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Taking a Look at the Four Biggest Recruiting Storylines Surrounding Ohio State’s Big Ten Opener Against Wisconsin

From a recruiting standpoint, the opening weekend of the season in the state of Ohio against Notre Dame was insane.

More than 60 highly regarded prospects came to Columbus for the Buckeyes season opener, which will likely be OSU’s biggest recruiting weekend of the year. But that doesn’t mean Notre Dame was the only big recruiting weekend this fall.

The Buckeyes have another prime shot to make a statement both on the field and on the recruiting trail in their Big Ten opener against Wisconsin Saturday, with dozens of priority prospects expected to arrive at OSU soon. Saturday will also be the third evening game that the Buckeyes have played in their first four games.

“It’s been good for recruiting,” Ryan Day said earlier this week of the prospect of playing an evening game, as it gives more flexibility out of state to find flights to Columbus rather than when the team leaves at noon. would start.

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Five five-star prospects between classes 2023, 2024 and 2025 are expected to be present, along with about 18 four-star prospects.

With no shortage of high-profile visitors making their way to Columbus, here are four key recruiting storylines worth following all weekend.

The Return of Keon Keeley

The biggest headline of the weekend is, of course, Florida’s five-star defensive end. Keon Keeley, one of Ohio State’s remaining goals in the 2023 class, returns to Columbus this weekend, just three weeks away from his official visit to OSU on Sept. 3.

When Keeley stepped out of Notre Dame in August, speculation swirled in the recruiting industry that it was only a matter of time before he would be tied to Alabama. While Tuscaloosa may still be where the 6-foot-6, 242-pound prospect ultimately chooses to play, Keeley isn’t making a second trip to OSU this month—for his own money no less—just for the hell of it.

The Buckeyes have done enough to establish themselves as a legitimate contender to bring in 247Sports’ top-ranked edge player by 2023. Watch Keeley’s reaction to seeing a sold-out Ohio Stadium crowd for the season opener.

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Larry Johnson has a real shot at taking another huge recruiting win for Ohio State, and the Buckeyes have at least won with the Crimson Tide as of now. But since Keeley is expected to make an official visit to Alabama soon, both programs may have their answer as to where the prized pass rusher stands sooner rather than later.

OSU has a chance to make a big impression on other five-star prospects

Over the Notre Dame weekend, Ohio State had the opportunity to make a strong impression on several five-star prospects from both the 2023 and 2024 classes. This weekend, in addition to Keeley, wide receiver commit Brandon Inniss, other five stars expected to attend the game in Wisconsin include 2024 defensive lineman Justin Scott, 2024 cornerback Charles Lester III and 2025 offensive tackle David Sanders, who is the No. 1 player in the 2025 cycle according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.

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Getting those prospects on campus for a gameday visit before their senior seasons could take OSU’s relationship with them a long way and ensure the Buckeyes are legit players for all three until the end of their recruiting.

McDonald on official visit to OSU

Man, Johnson sure has a busy weekend ahead of him, doesn’t he?

Georgia Kayden McDonald’s four-star defensive tackle is one of two class 2023 defensive tackles that will make an official visit to OSU this fall. McDonald will be taking his place this weekend, while Jordan Hall, a Florida prospect, will visit in November for the Michigan game.

McDonald is currently considered a Clemson lean and currently plans to commit sometime next month, so Johnson and OSU will likely have to push hard for McDonald if they are to stand a chance of adding him to their class in 2023.

Saturday marks McDonald’s first visit to Columbus since attending the Penn State game last season.

Key Prospects for 2024 Return for a Second Visit This Fall

A handful of recruits visiting this weekend were already on campus this fall for the Notre Dame game, primarily some key goals for the state of Ohio in the 2024 class.

Those names include Bryce West, Donovan Harbour, Mylan Graham, Garrett Stover, Damarion Witten and Ian Moore. Moore wasn’t one hundred percent sure he’d be able to come Saturday due to past high school commitments, but he confirmed to Eleven Warriors Friday morning that he would be there.

Each of the listed players has a significant interest in the Buckeyes and that is certainly mutual at the Ohio state end. With the 2023 class getting close to the finish line, Ohio State would like to roll its 2024 class sooner rather than later. Prospects eager to visit Columbus twice in a month may be the best candidates to provide oral information to OSU sooner rather than later.

Eleven warriors will have a lot of coverage of the big recruiting weekend next week and a photo gallery of recruits who attended the game on sunday.

Before that time, a complete table of expected visitors has been compiled below. Names were collected from our information, reports from other outlets and announcements from recruits. OSU commits are highlighted.

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