Ohio State Buckeyes offer five-star 2026 Ohioan Marcus Johnson
The approach was thorough if nothing else.
For the last two weeks, Marcus Johnson has showed his talents on the EYBL circuit during the spring live evaluation period. Among the many college coaches to watch the 2026 guard from Garfield Heights, Ohio, was Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann, who watched Johnson play multiple games.
So, too, did associate head coach Jake Diebler. And Ohio State assistant Jack Owens. And when assistant Mike Netti took in Johnson’s final game, that made it a clean sweep for Ohio State’s coaching staff.
When the Buckeyes reached out an offered a scholarship Monday, it left an impression not only because of what the offer meant but the manner in which it was done.
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“We’ve been offered by a lot of schools,” Sonny Johnson, Marcus’ father and coach, told The Dispatch. “Just the way they have been recruiting him has been very special. The way they recruited him has been top-notch. The way they’ve been coming to check out his games and see him has been very impressive.”
As Johnson’s father said, it’s not his first offer. West Virginia was the first to offer the younger Johnson, and it did so before his freshman season. Since then, Alabama, Arizona, LSU, Georgia Tech, Ohio and others have also offered, many of them in recent days.
For the Johnson family, though, this was one they wanted.
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“We’ve got a lot of offers before and there’s nothing like getting an offer from your home state, honestly, The Ohio State,” Sonny Johnson said. “Those are some great guys, some special coaches there. I knew them from before, but I knew they wanted to make sure it was right. So to receive an offer from him after how they evaluated him as a player, that meant the most because I think they watched and seen what they think he can be in the future.”
Listed at 6-1, 175 pounds, Johnson is a five-star prospect and the No. 16 player in the nation in ESPN’s 2026 recruiting rankings. He’s from a basketball family – his father played at Ohio and Cleveland State; his uncle, Demetrius, played at Kent State and Purdue Fort Wayne; his older brother, Sonny Jr., plays for Detroit Mercy; his cousin, Meechie, played for Ohio State and transferred to South Carolina – so there is a solid grasp on what to look for in a college.
According to Sonny Johnson Sr., the goal is to commit somewhere before his junior year.
“With the transfer portal being what it is, it’s good for high school kids to have these offers to get a jump start on the school that’s recruiting them,” he said. “If you find a school who wants you, who likes you, you’ve got to take advantage of that opportunity because for the most point, these colleges are not recruiting high school kids like that unless you’re a top-100, top-50 kid for the most point.”
With a timeframe in mind and a prized offer in hand, there’s more work to do. Johnson’s father said he has plenty of room for improvement when it comes to his game and that he’ll be working on getting stronger and learning the game as he matures.
Monday night, though, was about an exciting phone call from Ohio State.
“They called and said they definitely feel he has a big upside and they like what they’ve seen,” Johnson Sr. said. “It was special, because Ohio State, for 90% of the kids in the state of Ohio, it’s their dream school. Nothing like being a Buckeye.”
The offer is believed to be Ohio State's first for the 2026 class. The Buckeyes have one commitment in the class of 2024, which could have as few as two players, in four-star guard John "Juni" Mobley. ESPN ranks him as the No. 39 player in his class.