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Revisiting Ohio State’s defensive end targets
The loss of 5-star defensive end Brenton Cox was a huge blow to Ohio State’s 2018 recruiting class. In the big picture, the Buckeyes will be fine, but in addition to losing one of the best prospects in the country there’s also uncertainty surrounding the defensive end position group.
The Buckeyes were six deep at defensive end this season, but Tyquan Lewis and Jalyn Holmes are in their last year of eligibility and Sam Hubbard seems like a lock to declare for the NFL draft. That leaves only Nick Bosa, Jonathon Cooper and Chase Young on the roster at the position for next season. Obviously those three players are tremendous, but depth needs to be built now because more NFL departures seem inevitable and injuries could arise.
Cox was the only defensive end committed to the Buckeyes in this cycle, so they’re back to having no ends in their 2018 group. As is often the case, there’s good news and bad news on that front. The good news is that there are several other possibilities out there, but the bad news is that they’re still possibilities because Ohio State hasn’t locked up any of them.
The two primary targets going forward will be 4-star prospects Tyreke Smith and Jayson Oweh. Ohio State is in a head-to-head battle with Penn State for both — though Michigan has also entered the picture for Oweh. It would be a stretch right now to say the Buckeyes lead for either, but they’re by no means out of either recruitment and it feels like the combination of coach Urban Meyer and defensive line coach Larry Johnson will swing at least one of those battles.
Another name to watch going forward is a new one — Avon (Conn.) Old Farms defensive end Casey Rogers, who doesn’t have a star rating in the 247Sports composite but is being brought in for official visits to Ohio State and Alabama over the next two weekends.
Ohio State shines in new composite rankings
The 247Sports composite rankings recently underwent an update, and Ohio State has plenty to brag about. Of the Buckeyes’ 17 high school commits, three players are 5-stars, seven are ranked in the top 50, 10 are ranked in the top 100 and 16 are ranked in the top 250. Also, JUCO commit Antwuan Jackson is the No. 3 overall junior college prospect.
Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy defensive tackle Taron Vincent leads the way as the nation’s No. 13 prospect, followed by Westerville (Ohio) South running back Jaelen Gill at No. 23 and Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco safety Jaiden Woodbey at No. 27.
Additionally, Lindenhurst, N.Y., tight end Jeremy Ruckert missed a 5-star rating by one spot at No. 29 overall, but he is the No. 1 tight end and No. 1 recruit from New York.
Savage mode unlocked pic.twitter.com/4Do9Ix7tpn
— ⚡️THOR ⚡️ (@JaidenWoodbey) December 6, 2017
— Emory Jones (@eXjones6) December 7, 2017
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