Will Johnson could be close to decision, top 2022 target decommits

On3 imageby:Jeremy Birmingham12/14/20


Stay in touch or be left out because Ohio State recruiting is a 24-hour, seven-day-per-week obsession. What’s the latest news as the Buckeyes build for the future? Get that and more Sunday through Thursday on Lettermen Row. Today’s notebook updates the chase for a pair of big-time 2022 prospects and reviews Ohio State’s chances to win the 2021 national recruiting title.

Will Johnson nears decision following Ohio State visit

The Michigan football team didn’t make the drive to Central Ohio last weekend, but Wolverines legacy Will Johnson did make a trip to Columbus on Saturday.

The 5-star cornerback from Grosse Pointe (Mich.) South High School came down to check out the city and the campus at Ohio State, though he was unable to meet with any Buckeyes coaches or staff. Still, the visit went well according to the 6-foot-3, 190-pound junior.

“It was a good visit for me and the family to see everything for ourselves,” Johnson told Lettermen Row. “Mostly it was just checking out key spots on campus and where everything is set up and getting a little sense of the people and environment.”

The people that matter the most in the recruitment of Johnson, including defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs, would have loved the chance to meet with the talented defensive back in person. But continued NCAA restrictions have prevented that from happening. Johnson had been hinting that he’s closing in on a college decision ahead of the visit to Columbus — and that has not changed.

“I don’t think I would need to wait until I got back to Ohio State again to make a decision,” he said. “If I want to be there, I got a sense of things there. I think a decision could come at anytime from this point now.”

Michigan remains the likeliest landing place for Johnson. His family roots and relationships with the Wolverines run deep, and that is going to be a challenge for any school hoping to lure the state of Michigan’s top-ranked 2022 prospect. The continued lack of answers around the future of Jim Harbaugh and the near certainty of staff-wide changes in Ann Arbor could keep the door open for the Buckeyes, though. Some kids, regardless, will choose the place they dreamt of playing at, and it feels like Johnson is trending that way as of now.

Johnson was on Birminology a few weeks ago and gave a bit more insight into his recruitment. That can be viewed here.

Kyion Grayes decommits from Arizona after Kevin Sumlin is fired

Another recent member of the Class of 2022 to appear on Birminology is Chandler (Ariz.) receiver Kyion Grayes, who — until Monday morning — had been committed to Arizona since August.

The Wildcats fired coach Kevin Sumlin after they were historically beaten by Arizona State last weekend, and that opened the door for Grayes to make a change in his commitment status publicly.

“Due to the unfortunate circumstances, I am decommitting from the University of Arizona” Grayes tweeted. “I would like to thank the U of A coaching staff and the Wildcat community for making me feel so welcomed. Much love to all of you.”

The chance of an eventual decommitment in this recruitment was high since the Buckeyes offered Grayes. The firing of Sumlin accelerated it more than caused it, but there’s now a clean break between the two sides. Ohio State is the school to watch closely if the 4-star prospect decides on another choice in the near future. His national profile is on the rise, and he’s been very close with the Buckeyes 2022 recruiting class since picking up the scholarship opportunity from Ohio State.

Can Ohio State pass Alabama for national recruiting title?

The early signing period starts Wednesday, and the Buckeyes sit firmly as the country’s No. 2-ranked recruiting class, trailing Alabama by just under four recruiting points. The Crimson Tide have one more commitment than the Buckeyes, and there’s good reason to believe that Nick Saban’s program will end up signing four or five more players in this cycle. Meanwhile, Ohio State has just one or two more spots it is considering filling.

So, for those hoping that the Buckeyes can finish the 2021 cycle with a national recruiting title, that outcome isn’t likely at this point. The biggest remaining fish in the class is likely to end up as an Ohio State and Alabama battle, but both programs will have to wait a while to find out what J.T. Tuimoloau will do. If the Crimson Tide end up bringing in 5-star running back Camar Wheaton (as expected), 5-star linebacker Xavier Sorey or Tunmise Adeleye, then there’s no real path to a recruiting championship for the Buckeyes even if they land Tuimoloau.

There’s no reason for complaining from Ohio State, though. The 2021 class, if it includes Tuimoloau, will be the best Buckeyes recruiting class of the modern recruiting era. Ohio State is still in the mix for linebacker Raesjon Davis as well.

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