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Najee Story building Buckeyes bond, curious case of QB room

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Najee Story is healthy again and looking to become one of the country's top defensive end prospects. (Najee Story/Courtesy)

Ohio State Football Recruiting

Najee Story building Buckeyes bond, curious case of QB room

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. Monday’s notebook talks Ohio State target Najee Story and the Buckeyes dilemma with quarterback recruiting in 2020 and moving forward.

Najee Story continues to build relationship with Ohio State

It’s been about six months since Ohio State offered Solon (Ohio) 2021 defensive end Najee Story and though the 6-foot-4, 240-pound lineman didn’t commit to the Buckeyes quickly as many suspected he would, he has continued to grow his relationship with Larry Johnson and the Ohio State staff.

“I have been staying in contact with Larry Johnson,” Story told Lettermen Row. “We just keep building the relationship and he tells me to keep in touch. He tells me that I’m going to be great when I get to 100-percent and I just need to keep working.”

Story is, he says, close to full speed after breaking his leg during his sophomore season. He worked out a camp with the Buckeyes in June and that allowed Johnson his first chance to work closely with him. Since then, Story has continued to move towards full health and says he’s seeing the changes in his body and quickness.

“I’m up to about 240-pounds,” he said. “And my leg is feeling pretty good, I’d say I’m 95 percent or so. I’m trusting it and just working on getting it as strong as my right leg now. I am been getting faster and faster as I’ve been progressing and it’s changed me a bit, I’m more in shape and definitely getting stronger.”

That’s go0d news for Solon and bad news for Solon opponents that line up across from Ohio’s sixth-ranked 2021 prospect. When he’s able to, Story says he plans to get to Columbus for a visit or two this season. He also wants to visit Notre Dame at some point and says that if things go well, he’d like to make a college decision sometime toward the end of the year.

“I say it might be towards the end of the season,” he said when asked when he thinks a decision could come. “But I’m not really focused on a decision as of now.”

The challenges of quarterback recruiting in 2020

We’ve written it here a few times but there’s a growing sense that someway, somehow, Ohio State has to find another quarterback to add to its roster in either the 2020 class or the free agency market through the transfer portal because, well, the depth at the position is very thin.

But how/if a quarterback is added isn’t just a matter of doing it. It’s a matter of understanding the numbers — and exactly how much room remains in 2020 is unknown — and understanding how an addition would impact the relationship with Jack Miller, who’s been committed for more than a year and is a player that Ohio State firmly believes can be its quarterback of the future.

Miller has stated repeatedly that he’s not concerned by the possibility that Ohio State will bring in another quarterback. Here’s what he said in April.

“We haven’t talked about it yet,” Miller told Lettermen Row. “But I don’t really care who they bring in. I will compete with anybody.”

While outsiders would expect Miller to have a preference about whether the next quarterback is a 2019, 2020 or a graduate transfer, he doesn’t.

“I don’t really have a preference either way,” he said. “Whatever they think is best.”

Now, that was April. Maybe Miller’s mood has changed, maybe it hasn’t. Either way, saying you feel one way and then actually feeling another when circumstances change is fairly common. Miller’s commitment is one that the Buckeyes value and definitely want and need to hold on to but there’s no doubt that another quarterback has to be added to the roster. It makes more sense to add that quarterback in 2020 than it does in the 2021 class because bringing someone in alongside Kyle McCord means there will be a sophomore (or redshirt freshman) Miller and then two true freshmen only on the roster that season.

The Buckeyes need depth — quality depth — and they need Miller because he has superstar potential and he provides depth immediately in 2020. They can’t risk losing him but also can’t really risk going into 2021 without bringing another arm into the locker room.

It’s a great conundrum!

Need more Ohio State recruiting #Stuff? Check out the Lettermen Row forums and let us know what’s on your mind. Don’t forget to sign up for the tri-weekly recruiting newsletter, just in case there’s anything you’ve missed during the week.

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Ace

I think any great athlete would welcome competition. If you don’t want competition go to a small school who doesn’t win.

Steven Borysiak
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Steven Borysiak

Does Joe Bauserman have any eligibility left?

Traptnmi
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Traptnmi

I disagree. I don’t think we could get anyone out there better than Andrade or maybe even LaRoe. Spelling? Does Andrade not have an adequate skill set for a backup role? I think he does and he’s already learning the system. Sure feels like a waisted scholly going for another backup, unless he’s a diamond in the rough. #onthefence

Birm

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 elevenwarriors.com and Landof10.com and has been covering the Buckeyes for seven years.

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