Ohio State recruiting: Can Buckeyes hang on with Jordan Battle?

Jeremy Birminghamalmost 3 years
Aritcle written by:Jeremy BirminghamJeremy Birmingham



Have a question about Ohio State recruiting? This is the place for you, five days a week. Submit your questions on Twitter or on the Lettermen Row forums. Check in daily to see what’s on the mind of Buckeyes fans all over the country. Today’s question is about Buckeyes commitment Jordan Battle and the fight to fend off Bama.

Ohio State Recruiting Question of the Day


Recruiting is a funny business.

In June, weeks before St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) defensive back Jordan Battle made his official visit to Ohio State, it seemed pretty clear that the 4-star athlete was destined to commit to the program. After landing an offer from the Buckeyes in February, the Under-Armour All-American and The Opening finalist didn’t hide his affection for them — and despite local ties to Miami, his recruitment was pretty cut-and-dried from that point.

He committed to the Buckeyes a week after his official visit and all was well. Battle told Lettermen Row about his decision in Dallas, at Nike’s The Opening and there was no reason for concern.

“Miami made a push, but obviously Ohio State beat them out. I’m completely shut down for now, until further notice,” Battle said. “Right now, I’m locked in. I don’t think anything could change it with the way Ohio State is with me right now.”

A month later, the world around Ohio State was set ablaze. Zach Smith was let go by Ohio State, and he was the coach responsible for recruiting St. Thomas Aquinas. Urban Meyer was placed on administrative leave and his future was in doubt.

Then Alabama started calling and things got interesting. The Crimson Tide remain the Darth Vader of college football. The music starts before they arrive and anybody around prepares for a whole new fight. They take who they want, generally speaking, and there’s not much that can really be done about it.

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Jordan Battle is Ohio State’s only true cornerback commitment in 2019. (247Sports/Courtesy)

Nick Saban’s squad went in-home with 5-star safety Daxton Hill last week, and without a second thought he flipped on his Michigan commitment and pledged to the Crimson Tide on Saturday night. An hour or two later, Texas A&M commit Jeffrey Carter did the same in what was clearly a coordinated effort.

Hill’s commitment would have no impact on Battle, since he is a safety all the way. The flip of Carter, though, might be a factor.

Alabama now has verbals from three cornerbacks in the 2019 class, and that could weigh into Battle’s decision. He’s certainly not going to be scared of competition or anything like that. But it’s reasonable to look at the depth chart and see how Ohio State might be a better avenue for early playing time — since it could lose two of its top three guys at the position with no other pure cornerbacks committed. Alabama is expected to take one more player in the secondary and has a number of options, so maybe it tries to put some pressure on Battle to take it.

That’s what makes Alabama so worrisome. No one in college football can sell the business of college football quite like Alabama or point to as much success. It is a machine, pure and simple.

Ironically, sometimes that is the very thing that keeps kids from going to Alabama. It’s why right now, despite all the talk about the Crimson Tide, I still believe Jordan Battle and his family want to become Buckeyes.

College choices, even for athletes, still have to be about school, the experience on campus, the relationships and the opportunity to grow as a person, not just a football player. That’s what Ryan Day and Ohio State are going to need to convince Battle of during Day’s in-home visit, which is expected to take place midweek.

If Battle wants to sign with the Buckeyes during the early signing period, he’s going to have to trust Day and his vision for the future of the program implicitly — and he’ll have to be shown that vision this week. If he doesn’t buy in right away, maybe he schedules a second official visit with the Buckeyes next month.

The best case scenario for Ohio State is a slam dunk visit by Ryan Day. That’s what I expect to happen.

The best way to stay on top of all that recruiting #stuff? Subscribe to Lettermen Row’s Recruiting with Birm newsletter. Ryan Day and the Ohio State coaching staff will be all over the country during these next two weeks in an effort to change the mind of any kids planning on delaying their signing until February.