Zech Fort

Do The Buckeyes Have An Inside Track With A 2026 Safety

BRADENTON, Fla. – Despite never living in the state of Ohio, class of 2026 safety Zech Fort is an Ohioan.

At least according to Ohio State head coach Ryan Day.

The 5-foot-10, 190-pound four-star is from Long Beach (Calif.) and plays his high school football at IMG Academy off of the gulf coast of Florida.

How exactly is he an ‘honorary Ohioan’ exactly?

“My dad’s from Delaware, Ohio,” Fort said. “My grandparents are from Ashley, Ohio. So yeah, I got family ties in Ohio. (Coach Day) said I am an Ohio guy.”

That is certainly something in Ohio State’s favor but make no mistake, Fort is a national recruit, and it will a who’s who type of recruitment with north of 30 offers at this point, as a rising junior.

The Buckeyes are on the verge of putting together a defensive back class for the ages in the class of 2025 and landing Fort at some point would be a big step for trying to match the feat in 2026.

The messaging from Ohio State has really hit home to this point though.

“It’s just a family there at Ohio State,” Fort added. “Every time I got there, they treat me like family, like their own.”

Fort has been on the Ohio State campus many times, most recently for a spring practice session. Spending time with coaches like Tim Walton and Matt Guerrieri was a highlight of this trip, far from his first.

“Just being in the meeting room with all the DBs, seeing how they look at the game and then like seeing how Coach Guerrieri and Coach Walton look at the game,” Fort said.

You have to remember that recruits are in their mid-teens and may not have a long history of watching any team, but Fort knows his Ohio State history when asked about players that he watched while growing up.

“Ezekiel Elliott… Michael Thomas, Cardale Jones, JT Barrett,” Fort listed off. “On defense Marshon Lattimore and Denzel Ward.”

Florida State, Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, Oregon and Georgia are not going to just yield on this one and allow Ohio State to walk away with Fort. The talented defensive back has summer plans to check out Georgia and Tennessee over the summer.

But even with all of the love that Fort has had for Ohio State growing up, there is one thing that he has not done, at least as a recruit, that is attending a football game.

He has done it as a fan, but there is something different about it as a recruit.

“I’m planning this fall I’ll be at the Ohio State versus Michigan game,” Fort said. “I got to root for Ohio State because, you know, I’m going as a recruit. I got to root for Ohio State.”

Find out more on this high-profile target in this exclusive interview as part of our annual Southern Swing tour.

Go to discussion...

You might also like