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Ohio State has clear recruiting needs in Class of 2021

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Donovan Edwards remains a major priority for Ohio State in the Class of 2021. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Recruiting Question of the Day

Ohio State has clear recruiting needs in Class of 2021

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. On Tuesday, we’re looking ahead at a few of the positions that will be important for Ohio State in the Class of 2021.

Ohio State Recruiting Question of the Day

It’s never too early to look ahead in recruiting. And since we’re approaching the end of the 2020 recruiting cycle, there’s no better time than now to try and sort out what direction the Buckeyes could go in the Class of 2021.

And it may sound generic or like a cop-out, but the truth is that there is not a single position that isn’t important for Ohio State to shore up in the next year. Yes, there are some that need more attention than others. But looking at the Buckeyes roster and prognosticating future attrition makes it clear that the program is set up right now in a way that requires every position to be addressed, every year.

By this time next year, Ohio State should have a number of significant losses from the team that suits up in 2020.

At quarterback, Justin Fields will likely head off to the NFL. Kyle McCord is already committed in the 2021 class, but it’s the late addition of C.J. Stroud to the 2020 group that provides should much-needed comfort for Ryan Day and Ohio State. That comfort should allow them to take just McCord next year and not be forced to search frantically for another prep quarterback.

There’s a good chance Chris Olave takes off for the NFL as well. But the wide receivers room was well stocked this year, and there are already two commitments in 2021. The Buckeyes want two more, but unless there’s unexpected attrition, they may only have room for one. So, even though they could sign or maybe four guys at this position next year, it’s hard to say it’s a priority.

Tony Alford-Ohio State-Buckeyes-Ohio State football

Tony Alford has clear targets at the top of his list in 2021. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

So, let’s just talk about which positions it appears are the biggest priority in 2021. In my mind, there are three different spots that need to be hit hard and need to be home runs for the Buckeyes next year: Running back, offensive line and defensive line. I’m tempted to put the cornerback position in this mix but will hold off while Ohio State finishes the current crop in the next few weeks.

The running back conundrum in 2020 is well-documented, and I’m not going to rehash it. Tony Alford and Ohio State didn’t close the deal on top targets throughout this cycle, and though there’s still a well-concerted push for Jahmyr Gibbs underway, the need for 2021 is obvious. The Buckeyes were in the thick of things for the guys at the top of their list, but almost doesn’t count in recruiting. And though the decisions of Bijan Robinson and Jaylan Knighton have left people in Columbus shaking their heads in wonderment, there’s no time to look back. Donovan Edwards, the talented tailback at West Bloomfield (Mich.) High School remains the biggest priority in the next cycle.

After a rough stretch before last year, Ohio State offensive line coach Greg Studrawa has picked up the pace and done a great job on the recruiting trail in 2020 and 2021. Landing Ohio lineman Ben Christman was expected, though, and now Studrawa has to finish the recruiting efforts and score big wins in a group of players that includes 4-star talents like Donovan Jackson, Tristan Leigh, Jager Burton, J.C. Latham and others. Ohio State will need five offensive linemen or more in 2021, and it’s off to a great start.

Larry Johnson’s ability to develop defensive linemen has never been in question. But every year he gets closer to retirement is another year that other programs will hold his age against him and Ohio State. Johnson has a bevy of top-flight talent along the defensive line in 2020, but the Buckeyes only signed three in the current class and will need to begin working to replace Tyreke Smith, Tyler Friday, Zach Harrison, Javontae-Jean Baptiste and others in the 2021 cycle. The addition of 5-star defensive end Jack Sawyer is a great place to start, but the biggest needs may be in on the interior part of the line for the Buckeyes. There are a number of major names available and interested in Ohio State, and this is one cycle that Larry Johnson and Ryan Day may want to swing for the fences.

Need more Ohio State recruiting #Stuff? Join the conversation below in the comments and sign up for Scarlet Sunrise, Lettermen Row’s morning newsletter that will get your day started with all the important Ohio State news you need to know. Prefer video? Follow Buckeyes football on YouTube with Lettermen Row. You can also get your recruiting fix by subscribing to Talking Stuff: The Ohio State Recruiting Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play and Stitcher

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P.Martin Aubry
P.Martin Aubry

Need some Big Uns as DTs. LJ has needed the big athletic strong NFL type coming out of HS. LJ and OSU has tried and except for an under rated Hamilton has had little succcess. They seem to be mostly from the south, ala LSU’s DTs…325+ and quick. LJ has done a terrific job of coaching other guys but has not landed one of these types yet.

Brunstar
Brunstar

Elite commits at CB and RB are huge needs. I’m not too worried about LJ getting talent he wants for the DL. He developed 3-stars like Landers and Hamilton into studs.

Bill
Bill

I’ve mentioned this before but Alford ALWAYS looks like Suge Knight in every photo he’s in.

Brunstar
Brunstar

/S Have you ever seen Alford and Suge Knight in the same place at the same time. Makes you think…

Bill
Bill

I have not… Ask yourself this; is this picture a picture of Suge Knight after signing Dr. Dre in the 90’s or is it Tony Alford after signing JK Dobbins?

https://bit.ly/2T3NB1c

gold_pants
gold_pants

RB, CB, TE, DL are absolute must.

Mark
Mark

We just took 6 olineman this year. No way are they taking 5 or more for next class. They have no more than 16 on scholarship. They are not going to have 11 or 12 in back-to-back classes.

TLM
TLM

Top flight CB’s should be a priority. Last year we signed none, & this year we lost our highest ranked recruit at the last minute. I don’t have great confidence, past Wade, on our current roster. Every time he was not on the field things looked really shaky back there. Mr Wade thank you so much for coming back to lead our DB’s into the future.

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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