What better time to try and predict the truly unpredictable world of college football recruiting than nine months before a single player can sign a Letter of Intent to Ohio State and 11 months before the class is officially complete?
That’s the task we’re undertaking today, giving our first fearless prediction for exactly* how the 2020 class will unfold for the Buckeyes on the offensive side of the football. We’ll examine the defensive side of things next week, OK?
As of the last day of February, there are six Ohio State commitments for 2020, and each one of them plays offense. So we’ve got what should be a pretty solid starting point.
Let’s dive in and dissect the rest of the possibilities for Ryan Day and his coaching staff.
Quarterback: Ohio State needs one
Already committed to Ohio State for almost eight months, Jack Miller has been and remains the program’s top player at the position in the Class of 2020. Miller is the country’s fourth-ranked pro-style quarterback and some close to the Ohio State program believe he’s the best pure passer in the nation in his class.
Miller is a very valuable asset for the Buckeyes and can get even more valuable if he can help Ohio State secure some of Arizona’s top targets.
Prediction: Jack Miller
Running back: Two will be the number of Ohio State
There’s no doubt the Buckeyes want two running backs in the Class of 2020, and right now it seems their top target is a fellow Arizona target who Jack Miller is trying to help Ohio State with: Salpointe Catholic (Tucson) 5-star tailback Bijan Robinson. He has not visited Ohio State yet, but rumblings from Arizona remain very positive and he’s unequivocally one of the top two prospects on the very crowded running back board. Landing Robinson will not be easy and there will be a lot of other guys shuffling in and out and around Ohio State over the next few months, but the 6-foot, 200-pound Robinson is the cream of the crop.
As for a second tailback in the class? Day has recruited Akron Archbishop Hoban 4-star prospect DeaMonte Trayanum very hard, and though he’s a guy that could play defense, he wants to play running back and Day has told him he can. I think he’ll take that shot at Ohio State, though Wisconsin, Clemson and others are in the mix.
Prediction: Bijan Robinson, DeaMonte Trayanum
Wide receiver: Ohio State needs four — but will take five
Thanks to the success of Dwayne Haskins and the rise of Zone 6, Ohio State could be looking at one of the best hauls of receiving recruits in school history — and maybe that college football has ever seen. Receivers coach Brian Hartline has already reeled in two of his top targets in Texas standout Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Washington star Gee Scott, Jr.
After that extremely talented duo, there is no shortage of talent waiting to be explored by the Buckeyes. They’ve narrowed down their search to a handful of the country’s highest-regarded receivers. St. John’s College (Washington D.C.) 5-star Rakim Jarrett has been quoted multiple times saying he’s not committed to this point because he’s not been able to get his mom — a Canton, Ohio native — on campus with him. That should be remedied soon if he returns to campus this spring as expected.
Despite everyone believing that Julian Fleming, the country’s top-ranked receiver, is a lock to end up at Penn State, I just don’t see it as a foregone conclusion and believe that the connection between Hartline and Fleming is stronger than any other relationship the talented youngster has. I also believe the Buckeyes are going to be a finalist for St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) 4-star Marcus Rosemy, who will visit for the Ohio State spring game. And the Buckeyes are going to be right in the mix for California’s LV Bunkley-Shelton, who will also be in town on the April 13 weekend.
Ohioan Michael Drennen, a 4-star prospect from Dublin Coffman High School, is a natural fit in the slot receiver role that Ohio State needs to fill and has an early offer. He’ll compete with Fairfield athlete JuTahn McClain for that spot, I think. There are a ton of guys all over the country lining up to play in Ryan Day’s offense and be developed by Brian Hartline. Choosing two or three more won’t be easy.
Prediction: Julian Fleming, Marcus Rosemy, Gee Scott, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Mike Drennen
Tight end: Buckeyes want two in 2020
Ohio State needs two tight ends in the class of 2020, and it has offered a number of different options in recent weeks. The Buckeyes would love to land the country’s top tight end, Darnell Washington, but it will hard to pull the Las Vegas 5-star prospect from the West Coast. The same can be said for Eastside Catholic (Sammamish, Wash.) 4-star D.J. Rogers, a teammate of Gee Scott.
The Buckeyes will host 3-star prospect Cam Large in the first week of March, and he’s an intriguing prospect from the Noble and Greenough School (Dedham, Mass.) with rising interest from schools like Notre Dame and others. Lukas Ungar has Ohio State in his final five schools, and the New Jersey prospect is a priority for the program as well.
Locally, I believe the Buckeyes will have a tough decision to make between Mansfield’s Clay Caudill, Luke Lachey from Columbus Grandview Heights and Sam Daugstrup from Cleveland St. Ignatius High School. I think eventually it’s Lachey who lands an offer thanks to his athleticism and his Ohio State legacy.
Prediction: Lukas Ungar and Luke Lachey
Offensive line: Ohio State needs at least five in 2020 class
The Buckeyes have made recruiting the offensive line a priority in 2020, and to this point they have three players already verballed in the class: 5-star tackle Paris Johnson, 4-star center Luke Wypler and 3-star prospect Jakob James, who could play inside or outside in college. That trio will provide a very solid foundation for Day and Greg Studrawa, but there’s an absolute need for at least two and maybe three more in the class.
At guard, there are only a couple of options at the top of the list, and that’s Justin Rogers, a 5-star prospect from Oak Park, Mich., and Geirean Hatchett from Ferndale, Wash. Ohio State has recently amped up communication with Tennessee’s Bryn Tucker as well. Colorado’s Reece Atteberry is a major prospect with big Buckeyes interest who could play guard, also.
Tackle is a whole different beast in 2020, and the Buckeyes have offered almost 25 of them across the country. There’s no doubt that Turner Corcoran from Free State (Lawrence, Kan.) is the top remaining target at the position. Kentucky’s John Young, Massachussett’s Zak Zinter, Pennsylvania’s Michael Carmody, Michigan’s Grant Toutant and Florida’s Marcus Dumervil are just a few of the real interested prospects around the country. In the state of Ohio, Milford Center Fairbanks 3-star Samuel Rengert is still getting some Buckeyes attention as well.
Assuming that Ohio State is able to hold on to its current commitments, this position is set up to be one of the stronger groups in the country.
Prediction: Paris Johnson, Luke Wypler, Jakob James, John Young, Reece Atteberry and Samuel Rengert
There you have it, the 2020 Ohio State offensive recruiting class exactly* as it will turn out. Check back next week for the defensive prediction.
*This is a guess and is in no way a guarantee
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