Ohio State has achieved a significant victory in the recruiting arena, securing a commitment from five-star linebacker Riley Pettijohn on Saturday. Pettijohn chose the Buckeyes over formidable contenders such as USC, Texas, and Texas A&M. His decision marks a major success for Ohio State’s recruiting efforts.

Pettijohn visited Ohio State officially on May 31, where he was presented with a comprehensive developmental plan by the Buckeyes’ coaching staff, including James Laurinaitis and Jim Knowles. Despite intense competition from Texas A&M and USC in the final weeks of his recruitment, Ohio State’s persistence paid off. Pettijohn’s commitment is a testament to Laurinaitis’s recruiting prowess in his first cycle as a full-time assistant coach.

Standing at 6-foot-1 and weighing 215 pounds, Pettijohn is the 23rd commitment for Ohio State’s 2025 class and completes the trio of linebackers for the cycle, joining Tarvos Alford and Eli Lee. His decision further strengthens an already impressive recruiting class for the Buckeyes.

Pettijohn received his offer from Ohio State in September 2023 and made several visits to the campus. Throughout his recruitment, he garnered over 30 Division I offers. He is the second Texan to commit to Ohio State for the 2025 cycle, following another five-star recruit. According to 247Sports’ composite rankings, Pettijohn is the No. 31 overall prospect and the No. 4 linebacker in the 2025 class. He is the highest-rated linebacker Ohio State has secured since C.J. Hicks in the 2022 cycle, who was ranked No. 7 overall and the top linebacker.

During his junior season at McKinney High School in McKinney, Texas, Pettijohn recorded an impressive 120 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, three sacks, five pass breakups, and one interception. His sophomore year stats include 42 tackles, five tackles for loss, three sacks, and five quarterback hurries.

Pettijohn possesses a versatile skill set characterized by athleticism, superior instincts, and exceptional closing speed. He consistently disrupts opponents’ backfields and excels in both outside and middle linebacker roles. In coverage, he is adept at dropping into zones or matching up against tight ends and running backs. His special teams experience at McKinney High also suggests he could contribute on kickoff teams early in his Ohio State career.

Additionally, Pettijohn is a talented track and field athlete, competing in the long jump and 100-meter dash. His athletic profile suggests he could vie for significant playing time in his first year, although Ohio State’s current linebacker depth may necessitate a wait until his sophomore season for consistent snaps.

Riley Pettijohn is the son of Duke Pettijohn, a former defensive end for Syracuse from 1997 to 2000 and a two-time All-Big East selection. With such a lineage and a promising high school career, Pettijohn is poised to become the next standout linebacker for Ohio State.