COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State head coach Ryan Day introduced a highly-rated and highly-regarded recruiting class on Wednesday that is expected to rank among the top-five classes nationally by every major recruiting service. The Buckeyes’ 24-member class of 2020 signees features 14 players who earned either four or five-star designations.
“There’s a lot of families here that jumped on board here before we won a game at all this year, and they believed in what we were talking to these families about and the philosophies and what was going to go on,” Day said.
Day’s initial class as the Buckeyes’ head coach is heavy on state of Ohio players. Eight signees are Ohio natives, including six from the Cincinnati area. The state’s No. 1 and No. 2-ranked players – OL Paris Johnson, Jr. and DL Darrion Henry – were teammates last fall together at Princeton High School.
The Buckeyes also went to the south and west where they were able to sign three players from Texas, three from California and two from Arizona. They also signed the top-ranked player in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. New Buckeyes come from 13 different states.
Seven of Ohio State’s signees rank in the top five nationally at their respective positions: WR Julian Fleming (No. 1), OT Paris Johnson, Jr. (No. 1), WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba (No. 5), SAF Lathan Ransom (No. 5), C Luke Wypler (No. 2) and K Jake Seibert (No. 2). The group of wide receivers is particularly impressive as Ohio State signed four of the nation’s top-15 ranked players at the positon, including two of the top five.
Ten different position groups are represented in this class, led by six offensive linemen, four wide receivers and three defensive linemen.
|Lejond Cavazos||CB||6-1||196||San Antonio, Texas / IMG Academy|
|Mookie Cooper||WR||5-10||195||Maryland Hts., Mo. / Pattonville|
|Jacolbe Cowan||DL||6-5||262||Charlotte, N.C. / Providence Day School|
|Julian Fleming||WR||6-2||199||Catawissa, Pa. / Southern Columbia|
|Josh Fryar||OL||6-6||305||Beech Grove, Ind. / Beech Grove|
|Ty Hamilton||DL||6-3||260||Pickerington, Ohio / Pickerington Central|
|Darrion Henry-Young||DL||6-5||279||Cincinnati, Ohio / Princeton|
|Jakob James||OL||6-5||285||Cincinnati, Ohio / Elder|
|Paris Johnson, Jr.||OL||6-6||290||Cincinnati, Ohio / Princeton|
|Trey Leroux||OL||6-8||330||Norwalk, Ohio / Norwalk|
|Cameron Martinez||DB||5-11||183||Muskegon, Mich. / Muskegon|
|Mitchell Melton||LB||6-3||235||Olney, Md. / Good Counsel|
|Jack Miller III||QB||6-3||205||Scottsdale, Ariz. / Chaparral|
|Lathan Ransom||SAF||6-1||193||Tucson, Ariz. / Salpointe Catholic|
|Joe Royer||TE||6-5||225||Cincinnati, Ohio / Elder|
|Gee Scott, Jr.||WR||6-3||207||Seattle, Wash. / Eastside Catholic|
|Jake Seibert||K||6-1||190||Cincinnati, Ohio / La Salle
|Cody Simon||LB||6-1||218||Jersey City, N.J. / St. Peter's Prep|
|Jaxon Smith-Njigba||WR||6-1||188||Rockwall, Texas / Rockwall|
|C.J. Stroud||QB||6-3||194||Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. / Rancho Cucamonga|
|Grant Toutant||OL||6-7||290||Warren, Mich. / De La Salle|
|Ryan Watts||CB||6-3||187||Little Elm, Texas / Little Elm
|Kourt Williams||SAF||6-1||216||Belliflower, Calif. / St. John Bosco|
|Miyan Williams||RB||5-10||225||Cincinnati, Ohio / Winton Woods
|Luke Wypler||OL||6-3||280||Montvale, N.J. / St. Joseph Regional|
Lejond Cavazos / 6-1, 196 / CB / San Antonio, Texas / IMG Academy
A composite four-star recruit by 247Sports.com, Rivals and ESPN who is ranked among the top 25 safeties nationally … will play in the ESPN Under Armour All-American Game … a native of San Antonio, Texas and plays for nationally renowned IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. … won the fastest man event at The Opening Regional in February of 2019 and has the highest overall score … played both cornerback and safety at IMG … projects as a cornerback for the Buckeyes … had his junior season cut short after five games due to injury … when fully healthy as a sophomore, earned playing time on a team that had 21 seniors who were on FBS rosters the following fall … the son of Melba and CJ Cavazos.
