Buckeyes welcome elite group of 2022 prospects, offer duo of 2023 tight ends

Pete Nakos3 months
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Kojo Antwi
Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State and Texas A&M have all been connected to the nation’s No. 16-ranked receiver. (Kojo Antwi/Instagram)

COLUMBUS — J.T. Tuimoloau buzz dominated thie Ohio State recruiting weekend.

The country’s top-ranked 2021 prospect flew in from Seattle to Columbus on Thursday night, kicking off the long-awaited official visit of the five-star defensive lineman is now underway. Two years of phone calls and Zoom videos led to the moment as the 6-foot-5, 275-pound prospect opted not to make a decision before touring campuses in-person.

But as much attention as the prospect garnered, Ohio State’s coaching staff turned its attention to the four 2022 recruits taking their official visits and other 2023 prospects stopping by for unofficials.

Lettermen Row is breaking down who was in Columbus over the weekend and what went down:

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Kojo Antwi and Jake Pope took official visits at Ohio State this weekend. (Kojo Antwi/Instagram)

Key 2022 prospects take official visits with Buckeyes

Wide receiver Kojo Antwi, safety Jake Pope and running back Dallan Hayden all spent the weekend in Columbus. Ohio State commitment C.J. Hicks also was in town, helping the Buckeyes coaching staff put together the rest of the 2022 class.

Hicks played a role in Tuimoloau’s official visit, too, welcoming the five-star to Ohio State and talking about what the two could accomplish together with the Buckeyes. It also marked Hicks’ first official visit; he wasn’t able to spend the full weekend in Columbus for Buckeye Bash 2.0.

Hayden’s trip to Ohio State follows last week’s visit to Notre Dame. The country’s No. 24-ranked tailback has been Tony Alford’s top priority in the 2022 class, and getting him on campus after Notre Dame wowed him a week ago was big for Ohio State. The Buckeyes focused on the complete college experience they believe they offer.

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Memphis-based running back Dallan Hayden and his family visited Columbus a week after taking a trip to Notre Dame. (Dallan Hayden/Twitter.)

Brian Hartline has been doing everything to keep Ohio State in the mix for Antwi, who is receiving plenty of attention from Georgia, Alabama and Texas A&M. The 4-star wide receiver plans to make a decision July 5, and Ohio State is definitely in the mix. Antwi spent the weekend with Emeka Egbuka, a wide receiver who takes football and education very seriously. The Buckeyes believe they’re in a strong position heading out of the weekend.

Similar to Antwi, Pope rolled into Ohio State a week after visiting Notre Dame. A 3-star in the 247Sports.com composite rankings, the offers the safety has shows his talent. He still has an official at the end of the month to Alabama, but the Buckeyes seem to be in the mix along with North Carolina and Notre Dame. Matt Barnes and Ryan Day have made sure that Pope knows he’s a priority for the Buckeyes.

Jake Pope-Ohio State Buckeyes-Ohio State football

Jake Pope goes to Buford High (Ga.), the same high school as Harry Miller.

2023 recruits stop by Columbus

Ohio State opened the weekend with a string of offers to St. John Bosco High School (Bellflower, Calif.) defensive backs.

2023 safety R.J. Jones, 2023 cornerback Jshawn Frausto-Ramos, 2024 safety Peyton Woodyard and 2024 cornerback Marcelles Williams all picked up offers. Bosco brought a group of prospects to Ohio State’s one-day high school prospect camp during the week, and the Braves’ defensive backs impressed.

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2024 safety Peyton Woodyard impressed defensive backs coach Matt Barnes. (Peyton Woodyard/Twitter)

2023 tight end Preston Zinter stopped by on Saturday. The Buckeyes have already offered the Central Catholic (Lawrence, Mass.) prospect. He holds offers from Georgia, LSU and Penn State. Michigan is the early favorite in his recruitment.

The Buckeyes welcomed two other 2023 tight ends, Riley Williams and Mathias Barnwell.

Williams is a four-star recruit from Central Catholic (Portland, Ore.) picked up an offer in the process. He’s the No. 1 prospect coming out of Oregon in his class. And Barnwell picked up an offer, too. A four-star recruit coming out of Riverbend High (Fredericksburg, Va.) he’s also the eight-ranked tight end in the 2023 class.

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Portland’s Riley Williams picked up an offer over the weekend. (Riley Williams/Twitter)

The No. 2 offensive tackle in the country stopped by Columbus. Kadyn Proctor, a five-star prospect, already has offers from the who’s who of college football. Taking an unofficial to Ohio State gave him a chance to meet the coaching staff after the dead period. He plans on visiting a game this fall.

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Kadyn Proctor is the ninth-ranked recruit in the entire 2023 class. (Kadyn Proctor/Courtesy)

The majority of the activities have ended. Now the Ohio State coaching staff will wait to see if its efforts paid off.