OSU signs 19 for ’23 class


While preparation continues for Ohio State’s Dec. 31 matchup with Georgia in the College Football Playoff, Wednesday was all about the next wave of talent that hopes to continue that success as 19 recruits signed their letters of intent to be Buckeyes during the early signing period.

The class currently ranks fifth in the country and is the top class in the Big Ten according to 247 Sports. Wednesday marked the beginning of the early signing period for athletes, although some have chosen to delay their commitments until the traditional National Signing Day on Feb. 1.

In what has become a regular occurrence under the leadership of receivers coach and recruiting juggernaut Brian Hartline, the strength of Ohio State’s class once again lies in the receiver position. Brandon Inniss, a 6-foot receiver out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, represents the lone five-star recruit and the only top-30 player currently in the class.

Inniss will be joined by a pair of fellow receivers and top-100 overall recruits in Rolesville, North Carolina product Noah Rogers and Bradenton, Florida product Carnell Tate. The trio combines to form, arguably, the best haul at any single position in the country, ensuring Hartline’s NFL factory of pass-catchers will be alive and well in the years to come.

Ohio State also grabbed a pair of impressive players along its two lines with the additions of offensive tackle Luke Montgomery, who is the top-ranked player in Ohio and 52nd nationally, and Hyattsville, Maryland defensive lineman Jason Moore, who ranks 65th nationally.

Cornerback Calvin Simpson-Hunt (79th), tight end Jelani Thurman (99th), defensive end Joshua Mickens (131st), and cornerback Jermaine Mathews (136th) round out Ohio State’s signees ranked inside 247 Sports’ top 150 recruits.

Safety Malik Hartford (163rd), linebacker Arvell Reese (198th), quarterback Lincoln Kienholz (205th), offensive lineman Joshua Padilla (218th), offensive lineman Austin Siereveld (249th), defensive lineman Will Smith (263rd), defensive lineman Kayden McDonald (278th), safety Cedrick Hawkins (282nd), receiver Bryson Rodgers (325th), and Miles Walker (486th) round out Ohio State’s current class.

Although the 19 current members of Ohio State’s recruiting class represent another strong group for head coach Ryan Day and his staff, much of the discussion surrounding the program on Wednesday was about who the Buckeyes were unable to land. Ohio State struck out on both of its biggest remaining priorities in the class when five-star defensive ends Damon Wilson and Matayo Uiagalelei, both thought to be Ohio State leans just weeks ago, elected to commit elsewhere on Wednesday.

Add in the flip of four-star cornerback Kayin Lee from Ohio State to Auburn on Wednesday, which marked the fifth flip of a verbal commitment to another program in this class, and Ohio State found itself limping to Wednesday’s finish line. Tight end Ty Lockwood (Alabama), cornerback Dijon Johnson (Florida), running back Mark Fletcher (Miami), and quarterback Brock Glenn (Florida State) had already previously decommitted, although Glenn’s departure was a mutual parting of ways as Ohio State began to look elsewhere at the quarterback position.

An additional Ohio State verbal commit, safety Jayden Bonsu, did not submit his letter of intent to Ohio State on Wednesday, clouding his place in the 2023 class and stirring up rumors of a potential flip to Miami.

During a press conference on Wednesday, Day was asked immediately about some of the hits the class has taken of late. Day chose to celebrate the players who have committed to the program, however, instead highlighting the relationships forged between his staff and the recruits who want to be there.

“For me, on a day like today, it’s like, alright, these 19 guys that have signed right now, they deserve the recognition on a day like today because it’s a great group,” Day said. “And I think when you look at the quality of the people that we’re bringing in, I think that’s the focus right now and it has to be for us. It’s not so much maybe who we don’t get but who are we bringing into the program. I’m proud of our guys, and they’re going to have an unbelievable opportunity here at Ohio State for sure.”

Of course, in the new age of NIL dominating the college recruiting landscape, Day and Ohio State must continue learning how to properly navigate the scene to remain a viable destination for the nation’s top recruits. As bidding wars become the new standard for landing elite talent, Ohio State has recently made it well known it has to be able to do more to entice those players to sign in Columbus.

Day faced several questions about the state of recruiting and Ohio State’s ability to remain competitive on the recruiting trail during Wednesday’s press conference, although he was generally reluctant to discuss the matter at any length. For now, he has no choice but to focus on the players who chose to stick with Ohio State and what the program can offer beyond monetary value and instant paydays.

“It says a lot about our guys,” Day said of those who remained committed. “Seven guys from Ohio, 19 guys here total. These are guys who want to be Buckeyes, and they know the opportunity here. And there’s a lot that comes with deciding on where to go to a school. A lot of these guys did it for the right reasons. What I mean by that is focusing on the things that truly matter in this case, and one of those things, first off, is the development at Ohio State. It’s the ability to come in and get an unbelievable education. It’s being a part of a program that’s going to be in the national championship hunt every year. But also being a part of an unbelievable culture and the city of Columbus.”

He added, “There are just so many things that come with being a Buckeye that these guys recognized early on.”

By Dillon Davis

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Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.

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