Mookie Cooper / 5-9, 195 / WR / Maryland Heights, Mo. / Pattonville
A versatile receiver and talented athlete who is ranked as the country’s No. 15 receiver and No. 82 overall player by 247Sports … a four-star prospect … third-rated player in the state of Missouri … averaged nearly 30 yards per reception as a junior, hauling in 29 passes for 869 yards and nine touchdowns while helping Trinity Catholic win their first-ever Class 3 state championship … amassed more than 1,100 yards of total offense … also rushed for 224 yards while scoring 18 touchdowns … participated in The Opening … will play in the ESPN Under Armour All-American Game … named to the Maxwell Award National High School Offensive Player of the Year Watch List … is the son of Danita Gibson.
Jacolbe Cowan / 6-5, 262 / DL / Charlotte, N.C. / Providence Day School
Rated as a four-star prospect by every major scouting service … is a top 150 recruit nationally … the nation’s No. 15-ranked defensive tackle by 247Sports … projects as a defensive end … had 36 tackles and 10 sacks as a junior in 2018 to earn all-conference, all-state and All-America honors … helped Providence Day and head coach Adam Hastings win the NCISAA state championship this past season … selected to play in the Under Armour All-American Game … is the son of Rykesha Cowan.
Julian Fleming / 6-2, 199 / WR / Catawissa, Pa. / Southern Columbia
Is the nation’s top-ranked wide receiver and overall player according to ESPN.com … the No. 2 overall player by 247Sports … named PennLive’s Pennsylvania Player of the Year in 2019 as well as Pennsylvania’s Gatorade Player of the Year … a finalist for the Gatorade National Player of the Year award … will play in the ESPN Under Armour All-American Game … is the state’s career leader in touchdown receptions (77) and receiving yards (5,514) … 255 career receptions … 72 receptions for 1,582 yards and 22 touchdowns as a senior as Southern Columbia won its 10th PIAA state championship … had 78 catches for 1,524 yards and 22 TDs in 2018 … also returned three interceptions for touchdowns and had a punt return TD … is a three-sport star who also plays basketball and won the Class AA 100-meter dash at the PIAA Track and Field Championships … named Pennsylvania’s Gatorade Player of the Year and Class AA State Player of the Year by the Pennsylvania Football Writers in 2018 … is the son of Betsy Fleming.
Josh Fryar / 6-6, 305 / OL / Beech Grove, Ind. / Beech Grove
The No. 1 overall player in the state of Indiana who is a three-star prospect and a top-15 rated offensive guard nationally … selected to play in the All-American Bowl in San Antonio on Jan. 4 … his versatility allows him to play any position along the offensive line … a three-sport athlete who plays on Beech Grove’s basketball team and also competes in track and field … first team All-Marion County as a senior for head coach Mark Weller … is the son of Jamie and Jeff Fryar.
Ty Hamilton / 6-3, 260 / DL / Pickerington, Ohio / Pickerington Central
A consensus three-star prospect from nearby Pickerington Central High School and coached by Jay Sharrett … is the younger brother of current Buckeye and All-Big Ten defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton … brings a great deal of versatility – he played inside as a defensive tackle, outside as a defensive end and stand up as a linebacker during his career at Pickerington Central … first team All-Ohio as a linebacker … second team All-OCC as a junior in 2018 … a finalist for the fall sports Athlete of the Year by ThisWeek … a member of the Columbus Dispatch All-Metro first team … finished with 118 tackles, eight tackles-for-loss, 8.5 sacks and one forced fumble for the Division I state champions … is the son of Sabrina and Damian Hamilton.
