Ohio State’s Five Most Important Remaining Recruits on Defense

Ohio State has hit the defensive side of the ball hard so far in the 2025 recruiting class, building the foundation for what could be the program’s best defensive class in quite a few years.

But there is still work left to be done with nearly 10 months until the Early Signing Period opens up and there are some key areas to address starting this spring as visits ramp back up in less than two weeks.

With that in mind, we’re taking a look at the most important defensive recruits still out there for the Buckeyes.

Cincinnati (OH) Winton Woods EDGE Justin Hill

Hill has been made a priority by the entire Ohio State defensive staff and is one of the most explosive edge rushers to come out of the state over the past several years. Despite a national offer list, Ohio State looks to be in good shape to ultimately land Hill who is one of the nation’s most versatile defensive players.

Bradenton (FL) IMG Academy EDGE London Merritt

A long-time priority target, Merritt would give the Buckeyes some much needed speed off the edge as Ohio State will look to add a few more defensive ends to the fold between now and December.

Merritt will take an official visit to Ohio State in June and has been to campus numerous times. If Signing Day were this week, I’d have Merritt in the class for the Buckeyes but there is still work left to do.

RELATED: The Five Most Important Remaining Recruits on Offense

Vero Beach (FL) LB Tarvos ‘T.J.’ Alford

Alford has been one of now permanent linebackers coach James Laurinaitis’ favorites in the 2025 cycle and the four-star prospect will decide at the end of March.

Before that happens, he’ll make an unofficial visit to Columbus on March 23rd, giving Ohio State a chance to continue its momentum just a week before his announcement. The Florida schools shouldn’t be discounted here, but Ohio State is sitting in a good spot heading into the visit.

Olney (MD) Good Counsel S Faheem Delane

Overkill with three stud corners already committed? Maybe. But Delane is a special talent and the Buckeyes, despite a very strong group at the top, do have a numbers shortage at safety. You also have to assume that Caleb Downs is a three-and-done, meaning you want to find his replacement in 2025, not in 2026.

Ohio State and Oregon are the two at the top right now and things have been trending in a good direction for the Buckeyes. But this is a national recruitment that still has several months to play out so Ohio State will need to keep its foot on the gas here.

Shaker Heights (OH) S Trey McNutt

This spot could just as easily have gone to Dorian Brew (we debate this below). McNutt is an in-state star at a position of need in this recruiting class. He’s also a legacy recruit a player that the Buckeyes simply can’t afford to let leave the state.

Matt Guerrieri has done good work here since Perry Eliano’s departure and has the Buckeyes in a solid spot for the four-star prospect.

Check out the latest Skull Session Recruiting Podcast for more discussion on where things stand with a half dozen key defensive recruiting targets for the Buckeyes.

Listen to “The FIVE Most Important Remaining Recruiting Targets on Defense” on Spreaker.

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