Originally scheduled to take an official visit to Ohio State on June 24-26, Lehigh Acres (Fla.) Senior five-star running back Richard Young announced on Monday evening he has cancelled his trip to Columbus but is still keeping the Buckeyes among his top schools.
It’s an interesting turn of events in the staff’s pursuit of the 5-foot-11 and 200-pound Young – who is considered the second-best running back and No. 19 prospect overall in the class of 2023 – as Ohio State has long been considered one of the favorites in his recruitment, dating back to a pair of unofficial visits last summer and aided by another visit for the win over Penn State last October.
Things have shifted in the last few weeks, though, with Alabama seemingly pulling away in the race to land Young’s pledge. He admittedly grew up rooting for the Crimson Tide, while his growing relationship with head coach Nick Saban and running backs coach Robert Gillespie has only solidified their standing.
Young is now slated to take official visits with Oklahoma on June 3-5, Alabama on June 10-12, Notre Dame on June 13-15 and Georgia on June 17-19. It’s believed that Oregon will be his final official visit before an undetermined commitment date.
The Buckeyes, meanwhile, already hold a commitment at running back in Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) American Heritage four-star Mark Fletcher, but assistant coach Tony Alford has planned to take two players at the position this cycle and Fletcher's pledge shouldn’t have an impact on Young’s eventual decision.
Somehow, though, Ohio State has now gone from hosting Young on his final official visit to hoping his three previous visits are enough to land his commitment. Perhaps the staff can convince him to reconsider his official visit plans once again, but unless that happens, it’s unlikely he will end up with the Buckeyes.
As for where Alford goes from here, there’s only one other name that has been connected to Ohio State to this point in Roswell (Ga.) Blessed Trinity Catholic four-star Justice Haynes. He’s set to be on campus for his official visit on June 24-26, which could easily move the Buckeyes to the forefront of his recruitment.
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