Ohio State football: 5 things to know about the Buckeyes’ recruiting in Cincinnati

One of Ohio’s top football prospects for 2020 is set to announce his college decision Saturday.

Darrion Henry, a four-star prospect from Princeton High School in Cincinnati, is the No. 11 defensive tackle in the country and the No. 121 player in the country according to 247Sports Composite rankings.

He led the Greater Miami Conference with 8.5 sacks last season and led the Vikings with 61 tackles. He also forced three fumbles, recovered two and had two catches for 29 yards.

Henry previously named a final six of Cincinnati, Kentucky, LSU, Tennessee, Georgia and Ohio State.

The only player ahead of him in 247’s state rankings is Paris Johnson Jr., an offensive lineman who will be his teammate this fall after transferring from St. Xavier.

>>RELATED: How Ryan Day can beef up in-state recruiting without unnecessary risk 

Johnson committed to Ohio State nearly a year ago and remains listed as a verbal Buckeye despite taking some visits around the country in the wake of Urban Meyer’s retirement.

Could Johnson and Henry be teammates again in 2020? Only time will tell.

Here is a look at Ohio State’s recent history recruiting the Queen City:

1. When it comes to the three Big C cities in Ohio, Cincinnati is No. 3 in producing Buckeyes. 

Since 1988*, 26 players from Cincinnati high schools have signed with Ohio State. That’s one less than Columbus but 16 behind Cleveland, which can boast of 42 future Buckeyes in the last 32 years.

(*This is when John Cooper became coach of the Buckeyes and put the program the path to being the national recruiting juggernaut it is today.)

Expand the regional scope a bit and the Cleveland metro area is still far ahead with 98 signees compared to 83 from Columbus and 41 from Cincinnati.

2. The big three used to be on more even footing. 

There have been some big changes, at least if you keep focus just on the cities and ignore the suburbs.

From ’88-99, Cincinnati and Cleveland both had 11 future Buckeyes while Columbus led the way with 16.

Since 2000, Cleveland has surged ahead with 31 signees compared to 15 from Cincinnati and just 11 from Columbus.

Looking at the metro areas, Cleveland still has a big lead with 62 signees since 2000, but Columbus gets a big boost, checking in with 45 future Buckeyes compared to 22 from the Cincinnati area.

Credit: Mark Lyons

Credit: Mark Lyons

3. Urban Meyer mostly continued what Jim Tressel started (with an exception). 

When he was hired in late 2011, there was some thought Meyer, who played defensive back at the University of Cincinnati and began his coaching career as an assistant at St. Xavier, might make Cincinnati more of a priority.

Ultimately, he averaged of 1.3 Cincinnati signees per year (including schools in the city and the metro area) to edge Tressel (1.2), but they both trailed Cooper’s mark of 1.4.

The biggest difference between Meyer turned out to be an emphasis on schools within the city limits, and a lack of signees from other metro schools greatly impacted the post-2000 disparity in point No. 2.

>>RELATED: 10 takeaways from comparing Urban Meyer and Jim Tressel as recruiters at Ohio State 

While Tressel and Cooper combined to sign 13 players from Lebanon, Hamilton, Middletown and Lakota West, Meyer signed only one.

Otherwise, Meyer’s in-state recruiting looked a lot like Tressel’s, at least in terms of geography.

The two Northeast Ohio prep products (who finalized Ohio State’s recruiting classes from 2001-18) both hit Cleveland harder than the rest of the state.

After Tressel, a native of Berea, signed 19 Clevelanders (all but two from Glenville High School), Ashtabula’s Meyer signed 12. They had seven and eight Cincinnatians, respectively.

Cooper, a Tennessee native, found 11 Buckeyes in Cleveland while signing 17 from Columbus and 11 from Cincinnati.

4. Moeller has produced the most future Buckeyes from Cincinnati since 1988. 

Seven Crusaders have signed with Ohio State since 1988 — Jack Thrush, Max Langenkamp, Rob Murphy, Matt Keller, Ryan Hamby, Sam Hubbard and Jake Hausmann.

Thrush, Murphy, Keller, Hamby and Hubbard were all at least part-time starters with Murphy and Hubbard both making it to the NFL.

In the city, Colerain is No. 2 with five Buckeye signees.

For the other schools in the metro area, Middletown leads the way with five -- Paul Sherrick, Jeff Cothran, Dan Colson, Andre Amos and Jalin Marshall -- while Hamilton has four.

Credit: Rick Stewart

Credit: Rick Stewart

5. Ryan Day might buck the trend this year. 

Ohio State already has three verbal commits from Cincinnati for 2019 — Johnson, Elder offensive lineman Jakob James and La Salle kicker Jake Seibert — and Henry is not the only candidate to join that list.

Joe Royer, a three-star tight end from Elder, was among the many visitors at Ohio State last weekend and is pegged as a likely future Buckeye by 247Sports recruiting analyst Bill Greene.

The last time Ohio State had four signees from the Cincinnati area in the same class was 1990 when Cooper signed Princeton quarterback Johnny Mattress (the last Viking to sign with OSU), Hamilton offensive lineman Mike Dully, Elder defensive lineman Matt Bonhaus and Cothran.

Cothran was later drafted by the Bengals.

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