At one point the Ohio State Buckeyes were in position to potentially land two of the five five-star defensive end recruits in the Class of 2018. Now it seems certain they’ll end up with none of them.
Brenton Cox, the five-star defensive end prospect from Stockbridge (Ga.) and one-time Ohio State commit, officially flipped and signed on with the Georgia Bulldogs on the first day of the new Early National Signing Period Wednesday.
Cox decommitted from Ohio State on Dec. 6, shortly after receiving an in-home visit from Alabama coach Tosh Lupoi and subsequently seeing the Crimson Tide on an official visit. While that may have stirred the pot and inspired Cox to officially back out of his pledge to Ohio State, it was Georgia that got Cox’s final official visit just last weekend, and that recency bias may have helped draw the 6-foot-4.5, 247-pound edge rusher to the Bulldogs.
Cox wasn’t the only loss the Buckeyes took at the defensive end position on Wednesday, though his likely hurt more given that he was previously a solid commit. The Buckeyes also missed out on fellow five-star DE Micah Parsons, though that was apparently a fait accomplís after Ohio State stopped heavily recruiting the nation’s top-ranked DE because of a purported minor violation that occurred on the ESPN College GameDay set.
Where the Buckeyes go from here to further enhance their depth along the edges of the defensive line remains to be seen, but perhaps that’s the beauty of the Early Signing Period: programs like Ohio State now know what they’ve got, and know where they have to focus to fill in areas of need with less than two months to go before February’s traditional National Signing Day.
As for Cox, he joins another powerful signing class with a College Football Playoff team, all with an eye on contributing in 2018. And he could have a significant impact on the final national recruiting rankings as well; Cox’s departure from Ohio State to Georgia could flip the Bulldogs in front of the Buckeyes if all other commitments follow through as scheduled.