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Ohio State eager for final answers ahead of 2023 early signing period

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Tim Walton and Ohio State are waiting hoping for a drama-free Wednesday, (Birm/DTE) (Birm/Dotting the 'Eyes)

Recruiting is a non-stop business and there aren't many places in the country that do it at the level Ohio State does. Keeping up with the Buckeyes recruiting efforts is a full-time job and Dotting the 'Eyes is doing its best to keep you up to date with The Inside Stuff, the Ohio State recruiting notebook on



The Buckeyes have been holding onto the recruitment of Kayin Lee despite a massive push from Auburn to flip the long-time Ohio State commitment.

With less than 24 hours until signing day, the only real way to describe the fight right now is this: toss-up.

Tim Walton and the Buckeyes have done everything that they can in this recruitment but ultimately it's going to come down to two factors that Lee has to weigh. One of them is whether or not being closer to home is worth playing in a program that's been in shambles for years versus one that's playing in the college football playoff for the third time in four years.

The second? Well, there's no need to beat that NIL horse anymore, is there?

If Lee decides to sign with Auburn -- and there's no guarantee he'll even make a decision on Wednesday because he could wait until Thursday or Friday if he's truly torn -- it'd make a lot of sense for Ohio State to quickly pivot to a more aggressive pursuit of Virginia transfer Fentrell Cypress.

The goal is to bring three new cornerbacks into the program for 2023.


There are many similarities in the size, athletic ability and style of play between Matayo Uiagalelei and Ohio State second-year star JT Tuimoloau.

Unfortunately for the Buckeyes, there are a number of similarities in their recruitment too.

The biggest similarity? No one really knows what the player is doing until the five-star defensive end does it. Like Tuimoloau, Oregon and USC are in the mix and Ohio State is hoping that the relationship between Larry Johnson and Ryan Day is good enough to consider a cross-country move. In the case of Uiagalelei, as with Tuimoloau, the Buckeyes have been thought to be the leader for a while but it's nearly impossible to predict exactly what he's going to do because the young man isn't saying anything concrete to anyone.

What makes this recruitment a little different? First, there's the situation with Matayo's brother, quarterback DJ Uiagalelei. Oregon was once considered a front-runner for his potential transfer but the return of Bo Nix for another season in Eugene likely ends that. UCLA added a five-star commitment from Dante Moore on Monday but Uiagalelei would be a nice stop-gap in Chip Kelly's offense while it tries to bring Moore up to speed. The two brothers have been linked to the same program a few times but maybe it's just being the same city that counts? Maybe the Bruins are a surprise late addition? Maybe being cross-city rivals is a good way for the family to stay closer together?

Or maybe Matayo Uiagalelei goes to the place it seems he's wanted to all along.

There are a few wrinkles to iron out here.

So, with one day before a decision is made what's the final call? I believe Uiagalelei will pick Ohio State like Tuimoloau did but anything can happen between now and the time his pen hits the page.


Ohio State is one of the schools -- and the primary school -- fighting to land Lawrence Central (Indianapolis) four-star defensive end/linebacker Joshua Mickens.

The plan for Mickens had been to sign a letter of intent this week but to not announce publicly his choice until the Jan. 7 All-American Bowl in San Antonio. Making a college choice live in front of tens of thousands of people on national TV is a dream-come-true for many high school athletes and Mickens initially felt that the way he wanted to go. He told Dotting the ‘Eyes that when we visited him at Lawrence Central in early December but now it appears he’s had a change of heart.

Will Patterson, the head coach at Lawrence Central, told DTE on Tuesday morning of the new plan.

"We are planning to have Josh announce his commitment tomorrow at noon," Patterson said. "It will be something small for media and district personnel.

"He will do a big signing in February with the rest of his teammates."

A former LSU commitment, Mickens has been a top priority of the Buckeyes coaching staff since the start of his senior season with the Bears. He’s a talented edge rusher that Jim Knowles believes can be a dynamic defender from the Jack position or with his hand in the ground under Larry Johnson’s tutelage.

Mickens made a pair of late November visits to Columbus and Ohio State has been considered the likely landing spot since. We'll see if that comes to bear on Wednesday.


Ohio State hosted Rhode Island transfer AJ Cornelius and his family for an official visit over the final live-contact period last weekend. It was the final visit for Cornelius, the No. 4-ranked offensive line prospect in the portal according to

It was the final visit for the 6-foot-5, 310-pound offensive lineman after previous stops at Nebraska, Oregon and Tennessee.

Following his trips, Cornelius took to Twitter to announce that a decision will be made on Wednesday night at 6:00 p.m. EST.

The vibe from Columbus as of Tuesday is one of cautious optimism as Justin Frye and the Buckeyes wait for a final word from Cornelius. There is a clear path to a starting role for a college football playoff team waiting for the White Plains (N.Y.) native but he's also considering worthwhile offers -- that likely have a bit more NIL promises -- from Oregon and Tennessee. The Volunteers added a transfer commitment on Monday from Texas departure Andrej Karic so that could help Ohio State but there's nothing guaranteed when everyone is looking for a potential two-year starting tackle.

Jeremiah Byers, a UTEP transfer who also visited Columbus over the last weekend, committed to Florida State on Monday night and is now off the board for the Buckeyes.


Join the staff of Dotting the 'Eyes in the Horseshoe Lounge for up-to-the-minute discussion about the early signing period and follow the twists and turns with Birm, Bill and Austin all day long.