Top 2026 prospect Zion Elee says his Ohio State offer is on a ‘high pedestal’ after Larry Johnson offered him Wednesday

Despite a productive sophomore season, Maryland defensive end Zion Elee hadn’t spoken to a college coach until he spoke with Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson in January .

Johnson expressed interest in Elee, but didn’t want to offer the 6-foot-5, 225-pound prospect yet.

“If I offer it to you now, your phone will explode,” Elee recalled of her conversation with Johnson.

It turned out that Elee still exploded. The four-star prospect is now ranked as the 38th best prospect and No. 5 in the 2026 class. He has accumulated over 15 Division I offers, including offers from Georgia, Florida State, Missouri, Penn State, Rutgers, Tennessee, West Virginia, Maryland, Miami, Minnesota, South Carolina, Syracuse, Virginia Tech and Wisconsin.

Elee still remembers her first conversation with Johnson, although communication between the parties was inconsistent over the following months. That changed Wednesday when Johnson called Elee Wednesday to officially propose.

“It was awesome, man,” Elee said Eleven warriors to get an OSU offer. “He nominated me because he says he sees potential in me and I remind him of Nick Bosa with my style of play. He really hopes to develop me in the future.

The offer solidified Elee’s interest in OSU and let the Maryland prospect know he was valued by the Buckeyes as well. He is the fourth prospect in the 2026 class to receive an offer from Ohio State, joining Tyler Atkinson, Shaun Scott and Luke Wafle.

“They’re sitting on a high pedestal,” Elee said of Ohio State’s current recruiting situation. “I’m pretty sure it’s the number one college football team that gets all the fans and stuff. And a lot of good players that played my position came from Ohio State, coached by Coach Johnson.

Elee says he will visit OSU for the first time on June 17 and hopes to strengthen his bond with Johnson during their in-person conversations.

Elee had a breakout season for Joppatowne High School (Joppatowne, Md.) as a sophomore, recording 64 tackles, 24 tackles for loss and 13 sacks last year.

“My speed with the ball and the way I’m able to use my passing moves,” Elee said describing the strongest strengths of his game. “I just feel like I have more knowledge about the ball only on the offensive line in front of me. I want to work more on my strength and timing this season.

Elee said the colleges that have talked to him see him as a versatile player who can spread his coverage in addition to rushing the passer, but his preference is primarily to be an edge rusher and get after the quarterback. fullback, whether as a defensive end or defensive end. Standing rusher.

His recruitment will likely go the distance, as Elee says he plans to commit on National Signing Day in December 2025.

“I’m going to look at the campus and how players are treated and developed,” Elee said of the most important factors in his recruitment. “It’s really the only thing that matters. Every college will have good food and amenities, I just want to see if the schools I’m considering treat and develop their players the way I want to be developed.