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Ohio State Recruiting Question of the Day
You may have touched on this over time, but what Gee Scott, Julian Fleming, and JSN have done in the playoffs; two 5 stars, 3 of the top 5 in the position, has there ever been a recruiting haul at one single position like this? And what does the future look like with current WRs?
— Dan Hughes (@GoBuckeyes4Life) December 9, 2019
I am not going to go digging through every position group in the Internet era of college football recruiting to find out how many top-ranked players at one position chose the same school, but it’s clear that what the Buckeyes are on the verge of doing in the Class of 2020 at wide receiver is rare.
Julian Fleming, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Gee Scott and Mookie Cooper are four of the country’s top 15-ranked receivers and will all sign with Ohio State next week before enrolling early with the Buckeyes in January. Fleming, Smith-Njigba and Scott are ranked as the No. 1, 3 and 5 receivers in the country according to 247Sports.com, and Rivals.com has them slotted at No. 1, 4, and 6 respectively.
ESPN.com, whose rankings impact the 247Sports.com composite ratings, has Scott ranked as the country’s No. 30 receiver for some reason and also has Mookie Cooper listed as an athlete. And Buckeyes commit Cam Martinez — who will be a defensive back to start his career — is listed as a receiver, so they may not have the best info on the pulse of the position. ESPN does have Julian Fleming as the top receiver in the country, however, so they do appear to be synced up with the other major recruiting networks on that front.
Bottom line for Ohio State? Yes, this is a pretty darn good group of receivers. But it’s not exactly out of the ordinary for top-ranked prospects at a position to get together and suit up for the same team. The receiver position is actually one where it’s more common than others because there are years when top programs need to sign three or four players together.
Go back just to the Class of 2019, Oklahoma signed three of the top-14 receivers — including the guys ranked No. 1 and No. 4 — in that group. Alabama signed four of the top-12 receivers in the Class of 2017, including three guys who have been major contributors in the last two years, Henry Ruggs, Jerry Jeudy and DaVonta Smith.
In Columbus, recruiting success isn’t new — especially at the wide receiver position. It’s not something that has only happened since Brian Hartline took over as the full-time receivers coach, either.
What has changed the most at Ohio State is the offense which now seems to be more focused on the passing game. That has allowed Hartline, a former NFL receiver who is as known for being a tactician on the field as he is for being a top-tier recruiter off of it, to shine.
The on-field success of Buckeyes receivers, from Michael Thomas to Terry McLaurin, is as responsible for the rising stardom of guys like Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson as anything else. Wilson, the No. 2-ranked receiver in the Class of 2019, is as talented as any player to enter the Buckeyes program in the last few years. But his on-field development didn’t really happen until he decided he was willing to do the little things it took to be a great teammate.
In other words, especially in the upper-echelon of college football, talent is everywhere and the country’s elite programs are only getting better. Clemson’s defensive line haul in 2020 is absurd and LSU is also putting together a crazy group of receivers with three of the top-eight players at the position committed this cycle.
And yet, unless those players buy into what has made those College Football Playoff contenders great, none of those rankings will matter. Isn’t that what makes recruiting so interesting to follow? Right now every player fans hear about is a star, but in three or four years, what those guys become is a matter of work and not subjective evaluation.
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