COLUMBUS, Ohio — Jaheim Singletary of Robert E. Lee High School in Florida has reopened his recruitment, putting a dent in Ohio State football’s 2022 defensive back recruiting plans.
The Buckeyes hoped to add seven members to its secondary in this cycle and were headed into the fall with a clear focus. They pulled in Jyaire Brown early as the class’ first commit when he was still living in New Orleans. Singletary came months later.
Then Kerry Coombs and Matt Barnes got to work delivering Ryan Turner and Kye Stokes in the spring. Terrance Brooks closed things out as the only member of the quintet who committed after the 15-month recruiting dead period ended.
That left OSU with six months to focus on the potential final two additions, and the candidates for that are very clear at this point. Zion Branch and Xavier Nwankpa are the nation’s No. 4 and No. 5 safeties as top 60 players. Landing both would allow the Buckeyes to check off every part of their secondary. They’d have four cornerbacks, a cover safety, a bullet and a free safety, each understanding which of those categories they fall under.
Losing Singletary doesn’t change the fact that Ohio State wants both Branch and Nwankpa. But it’s a significant blow for a program trying to re-establish its mantra of “Best In America.”
Singletary is the nation’s No. 14 player and No. 5 cornerback as a five-star recruit. In other words, he’s a potential future first-round NFL Draft pick who should have expectations of being a starter as a sophomore. He would have been the highest-rated cornerback Ohio State had landed since Jeff Okudah in 2017, fifth-highest all time. Of the three players the 2022 recruiting class has lost, this may be the first one the Buckeyes can’t just shrug off.
Dasan McCullough flipping to Indiana hurt, but you can’t compete with someone choosing their family, and McCullough’s father is an assistant coach with the Hoosiers.
They’d also locked in on C.J. Hicks and Gabe Powers as top 50 recruits so early that they’d be OK just taking two linebackers in this cycle.
In a perfect world, there’d be two tight ends in this class. But the sting of losing Benji Gosnell was lessened because of the depth already in the room after Gee Scott Jr. and Cade Stover’s position switches.
There isn’t a position switch that can replace a five-star recruit. Unless something drastically changes with the status of USC commit Domani Jackson — who’s also still taking visits — or it can at some point successfully bring Singletary back into the fold, it’s likely Ohio State’s left without a five-star DB in 2022.
Landing seven defensive backs and holding onto all of them through Signing Day was always going to be a tough task. But in the hierarchy of which loss would have the most on-field damage, Singletary undoubtedly sits at the top.
That’s why you shouldn’t expect the Buckeyes to stop recruiting him.
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