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Top receiver targets unchanged, Buckeyes can’t ignore other options

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Troy Stellato has been at the top of the Ohio State list for months. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Recruiting Question of the Day

Top receiver targets unchanged, Buckeyes can’t ignore other options

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. Tuesday we look at the receiver options that still remain for the Buckeyes while they wait for top targets to make college decisions.

Ohio State Recruiting Question of the Day

As with most positions on the football field and with most recruits around the country, there remains a number of major questions that need to be answered by and for Ohio State.

At this point in the Class of 2021, the questions at receiver have been at least partially answered. The Buckeyes have two early, long-term commitments in the class with Massillon 4-star Jayden Ballard and Philadelphia 4-star standout Marvin Harrison, Jr. That duo, along with Troy Stellato and Emeka Egbuka, was identified early in the process by Ohio State receivers coach Brian Hartline. The hope for the Buckeyes was that one or both of Egbuka and Stellato would feel confident enough in their feelings about Ohio State that they’d join the country’s top-ranked recruiting class in the commitment column.

Maybe that would have happened at the end of March if Egbuka would have been able to visit again as he planned. Maybe it would have happened last weekend if Stellato had been able to get himself back to campus in Columbus for the Ohio State spring game as he had intended to.

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Emeka Egbuka visited Ohio State twice last year, including a spring visit. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Those trips didn’t happen, and now the open-ended question is when either of those two top remaining targets will find themselves back in town with the Buckeyes. If that’s not able to happen anytime in the next two months or so, then it’s a matter of how long the Ohio State coaching staff is willing to wait before really opening up its options, truly evaluating other players and reaching out to new targets. To some degree, that has already happened when the Buckeyes offered Edgewater (Fla.) 4-star Christian Leary three weeks ago.

Leary, the country’s N0. 50-ranked receiver, may be the only player in the nation at the position to be more undervalued in the recruiting process than Stellato has been. He has offers from Alabama, Oklahoma, Florida, Georgia, Florida State and a number of the country’s best programs. He is without question a wanted prospect at each place.

The offer to Leary is not exploratory for Ohio State. He’d be welcome to commit to the Buckeyes right now if he chose to do so. But it’s likely that Ohio State is in a trailing position for his services because it has not had as much time to get to know him after offering so recently.

Does Ohio State have a real preference? Probably, but I think it’s based on the amount of time and effort invested into the Stellato and Egbuka recruitments rather than believing there’s a wide gap in potential — especially between Stellato and Leary. The real question for the Buckeyes is whether or not there are other prospects on the verge of receiving similar attention from Ohio State as these next few months play themselves out.

If summertime visits don’t happen, it’s much harder for players like Egbuka, Stellato and Leary to make visits to Ohio while trying to navigate through their senior seasons. Will they decide they’re willing to commit without additional visits? Will they push their recruitments back so far that the Buckeyes feel it’s in their best interest to begin offering a handful of more local targets?

There are a number of questions still to be answered, but there’s one that doesn’t: Troy Stellato and Emeka Egbuka remain the Buckeyes highest priorities at wide receiver.

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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 and and has been covering the Buckeyes for seven years.