Sad departure: 2 key players depart Ohio State due to

Ohio State Buckeyes bounce back from recent recruiting misses with major commit

There have been very few misses for Ohio State’s Ryan Day on the recruiting trail, but this past week had been a rough one for the Buckeyes head coach. In the last week, Ohio State has narrowly missed out on signing top-100 linebacker Justin Hill (Alabama) and #1 wide receiver Dakorien Moore (Oregon), but the Buckeyes got some good news on Saturday afternoon with the commitment of  4-star McKinney, Texas linebacker Riley Pettijohn, the #48 recruit in the class of 2025 according to the ESPN 300.

With nearly thirty Power 4 offers to choose from, Riley Pettijohn narrowed his choices down to four schools — Ohio State, USC, Texas and Texas A&M — and visited each of those schools before making his decision. The versatile linebacker, who has experience playing both on the edge and in the middle of the defense, ultimately chose the Buckeyes, thanks in large part to the recruiting efforts ofOhio State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles and linebackers coach James Laurinaitis.

James Laurinaitis excelled at linebacker for Ohio State from 2005 to 2008, capturing Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year twice, and being named a Big Ten 1st-Team selection three times during his career. Now, just months after being named to Ryan Day’s staff, Laurinaitis has already played a key role in the recruitment of Tarvos Alford and Eli Lee, a pair of 4-star linebackers who will be joining Pettijohn on campus in 2025.

Riley Pettijohn hopes to have a career just as successful in Columbus as his linebackers coach did nearly two decades ago, and given his pedigree, it’s reasonable to believe that there’s a chance he could approach what Laurinaitis accomplished. A track star as well as a standout linebacker, Pettijohn is fast and athletic, and was initially used as an edge rusher before moving to middle linebacker ahead of his junior season. He finished his junior year with 125 tackles — 11.4 per game — along with 8 tackles for loss, 3 sacks and an interception. Gabe Brooks of 247 Sports writes that Riley Pettijohn, “possesses the physical and athletic traits to become a multi-year high-major starter who could develop into a coveted NFL Draft candidate.”

Pettijohn is just one of many incoming Ohio State recruits who will eventually have their eye on the NFL. As things stand right now, the Buckeyes have the #1 class in the country for 2025, with 22 players already signed, 16 who are in the ESPN 300. That includes the top two cornerbacks in the class (Na’eem Offord and Devin Sanchez), the top safety (Faheem Delane), and three top ten defensive ends (London Merrit, Zahir Mathis and Zion Grady).

Despite facilitating this once in a generation recruiting class, it is not a stretch to suggest that Ryan Day could be coaching for his job in 2024.

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