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Ohio State recruiting: Are ‘non-committable’ offers out to in-state players?

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Jakob James received an early offer to Ohio State, and it was a surprise to many observers. (Jakob James/Twitter)

Recruiting Question of the Day

Ohio State recruiting: Are ‘non-committable’ offers out to in-state players?

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 talk about the decision to offer a couple of in-state prospects a touch earlier than in recent years.

Ohio State Recruiting Question of the Day

I think this is an important question for a number of reasons as Ryan Day and Ohio State look to increase their recruiting efforts inside of the state’s borders.

“Committable” offers are not a recent sensation in the college football recruiting world, but the way that social media has allowed each interaction between coaches and prospects to be sensationalized and celebrated has turned the entire idea of what an “offer” is on its head. It seems that every request to visit a school or to participate in a college camp is being transformed into an offer. The truth is very simple: Until there is a written offer from a college on or after Aug. 1 of your senior season, there isn’t really a scholarship offer.

And what value is there for a college coach to combat that, really? If it helps get the player he wants on campus for a visit he may otherwise not take, then the end justifies the means, I suppose. The further away a player is from the school’s home campus, the easier it is to offer them without the fear of being forced to have the ugly conversation about why a commitment isn’t going to be accepted — yet. That’s the thing with the non-committable offer: If the guys ahead on the list go elsewhere, the legitimacy of an offer can change real quick.

But things are significantly different inside of Ohio for the Buckeyes. As a general rule, it seems pretty clear that Ohio State’s hopes are that it will never offer any player in the state that it wouldn’t immediately accept a commitment from, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t conditional offers.

Ohio State offered Trey Leroux last Friday, and he committed on Monday. To offer that early, knowing a commitment would likely follow, Day had to have a vision of how the 6-foot-8, 330-pound Leroux fits into the Class of 2020. Clearly, he did, hence the commitment.

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Dayon 2019 offensive lineman Jonathan Allen had an “offer” from Ohio State but was not aggressively recruited by the Buckeyes despite major offensive line needs. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

But while the average fan may wonder why Ohio State would accept a commitment from a prospect ranked so “low” as Leroux or Jakob James, the Buckeyes see a chance to take two kids they really like without fear of that player playing the “recruiting game” and looking around two months from now when another major program offers. They also know that they’re going to take six offensive linemen at least in 2020.

Any player Ohio State receives a commitment from has conditions on their recruitment. Whether that be academic or development or not visiting other schools, etc., there’s always something that can derail a commitment. It’s easier to offer a kid from California than it is to offer a kid from Ohio, but it’s also much easier to hold a commitment for a kid from Ohio than it is to hold a verbal pledge from a kid from California, right?

Will Ohio State give a non-committable offer to a player inside of Ohio? It will happen very rarely, if ever, but understand that an offer isn’t always open-ended, either. Players change, coaching staffs change and needs in a recruiting class change and sometimes when an early offer is extended, it may expire and when that happens there is no Twitter post to announce it. What might be seen is a player continuing to include the Buckeyes in their top schools lists when they have no real relationship with Ohio State in an effort help give the school they commit to a public relations win over the big in-state school.

I’ve said it before, but recruiting isn’t for the faint of heart.

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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