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Ohio State: Will Buckeyes make in-state recruits priority in 2020?

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Ohio State offered Mike Drennen and a host of other 2020 recruits early in the recruiting process. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Recruiting Question of the Day

Ohio State: Will Buckeyes make in-state recruits priority in 2020?

Have a question about Ohio State recruiting? This is the place for you, five days a week. Submit your questions on Twitter or on the Lettermen Row forums. Check in daily to see what’s on the mind of Buckeyes fans all over the country. Today, we’re focused on the state of Ohio and recruiting inside of the Buckeye State in the Class of 2020.

Ohio State Recruiting Question of the Day

The Buckeyes want to recruit Ohio. That’s what Ryan Day said as soon as he officially took the job being abdicated by Urban Meyer in early December.

“To the high school coaches in Ohio: We have the best coaches and some of the best high school programs in all of America here in Ohio,” Day said. “And it will continue to be our first priority to recruit Ohio football players.

“Every young football player in the state of Ohio should dream about one day becoming a Buckeye. And it’s our staff’s responsibility to make sure we recruit them at the highest level.”

That sounds great. However, in football recruiting, things can be said with the most sincere of intentions but then Johnny 5-Star from South Florida wants to pick your football program and Mr. Ohio finds himself on the backburner because he runs a 4.64 in the 40-yard dash and not a 4.51. We know that recruiting is about numbers, rankings and stars as much as it as about anything else, because at the end of the day, stars usually equate to wins.

But the Buckeyes do want to recruit Ohio more, too. They’ve already cranked up the pressure on 2020 recruits and even 2021 recruits more than in previous years. But this question is about the soon-to-be seniors and which guys in that class could really up being Buckeyes.

These are the Top 20 prospects in Ohio according to 247Sports.com and their composite rankings.

  1. Paris Johnson, offensive tackle, Cincinnati St. Xavier
  2. Darrion Henry, defensive lineman, Cincinnati Princeton
  3. Michael Drennen II, running back, Dublin Coffman
  4. Jaheim Thomas, linebacker, Cincinnati Princeton
  5. DeaMontae Trayanum, athlete, Akron Archbishop Hoban
  6. Kalil Branham, wide receiver, Columbus Northland
  7. Terry Lockett, athlete, Geneva Spire
  8. Jutahn McClain, running back, Fairfield, Ohio
  9. Demeatric Crenshaw, quarterback, Pickerington Central
  10. Caden Clark, tight end, Archbishop Hoban
  11. Cameron Porter, running back, Cincinnati LaSalle
  12. Qian Magwood, athlete, Columbus Walnut Ridge
  13. Elijah Eberhardt, cornerback, Cincinnati Princeton
  14. Daved Jones, linebacker, Lakota West
  15. Chris Scott, wide receiver, Pickerington North
  16. Sam Daugstrup, tight end, Cleveland St. Ignatius
  17. Clay Caudill, tight end, Mansfield
  18. Sammy Anderson, cornerback, Trotwood-Madison
  19. Sam Rengert, offensive tackle, Milford Center Fairbanks
  20. Evan Prater, quarterback, Cincinnati Wyoming

The Buckeyes have one in-state commitment to this point in 2020, that coming from state’s top-ranked player, offensive lineman Paris Johnson. Looking at the state’s top-20 players reveals a handful of early offers, though. Darrion Henry, Michael Drennen, DeaMontae Trayanum and Jutahn McClain have all been offered already, while potential stars like Jaheim Thomas, Qian Magwood, Elijah Eberhardt, Sam Daugstrup, Sammy Anderson and Sam Rengert have each had regular communication with the Buckeyes.

jaheim thomas ohio state-jaheim thomas buckeyes-jaheim thomas cincinnati-jaheim thomas linebacker

Cincinnati’s Jaheim Thomas is still waiting for an Ohio State offer. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Three other players inside the top 20 are committed elsewhere to this point: The state’s No. 6-ranked player Kalil Branham gave a verbal to Michigan, No. 10 Caden Clark is pledged to Alabama and La Salle’s Cameron Porter is following in the footsteps of former Lancer Jeremy Larkin and heading to Northwestern.

There’s a lot of time left for the Buckeyes to evaluate and recruit inside of Ohio, and there are players outside of that top 20, like offensive linemen Jakob James and Trey LeRoux, Akron East linebacker Bangally Kamara — who I think will be talked about until next year’s signing day. Cincinnati Winton Wood’s Miyan Williams is a special running back talent, too.

bangally kamara ohio state-bangally kamara akron-bangally kamara linebacker-bangally kamara football

Bangally Kamara visited Ohio State multiple times in the 2018 season. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

So much of how the Buckeyes recruit inside of Ohio is based on how long kids are willing to wait for them to thoroughly evaluate, and a lot of that is whether these prospects will visit Columbus for summer camps this coming June to show why they deserve an offer. That’s the time every coach on Ryan Day’s staff gets to see the best of the best from around the state and determine if they’ll go to bat and fight for a recruit, like Luke Fickell did with Darron Lee. It’s also an opportunity for a kid to just blow everyone away like Denzel Ward did in the summer of 2014.

How Day splits up recruiting duties among his staff will be a fun side story this offseason, but to this point, it’s not entirely sorted out. Greg Studrawa is a Northwest Ohio guy, so I’d assume he’ll continue to be the main recruiter in the Toledo area. Brian Hartline will almost certainly handle Stark County thanks to his Canton roots. And Tony Alford, who has played a big role in the Cleveland area over the last two years, will probably stay there.

Greg Mattison and Al Washington are both new to the coaching staff and have major Ohio recruiting ties, so they’re going to be added to the mix as well.

The Buckeyes want to recruit Ohio more aggressively and it sure seems that Ryan Day is committed to it.

The best way to stay on top of all that recruiting #stuff? Subscribe to Lettermen Row’s Recruiting with Birm newsletter. 

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Kid Buckeye
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Kid Buckeye

We sure will recruit Ohio but we need to offer the top players and then some may want to go some place else to play for various reasons. Just like the saying goes: Build it and they will come.

Florida Buckeye
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Florida Buckeye

TOP players should be recruited….wherever they are. You going to feel better after loosing a game because you upped the % of OHIO players on the team ? I don’t think so .

BucksBBest
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BucksBBest

Hard place to be in unless an Ohio kid is highly rated to start with. Offer a modest 4-star from OH and he might commit right away before you have time to evaluate somebody in FL who is a 5-star All-American type. Numbers have to add up to 85 and tOSU needs studs to compete for the NC every year. Still need to put a ‘fence’ around the very best in Ohio.

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Birm

Birm is Lettermen Row's Director of Recruiting and the site's primary Ohio State sports photographer. A Toledo, Ohio native, Jeremy has been in similar roles for elevenwarriors.com and Landof10.com and has been covering the Buckeyes for seven years.

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