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Will quarterback commits matter in Emeka Egbuka recruitment?

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Ohio State commit Kyle McCord is a 5-star quarterback, and that's important to fellow recruits. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Recruiting Question of the Day

Will quarterback commits matter in Emeka Egbuka recruitment?

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. Today’s question is about the impact of recruits on other recruits.

Ohio State Recruiting Question of the Day

One of the more interesting subplots developing in the recruitment of 5-star wide receiver Emeka Egbuka, Ohio State’s top wideout target remaining in 2021, is the rising interest that the country’s top-ranked receiver has in Oklahoma. The Sooners made Egbuka’s final four, released last week, and for some that was a bit of a surprise because programs like Oregon, LSU and Alabama have been more regularly highlighted as outside contenders for his eventual commitment.

Egbuka’s interest in the Oklahoma program makes a lot of sense. It’s one of the country’s elite programs and most exciting offenses with a history of producing good receivers at the NFL level.

As the Sooners become more of a threat for the Steilacoom (Wash.) 5-star, folks around the country are attempting to make a connection between his interest and the expectation that Oklahoma will eventually land 5-star quarterback Caleb Williams. That recruitment, it is speculated, will boost the interest in Oklahoma even more.

Here’s the truth: It almost assuredly will.

The question is really whether or not the relationship with Williams is so strong that it would compel Egbuka to follow him to Norman. Would he dismiss the now years-long relationship he has with coaches like Brian Hartline for the chance to maybe catch a pass from a quarterback that isn’t guaranteed to start at Oklahoma anytime soon? Spencer Rattler, the country’s No. 1-ranked quarterback in the 2019 recruiting class, is a potential multiyear starter for the Sooners, after all.

Top recruits want to play alongside other top recruits. That’s not a secret or anything, it’s common sense. It’s why Ohio State commits celebrate their top-ranked recruiting class and push other elite targets like Egbuka to join them. Great recruiting classes usually start with great quarterbacks, so it’s understandable that Oklahoma is invigorated by the potential of Williams making the plunge and screaming Boomer Sooner into the social media megaphone at some point or another.

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Caleb Williams visited Ohio State in the spring of 2019. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

But there are two very important points being conveniently glossed over or ignored in this argument.

First, Caleb Williams has not committed to Oklahoma. He may very well be leaning in that direction, but as of right now, he has no planned commitment date and anything can happen in recruiting. His top three schools includes hometown Maryland, which will use every single tool in the shed to try to keep him home.

The second point? Even if Oklahoma¬†does land Williams, it won’t be the only program in America with a 5-star quarterback prospect committed to it. In fact, two of Egbuka’s final four schools already have one: Ohio State and Washington. Kyle McCord has been committed to Ohio State for more than a year and has had a very short list of his peers, including Egbuka, that he’s been recruiting to join him since then. There’s a solidly built relationship there between quarterback and receiver.

Washington commitment Sam Huard, who is actually the country’s No. 1-ranked pro-style quarterback according to the composite, has known Egbuka for years and is his 7-on-7 quarterback with the FSP Elite team. Again, that’s a long-time, 5-star quarterback commitment working on behalf of his future team to land Egbuka.

Having a star quarterback matters, especially when recruiting highly-ranked receivers. Each team recruiting Emeka Egbuka has one or more on their current roster or in their 2021 recruiting class. Does Egbuka have a better relationship with Caleb Williams than he does with McCord or Huard? Maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t. Does that hypothetically better relationship with a potential commitment outweigh anything else for an extremely intelligent prospect making the biggest decision of his young life?

That is very unlikely.

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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 and and has been covering the Buckeyes for seven years.