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Key Ohio State target Malaki Branham set to announce college decision

Adam Jardy
ajardy@dispatch.com

Malaki Branham, the top Ohioan in the class of 2021 and Ohio State’s top recruiting priority for the class, is set to announce his college decision.

Branham, who is a five-star recruit according to some services but is listed as a four-star prospect in the 247Sports.com composite rankings, posted to Twitter that he will announce his college commitment via social media Wednesday at 2:22 p.m.

In a text message to The Dispatch, Branham said he did not have a list of finalists that he wanted to announce. The 6-foot-4, 175-pound combo guard from Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary holds offers from the likes of Ohio State, Xavier, Louisville, Alabama and others but has never listed a group of top schools or favorites. 247Sports ranks him as the No. 27 recruit in the nation.

The Buckeyes currently have two in-state verbal commitments for their class of 2021 in four-star guard Meechie Johnson Jr. from Garfield Heights and four-star forward Kalen Etzler from Convoy Crestview. Both have spoken publicly about their desire to add Branham to the class, and Ohio State is known to have made a strong push for some time to land him.

““I’m really hoping to get Malaki (Branham),” Etzler told The Dispatch in June. “I’m pretty close with him. I give him his distance, but I hope he comes through and knows that this is home and we’d take him in.”

Branham took an official visit to Ohio State last fall, where he met Clark Kellogg and discussed comparisons to D’Angelo Russell with the coaching staff. As a junior, he led St. Vincent-St. Mary to the regional semifinals before his season was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In his final game of the season, Branham scored 30 points and added five rebounds and five steals. He was a finalist for Ohio Mr. Basketball.

Branham discussed his situation and the pandemic in this story.

Throughout, he has remained mostly tight-lipped about his recruitment and which schools he might be favoring. Wednesday, that will come to an end.

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy