March is traditionally one of the busiest and most important recruiting periods on the college football front for Ohio State.
When the month started, everything seemed to be business as usual for Ryan Day, Mark Pantoni and the guys in Columbus. The Buckeyes hosted a number of visitors over the first week of March and had begun to line up key trips for top targets throughout the remainder of spring football, through the spring game that was scheduled on April 11.
Then the world came to a screeching halt. And within a few days, college football recruiting went from 100 miles per hour to zero. All on-campus and in-person recruiting was stopped on March 11, and there are no plans in place right now for a return to normalcy.
But the Buckeyes had a lot of stuff to do on the recruiting trail in March. Despite the lost time, Ohio State enters April with more momentum than any program in the country. The Buckeyes landed commitments from five different prospects in March, including three defensive backs who joined the mix for a chance to play for Kerry Coombs. Ohio State picked up verbals from 4-star prospects Jakailin Johnson and Andre Turrentine, along with 3-star in-state talent Devonta Smith. The Buckeyes also added two running backs for 2020.
Let’s go back and check in on the three biggest items we picked for March and see how the Buckeyes addressed them — if they could.
The item: Ohio State needs to land tailback for Class of 2021
Clearly the Buckeyes knocked this one right out of the park.
Tony Alford and Ohio State had been the favorite to land North Carolina 4-star prospect Evan Pryor for a few months. The Buckeyes finally got comfortable enough with country’s No. 6-ranked tailback — and vice versa — for a decision to be made. He went public with that choice on March 16. Pryor had been initially scheduled for a three-day visit to Columbus on March 18, but that trip was cancelled because of the pandemic concerns. Fortunately for the Buckeyes, that cancellation didn’t derail what Pryor had been considering all along.
Eleven days later, also without a visit to Ohio State in March, TreVeyon Henderson committed to the Buckeyes. The country’s No. 2-ranked tailback, a five-star prospect from Virginia, had been planning to make his first ever trip to Ohio State in April. But he committed thanks to his strong relationship with the entire coaching staff, led by Tony Alford.
Ironically, the one running back that did visit Ohio State in March, 4-star Michigan standout Donovan Edwards, is now likely the running back on the outside looking in as he still considers Michigan, Notre Dame, Georgia and others.
For good measure, Alford and Ohio State also added a 2020 running back with the addition of former Oklahoma starter Trey Sermon. The trio of Pryor, Henderson and Sermon make this task complete in a big, big way.
The item: Buckeyes have to get big West Coast fish on campus
This did not happen for Ohio State in March. And though it’s unclear if 5-star defensive lineman J.T. Tuimoloau ever scheduled a visit to Columbus — he’s very buttoned up with the media — it wouldn’t have mattered anyway because it would have been cancelled.
Still, the Buckeyes remain very much in consideration for the 6-foot-5, 290-pound lineman and are now the leaders on the 247Sports.com crystal ball when it comes to landing him. Those predictions don’t matter much right now and will matter even less if the country’s No. 2-ranked prospect can’t get to campus in the next few months.
Regardless, there’s no other grade that can be given here other than an Incomplete for Ryan Day’s program. Incomplete, maybe, but still in progress.
The item: Ohio State needs to kickstart 2022 class
Similar to the item above, the Buckeyes simply didn’t get a chance to make waves in the Class of 2022 because they didn’t get the time to host visitors as they had planned. This is going to be a major priority when on-campus visits begin again. The loss of time to “work ahead” in the 2022 class is something to keep an eye on for schools around the country as things get back to normal.