Hot Seat-Cool Bench: Branch Trending Towards OSU, But D-Linemen Headed Elsewhere

As the National Early signing period approaches, the world of recruiting is starting to shake up. In this segment Hot Seat-Cool Bench we will explore some of the hottest names we need to know for the Buckeyes right now as well as some of the names who are starting to cool or “trend away” from the Buckeyes. 

Hot Seat:

First off on the hot seat, we take a dive into the one of the driest places in the country in Las Vegas, Nevada. 2023 Bishop Gorman’s Zachariah Branch has officially been crystal balled to the Buckeyes by none other than the lead director of 247Sports, Steve Wiltfong. If I could have put a crystal ball in myself I would have had it in probably two months ago. With that being said, the Buckeyes are set to land a pledge from him very shortly here in the coming days to weeks. 

Since were on the topic of Zacharia Branch, we obviously have to talk about his brother Zion Branch who is one of Ohio State’s priority targets in the 2022 class at safety. I absolutely believe and have knowledge that Branch on the hot seat for the Buckeyes and I believe they ultimately end up announcing their commitment to the Buckeyes as a team. If not on the same day, I expect them to be one after another. Great work by the Buckeye staff on two ‘must have’ prospects. 

Who else do I have on the seat? I’ll tell you this, I have had my own crystal ball in for this guy for about six months and that is largely due to the recruiting god himself, Brian Hartline. I fully expect the Buckeyes to land Carnell Tate. Tate was recently given a bump in the latest 247 rankings, a bump that would land him as the new number one wide receiver in the country. 

Once again, you can not underestimate the value of Hartline here. Year after year, he’s bring in the top receivers across the country and hand picking the ones that no-one else is giving attention to such as Kyion Grayes, and Kaleb Brown. 

Cool Bench:

Now for the side of it most Buckeye fans will not want to hear but unfortunately this is what this segment is all about. 

I’ll quickly touch on this as I did not expect it to happen so soon, but Chris McClellan pledged his services to the University of Florida yesterday. There was a lot of writing on the wall here as the Buckeyes have felt very good about their defensive line situation at this time. 

The Buckeyes are set to land a commitment from Hero Kanu here very shortly and although he is definitely on the Buckeye hot seat, I wanted to tie it in here. With Kanu being the priority target at the position, and Johnson liking Caden Curry as a prospect more than McClellan, there was no room for him in the class at this time.

The Buckeyes feel good about their position with Omari Abor and a couple other defensive line targets. The class just was never going to be able to take McClellan with what they are expecting to add. Unfortunately, he was not going to be a take for the Buckeyes. This is not the first time I heard that either. On the Oklahoma side, I was speaking with one of their insiders who explained he most likely was not a take for them either. The result? Well, he ended up committing to a SEC program who is without a head coach right now.

The next name who is certainly cooling on the Buckeyes is Kam Dewberry. The number four ranked interior offensive linemen in the country was certainly close to committing to Ohio State back in the summer when he visited. Since then, it’s slowly started to creep away as he has been able to take more trips to Texas A&M as a local Texas product. 

I’m not saying the Buckeyes are completely out on this one but it is definitely one that is not trending in the Buckeyes direction. Offensive line Coach Greg Studrawa is going to have to press down the clamps if he wants to win this one out for the priority offensive guard.

The last name were going to take a look at on the Cool Bench this week is Ellenwood, Georgia DT Christen Miller. Miller is an elite player at the position and I really do mean this, is going to be a major miss for the Buckeyes at the DT position. 

I am expecting the Buckeyes to get a great unpolished product in Kanu that Johnson will have to put some work into, but Miller is college ready. Put him at a 1-tech or a 3-tech, it does not matter, third down pass rusher or first down run stopper, the kid is just ready to go. Miller has great hands, and unmatched strength at the position. 

Personally, I’ve had Miller at one time landing with USC because of his goals to get into acting after football. However, with the firing of USC Head Coach Clay Helton and his best friend Mykel Williams flipping his commitment from USC to Gerorgia, I think the writing is on the walls here. Not to mention, last time I touched base he did make a subtle hint to me he was really feeling Georgia more than anyone else. 

The Buckeyes are going to miss there but ultimately they should be getting some great products in Kanu and Curry if they are to land them as expected.

Featured image of Zachariah Branch via: