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Ohio State recruiting: Offensive line search key for Buckeyes in 2020

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Jakob James is eager to help bring linemen to play alongside him at Ohio State. (Jakob James/Twitter)

Recruiting Question of the Day

Ohio State recruiting: Offensive line search key for Buckeyes in 2020

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 we’ll examine the biggest — and most realistic — offensive line targets still on the board for Ohio State in 2020.

Ohio State Recruiting Question of the Day

There’s no way to beat around this bush: Greg Studrawa needs a big year on the recruiting trail and on the field in 2020. The Buckeyes have signed 10 offensive linemen in the last three cycles, and last year had the potential to be absolutely devastating if Ryan Day hadn’t made some magic happen leading up to signing day with Enokk Vimahi and Dawand Jones.

So far, the Class of 2020 appears to be providing a much-needed boost. The Buckeyes have three commitments, and two of them are players with 5-star potential in Paris Johnson and Luke Wypler. They’re fighting to keep each of those players firmly entrenched as Buckeyes and to this point have done a good job holding off schools like Notre Dame and Stanford, who have tried to swoop in amid coaching changes in Columbus. Ohio State added Jakob James in January, and he’s eager to work for the Buckeyes on the recruiting trail — a trait shared with Johnson and Wypler.

“Recruiting-wise, I’m close with Paris already,” James told Lettermen Row. “So helping him out and getting the dudes we need to get is what I’m gonna go at.

“I think some of them are still enjoying the recruiting process, but once it’s time for them to make a decision I think they need to know we could be one of the best offensive line groups out there under Coach Stud and Coach Day.”

Inside of Ohio, the Buckeyes have a few targets worth paying attention to, but the majority of the names to know are spread throughout the country. Most of them have been talked about ad nauseam for the last few months, which is telling because not only has Ohio State had these guys identified for months, they seemed to be more dialed into recruiting the 2020 class than the 2019 class, at least when it comes to the line.

That could be because this group had been focused on by Day during the latter half of 2018 since the Buckeyes quarterback situation required little of his attention after Dwan Mathis flipped from Michigan State last June, though that’s mere conjecture on my part.

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Ferndale (Wash.) 2020 4-star lineman Geirean Hatchett is a priority for the Buckeyes. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

What’s not a guess is that Ohio State needs at least three more offensive linemen in the Class of 2020, assuming that it holds on to what it has all the way through signing day. Right now, the Buckeyes have a tackle in Johnson, a guard in James and Wypler at center, and it’s absolutely imperative that they land at least two more tackles. Where that comes from is anyone’s guess.

Kansas 4-star Turner Corcoran remains near the top of the list of targets along with Zak Zinter, Reece Attberry and John Young. The Buckeyes have offered almost 30 players who are listed as tackles in 2020, and a handful of them are guys that could move inside. But the focus is absolutely on tackle — period.

When looking at pure guards, only the Michigan duo of Justin Rogers and Dallas Fincher — along with Washington’s Geirean Hatchett — are on the short list. I don’t think Fincher is really in the mix at this point, while Rogers and Hatchett are top targets for a lot of schools. The recruitments of each will be fun to watch throughout the spring and summer.

There will be so many more names that come up in the next few months that it feels a fool’s errand to try to decipher it all now. No one would have expected an offer to James when it happened, but it did. We’re still learning the ins and outs of Ryan Day’s recruiting philosophy and doing it on the fly, but the offensive line is a major priority for 2020.

The best way to stay on top of all that recruiting #stuff? Subscribe to Lettermen Row’s Recruiting with Birm newsletter. 

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.