Darrion Henry / 6-5, 279 / DL / Cincinnati, Ohio / Princeton
Ranked as the No. 2 player in the state of Ohio and the No. 16 defensive tackle prospect in the nation by 247Sports.com … projects as a defensive end … is a four-star prospect who is a top 150 player nationally … teammate at Princeton High School of fellow signee Paris Johnson, Jr. for head coach Mike Daniels … one of five members of this year’s signing class to come from the Cincinnati area … member of the Southwest Ohio Football Coaches Association Division I first team this past fall … first-team All-Ohio … as a junior, led the Greater Miami Conference with 8.5 sacks to go with a team-high 61 tackles … added three forced fumbles … is the son of Denetra Henry and Olen Young.
Jakob James / 6-5, 285 / OL / Cincinnati, Ohio / Elder
A three-star prospect who is among Ohio’s highest-rated offensive linemen … plays for Elder High School and head coach Doug Ramsey … teammate of fellow signee TE Joe Royer … was a first-team All-Ohio pick in 2019 and helped Elder advance to the Division I state championship game … a traditional power in Ohio, Elder was the Division I regional runner up in 2018 … second-team all-district selection and first-team all-Greater Catholic League South division honoree as a junior … versatile enough to play guard, tackle or center … he is the son of Renea and Craig James … his father is Elder’s offensive line coach.
Paris Johnson, Jr. / 6-6, 290 / OL / Cincinnati, Ohio / Princeton
Consensus five-star prospect by 247Sports.com, Rivals and ESPN … is the No. 7-ranked player overall in the class of 2020 by 247Sports and the nation’s No. 1 tackle … the top-ranked player in the state of Ohio … spent his first three seasons at St. Xavier in Cincinnati for head coach Steve Specht before finishing his career at Princeton H.S. under Mike Daniels … Princeton offensive MVP in 2019 … had 106 pancakes this past fall … two-time OHSAA first-team All-Ohio selection … all-conference twice (GMC and GCL) … will play in the 2020 All-American Bowl in San Antonio … ambassador invite to Polynesian Bowl … twice named a MaxPreps High School All-American … two-time USA Today All-American … member of the National Honors Society and Chinese International Honor Society … achieved academic high honors each year of high school … built comprehensive list of volunteer experiences, including serving as a student ambassador at St. Xavier and working numerous football camps … is the son of Monica Johnson.
Trey Leroux / 6-8, 330 / OL / Norwalk, Ohio / Norwalk
Consensus three-star prospect who is the No. 38 player in Ohio according to 247Sports.com … helped Norwalk and head coach Todd Fox to its best season in 44 years as a junior, winning 10 games and making a run to the Division III state semifinals … named the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association Northwest District Lineman of the Year and All-Ohio first team as both a junior and senior … credited with 37 “pancake” blocks at Norwalk’s left tackle for an offense that averaged 37 points and 397 yards per game … the Truckers were 9-3 and shared the SBC Lake Division title this past fall … the season prior in 2018, Norwalk averaged 31.1 points per game and scored 40 or more points five times … is the son of Tami and Tony Leroux.
Cameron Martinez / 5-11, 183 / DB / Muskegon, Mich. / Muskegon
Four-star prospect who is rated as the nation’s No. 14 athlete by 247Sports.com … played quarterback for Muskegon High School … won three different awards as the Michigan player of the year, including the title of Mr. Football … was also the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year, MLive.com Player of the Year and Associated Press Division 3-4 Player of the Year … became the first player to win the MLive.com Player of the Year award twice in his career … passed for 1,258 yards and rushed for 2,124 as a senior while accounting for 47 touchdowns … helped Muskegon to three state championship games and one title in his career … was 26-2 as a starting quarterback for the Big Red … owns Muskegon single-game records for rushing yards (352) and touchdowns (six) and the single-season rushing record (2,526 as a junior in 2018) … in his 52-game high school career, Martinez finished with 6,954 rushing yards, which is 11th most on the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s all-time list and second most among quarterbacks … began his high school career at Muskegon Catholic where he played both quarterback and in the secondary … also plays basketball for Muskegon … dad is Steve Martinez, mother is Keisha Guy and step-dad is Keith Guy.
