Ohio State football | Early signing period mostly drama-free so far for Buckeyes

Joey Kaufman
Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Ryan Day prepares to lead the Buckeyes onto the field before a NCAA Division I college football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday, October 26, 2019 at Ohio Stadium. [Joshua A. Bickel]

Lejond Cavazos became the first of Ohio State’s five committed defensive backs to sign his letter of intent with the program on Wednesday, beginning the early signing period that runs over three days.

In its announcement, the school listed Cavazos as a cornerback, though he can also play safety.

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The status of the Buckeyes’ crop of defensive back commits carries some uncertainty this week amid the pending departure of defensive co-coordinator Jeff Hafley, also the secondary coach. Hafley is leaving to become Boston College’s coach after the College Football Playoff.

>> Meet Ohio State’s early signing recruits

Along with Cavazos, a four-star recruit who played at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, safety Lathan Ransom, from Tucson, Arizona, and cornerback Ryan Watts, from Little Elm, Texas, signed later Wednesday morning.

Other commits, including Clark Phillips III, a cornerback from La Habra, California, who visited Utah last weekend, was to sign Thursday, and Cameron Martinez, a two-way standout who also played safety, told media outlets late Tuesday that he planned to postpone his signing until the traditional date in February.

Hafley had been the primary recruiter for Martinez, who is from Muskegon, Michigan, and was to spurn the in-state Wolverines, the Buckeyes’ archrival.

The initial hours of the early signing period were otherwise drama-free for the Buckeyes as they inked most of their class, signing 21 players by mid-morning.

At 8 a.m., more than a dozen of the 25 commits had signed letters of intent, the school announced, including two of their most decorated recruits, a pair of five-star prospects, wide receiver Julian Fleming, from Catawissa, Pennsylvania, and offensive tackle Paris Johnson Jr., from Cincinnati.

Two hours later, 22 players had signed, including receiver Mookie Cooper defensive lineman Jacolbe Cowan, offensive lineman Josh Fryar, defensive lineman Ty Hamilton, defensive lineman Darrion Henry, offensive lineman Trey Leroux, outside linebacker Mitchell Melton, quarterback Jack Miller, tight end Joe Royer, kicker Jake Seibert, receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba, receiver Gee Scott Jr., linebacker Cody Simon, offensive lineman Grant Toutant, running back Miyan Williams and offensive lineman Luke Wypler.

Miller’s signing came as the Buckeyes await an announcement from C.J. Stroud, another four-star passer who is from Rancho Cucamonga, California.

Stroud was scheduled to reveal his commitment in a televised ceremony at 12:30 p.m., a half-hour before Ohio State coach Ryan Day was scheduled to hold a news conference.

If the Buckeyes sign two quarterbacks in this class, it would be a rare development, something it has previously done only twice since 2002.



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