The Ohio State Buckeyes have added two Florida prospects to their football program on the back of what was an eventful period. Three-star receiver Bryson Rodgers of Wiregrass Ranch and four-star cornerback Dijon Johnson of Wharton were among several who visited the campus to participate in their spring game.
The players put in impressive workouts and were, in turn, pleased enough to commit.
Rodgers was the first to pledge, choosing Ohio State over Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, and Penn State, among other programs. The 6ft 2in, 170lb star, the No.367 player in the 247Sports Composite Rating, became the eighth commitment for the Buckeyes,
“You might see his ranking and wonder why OSU and Hartline are even interested. By this point, it’s probably appropriate to trust OSU’s receiver evaluations,” Ohio State beat writer Bill Landis writes about the Rodgers acquisition.
“The Buckeyes offered 2022 prospect Kyion Grayes when he was ranked No. 514 overall, and signed him when he was a top-100 prospect. They offered Jaxon Smith-Njigba when he was ranked near the 300s, and they signed him as a five-star prospect.
“That doesn’t mean Rodgers will have a similar rise, but it underscores that Hartline knows what he’s looking for. Rodgers has good length, inside-outside versatility and a suddenness in and out of breaks that looks like it will translate to creating separation at the next level.”
Johnson, the No.265 overall prospect, followed shortly at No. 9, choosing the program overAlabama, Georgia, Michigan, Oklahoma, USC, as well as others.
These additions give the Buckeyes four players from the 2023 recruiting class who are from Florida as they also have commitments from four-star running back Mark Fletcher and four-star safety Cedrick Hawkins. They could be getting more, with Cormani McClain, Brandon Innis, and Richard Young, all from said state, at the top of their board.
Johnson, recruited by assistants Tim Walton and Tony Alford, is the first cornerback in the Buckeyes’ class. There are six such players on the roster at the moment, with five projected past this season, making it likely that the program keeps bringing them in for 2023. McClain is the No.1 player in the corner position in 2023 while another prime target, former Georgia commit Kayin Lee, is also very highly rated.
Rodgers, meanwhile, is the first receiver commit for position coach Brian Hartline. The program could recruit as many as four receivers after picking four up in the 2022 class. Innis, Carnell Tate, Rico Flores Jr., and Jalen Hale are four top targets they’re also hoping to bring in.
OSU has also been given a boost in its pursuit of three-star safety Jayden Bonsu of St. Peters Prep. The university made Bonsu an offer in December and the player has since decided to narrow his options down to 10.
The Buckeyes are included in the group but competition will be stiff, with the likes of Alabama, Penn State, Florida, and Oregon all included, and as for the betting opportunities for the Ohio are now available once the games start
The 6ft 2in, 190lb safety is the No.364 overall prospect in the country and No.34 safety. He’s also the fifth-best player from New Jersey at the moment.
In other OSU news, the program’s defensive coordinator, Jim Knowles, has said the team has progressed even further than expected following his first spring training.
“Going into the game I felt great about how far we had come, what we accomplished, how much we got installed, how the players took to it,” the former Cornell defensive end told reporters in his post-spring game press conference appearance. “It was as good or better than I could have wished.”
Knowles is particularly pleased with the team’s cornerback activity, though its pass coverage isn’t yet in midseason form as there have been some tweaks to the system. He has also praised the group’s willingness to learn.
“I was very pleased. We’re continuing to work on playing close to people, throwing punches, being aggressive with our coverage,” he added. “And that may be a little bit of a change for them, and they’re adapting to it. We’re going against the best-receiving corps in the country so I think it’s gonna continue to be a reason for them to get better because of who they see every day in practice. And we’re gonna continue coaching aggressive coverage.
“The biggest revelation of the spring was that regardless of talent, these players that we have, they want to learn. They soaked up everything I did. They’re just into it; into football, into us, into culture change and the way we run meetings. They picked it up. I mean, they picked it up at a high speed.”