Recruiting Roundtable: Aamil Wagner, PWO commit, 2022 CB recruiting
With nine months left until the Early Signing Period, it is getting to the point where every new 2022 offer is big news for Buckeye Nation.
On Monday, we got just that as Ohio State dished out an offer to junior offensive lineman Aamil Wagner. Wagner, who is a member of the Rivals250 and is the No. 29 offensive tackle in the country, lives about an hour away from tOSU's campus, and has already received a pair of FutureCast predictions in favor of the program.
Given this new addition to Ohio State's o-line board, BuckeyeGrove's Carson MacRae and Joseph Hastings shared their reactions to Wagner being offered by Ryan Day's staff yesterday. They also talk about the program's newest (preferred walk-on) commit, as well who they believe is the cornerback most likely to commit to Ohio State.
Question: What do you think of Ohio State offering Rivals250 offensive lineman Aamil Wagner?
MacRae: First off, I would like to make it clear that just because Wagner earned his offer now does not mean the Buckeyes are out of it for any other major tackles.
The 6-foot-6 offensive tackle comes in at an athletic build of 255 pounds as stated on his Rivals profile. This may be concerning to most people, but I want to remind everyone that Nicholas Petit-Frere showed up to Ohio State at 270.
In regards to Wagner receiving his offer so late, many do not need to worry. After speaking with some sources close to Wagner, it appears that Greg Studrawa and the staff actually asked Wagner to do something for him in order to earn his scholarship from the staff.
They wanted to see him, first off, have another solid year and second, put on some weight. Wagner’s high school coaches have said he has worked very hard in the off season and many of them have even stated he has put on roughly 10 pounds.
This would indicate that Coach Studrawa has seen the progress he needed to see in order for Wagner to receive the offer.
With another full high school year to come, I would expect Wagner to continue on that path and add some more weight while continuing to raise his stock.
This offer was always expected by the Buckeyes and as most Wayne, Huber Heights High School football players do when they are offered by the Buckeyes, I would expect him to accept the offer in the end.
Hastings: To be honest, I was kind of surprised the offer took this long to materialize.
Back in September, Wagner told me that a trio of members from Ohio State's staff – Greg Studrawa, Kennedy Cook and Tim Hinton – reached out to him on the first day college coaches could start contacting 2022 prospects.
Couple this with the fact that the Buckeyes have landed a commitment from only one offensive lineman in this cycle, and I thought Wagner was bound to receive the green light at some point last year.
Either way, I do not believe this hurts the Buckeyes’ pursuit of Wagner as they’ve been building a relationship with him for several months now. He’s also roughly an hour away from Columbus, so this is shaping up for tOSU to take over the driver's seat in Wagner’s recruitment.
Another reaction that I had to Monday’s news is that it could maybe hint at where things stand with some other tackle targets. I did hear recently that North Carolina is becoming a likelier destination for Zach Rice, and fellow five-stars Julian Armella and Kam Dewberry are going to be tough to pull from their respective states.
Offering Wagner and potentially getting him onboard gives the Buckeyes a safety net just in case the aforementioned targets, as well as others, like Kiyaunta Goodwin and Tyler Booker, commit elsewhere.
Also, be sure sure to check out CatsIllustrated's assessment of Wagner's skill set from back in October.
"Wagner has excellent footspeed, footwork, length and a tremendous compete level," they wrote. "He knows the importance of continuing to refine his craft and hit the weight room -- he’s still a relative newcomer to the position -- but the traits he has are unteachable and his ceiling is tremendous. Wagner is a clear future Power Five starter with the potential to play on Sundays if he maintains his current year-over-year growth trajectory."
Question: Reaction to Jalen Pace committing to the Buckeyes as a preferred walk-on?
MacRae: Jalen Pace obviously comes from a rich Ohio State bloodline with his father being Orlando Pace, who played for the Buckeyes from 1994-1996 and was a first overall pick to the Rams in 1997 as an OT.
