Stay in touch or be left out because Ohio State recruiting is a 24-hour, seven-day-per-week obsession. What’s the latest news as the Buckeyes build for the future? Get that and more Sunday through Thursday on Lettermen Row. Today’s notebook has the latest on a major 2021 offensive line target and wonders what defensive line coach Larry Johnson has up his sleeve in 2020.
Ohio State makes the cut for star 2021 lineman Donovan Jackson
A little less than a week after returning from a dominating, MVP performance at The Opening in Frisco, Texas, star offensive lineman Donovan Jackson narrowed his list of schools from the more than 30 scholarship offers he holds to a more manageable 12 programs. Ohio State is on the list as you can see below.
— Donovan Jackson (@D_jack78) July 8, 2019
This isn’t just lip-service from the country’s seventh-ranked 2021 offensive tackle, who took a visit to Columbus this past spring. Both of his parents hail from Ohio and the Buckeyes have been considered one of the teams that sit in a better early position for the 6-foot-4, 308-pound lineman to this point. Part of that is because his parents have told him that his recruitment isn’t bound by borders.
We’ve both told him he has no boundaries on his decision,” Donovan’s father, Todd Jackson, told Lettermen Row in April. “We’ll be there by car or by plane to support him. My wife is from Ohio, and I grew up in Cleveland.”
Jackson is already well ahead of his peers athletically and posted big-time numbers in testing at The Opening, besting every offensive lineman there with a 32.2-inch vertical jump and an impressive 4.63 time in the short shuttle. For comparison, Paris Johnson — considered one of the most athletic offensive linemen in America — posted a 4.53 in the same event at The Opening regional event in Nashville in early May.
Getting Donovan Jackson back on campus in Columbus this fall for a football game is a major priority for the Buckeyes.
Examining big remaining questions for Ohio State recruiting in 2020
The receivers room in the Class of 2020 is full for the Buckeyes. And though there will be some remaining discussion about Rakim Jarrett over the next few months, adding him to the Ohio State class would require some attrition from the class. I don’t think that’s likely to happen currently.
But there are a few other important questions left for Ohio State as it looks to effectively wrap up Ryan Day’s first full recruiting class by the end of July.
Here are a few of the items to consider as the Buckeyes move forward over the next few weeks. With the recruiting dead period happening, there’s not a lot of news to report. So this week, we’ll try and explore these big remaining questions for Ohio State in the Class of 2020. We started this series on Monday, so you can check those pressing questions here.
Will the Buckeyes class get bigger than 25 players?
For the last few months, I’ve been of the mindset that Ohio State would end the Class of 2020 somewhere in the 27-player range but after recent conversations with multiple sources within the Buckeyes program, I now feel pretty safe that this group will cap at 25.
Of course, that 25 will not include kicker Jake Seibert, who intends to grayshirt for Ohio State so I suppose you could technically count 26 in this class if you add him in.
The plan for Ohio State though, I am comfortable saying, is to sign 25 players in December.
What does Larry Johnson have up his sleeve?
Right now Ohio State has two defensive line commitments in 2020 and the goal for this class has been four players for much of the past year. Darrion Henry and Ty Hamilton provide a nice boost because of their versatility — they can play all four spots on the line — but you can’t help but feel that Larry Johnson has something big coming up because that’s just kind of what he does.
We’ve talked at length about Jacolbe Cowan and Kedrick Bingley-Jones, a pair of teammates from Charlotte (N.C.) who made June official visits and it’s interesting to see that North Carolina, a school being considered by each, has five defensive line verbals already. As good as that duo is though, they’re not the biggest fish in Carolina because that’s 5-star defensive end Desmond Evans who has been planning for months to make an official visit to Ohio State this season. The potential holdup there was whether or not the Buckeyes would fill up before that happened and now it appears that won’t be the case, so the door remains open for a huge coup.
Of course, Ohio State is also very much in the mix for Houston defensive lineman Vernon Broughton who hinted on Monday that a decision could be coming in the near future and if somehow Johnson were to pull that off, things will get very interesting moving forward and I could see only a player like Evans being targeted in the future if Broughton were to surprise people and pick the Buckeyes over Texas, Texas A&M, Arkansas and others.
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