Ohio State has made an offer to an offensive lineman in the transfer portal.
Rhode Island offensive tackle Ajani Cornelius, who has been one of the most coveted players in the portal since he entered two weeks ago, announced he picked up an offer from the Buckeyes on Wednesday.
Blessed to say I received an offer from The Ohio State University@ryandaytime @CoachJFrye @CoachReedLive pic.twitter.com/tAAYvyXHyC
— Ajani Cornelius (@AJCornelius65) December 14, 2022
With Ohio State likely losing both starting tackles in Dawand Jones and Paris Johnson Jr., the Buckeyes have reason to look for someone who could step in and play immediately at offensive tackle next season. Although as Dan Hope wrote Wednesday morning, the Buckeyes plan to be selective when it comes to adding players from the portal.
Since entering the portal in early December, Cornelius has picked up more than 20 FBS offers. After redshirting his first year at Rhode Island, Cornelius has made 22 starts for the Rams over the past two seasons and was a first-team selection to the All-Colonial Athletic Association team this year.
There’s a reason Cornelius is drawing interest from many Power Five schools. The 6-foot-5, 310-pound offensive tackle turned in an 89.5 grade for the 2022 season from Pro Football Focus, the third-highest mark in the entire FCS for offensive linemen behind North Dakota State’s Cody Mauch (91.9) and William and Mary’s Colby Sorsdal (89.6). He also had the second-highest run-blocking grade in the FCS at 91.0, just behind Mauch’s 91.5.
Factoring in FBS grades too, Cornelius turned in the 13th-highest PFF grade in the country for all offensive linemen (and the ninth-best among offensive tackles) this season. As a run blocker, Cornelius had the third-best grade among all FBS and FCS offensive tackles nationwide. If there is one drawback to his game, Cornelius committed 10 penalties in 11 games this season.
As one of the most coveted prospects available this offseason, Ohio State will have plenty of competition for Cornelius. But he could step in and be a starter in 2023 should the Buckeyes land the New York native.
Social media reaction to Kienholz’s commitment
Ohio State’s 2023 recruiting class grew to 20 on Wednesday as the Buckeyes successfully flipped four-star quarterback Lincoln Kienholz from Washington. OSU had its eyes on Kienholz for a while, dating back to mid-October, even when Brock Glenn was still committed to OSU. When Glenn decommitted from the Buckeyes in November, it opened the door for Kienholz to join the class.
After long talks and consideration, I am very blessed with this opportunity. Thank you to @CoreyDennis_ and the staff and also everyone that has been along on this ride. Im excited to announce I am committing to @OhioStateFB. #GoBuckeyes pic.twitter.com/OpO2ghcYIw
— Lincoln Kienholz (@LincolnKienholz) December 14, 2022
Kienholz, who had been committed to the Huskies since June, told 247Sports the opportunity to play for Ryan Day and Corey Dennis was too good to pass up considering their developmental track record.
“I think just their past culture and tradition with their quarterbacks that’s huge,” Kienholz told 247Sports in the past. “Also their success they’ve had with their quarterbacks and success they’ve had with their football team as well.”
Prior to Kienholz’s commitment, OSU was slotted at the No. 6 spot in 247’s national recruiting rankings but now has surpassed Miami to get back to No. 5 after adding the dual-threat signal caller from South Dakota. Kienholz is a three-sport athlete who also plays and excels in basketball and baseball for Pierre High School (Pierre, South Dakota).
Whether QB @LincolnKienholz ends up signing with Washington or Ohio State
Thats a Division I Shooting Guard
Thats a Division I Baseball player (Shortstop)
They are signing one of the best overall HS athletes in the United States.. With humility far past his age. pic.twitter.com/irWwFmyzIn
— Tanner Castora (@Tanner_Castora) December 14, 2022
Following the commitment of Kienholz, plenty of OSU commits and staff weighed in on social media to celebrate the new addition to the Buckeyes’ class. Their reactions are compiled below.
Let’s do it!! https://t.co/blwGtelFZY
— Brandon Inniss (@brandon5star2) December 14, 2022
Boom! Let’s gooooo @LincolnKienholz https://t.co/V7auDMs5f0
— Luke Montgomery (@lukeMonty8) December 14, 2022
— Miles Walker (@mileswalker76) December 14, 2022
welcome home bro! #gobucks https://t.co/Z2w8u2ja7Q
— Bryson Rodgers (@IBryson13) December 14, 2022
— Koy McFarland (@CoachKMcFarland) December 14, 2022
— Carnell Tate (@carnelltate_) December 14, 2022
Lets goooooo @LincolnKienholz https://t.co/fXmAhsrPJc
— Austin Siereveld (@SiereveldAustin) December 14, 2022
Carter commits to Tennessee
As expected, four-star 2023 linebacker Arion Carter will not be attending Ohio State. The Tennessee product announced he’d be staying home Wednesday, committing to Tennessee.
Hmmmm! @TNSelect7V7 @smyrnafootball @coachjoshheupel @VolFBRecruiting @Vol_Football pic.twitter.com/aTmGCdMJrp
— Arion Carter (@ArionCarter) December 14, 2022
Carter is considered the 159th-best player and 13th-best linebacker prospect in the 2023 class per 247Sports’ composite rankings. With the 6-foot-1, 215-pound linebacker off to play for the Volunteers, the Buckeyes will likely be content to roll with just one linebacker commit in the 2023 class in Arvell Reese. It certainly helps that they know at least one starter will return next season, as Steele Chambers announced Wednesday that he’d be returning to OSU for another year, although Tommy Eichenberg said he remains undecided on his future.
Okunlola eliminates Buckeyes from consideration
Five-star 2023 offensive tackle Samson Okunlola won’t be picking Ohio State when he announces his college decision Thursday.
Okunlola officially eliminated the Buckeyes Tuesday by putting out a top four of Florida, Miami, Michigan State and Miami ahead of his commitment.
Top 4 #pancakehoncho #ASPA stay pic.twitter.com/m6VU6l6n1O
— Samson Okunlola 23 (@SAMSONOKUNLOLA_) December 13, 2022
While OSU certainly would have loved to add a player of Okunlola’s caliber, the Buckeyes will have to look to other avenues to address their offensive tackle needs for next season.