Mitchell Melton / 6-3, 235 / LB / Olney, Md. / Good Counsel
A three-star prospect who 247Sports ranks as the 19th best player in Maryland … helped Good Counsel High School and head coach Andy Stefanelli win the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championship with a 16-14 victory over St. John’s … had eight tackles, 3.5 sacks and one pass breakup in a WCAC semifinal win over Gonzaga and two more sacks in the championship game … finished his senior season with 19 sacks … is the son of Jennifer and Jeff Melton.
Jack James Miller, III / 6-4, 215 / QB / Scottsdale, Ariz. / Chaparral
The nation’s No. 14-ranked pro style quarterback by 247Sports.com … a four-star prospect by every major recruiting service … was the MVP at The Opening Los Angeles to earn a place at the Elite 11 Finals … Max Preps All American, All State as a freshman … Division 6A All District, All Region, All State honors … three year Ed Doherty Award recipient … played for Chaparral High school and head coach Brent Barnes and offensive coordinator Tim Kohner, where he was 2017 offensive MVP and 2019 offensive player of the year … was a four year varsity starter … holds the Arizona state record with 115 passing touchdowns, and 3,653 passing yards and 53 touchdowns in a season, a 2A state record … finishes high school career averaging 285 all-purpose yards per game, 248 passing yards per game and a Max Preps QBR of 114.9 … amassed nearly 10,000 yards and 130 total touchdowns in his 38 game high school career … member of the 2018 and 2019 mid-season Watch List for the National Quarterback of the Year award … is the son of Shea and Jack Miller, Jr. … has three sisters, Olivia, Anna and Emma.
Lathan Ransom / 6-1, 193 / SAF / Tucson, Ariz. / Salpointe Catholic
A national top-100 prospect and the No. 5-ranked safety nationally by 247Sports.com … will play in the US Army All-American Game in San Antonio on Jan. 4 … named the AllSportsTucson.com Athlete of the Year in 2019 … 2019 4A Kino Region Defensive Player of the Year … made The Arizona Republic All-Arizona Team as a junior after 82 tackles, two sacks, six interceptions and eight pass breakups for Tucson Salpointe Catholic High School … helped the Lancers to a 13-1 record in 2018 and an appearance in the 4A state final … participated in The Opening … member of the Maxwell Award National Defensive Player of the Year Watch List … is the son of Linda and Nathan Ransom.
Joe Royer / 6-5, 225 / TE / Cincinnati, Ohio / Elder
The nation’s No. 11-rated tight end by 247Sports.com and a top-10 player in the state of Ohio … earned four stars from ESPN and three from both 247Sports and Rivals … first team All-Ohio by the Ohio Prep Sportswriter’s Association … helped Elder High School and head coach Doug Ramsey reach the Division I state finals this fall … caught 70 passes for 1,258 yards and 15 touchdowns … had four catches for 112 yards and two touchdowns in a playoff win over St. Xavier … as a junior, had 31 catches for 612 yards and scored five touchdowns … is committed to play in the 2020 Polynesian Bowl … is the son of Michelle and Mark Royer.
