Ohio State football team in good standing with five-star linebacker

After missing on a coveted defensive player, the Ohio State football team has a chance to land another.
Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA

After missing out on coveted edge rusher Justin Hill of Cincinnati, the Ohio State football team's coaching staff has to quickly lick their wounds and move on to the next high-priority target. On Saturday, five-star linebacker Riley Pettijohn of McKinney, Texas is making his announcement.

The 6’1”, 215-pound Pettijohn is the number five linebacker in the country according to 247 Sports’ Composite Rankings and is ranked as the 31st overall player. The scouting report on him says he is very athletic and that will allow him to be used in multiple defensive schemes.

He can run and has the ability to drop into coverage. He tends to not take good pursuit angles and will play around blocks rather than go through them, but these are both correctable with coaching. The bottom line is he has all the tools to be an impact player.

Where do the Buckeyes stand?

For a good while, it was thought he would choose Texas. Two recruiting experts at 247 Sports put in Crystal Ball predictions for the Longhorns earlier this year. But while the eyes of Texas may be upon him, many recruiting experts now feel his eyes are looking elsewhere.

According to an article by 247, Pettijohn confirmed to them that his three leaders are now Texas A&M, Ohio State, and USC. Based on conversations with him and others close to his recruitment, 247 further believes he has his choices down to two schools, Ohio State and USC, and he is leaning towards the Buckeyes. Pettijohn said he has made up his mind but refuses to give any sort of hint.

Pettijohn has family in Cincinnati and OSU linebackers coach James Laurinaitis has developed a great relationship with him. Also, Texas native Devin Sanchez, who is committed to the Buckeyes as the nation’s top cornerback, has been working diligently to sell Pettijohn on OSU.

But reports say he also loves what he’s seen from USC as well. One of his former high school teammates is on the Trojans’ roster and Pettijohn really likes their defensive scheme. Still, the experts at 247 feel the Buckeyes have a slight edge, and those they have spoken to around the program like their chances to land him.


Eighth-ranked Tarvos Alford of Vero Beach, Florida, and Hoban’s Eli Lee are the only two linebackers currently committed to the Buckeyes. Pettijohn would be one more gem added to the nation’s top recruiting class.