COLUMBUS — Ohio State is still looking for a tight end or two in the Class of 2020, and the answers are coming in the near future.
Will Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson land one of their top targets? Will a complete reshuffle of the longstanding recruiting board be required? That’s a monster question for the Ohio State coaching staff as it waits for a trio of top stars that recently spent a key weekend in Columbus on official visits with the Buckeyes.
What is happening with Joe Royer, Cam Large, Jalin Conyers?
Diving into the real, reasonable tight end options that Ohio State would welcome into its 2020 class right now means understanding that as of the start of July, this pool is just three prospects deep.
And all three of those players made official visits to Columbus over what has proven to be a very instrumental June 21 weekend for the Buckeyes.
None have announced a specific date, though — and things will either get very clear for the Buckeyes or get very confusing inside of Kevin Wilson’s position group.
Joe Royer, the Cincinnati Elder tight end who was offered by Ohio State in early June, remains the most likely choice to join the Buckeyes. Yes, Arizona State and Penn State are involved. But at the moment, there’s been no plan made — or at least announced — by Royer to visit either of those places officially. Until that happens, it’s safe to view Ohio State as the prohibitive favorite.
Jalin Conyers raved about his Buckeyes official visit, but the consensus remains that he’s more likely to head to Oklahoma. Some close to the Buckeyes, however, aren’t giving up the chase here and think Conyers connection with the coaches in Columbus could make his decision a bit more difficult than is being talked about.
Large has remained very close-to-the-vest following his official visit, but there’s a rising sense of confidence coming from Wisconsin in that recruitment. Whatever the reason for that, the vibe right now is that the Badgers are more likely to land him. Wisconsin has been clear that he is the school’s top target for months at the position, and that’s not been the case for his other finalists: Ohio State, Alabama and Georgia. That may carry the day here.
Will Ohio State still focus on a pair of tight ends?
This is one of the more interesting questions as we race toward the 2019 football season. For months, the Buckeyes have been telling recruits they wanted two tight ends in the 2020 class. But as the list of viable prospects dwindles, there has been some discussion about a change in philosophy recruiting the position.
The numbers have quickly begun to fill up for Ohio State at other positions, and it may not make sense to take two spots up with a tight end when there’s still a chance to that Luke Farrell, Jake Hausmann, Jeremy Ruckert and Cormontae Hamilton could all be on the roster in the 2020 season.
Unless the Buckeyes lose out on a number of other targets, the clearer path to tight end numbers in 2020 now seems to be one.
What happens if all three priority tight ends pass on Ohio State?
Consider this the less-than-optimal scenario for the Buckeyes in 2020.
First things first: This is all a matter of timing. But if Royer, Conyers and Large all decide to head elsewhere, it’s my personal opinion that Ohio State staff should aggressively turn their focus to Buckeyes legacy Luke Lachey. Yes, he needs more physical development than the primary three targets right now, but the potential 2020 tight end depth allows them a chance to bring him into the fold a bit slower.
If Lachey isn’t the first call that’s made, then it becomes a crapshoot for Wilson and Day as they try to decipher which other tight ends are actually interested in the program versus those who are keeping the Buckeyes on their top school’s lists as a matter of gaining recruiting clout.
Again, in my opinion, one of the country’s best prospects at tight end if Oak Park (Mich.) standout Maliq Carr. He continues to suggest he won’t consider playing tight end, though it’s almost a guarantee that he’ll eventually play the position.
Canadian star Theo Johnson visited Ohio State this spring, but that relationship has never materialized and is unlikely to do so moving forward. After that duo and Lachey, things get murky and a number of conversations will need to be had about which direction Ohio State should head in recruiting the tight end in the Class of 2020.