Gee Scott Jr. / 6-3, 207 / WR / Seattle, Wash. / Eastside Catholic
A top-100 prospect nationally who is a four-star prospect according to 247Sports.com … the nation’s No. 12-ranked wide receiver and the No. 2 player in the state of Washington … will play in the Army All-American Bowl … had 76 receptions for 1,453 yards and 15 touchdowns this past fall … caught 52 passes for 755 yards and six touchdowns as a junior in 2018 … played for head coach Jeremey Thielbahr and helped Eastside Catholic win the 3A state title in 2018, finishing 13-1 overall … included in the season was a GEICO Bowl Series victory over Arizona powerhouse Centennial … earned an invitation to The Opening Finals in Dallas as a result of his performance at The Opening Regional in Oakland where he had the second-highest testing score … an All-Metro League Mountain Division selection … is the son of Tara Scott and Gee Scott Sr.
Jake Seibert / 6-1, 190 / K / Cincinnati, Ohio / La Salle
No. 2-rated kicker by 247Sports … comes from the same high school program as current Buckeye punter Drue Chrisman … La Salle and head coach Pat McLaughlin won the Division II state title this past fall … in the championship game, Seibert made a 43-yard field goal, the longest in OHSAA Division II football state championship history … also made a 38-yarder in that game, a 34-17 win over Massillon Washington … was one of La Salle’s starting wide receivers last season … was 9-of-12 on field goals for the season with a long of 48 yards in the regional final vs. Harrison … 63-of-65 on extra points and averaged better than 56 yards per kickoff with 45 touchbacks … is the son of Missy and Dave Seibert.
Cody Simon / 6-1, 218 / LB / Jersey City, N.J. / St. Peter’s Prep
The No. 9-rated outside linebacker nationally and No. 3 player in the state of New Jersey … a composite four-star prospect by 247Sports.com … played for St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, N.J. for head coach Rich Hansen … is the fourth top-five prospect from New Jersey to sign with Ohio State in the last two years (Tyler Friday, Ronnie Hickman and Luke Wypler are the others) … made nine tackles and had a 70-yard punt return for touchdown in St. Peter’s 21-14 win over Don Bosco Prep in the Non-Public Group IV state championship game … during his junior season in 2018, had 89 tackles, 13.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks … also had an interception – which he returned for a touchdown – to go along with four passes defended, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries … earned linebacker MVP honors at the Opening New Jersey Regional … is the son of Amy Ellis.
C.J. Stroud / 6-3, 194 / QB / Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. / Rancho Cucamonga
A four-star prospect who is rated as the nation’s No. 2 pro style quarterback and No. 83 regardless of position … was one of the top performers at the Elite 11 Finals last summer, earning MVP honors … had a spectacular senior season for Rancho Cucamonga and head coach Mark Verti, throwing for 3,878 yards and 47 touchdowns in 13 games … completed 66 percent of his passes … led Rancho Cucamonga to the state semifinals and a 9-4 record… amassed 6,221 yards passing as a starter during his junior and season seasons … had just 15 interceptions in 754 career pass attempts … will play in the All-American Bowl on Jan. 4 in San Antonio … is the son of Kimberly Stroud.
Jaxon Smith-Njigba / 6-1, 188 / WR / Rockwall, Texas / Rockwall
A four-star prospect and top 50-ranked recruit nationally according to 247Sports.com … No. 5-ranked player in the state of Texas … will play in the Army All-American game in San Antonio … participated in The Opening Finals in Dallas last summer … has compiled 5,346 career receiving yards and 82 touchdowns in 44 career games … in 13 games as a senior this fall, had 104 catches for 2,094 yards and 35 touchdowns … 2,264 yards from scrimmage with 39 touchdowns … was the leading receiver in the Dallas area as a junior in 2018, hauling in 97 passes for 1,828 yards and 20 touchdowns for head coach Rodney Webb and Rockwall High School … first team all-area by the Dallas Morning News … caught 14 passes for 267 yards and three TDs in a playoff game vs. Allen in a 2018 playoff game … a first team Class 6A all-state selection … member of the Austin American-Statesman’s 2020 Fab 55 … top-rated receiver in the Dallas area by the Dallas Morning News … as a sophomore in 2017, caught 83 passes for 1,328 yards and nine touchdowns … is the son of Jami Smith and Maada Smith-Njigba.
