The Award Winning News Publication of Mercy College

The Impact

The Award Winning News Publication of Mercy College

The Impact

The Award Winning News Publication of Mercy College

The Impact

Is It Okay To Panic About Ohio State’s Defensive Recruiting?


Before I begin, yes, I’m of clear understanding that the Buckeyes have the #2 recruiting class in the country for 2024. That’s super jolly and I’m thrilled about it. Okay? Awesome. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way…


What is going on with the defensive staff in Columbus? It is back to back recruiting cycles that Ohio State has struck out on landing their top defensive end and safety prospects. Once is a fluke sure, but twice in a row is the beginning of a not so convincing trend. 


Ryan Day and company were GROOVING on the trail to open the month of July. Defensive line coach Larry Johnson received a massive commitment from five star lineman, Justin Scott, on the 2nd. That same day, the Director of 247 Sports posted an expert prediction for the Buckeyes to land fellow five star edge prospect Dylan Stewart as well. The vibes were just immaculate that day.


Ohio State was also trending heavily for the number one safety in the class, KJ Bolden, and four star linebacker, Kyngstonn Viliamu-Asa, over the course of June and July. So uh…what happened?


I’ll take you through chronological order here, which starts us with the ninth ranked LB in the ‘24 class, Kyngstonn Viliamu-Asa. The standout from California was favored to go to OSU for about a month prior to his commitment on July 23rd, revealing his strong relationship with Buckeyes’ position coach, James Laurinaitis.


A frustrating turn of events, and OSU struck out. KVA’s recruitment ended in him picking Notre Dame over Ohio State, leaving the Buckeyes still with only one linebacker in the class. He later revealed his reasoning for his decision to 247 Sports, crediting it to a “church retreat” that he went on with a few of his peers. He told affiliates of the recruiting platform that prior to the retreat he thought he would be playing his college football in Columbus. I was sick.


“That’s not the coaching staff’s fault that Jesus got involved though.” Okay I hear ya, sorta. Freak stuff happens I guess? Whatever. Moving on.


Dylan Stewart is going to be a name you hear wreaking havoc on NFL Sundays in a few years. Mark my words. This was another bad miss for defensive coordinator Jim Knowles and staff, but did Larry Johnson really bend over backwards in this recruiting effort? It didn’t really seem like it.


Losing the cream of the crop to a third world program like South Carolina isn’t a good look, there’s no other way to slice it. The second ranked edge rusher in the country told the OSU staff that he was coming when on his official visit. He was right in their lap, and they still fumbled it.


It goes without saying that his abilities could have immensely benefited a position room for Ohio State that hasn’t recorded more than 6 sacks in a season since Chase Young. Young squashed college football for 16.5 sacks during his Heisman campaign in 2019, and we’ve seen nothing close to him since.


Before you start wondering if there were any John 3:16’s or something involved in this decision, I’ll tell you for free there weren’t. Just South Carolina stuffing Ohio State in the locker like the big middle school bully. Embarrassing. 


The KJ Bolden recruitment probably gave many Buckeye fans PTSD from Caleb Downs last cycle. Both players ranked as the top rated safeties for their class, which Downs inevitably chose Alabama over Ohio State when the Buckeyes felt ‘strong’ about their chances there. Bolden is cousins with Ohio State secondary coach Perry Eliano, which just spotlights how bad this staff messed this up.


It’s rumored that Bolden received an NIL deal from Florida State that was valued over $2 million, which if true is easily out of the financial flexabilities of Ohio State. Why one of the most prominent college football programs in history is on such a tight budget compared to the South is beyond me. As Billy Beane said in Moneyball, “Adapt or die.”


I want it to be known that I’m not forgetting the importance of the Aaron Scott commitment earlier last week. It was extremely huge, but that can’t be enough to have your stomach full. You need more if you’re serious about a national title. Sorry.


I’ll wait till signing day before I enter full panic mode. A lot can change in a couple months, it always does, but I’m not content with where the current defensive recruiting efforts stand at OSU. All eyes now turn to five star DL, Eddrick Houston, who currently has an expert prediction to choose the Buckeyes on August 22nd.

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About the Contributor
TJ Heyder
TJ Heyder, Sports Editor
TJ Heyder is a fifth year Media Studies major at Mercy, with a passion for sports journalism. TJ has become a main beat writer covering Mercy athletics in his time writing for The Impact. He’s also a current member of the Men’s Lacrosse team for the Mavericks.  He writes a college sports based column titled "Around The Net,” with a sharp focus on The Ohio State Buckeyes.  He can be reached at [email protected]  

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