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How Jayden Bonsu's Commitment Impacts Ohio State’s 2023 Recruiting Class

An in-depth look at what Bonsu will bring to the Buckeyes both on and off the field.
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Ohio State landed a commitment from one of the nation’s hardest-hitting defenders on Sunday afternoon when Hillside (N.J.) four-star safety Jayden Bonsu pledged his services to the Buckeyes over finalists Alabama, Miami (Fla.), Michigan State and Penn State.

The 6-foot-1 and 210-pound Bonsu is coming off a junior season in which he recorded 62 tackles, eight pass break ups, 7.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and two interceptions – one of which he returned for a touchdown – to lead the Marauders to the state semifinals last fall.

He was subsequently named first-team All-Division by the Super Football Conference’s coaches as an at-large selection, which speaks to his versatility in the passing game as a safety and in run support and the respect he’s garnered while playing at one of the top programs in the state.

Bonsu’s frame and overall game are very similar to that of redshirt junior safety Ronnie Hickman, who is a fellow New Jersey native, and he could play any of the three safety spots in new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles’ scheme, whether its the adjuster (free), bandit (boundary) or nickel positions.

Some believe he could develop into a linebacker at the next level if he continues to add weight and muscle, though, which also brings to mind redshirt sophomore Kourt Williams and freshman Sonny Styles, who are both safeties but have the characteristics of a linebacker.

Either way, Ohio State’s defense is getting a physical prospect who isn’t afraid to come down and make a big hit or chase down an opposing ball carrier, as well as someone who has the length and speed to be disruptive against tight ends and keep up with wide receivers on the back end.

For as hard as he hits, though, Bonsu tackles with proper technique and doesn’t often get beat in the open field. That, of course, is good sign from a safety, whose mistakes are only amplified in those situations.

Bonsu was tasked with calling out coverages to the rest of the defense last season, his first after transferring to St. Peter’s Prep from Hillside High, which bodes well for him picking up Knowles’ scheme quickly. Don’t be surprised if he’s in the conversation to be a team captain one day.

Jayden Bonsu

As for how he fits into the class, Bonsu becomes the third safety to commit to the Buckeyes this cycle, joining West Chester (Ohio) Lakota West four-star Malik Hartford and Cocoa, Fla., four-star Cedrick Hawkins.

That has long been the target number, though the staff would be open to taking a fourth player at the position if it Hoschton (Ga.) Mill Creek five-star Caleb Downs, though it’s highly unlikely he would flip his pledge from Alabama. 

You can never say never in recruiting, though, as the Buckeyes were viewed as the biggest threat to land his commitment last month.

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