Zion Branch includes Ohio State, USC in narrowed down top-schools list

Aritcle written by:Jeremy BirminghamJeremy Birmingham

Birm

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COLUMBUS — Ohio State made a big impression on 4-star safety Zion Branch when he took an official visit in early June.

Now the Buckeyes are one of the five schools still in the running for the Las Vegas Bishop Gorman standout. He announced his top schools on Twitter moments ago.

“I really felt like Ohio State was a potential home for me,” Branch told Lettermen Row last month. “I could live there for sure.”

The Buckeyes have prioritized Branch for months. He’s one of what the Ohio State coaching staff hopes will be three safeties in the top-ranked 2022 recruiting class being put together by Ryan Day. Branch, Iowa 4-star Xavier Nwankpa and current verbal Kye Stokes each have a unique role in Kerry Coombs defense. That three safety push is something that has been plainly explained to the top safety prospect.

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Zion Branch had initially planned to make a college decision before his senior season. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

“Kye is going to play a cover safety role,” Branch said. “Xavier would start at the bullet and I’d be in the post safety, or free safety, role. It’s good to know how all three of us would fit at the same time. Especially with the caliber of players we are.

Xavier is he’s kind of built like me, but maybe a little bigger than me. It was it was good to see where they see us playing that and you know they’re going to not just rotate us around, but to see that we’re gonna play in different positions and how they see it.”

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound defensive back has narrowed his list to Ohio State, USC, Oklahoma, Clemson and Alabama. Outside of his early June visit with the Buckeyes, Branch also took official visits with the Sooners and the Trojans. The Crimson Tide and Tigers are each scheduled to receive one this fall. If Branch waits that long to decide. He wanted to have a choice made, initially, before September.

“I was gonna be committed before my senior year,” Zion Branch said. “But that changed. The COVID stuff happened and I just really want to wait a while just to see what feels the most like home.”

The list of potential homes for the country’s No. 4-ranked safety has grown smaller.