Jalen on the other hand, comes to the Buckeyes as an outside line backer and as a preferred walk-on. Although he’s coming in as a PWO, make no mistake that Pace is an elite athlete.
With a 6-foot-3, 193-pound frame, Pace can be seen lining up at the high school level in the front seven of their team's defense and often dropping back in coverage.
Believe it or not, Pace lead his team in interceptions during the playoffs, hauling in four in just three games. As a linebacker, it is not often you find a player who leads their team in interceptions when playing in a base 4-3 front.
Summarily, do not be surprised to find Pace being one of those names you see making a splash as a preferred walk on and eventually making his way on to the field.
Hastings: We admittedly did not know anything about Pace as a prospect prior to him committing to Ohio State today as a preferred walk-on.
It obviously is not terrible, however, to add a legacy prospect who is the son of one of the best players in Buckeye history. Pace is the son of Orlando Pace, who did not allow a sack in his first two years in Columbus and was a two-time unanimous All-American during his collegiate career.
Looking at Pace's skill set, he was one of those do-it-all players while playing for Mary Institute and Saint Louis Country Day School. Whether he was suiting up at defensive end, linebacker, or even wide receiver, Pace was an important contributor for his team.
Projecting him at the next level, however, we’ll definitely need to see more from him before saying if he will get to see the field too much in college. For one, he’s only 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, per the measurements on his Hudl page. It seems likely that he will probably be a linebacker with the Buckeyes, and will need to pack on a lot of pounds in the next couple of off-seasons.
Also, while he can do it all at the high school level, Pace does not have exceptional attributes at any one position. He’s not big enough right now to be a d-end or linebacker, is not fast at the linebacker spot, and is an OK, but not great, pass catcher.
With Ohio State’s development, and him being one of the greatest football players of the past two or so decades, Pace will definitely be put in a position to succeed. Congrats to that young man.
Question: Is Toriano Pride the likeliest 2022 cornerback for the Buckeyes?
MacRae: Toriano Pride currently has a top seven list consisting of Ohio State, Georgia, Missouri, Clemson, Alabama, Oregon and Auburn.
I believe there to be only three teams currently sitting in a legitimate position to land his services. Of those three teams, one is on the outside looking in. That being Ohio State, Clemson, and Alabama, with the Tide being the outsider.
As this has become the common top three for most high-end prospects, I’m sure it comes as no surprise to many. Although I believe Clemson to be leading right now, Ryan Day and Kerry Coombs are not set on letting this one get away.
I fully expect them to continue pressing on Pride, but as it sits right now, I would say the most likely CB for the Buckeyes to land is Ryan Turner.
If Turner ends up being the guy, that is still an impressive haul in the secondary for the Buckeyes and Coach Coombs.
Hastings: This answer will likely change as it would not have been the same answer I would have given two months ago.
After Jaheim Singletary committed, I would have likely pointed to Will Johnson as the cornerback most likely to join Singletary and Jyaire Brown in this class. Some would have made that argument that Domani Jackson could have also been that third CB.
Now, I'm inclined to go with Ryan Turner to answer this question, just as Carson said.
Turner, who has seen his recruitment take off this year, showed immediate interest in the Buckeyes as soon as they offered him last month. The Florida-based prospect labeled the program as "one of the top" options in his recruitment, and was told by the staff that he could commit whenever he wants.
I think Pride is a close second, but he's going to be somebody who I think visits will likely play a huge role for when deciding where he chooses to go. Clemson would probably be my pick as of today, so we'll have to wait and see what his plans are.
There's always a possibility that Michigan, which went 2-4 last season, could have another disappointing campaign. That may lead to Johnson potentially re-evaluating his commitment, something that Ohio State could take advantage of.
I still feel it's a little too early to truly answer this question, but Turner would be my pick as of today.
Stay tuned to BuckeyeGrove.