Ohio State '23 GA DT (RS FR) - Kayden McDonald

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  1. OSUBasketballJunkie

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    One of Ohio State’s top remaining defensive tackle targets in the 2023 class has narrowed his decision down to five schools.

    Four-star Georgia prospect Kayden McDonald announced a top five Thursday consisting of Ohio State, Oklahoma, Clemson, Florida and Michigan. The 6-foot-3, 310-pound prospect will make his commitment on Oct. 31.

    McDonald took his official visit to Ohio State on Sept. 24 for the 52-21 win over Wisconsin, and by all accounts, it was a successful one.

    “Ohio State was a great visit,” McDonald told Eleven Warriors after his trip. “I saw everything.

    “The gameday atmosphere was insane. It was a surreal environment. Of course, the defensive line played great, they contained the run and the pass rush was efficient. “The staff made it very clear that Columbus is home for me,” McDonald said.

    McDonald’s last visit to Columbus before that was the Penn State game from a year ago, but the defensive tackle believes this year’s Buckeyes are much more formidable.

    “It’s a different vibe with coach Knowles being the defensive coordinator,” McDonald said. “The defense looks faster. They’re playing more together and relentless. It’s a relentless defense and a national championship-type defense.”

    Since his visit, Ohio State has been communicating with McDonald daily and putting a full-court press on for the Georgia prospect. Another plus OSU has regarding McDonald is some slight familiarity, as cornerback Jordan Hancock is a former high school teammate of McDonald’s at North Gwinnett High School (Suwanee, Georgia).

    McDonald has already used his official to Michigan earlier this year and plans on visiting Florida this weekend. He’ll take an official visit to Oklahoma next weekend and is considering revisiting Clemson.

    It’s a challenging read where McDonald is leaning now, though Ohio State has a chance to land the defensive prospect. If proximity to home is a significant factor for McDonald in the end, it’s more than likely he will choose Clemson, which is about a two-hour drive from his residence.

    After his visit, McDonald said the most important factors when deciding would be academics, the ability to play early and the potential to win a national championship.
     
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    DAY VISITING MCDONALD
    Ryan Day has had a busy off week hitting the road on the recruiting trail and checking in to see some of the Buckeyes’ top 2023 defensive line targets, such as Keon Keeley and Damon Wilson.

    He continued that trend on Thursday, stopping at North Gwinnett High School (Suwanee, Georgia) to visit priority defensive tackle target Kayden McDonald, according to 247Sports.

    McDonald has set a decision date for Oct. 31 and has narrowed down his decision to Ohio State, Oklahoma, Clemson, Michigan and Florida. He’s already taken officials to Michigan, Florida and Ohio State and will use his visit to Oklahoma on Oct. 22.

    When he visited OSU on Sept. 24 for the Wisconsin game, the Buckeyes put on a full-court press for McDonald.

    “The staff made it very clear that Columbus is home for me,” McDonald told Eleven Warriors earlier this month.
     
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    Ohio State “checks another box” for McDonald
    We are less than two weeks away from finding out the collegiate home for 2023 four-star defensive lineman Kayden McDonald of North Gwinnett (GA). The 6-foot-3, 310-pounder is currently set to announce his commitment on Oct. 31, and the Buckeyes are hoping to leave no stone unturned in their pursuit.

    This past Friday, Ohio State head coach Ryan Day and cornerbacks coach Tim Walton made their way to Suwannee, Georgia to stop by the high school that McDonald attends to see the peach state prospect. The check-in from Day and Walton left a positive impression on McDonald, and he didn’t hold back when speaking about the visit.

    “The head coach of the No. 2 team in the country came to see me,” McDonald told Garrick Hodge of Eleven Warriors. “It checks another box for Ohio State. It means a lot to me.”

    As the Buckeyes look to outlast the other finalists in the recruitment of McDonald which includes Clemson, Florida, Michigan, and Oklahoma, this is definitely a positive development for Ohio State. But just how much it impacts the decision of McDonald is yet to be seen. For now, the 247Sports Crystal Ball has the Tigers as the prohibitive favorite to land the Georgia standout, but those predictions were made a couple of months ago.

    Regardless, whichever of the five programs that is fortunate enough to land McDonald will be welcoming a massive talent to their respective defensive line room. McDonald is currently penciled in as a top 250 prospect in the class. The Suwannee native also ranks as the 33rd highest graded defensive lineman and the No. 22 overall player from the talented state of Georgia.
     
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    MCDONALD TO COMMIT MONDAY
    One of Ohio State’s remaining priority targets in the 2023 class will announce his college decision on Monday. Four-star Georgia defensive tackle Kayden McDonald will announce his commitment to one of Ohio State, Oklahoma, Clemson, Florida or Michigan after he finishes his practice on Monday evening.

    McDonald’s recruitment has been one that’s hard to read, considering no Crystal Balls have been placed since the summer, and the 6-foot-3, 310-pound prospect always speaks glowingly of each program in his top five. But there is some cautious optimism from Ohio State that the Buckeyes will be the pick in the end.

    Should McDonald commit to OSU, it would be the Buckeyes’ 21st commitment of the 2023 cycle and the third defensive lineman, as he’d join Will Smith Jr. and Jason Moore. He took his official visit to OSU on Sept. 24, then Ryan Day visited McDonald personally in Georgia during Ohio State’s off week. The Buckeyes’ coaching staff has made a daily push for McDonald since he made his official visit in September.

    “We’re heavily talking almost every day with the staff,” McDonald told Eleven Warriors in October of his relationships with Ohio State. “They keep saying Columbus is home.”
     
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    Ohio State landed its top remaining defensive tackle target in the 2023 class when Kayden McDonald committed to Ohio State on Monday.

    McDonald became the third defensive lineman to pledge to OSU’s 2023 class and the second player ever from North Gwinnett High School (Suwanee, Georgia) to commit to the Buckeyes. The first was McDonald’s former high school teammate and current Ohio State cornerback Jordan Hancock, who has seen his playing time expand the past few weeks after he dealt with an injury earlier this fall.

    Addressing reporters Wednesday, Hancock told reporters he was thrilled McDonald will be his teammate once again next season. In the final season the pair played together in high school, North Gwinnett turned in a 9-4 record, with McDonald recording 12 sacks as a sophomore and Hancock snagging an interception with four pass deflections.

    “Kayden’s a dog,” Hancock said. “I grew up with Kayden and we’re kind of neighbors, we live in the same neighborhood. He's gonna be a dog, be a team player. He’d do anything for our team to win. So, I'm happy for him to be a Buckeye with me and just have another friend from Georgia. You know, we want to get a pipeline from Georgia going. So I feel like that's coming in.”

    Hancock said he had a hand in recruiting McDonald to Ohio State and knew he’d be a priority player for the Buckeyes to land. McDonald picked OSU over other finalists Michigan, Clemson, Florida and Oklahoma.

    “Yeah, I was really on him hard, recruiting him because that's my boy,” Hancock said. “So, I really loved him for coming here. And I’ll look out for him when he's here. I’m so thankful for that.”
     
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