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 asks how schools evaluate their needs in a recruiting class that is two or three years away.
Ohio State Recruiting Question of the Day
I've been wondering..you've been sharing a lot about recruiting for the next 3yrs – '19, '20', and '21. To sum up all your mass of posts, what are the Buckeyes biggest needs for each of those 3 seasons? Because it's all been a bit confusing.
— Shane Williford (@coolsport00) February 1, 2019
We have talked a lot about numbers and needs and all that around here quite a bit lately, and I can understand how sometimes it seems a fool’s errand because so much of recruiting is arbitrary. Needs and wants seem to change daily.
It’s especially difficult to project two or three years down the road, because it’s hard to predict exactly who booms and who busts from a recruiting class. Most college coaches get a good sense of that within the first few months of a player’s time on campus. There’s one school of thought that suggests a player is being recruited over from the minute he enrolls, and that’s probably accurate. If a program isn’t trying to replace every single player on the roster with a better player, then it’s a program moving in the wrong direction.
Despite the general confusion and subjectivity of it all, there do seem to be some standards to live by when trying to assess how things play out down the road.
When checking things out on position-by-position basis, there are a few things that seem logical. A team needs a quarterback in every cycle, for instance. If a program is skipping seasons recruiting that position, it’s going to find itself in a bad spot before too long. In today’s recruiting world, it’s almost impossible to convince two quarterbacks to pick the same school, and they transfer at a pretty high rate. Schools almost always want at least four of their 85 scholarships to be at the game’s most important position.
As for the other positions? That’s a matter of what individual programs want, of course. But speaking specifically of Ohio State, it seems that the program has some standard expectations.
When I try and think about what the Buckeyes could look for down the road, here’s how I personally project the numbers.
- Quarterback: 4
- Running back: 5
- Wide receiver: 10
- Tight end: 4
- Offensive line: 14
- Defensive end: 8
- Defensive tackle 8
- Linebacker: 10
- Cornerback: 7
- Safeties: 7
- Kicker: 1
- Punter: 1
- Long snapper: 1
That’s just 80 guys, which leaves five spots left for interpretation. But it’s the baseline I use when I think about what could be needed in future classes. Those numbers get bounced around based on attrition and reallocated based on losses to the NFL, medical issues and stuff like that.
Overall, though, it’s an imperfect system based in part on averages and what’s happened historically with the roster combined with conversations with coaching staffs and knowing what the ideal number is for each class.
Sometimes you just know you need more guys, though. The offensive line in the 2019 class is a prime example of that, because it’s been apparent for months that the need was much greater than just two signees — especially after signing just three in both the 2017 and 2018 classes. That is a dangerous way to build a program that is offensive-line driven. In my mind, you need four every class, period.
There is no cut-and-dried answer to the question, but there are some basic ways to look at the roster to get an understanding how future classes could fill out.
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