The numbers are dwindling, but the intrigue is not as Ohio State looks to fill its 2020 class with top targets at wide receiver.
It’s been a very productive recruiting cycle for Brian Hartline and the Buckeyes to this point as the second-year position coach has proven his mettle as a recruiter and as a talent developer. Hartline has been the primary force in the recruitment of both 2020 receiver commitments, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Gee Scott. He’s also the lead recruiter for the country’s top-ranked receiver Julian Fleming as he prepares to make his commitment to either Ohio State, Clemson, Alabama, Penn State or Georgia on Friday.
If Fleming picks the Buckeyes as most believe he will, it’s another feather in the cap of Hartline. But it doesn’t mean that Ohio State is done trying to add more talented, young receivers to the room that’s known as Zone Six.
So what happens after Fleming commits, especially if it’s to Ohio State? Let’s assess the possibilities. To be clear and to underscore the fluid nature of recruiting, this was the topic of a Recruiting Question of the Day post here at Lettermen Row just about three weeks ago, so try and take note of changes as they appear.
Does Ohio State want another receiver if they land Julian Fleming?
The simple answer here is yes, absolutely. The more complicated answer is that yes — and they may even want to add two more, depending on who the prospects are that want to join the mix.
There are some players out there that no matter what, no matter who is committed, can’t be turned away. This is a small list and includes a player like Marcus Rosemy from St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale) and maybe Jalen McMillan from Fresno, Calif. There’s been little in the way of relationship building with McMillan, but Hartline and Rosemy remain in regular contact and the key in that race is clear: Get him to campus this summer, preferably for an unofficial visit.
I also think that St. Louis standout Mookie Cooper has moved into this class of prospect for the Buckeyes. It’s not just that Cooper is really good, because he is, but positionally the slot/inside receiver is a much greater priority in filling out the class than another outside receiver. He visited once and will be back on campus for a game and likely an official visit in the fall.
What about Cameron Martinez? Isn’t he a wide receiver target for Ohio State?
Muskegon (Mich.) athlete Cameron Martinez hasn’t been a secret around Lettermen Row. He’s one of the country’s best football players pound-for-pound and a prospect that the Buckeyes want in their program — and that means Michigan’s seventh-ranked prospect holds a pretty unique powerplay in his recruitment.
If he wants in, Martinez will be welcomed with open arms as a receiver or a defensive back, whatever he prefers. He fits the bill as an H-back talent, and a decision anytime soon from him would all but wrap up the efforts at receiver in 2020 — unless one of the three players listed above still wanted in at Ohio State.
Of course, if Martinez eventually decides that he believes his best future is on defense, then there’s a need for another receiver anyway.
So who are the other Ohio State receiver targets to know?
It may not seem like it because we’ve talked about the same handful of names for months, but Hartline and the Buckeyes continue to evaluate and search for new talents around the country despite having a few well-known targets still on the board.
The familiar targets include North Carolina’s Muhsin Muhammad, California’s Lavon Bunkley-Shelton, Ohio’s Michael Drennen and Louisiana’s Corey Wren. We’ve talked about each of those players before, and it’s clear from their profile that Ohio State’s focus is on finding a receiver to fill that slot role. Another name to know from Louisiana is Ja’Khi Douglas, a 4-star prospect at Terrebonne High School in Houma. He’ll visit Ohio State in mid-June and could catapult himself into a serious contender role with a good camp performance.
The Buckeyes did recently extend an offer to Rome Odunze from Las Vegas, but with no visits planned yet, it seems that recruitment is still in discovery mode. He’s an outside receiver prospect, and I think that one fits the bill of an insurance policy in the event something goes awry on the current roster.