Ohio State added its seventh commitment in the Class of 2020 on Monday when Jakob James, a 3-star offensive lineman from Cincinnati (Ohio) Elder High School picked it just hours after returning home from a visit to campus.
Who is Jakob James? What makes him special? What are the Buckeyes getting with this future offensive lineman?
What Jakob James gives Ohio State on the field
At 6-foot-4 and 270-pounds, James is a big kid who is getting bigger. He’s an offensive tackle at Elder, but he’ll be a guard prospect for the Buckeyes and a player who has proven each time that coaches have seen him that he’s willing to do the little things to get better and be the type of player they want in their program.
James is versatile, athletic and has good upper-body strength that he uses to control his opponents at the point of attack. He will continue to grow and get stronger, and the fact that he has done that already is a major part of the why Ohio State offered today.
“One thing they want me to work on is putting on good weight,” James said in June. “Just keep working on my craft in the weight room and on the field.”
He weighed 245 pounds at that camp in June, so he’s taken Ohio State’s advice and run with it. He’s got a high floor as a prospect and is someone that plays much meaner than his nice guy off-the-field demeanor would indicate.
What Jakob James means to Ohio State 2020 recruiting class
The addition of James, ranked as Ohio’s 17th-best overall prospect in the Class of 2020, isn’t going to send shockwaves through the national recruiting rankings. But the timing is worth noting because it seems pretty obvious that Ryan Day isn’t just giving lip service about wanting to recruit more Ohio prospects.
The Buckeyes offered James on Monday afternoon while he was visiting the school, and the newest Ohio State verbal pledge said Day told him that his Ohio roots were important.
“They said they wanted to get more Ohio kids involved,” James said Monday night. “I feel like they offered now just to start our relationship.”
James wasn’t going to pass up the chance to reserve a spot in Columbus, so he jumped on the offer. But this is hardly the start of his relationship with the Buckeyes. He camped in Columbus multiple times and made two visits during the season. His commitment is another piece of the puzzle for Ohio State in the Cincinnati area, something that his now future teammate and 5-star commitment Paris Johnson commented on shortly after he announced his commitment.
We need Darrion, Jaheim & Jutahn to finish up the 513 to 614 move. 🤷🏾♂️👀
— Paris Johnson Jr. (@ParisJohnsonJr) January 22, 2019
Darrion Henry and Jaheim Thomas are teammates at Cincinnati Princeton High School and Jutahn McClain is a 3-star athlete at Fairfield High School. Thomas, a 4-star linebacker, hasn’t yet been offered by Ohio State. Committing early and helping Day and the Buckeyes pick up momentum in Ohio and everywhere else was one reason why James didn’t wait to make a college choice.
He knew where he wanted to be and made sure he didn’t miss his chance.
“I thought it was important to get it over with and start building a stronger bond with Coach Day and the rest of the coaches up there,” James told Lettermen Row. “Recruiting-wise, I’m close with Paris already. so helping him out and getting the dudes we need to get is what I’m gonna go at.”
While he’s a 3-star prospect right now, James has offers from more than 20 other schools, including Michigan, LSU, Nebraska, Missouri, Kentucky, Penn State, Purdue and Tennessee. This is a really good player that is going to get a lot better.
What else do you need to know about Jakob James?
James has family ties to Ohio State.
“It’s an honor and a privilege that I have grown up learning about having family that have both worn the scarlet and gray and are fans as well,” he said.
His uncle Dan was a member of the Buckeyes 1959 national championship team and went on to play seven seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers. His cousin Tim also played for Ohio State, suiting up for the Buckeyes in the mid-1980s under Earle Bruce. Both of his family members were also offensive linemen.