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Ohio State: Analyzing expected numbers in 2020 class for Buckeyes

Paris Johnson-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football
Paris Johnson remains a very active recruiter as Ohio State tries to put its 2020 class together. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Recruiting Question of the Day

Ohio State: Analyzing expected numbers in 2020 class for Buckeyes

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. Friday’s question gives us a chance to look at how big the Buckeyes 2020 recruiting class could be by breaking down position-by-position.

Ohio State Recruiting Question of the Day

I’m going to take this question and spin it a little bit, if you don’t mind. Because I believe we’re close to knowing exactly what number of signees Ohio State is going to take in the Class of 2019, so now  we can start realistically trying to sort out the numbers in 202o.

The Buckeyes are not going to sign more than 18 in 2019, and to do that they’re going to need to hit a grand slam with Enokk Vimahi this weekend and hope that they can hold on to Doug Nester for another two weeks while adding in Dawand Jones as well. That trifecta is hardly a foregone conclusion, and it could be more likely that Ohio State finishes with just one of those three than landing all of them.

As of today, Ohio State has 18 seniors on its 2019 roster and is using 84 scholarships. So there are at least 19 players in the Class of 2020 coming its way. With usual attrition through early exits to the NFL Draft, medical hardships and traditional transfer routes, I am absolutely expecting that number to grow to 25 or more.

And it’s a really good time for the Buckeyes to have a full, 25-or-more, class.

So far, there are seven commitments in that cycle. Taking a look at those early verbals, I think we can get a good idea what other positions will be a priority as things unfold moving forward. Let’s take a gander at how the Ohio State class could shake out.

Quarterback

  • Have: One. Jack Miller committed to Ohio State in the summer of 2018.
  • Need:  Two, I think. This could change when we find out what additional quarterback gets added this year through the graduate-transfer market. Either way, I think it’s likely that a second quarterback is added and should be in this class.

Running Back

  • Have: One. Arizona 4-star running back Darvon Hubbard remains committed to Ohio State.
  • Need: The Buckeyes need two, and I’m not convinced Hubbard will be one of those two. In my mind, there’s a need for two more. J.K. Dobbins is a real threat to head to the NFL after the 2019 season, and the depth behind him is both scarce and currently lacks experience.

Wide Receiver

  • Have: The Buckeyes have two players already committed at this position, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Gee Scott. Brian Hartline has this position off to a hot start in 2020.
  • Need: The Buckeyes need at least four receivers in 2020 and maybe five, depending on what happens on the roster. K.J. Hill, Austin Mack, Binjimen Victor and C.J. Saunders are all leaving after next season, and there are a handful of guys on the roster who could move on for other reasons.

Tight End

  • Have: Zero.
  • Need: With only Jeremy Ruckert and Cormontae Hamilton on the roster by the start of the 2020 season, there’s no doubt in my mind the Buckeyes need two tight ends in this class.

Offensive Line

  • Have: Right now, there are three committed players already for Ohio State, including two of the biggest priorities in the class with Paris Johnson and Luke Wypler. Cincinnati’s Jakob James is the most recent commitment in the cycle.
  • Need: The Buckeyes need six offensive linemen, and I think that’s the case even if they were somehow able to sign all three of their remaining 2019 targets. This is one of Ohio State’s major needs.

Defensive Line

  • Have: Zero.
  • Need: With Jonathon Cooper gone after 2019 and Chase Young likely to follow, there will be a need for at least two defensive ends in the class — and probably three. The same can be said for the defensive tackle position as Robert Landers and Davon Hamilton will exit the program, so the need overall is probably close to six guys.

Linebacker

  • Have: Zero.
  • Need: Justin Hilliard will be gone, Malik Harrison will be gone and players like Baron Browning, Tuf Borland and Pete Werner will have had multiple years in the program as go-to guys. Numbers are up in the air, but I think the Buckeyes will need at least two.

Defensive Back

  • Have: Zero. Ohio State had a commitment from 4-star cornerback Lejond Cavazos, but he reopened his recruitment following Urban Meyer’s retirement.
  • Need: Four, maybe five. I think Ohio State will need at least two safeties and two cornerbacks. But there’s no doubt that this number could stretch to five or six as Jeffrey Okudah, Shaun Wade and Brendon White make NFL decisions and other players make their own choices about their prospective futures.

Specialists

  • Have: Zero.
  • Need: The Buckeyes are going to need a kicker in 2020 and one of the country’s best kickers is down the road in Cincinnati — Jake Seibert.

So, how many do we land on? A bit more than 25, eh?

That’s where things get interesting, of course, because there’s a real need for 28 or 29 guys in the Class of 2020. The Buckeyes are going to have their work cut out for them as they try and whittle that down to a more manageable number.

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

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.