall). Toutant committed to Penn State in November 2018 before flipping to Ohio State in June. Toutant has a huge frame with long arms but still has room to grow and get stronger. He’s still fairly new to the offensive line and therefore a little raw. Earlier in his athletic career, he participated in gymnastics as well as basketball, and that has helped his footwork. He’s more of a project, especially as he heals from the injury, but has plenty of potential.

CB Ryan Watts

6-2½, 187

Little Elm, Texas

Watts committed to Oklahoma before switching to the Buckeyes in October. He is a bit of a late bloomer but has all the attributes to become a standout. He’s the No. 17 cornerback and 258th overall prospect in the 247Sports composite rankings. Watts is big for a cornerback with long arms and has sub-4.6 speed in the 40. He’ll need to work on his ball skills and his tackling and will have to get stronger, though he’s shown a willingness to be physical in press coverage.

OLB Kourt Williams

6-1, 216

Bellflower, Calif.

Williams comes from St. John Bosco, the high school that produced current Buckeye standout right guard Wyatt Davis and was ranked No. 1 nationally by Maxpreps. Williams is listed as an outside linebacker but also has the speed – 4.6 in the 40 – to play safety. He’s ranked 153rd overall and 11th at linebacker in the 247Sports composite rankings. Williams is an excellent blitzer off the edge and plays with good aggression. Off the field, Williams is an excellent student and considered a natural leader.

RB Miyan Williams

5-10, 210


The Winton Woods star flipped from Iowa State to give the Buckeyes a late running back commitment after their top targets committed elsewhere. But Williams has the talent to be more than a consolation prize. He ran for more than 5,000 yards in his high school career. He’s on the short side but he’s stout enough to be an every-down back and has a strong work ethic. Williams runs with a physical style. The biggest knock on Williams is his lack of elite speed -- 4.74 in the 40. He’s ranked as the No. 46 running back and 622nd overall prospect in the 247Sports composite rankings.

C Luke Wypler

6-3½, 285

Montvale, N.J.

The St. Joseph Regional lineman played mostly tackle in high school but is projected to snap the ball in college. Wypler is strong, smart and athletic and plays with excellent leverage. He has good speed for a lineman and is competitive. Wypler probably needs some time to adjust to being an interior lineman, but the skills are there to be a standout. He’s the No. 2 center and No. 96th overall prospect in the 247Sports composite rankings. Off the field, Wypler is a free spirit. He has skydived in New Zealand and even tried his hand at stand-up comedy.

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