While much of the talk surrounding Ohio State’s No. 5-ranked 2023 recruiting class the past few months has revolved around the elite pass catchers that the Buckeyes have committed, Mark Fletcher let the world know on Saturday that there’s also a powerful running back that has some shades of Derrick Henry in his game headed to Columbus.
Fletcher, who 247Sports pegs as the nation’s No. 11 ball carrier, ran for a career-high 224 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries in American Heritage’s 56-27 beatdown of Los Alamitos at the Broward County National Showcase.
“It’s crazy,” Fletcher told 247Sports. (*2*)
Most scouts – and fans – woke up Saturday morning expecting USC five-star quarterback commit Malachi Nelson or Ohio State Top247 wide receiver commit Brandon Inniss to steal the show, especially with ESPN’s cameras in town to broadcast the action. And while both blue-chippers made plays on the national stage (as did USC Top247 athlete commit Makai Lemon and Top247 cornerback Damari Brown), it was Fletcher who essentially took over with his physical run style.
“Nobody wanted to tackle me,” Fletcher said with a grin.
And the All-American Bowl selection isn’t exactly lying.
Los Alamitos 27
Mark Fletcher (Ohio State commit)- 19 carries, 224 yards, 2 TD (*7*) pic.twitter.com/O9cEGjRAFF
— SportsCenter NEXT (@SCNext) (*6*)
After a collection of Los Alamitos defenders bounced off Fletcher early in the first quarter, the group from California quickly realized that the only way to slow down the South Florida-based powerhouse down was going to be stacking the box and trying to limit Fletcher.
That, obviously, didn’t happen as the 6-foot-1, 225-pound Fletcher went on to rack up 141 rushing yards and two scores in the first half. He then ripped off a 73-yard run early in the third quarter, which essentially put the game on ice for American Heritage.
(*4*) Fletcher said.
When it comes to recruiting, Fletcher says that he remains locked in with the Buckeyes after picking the Big Ten program back in April live on CBS Sports HQ, but he didn’t hide the fact that nearby Miami is trying to remain involved in his recruitment with the Early Signing Period just under five months away.
“You know the hometown is still there,” Fletcher said. (*19*)
Fletcher added that he plans to be in Columbus next weekend on an unofficial visit for the Buckeyes’ much-anticipated season opener against Notre Dame.
Assuming Fletcher does indeed stick with Ohio State, he would give Ryan Day & Co. the perfect change-of-pace running back to pair with what’s already on the roster. Of course, Fletcher has shown in the past that he can be a workhorse and more than just some short-yardage specialist. After all, as a sophomore Fletcher averaged 7.0 yards per carry while totaling 1,411 yards and 11 touchdowns in 13 games.