Ohio State lost its only running back commitment in the 2023 class.
Four-star Florida running back Mark Fletcher pulled out of Ohio State on Wednesday night as the effervescent 6-foot-1, 225-pound running back flirted with other schools such as Florida and Miami. He becomes the second player to opt out of OSU this cycle, joining cornerback Dijon Johnson.
— MarkFletcherjr (@fletcherjr_mark) November 17, 2022
Fletcher committed to OSU on April 16, and as other South Florida Express players continued to slot into the 2023 class such as Brandon Inniss, Carnell Tate and Cedrick Hawkins, it certainly looked like the Buckeyes were well on their way to building a mini recruitment pipeline. from Florida. But the lure of potentially staying close to home was too good to pass up for Fletcher, and there were reports claiming the Florida prospect could be incentivized by potential NIL deals.
With Fletcher’s disengagement, Ohio State is now down to 20 commitments in its 2023 recruiting class. After Fletcher committed to OSU in the spring, the Buckeyes were content to take one running back in the cycle 2023. With his sudden departure, the Buckeyes now have several options.
It’s not like Ohio State was unprepared for this situation, as it had already contacted various running backs about a possible visit to OSU on Nov. 1. 26, as 247Sports reported this week that five-star running back Rueben Owens has been contacted by Ohio State. Judge Haynes, a five-star draftee at Alabama, is another prospect the Buckeyes have long been interested in, though turning him around seems like a tough task, even with five-star running back Richard Young in Crimson Tide’s 2023 recruiting class. .
If OSU can turn Owens, Haynes, or land a running back similar to their caliber, the Buckeyes can be content to keep rolling with just one running back for the current cycle.
There is also a local option to consider. Three-star Ohio running back Trey Cornist has had a stellar senior season for Winton Woods, rushing for 1,629 yards on 181 carries with 27 touchdowns and has visited OSU multiple times this season. Cornist has received a slew of offers in recent weeks, including Kentucky, Michigan State, Kansas State, Purdue and Toledo.
Ohio State fans don’t need reminders about Winton Woods’ latest underrated running back to have a chance with the Buckeyes, as Miyan Williams has made the most of his opportunities over the past two seasons. Cornist’s high school teammate and OSU enlisted Jermaine Mathews certainly defends him.
College teammates? pic.twitter.com/fWv8nRyBoa
— Jermaine Mathews Jr (@Jr2Maine) November 17, 2022
If OSU makes Cornist an offer, the Buckeyes could also take another running back of a similar pedigree, like three-star Georgia running back Jamarion Wilcox, who Tony Alford has been recruiting for some time. Taking two running backs in 2023 can also make it easier to sign an elite running back in 2024, like Jerrick Gibson, Stacy Gage or Jordan Marshall, if that means signing just one running back instead of two in that class. .
If Fletcher is no longer in the fold, Ohio State will now have to go back to the drawing board to complete its 2023 class.