Grant Toutant / 6-7, 290 / OL / Warren, Mich. / De La Salle
The No. 15-ranked player in the state of Michigan according to 247Sports.com … rated as a composite three-star prospect … had the best testing results of any offensive lineman at The Opening Ohio Regional last spring … was rated among the top five offensive linemen at the regional … missed half of his senior season because of injury … in his first season as a starter for head coach Mike Giannone in 2018, Toutant helped De La Salle win the Division 2 state championship and was a first-team Detroit News All-East selection and second team All-State … was voted by his teammates as De La Salle’s Most Improved Offensive Player … with Toutant’s help, De La Salle averaged 32.2 points per game in 2018 … also plays on De La Salle’s basketball team, which won a district championship last season for the 23rd time in 25 years … is the son of Helena and Mike Toutant.
Ryan Watts / 6-3, 187 / CB / Little Elm, Texas / Little Elm
One of the country’s best defensive backs, rates as the nation’s No. 17 cornerback by 247Sports … a four-star prospect … member of the ESPN 300 … the No. 21 recruit in the SportsDayHS Class of 2020 rankings … named his team’s Most Valuable Player as a senior for Little Elm High School and head coach Kendrick Brown … played both cornerback and wide receiver for the Lobos … member of the MaxPreps Texas Preseason All-State team … is the son of Claire Watts-Cooper and Wayne Cooper.
Kourt Williams / 6-1, 216 / SAF / Bellflower, Calif. / St. John Bosco
Plays for one of the nation’s top programs, St. John Bosco in Bellflower, Calif. and head coach Jason Negro … the Braves are the nation’s No. 1-ranked team by MaxPreps … is a four-star prospect who is the 11th-ranked outside linebacker in the country and the No. 16 overall player in the state of California by 247Sports … selected to play in the All-American Bowl on Jan. 4 in San Antonio … with Williams leading the way in the secondary, St. John Bosco has given up 10 points or less in eight of 14 games … totaled 74 tackles and two sacks as a junior … comes from the same program that produced Ohio State All-Big Ten and All-American guard Wyatt Davis … is the son of Monica and Kourt Williams Sr.
Miyan Williams / 5-10, 225 / RB / Cincinnati, Ohio / Winton Woods
A top-15 rated player in the state of Ohio who is a consensus three-star prospect … is 247Sports’ No. 27 running back … named the Ohio Prep Sportswriters Association Southwest District Division II offensive player of the year … rushed for 5,823 yards and 68 touchdowns in his career at Winton Woods, which is No. 31 on the Ohio High School Athletic Association’s all-time career rushing list … had 992 yards and 10 touchdowns during his senior season … had 33 carries for 156 yards and three TDs in a 26-21 win over eventual state champion La Salle … was the 2018 Ohio Mr. Football runner-up as a junior in 2018 … is the son of Miltonia Ray.
Luke Wypler / 6-3, 280 / OL / Montvale, N.J. / St. Joseph Regional
A top-100 nationally-ranked prospect who earned a four-star designation by 247Sports.com, Rivals and ESPN … is the No. 1-rated player in New Jersey according to 247Sports.com and the No. 96 player overall … projects as either a guard or center in college … is the No. 2-ranked center in the country by 247Sports.com and was the No. 3-ranked guard at the time of his commitment … played tackle for head coach Augie Hoffmann at St. Joseph Regional … was a three-year starter … helped the Green Knights go 10-2 and win the NJSIAA Non-Public Group IV state championship in 2018, the school’s 18th state football title … led the way for a rushing attack that netted nearly 2,500 yards and averaged more than 200 yards/game … earned first-team All-State honors by NJ.com … a 2018 MaxPreps Junior All-American … committed to play in the Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio … is the son of Al Wypler and Michele Desimone.