Ohio State football: Buckeyes off to fast start for next recruiting cycle

With its 2024 recruiting class finished, Ohio State has been able to turn full attention toward 2025.

The early results are promising.

Five-star cornerback Na’eem Offord became the eighth player to join the class when he announced his verbal commitment Sunday.

He is the top-ranked cornerback in the country and No. 5 overall in the 247Sports Composite rankings.

Snagging Offord gives Ohio State the top two cornerback prospects in the country after Devin Sanchez of Houston, Texas, verbally committed in early January.

Their pledges continue a hot streak for secondary coach Tim Walton, who led the charge in getting the signatures of six highly regarded defensive backs in the 2024 class, including five-star cornerback Aaron Scott Jr. of Springfield.

The 2025 class also includes the No. 10 cornerback, Blake Woodby of St. Frances Academy in Baltimore, Md., along with four-star prospects defensive end Zahir Mathis (Philadelphia), quarterback Tavien St. Clair (Bellefontaine), offensive tackle Carter Lowe (Toledo Whitmer), receiver Jayvan Boggs (Cocoa, Fla.) and three-star linebacker Eli Lee (Akron Hoban).

The class, which no doubt will add more than a dozen more players and lose some between now and the early signing period in December, ranks No. 4 in the country behind Notre Dame, LSU and Clemson.

Oklahoma rounds out the top five with Penn State sixth.

Ohio State signed 20 players during the early signing period in December, and the Buckeyes are set to add Dominic Kirks, a defensive lineman from Painesville, Ohio, when the traditional signing period starts Wednesday.

Kirks verbally committed in January. He was committed to Washington but opted not to sign in December.

Ohio State’s interest in him might have increased after missing on some out-of-state defensive line prospects late in the recruiting cycle.

Adding Kirks will give Ohio State eight in-state recruits for 2024, the most since 2020.

The Buckeyes also added eight that year, but that was out of 25.

At 38 percent, the 2024 class has the highest in-state representation since 2016 when Urban Meyer’s 25-man class had 10 Ohioans (40 percent).

That was also the last time Ohio State signed more than eight in-state players.

Ohio State’s 2024 recruiting class was ranked No. 2 in the country behind Georgia to start this week.

Whether or not signing more in-state prospects becomes a trend remains to be seen, but Ohio has 13 four-star prospects in early 2025 rankings.

That includes Lakota West tight end Luka Gilbert and Northmont defensive end Cedric Works, who are No. 8 and 13, respectively in the state.

The No. 14 prospect is Jermiel Atkins, an offensive lineman from Trotwood-Madison, while Northmont offensive lineman Jayden Clark, Wayne defensive back Jussiah Williams-West, Wayne quarterback Tyrell Lewis and Lakota East quarterback Jamison Kitna are all three-star prospects.

Shaker Heights safety Trey McNutt, the son of former Ohio State defensive back Richard McNutt, is the No. 1-ranked prospect in Ohio at this time followed by St. Clair and Lowe.

A year ago, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day and director of player personnel Marc Pantoni both said they would likely have to change their approach to include more regional prospects with the transfer portal and the introduction of name/image/likeness payments roiling the national recruiting scene.

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