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. Wednesday’s column asks a big ‘what if’ when it comes to the 2020 recruiting class.
Ohio State Recruiting Question of the Day
If you could choose 5 players for the Buckeyes 2020 class who are currently not verbally committed to any school who would they be and why?
— Paul Counts (@PaulECounts) May 5, 2019
Ohio State has the country’s 10th-ranked recruiting class at the moment and sits one spot behind Penn State in the Big Ten. But the Buckeyes are certainly in a position to make a serious leap up the list as the summer rolls around.
To do that, Ryan Day’s program will need to secure a few big commitments to pick up some much needed 2020 momentum as most of the best national prospects begin to focus on making official visits and narrowing down their top-school lists.
Earlier this week, I evaluated where Ohio State stands with a few key 5-star prospects. Today, we’re going to remove all semblance of reality and go 100-percent subjective: If Birm were running a program, which five currently uncommitted players the Buckeyes are chasing would be the biggest priority? Here are the names that I see as program-builders.
(I’m not going to include Paris Johnson because he’s committed to Ohio State, but I would absolutely be putting the Cincinnati 5-star offensive tackle on the list otherwise. He checks every box when it comes to becoming a cornerstone piece of a football team.)
The first player I’d pick is California running back Kendall Milton, but I did go back-and-forth in my mind between he and fellow 5-star running backs Bijan Robinson and Zachary Evans. I think Milton’s combination of size and speed is the perfect fit in the Buckeyes offense, and I believe that personality-wise, he’s a great fit for what they are looking for off the field as well. It takes a very specific personality to exceed in an environment like the one in Columbus, and I believe he’s that type of kid.
Like Milton, it’s the personality and talent of Julian Fleming that has him on this list. I know that there’s a stereotype out there about wide receivers being divas or whatever, but what I see and hear about Fleming leads me to believe he’s a player and person very much in the mold of Terry McLaurin, Johnnie Dixon and Parris Campbell. That’s why he’s a favorite of the Ohio State coaching staff and why if I was building a class, he’d be a must-have player.
Switching over to the other side of scrimmage, my first building block is 4-star defensive lineman Darrion Henry. The Cincinnati Princeton standout is the type of player that changes a defense. He’s big, he’s quick and he’s versatile, allowing a team to build an entire defensive line around him because he can play any of the line spots. Also, he’s from Ohio, and the best players from the home state just simply can’t be lost to other schools.
I’m going to wrap up this list with a pair of defensive backs from the state of Arizona: 5-star cornerback Kelee Ringo and 4-star safety Lathan Ransom. Ringo is the best cornerback in the country, and I personally don’t think that’s a debate and that’s not an insult to guys like Elias Ricks and Fred Davis who are each great in their own right. I just think Ringo is the best total package at the position and may be the surest bet of any player at any position in the Class of 2020. I will be stunned if he’s not a Day One starter at whatever college program he picks. Also, the Buckeyes have tried for years to get into the doors at Saguaro (Scottsdale, Ariz.) High School, and there’s no better way to do that than landing Ringo.
(This is my list after all, not what’s likely to happen, remember?)
Ransom is the final player on this list, and I’ve selected him because he’s the prototypical big, hard-hitting safety that is needed in the back end of the defense. To land a player like Ransom over Stanford, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, etc. would be another important feather in the cap of Ryan Day, and that’s because he’s one of the country’s most physical defensive backs and a top-notch kid off of the field as well.
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