Have a question about Ohio State recruiting? This is the place for you, five days a week. Submit your questions on Twitter or on the Lettermen Row forums. Check in daily to see what’s on the mind of Buckeyes fans all over the country. Friday’s edition reflects on the Buckeyes 2020 tight end recruiting and says there’s no need to leave the state at the position in this cycle.
Ohio State Recruiting Question of the Day
Ohio State wants two tight ends — are they close to landing any?
— Jeff Tobin (@jtobin34) May 16, 2019
The goal for Ohio State in the Class of 2020 is to add two tight ends in this recruiting cycle.
The Buckeyes have offered at least 13 different players at the position, but they aren’t particularly close to landing any of them at the moment. Top targets early in the process like California’s Mark Redman have gone elsewhere, and some players like 5-star athletes Arik Gilbert and Darnell Washington are long-shots bordering on the edge of no-shots.
There are a handful of undecided tight ends still on the board: Good players like Canada’s Theo Johnson, Massachusset’s rising star Cam Large and Texas standout Jalin Conyers. The Buckeyes are in the mix for each of those players and others, but I’m reluctant to say they’re the favorite to land any of them.
Sometimes the best answer is the easiest one. In my opinion, that solution for Ohio State in recruiting a pair of tight ends in 2020 is the same as it was in the Class of 2016 when they landed Luke Farrell and Jake Hausmann: Stay close to home.
Yes, I know everyone loves the national prospect, and it’s clear the Buckeyes would prefer to add at least one guy from outside of Ohio. But there are four of the country’s best tight ends right in Ohio State’s backyard, and sometimes it’s best to not overthink it.
The Buckeyes thought too much in 2015 and let C.J. Conrad slink away to Kentucky because they wanted Josh Moore, who ended up playing along the defensive line at Missouri before transferring out of that school into obscurity. They ended up with A.J. Alexander after Moore failed to meet the academic mark, and Alexander left the program after medical issues and a pair of seasons in the doghouse. Conrad is working towards winning a job with the New York Giants.
In 2019, the Buckeyes signed Cormontae Hamilton while Ohio’s 10th-ranked prospect, Erick All, bolted for Michigan. Ohio State also let a talented young tight end prospect in Tyler Foster head to Ohio rather than adding him late in the cycle, presumably because they felt they’d do better in the 2020 class — but to this point that’s not been the case.
The Buckeyes may be too far gone to land Ohio’s best 2020 tight end, Alabama commit Caden Clark. But they’re not done trying. Even if they fail to flip Clark from the Crimson Tide, there are excellent prospects in the state who are picking up major offers almost daily.
Mansfield’s Clay Caudill is the country’s 16th-ranked tight end (Clark is No. 13, for what it’s worth), and he has a college-ready, 6-foot-5, 230-pound body already. LSU, Michigan State, Pitt, Wisconsin and others have made him a priority while the Buckeyes continue to wait for him to camp again in Columbus.
The same can be said for a pair of lower-ranked, but very talented, tight ends as well.
Ohio State legacy Luke Lachey has been offered by Iowa, LSU and Michigan State in recent weeks. At 6-foot-6, 220-pounds and with NFL All-Pro genes, Lachey runs track and remains kind of slim by Ohio State tight end standards. But the frame and pass-catching ability are already there.
Cincinnati Elder star Joe Royer has offers from Michigan, Penn State, Nebraska, West Virginia, Iowa State and a host of others — most of which have been extended in the last month. He’s also been in Columbus with his teammate and Ohio State commit Jakob James.
Ohio State needs to have answers soon from their top targets at tight end or it will be tasked with trying to turn to in-state targets later in the process. The worry then becomes whether or not it will it be too late to bring them back around. Caudill, Lachey and Royer have top schools standing by as they wait to hear from the Buckeyes. How long will they wait?
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