The 2021 recruiting class is officially on the clock and the Buckeyes are off to a great start after finishing the 2020 cycle as the nation’s fifth-ranked recruiting class. With ten commitments already, it’s time for Ohio State to begin narrowing down its lists and Lettermen Row is going position-by-position to break down a number of the top targets being courted by Ryan Day and the Buckeyes.
Ohio State always has a plan on the recruiting trail.
In the 2020 recruiting cycle, the plan was to recruit a pair of tight ends. That plan changed, and the 2020 class ended up with a solo prospect at the position when Cincinnati 4-star Joe Royer picked the Buckeyes last summer.
So, the need for a second tight end shifted to the Class of 2021. And for the last few months, Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson and every other Ohio State assistant has been recruiting with that plan in mind. The challenge of landing two big-time players in the same class at the same position is made significantly easier when someone commits early, and that is working in the Buckeyes favor because Colorado’s Sam Hart is already verballed in the 2021 cycle.
“They fit everything that I am looking for,” Hart told Lettermen Row about his decision. “From academics, great football, connection with the coaches — and they have a great history.”
Since the commitment from Hart in late December, there have been zero signs of any slow down on the recruiting trail from the Buckeyes when it comes to recruiting tight ends. Wilson was all over the country in January, checking in on a number of big-time tight end prospects and laying the groundwork for what should be an interesting few months ahead for recruiting the position.
Which players did Wilson go see? Here are the key names to know in the 2021 recruiting cycle at tight end as of mid-February. If the Buckeyes end up choosing to take a second tight end in this class, it’s likely to come from this list of players. Ohio State sees Hart as more of an athletic, pass-catching tight end and is hoping to complement him with a bigger-bodied, all-around prospect at the position.
Cane Berrong • Hartwell, Georgia • ★★★★
- Ohio State has stopped in to see Berrong, a long-time Notre Dame commitment, a few times. And though he’s a definite long-shot candidate because of the strength of his verbal to the Irish, the fact that they’ve continued to stay in touch is interesting and worth watching. Still, the odds of a flip here from Berrong are very, very low.
Moliki Matavao • Henderson, Nevada • ★★★★★
- Matavoa has not been to Ohio State yet for a visit, but if he ends up making that trip as he intends to this spring, I think the country’s third-ranked tight end prospect is a very real possibility for the Buckeyes. Distance is a factor here, and that’s been preventing him from making a trip to Columbus that he indicated he’s very interested in making.
Jermaine Terry • Richmond, California • ★★★★
- The latest offer on this list is Jermaine Terry from California. He’s a 6-foot-4, 235-pound prospect who says he has no problem leaving the West Coast for college. The Buckeyes have been in communication now for a few months. As with Matavao, the proof will be in the pudding here. And if there’s honest reciprocal interest, a visit from Terry will need to occur in the near future.
Louis Hansen • Needham, Massachusetts • ★★★★
- Hansen visited Ohio State in November, and though he’s a bit more like Sam Hart in style, he remains an interesting option for the Buckeyes. Hansen is an athletic, two-sport player who Wilson recently watched play basketball. He’s the No. 9-ranked tight end in the country who is taking his recruitment kind of slow, something that helps the Buckeyes as they continue developing bonds with him and other tight ends.
Hudson Wolfe • Savannah, Tennessee • ★★★★
- The Buckeyes have been all over Hudson Wolfe for months, and though it looked like he’d be an early commitment to Alabama, he did take an October trip to Columbus that went very well and has slowed down his process. It now looks like Wolfe will take his recruitment into the spring at least. The Buckeyes could be in line for two more visits, and if that happens, take note because it means things are heating up. There’s been regular communication and multiple visits from Ohio State staff members here, and it’s clear Wolfe is a top priority.
Jordan Dingle • Bowling Green, Kentucky • ★★★
- Ohio State hosted Jordan Dingle on three separate occasi0ns since June and quickly became a top choice for the Bluegrass State standout. After an injury cost him most of his junior season, Dingle’s national-ranking took a bit of a dip, but the Buckeyes haven’t shied away and have remained in contact, including a recent visit from Kevin Wilson. A full recovery from injury is expected and Dingle remains a real option for Ohio State, but that may require another camp outing just to make sure he’s back to where he was prior to injury.
Jack Pugh • Hilliard, Ohio • ★★★
- The lone non-offered prospect on this list, Pugh is the country’s No. 17-ranked tight end. He’s been in recent contact with Ohio State about a spring visit or two happening, and those trips, if they come to fruition, could jumpstart the relationship between the Ohio product and the Buckeyes. It’s always easier to bring in a second player at a position when they’re an in-state prospect. So somewhere down the line, Pugh really move up this list.