The Hurry-Up: Ohio State Coaches Travel Across the Country to See Prospects with Lifting of Dead Period, Jermaine Mathews and Malik Hartford Get In-Home Visits

Ohio State coaches are about to rack up the miles on the recruiting trail.

With the end of the recruiting dead period Friday, various Buckeye coaches hit the road to various parts of the country with a primary focus on finishing the 2023 class strong.

Defensive line coach Larry Johnson and Ryan Day started their morning by visiting top defensive end target Joshua Mickens at his high school, Lawrence Central in Indianapolis. Mickens made two visits to OSU in November, including an official for the Michigan game. He decommitted from LSU a few days later.

While Day was in the area, he stopped by New Palestine High School to visit four-star 2024 offensive lineman commitment Ian Moore.

Another big-time visitor last weekend was five-star safety Alabama commit Caleb Downs, and while he may prove difficult to flip before he signs on Dec. 21, that hasn’t stopped OSU from trying. Both safeties coach Perry Eliano and cornerbacks coach Tim Walton are in attendance at Downs’ game in the Georgia state semifinals. They could also check in on Buckeye’s tight end commitment to Jelani Thurman, who plays in the semifinal game immediately after Downs.

Per 247Sports, other visits OSU coaches are expected to take Friday include Johnson seeing Damon Wilson and Keon Keeley, Justin Frye stopping by Connecticut to check in on OSU commit Miles Walker, Brian Hartline attending wide receiver commit Brandon Inniss’ playoff game while also visiting 2024 prospects Jeremiah Smith and Joshisa Trader in Florida and Day doing an in-home visit with offensive lineman commit Joshua Padilla. On Saturday, Day and quarterbacks coach Corey Dennis will fly to Arizona for five-star 2024 quarterback commit Dylan Raiola’s game on Saturday and Dennis will visit four-star QB Lincoln Kienholz in South Dakota on Sunday.

Hartford, Mathews get in-home visits from OSU

Although the dead period wasn’t lifted until Friday, Ryan Day, Perry Eliano and Tim Walton made in-home visits with 2023 OSU commits Jermaine Mathews and Malik Hartford on Thursday. This was permitted both players will be early enrollees and have already been admitted because to the university. The Buckeyes made an in-home visit with Luke Montgomery earlier this week under the same circumstances.

“(The visit) went great, really enjoyed time with my coaches,” Mathews told Eleven Warriors. “I’m locked in (with Ohio State).”

In 12 games this season, Mathews had 51 total tackles (5 for loss), four forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, six interceptions (three returned for touchdowns), 20 pass deflections and both a punt and kickoff return touchdown for Winton Woods.

Meanwhile, Hartford accumulated 43 total tackles (4 for loss), two interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) and five pass deflections. Hartford also caught four passes for Lakota West this season for 74 yards with one going for a touchdown.

Lockhart enjoys time in Columbus

A four-star cornerback in the 2024 class with an Ohio State offer enjoyed his first trip to Columbus in several months when he attended the Michigan game last weekend. Arizona prospect Miles Lockhart was one of the numerous recruits at Ohio Stadium for Saturday’s game against the Wolverines, his second visit to OSU after getting his Buckeyes offer following a recruiting camp in June.

“The game was a great experience, even with the outcome, I really enjoyed my time there,” Lockhart told Eleven Warriors. “The fans from both teams were loud and up the whole game so you could feel that different type of energy. I got to talk with Tim Walton and he told me that they are obviously very disappointed right now, but they gotta move on and go on to the next.”

In 12 games this season for Basha High School (Chandler, Arizona), Lockhart racked up 52 total tackles (one for loss), three interceptions and 14 pass deflections. The 5-foot-10, 185-pound prospect is considered the 293rd-best prospect nationally in 2024, per 247Sports’ composite rankings, and currently holds 19 Division I offers including eight Pac-12 schools.

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