The Ohio State Buckeyes celebrate a run for the ages
It has been a tremendous run for the Ohio State Buckeyes in terms of recruiting, not only in the class of 2020 but 2021 as well as the last six weeks has seen the Buckeyes recruiting numbers swell.
COLUMBUS, Ohio – If Ohio State head coach Ryan Day and his staff are nearly as successful coaching as they are recruiting, it should not be too long of a drought before the Buckeyes are holding up a College Football Playoff championship trophy as the last team standing.
The Buckeyes are coming off of a recent recruiting run that is unlike any in the history of Ohio State recruiting and maybe national recruiting beyond that.
From May 31st to July 8th, the Buckeyes have landed 12 recruits after only landing three in the first five months (minus a day) of 2019. That means in 38 short days, the Buckeyes saw their class go from eight players to 21. In 38 days the Buckeyes added 39 stars according to the Rivals.com rankings, with one player unrated at this point with kicker/punter ratings not released as of yet.
That is only talking about the class of 2020. Add a pair of players for the class of 2021, and the numbers are even more ridiculous.
And the haul is not done yet.
There are several more major targets set to make their decisions known in the next several weeks including Lathan Ransom, Jaylan Knighton and Bijan Robinson to name just a few. Kourt Williams could also see a decision coming soon, even without a date announced at this point.
Let’s take a look back at how this run came together, a run that will be talked about for years to come by fans of Ohio State recruiting.
There were a lot of questions about the state of Ohio State recruiting leading up to this point. Yes, Ohio State was sitting with eight commits before the run started, but there still was a lot of uncertainty. Paris Johnson was still in the process of ‘looking around’, Lejond Cavazos only reconfirmed for the Buckeyes in mid-April after a couple of months of his own post-Urban Meyer looking around.
It was not as if the Ohio State class was subpar when it was sitting at eight players on May 30th. The Buckeyes had 991 team recruiting points at that time, a mark that still would have been better than more of half the Big Ten including teams like Wisconsin, Michigan State and Nebraska, today.
Seven of the commits were on the offensive side of the ball however, only Cavazos, a defensive back, was a defender and fans were starting to get nervous as programs like Alabama, Clemson and even in-league Michigan were all seeing their classes starting to take shape even with the early signing period more than half-a-year away.
The recruiting experts kept telling the fans not to worry, things would pick up. The commits in the class all knew that something was brewing and told fans on social media to be patient, things would pay off.
They certainly have. Maybe even surpassing what everyone was expecting when the dam finally burst.
There was a lot of disappointment from Ohio State fans when Rakim Jarrett up and committed to LSU, seemingly out of the blue to many fans. With Jarrett off the board and Julian Fleming appearing to be a lock for Penn State, the chances of having another big fish to join the likes of Gee Scott and Jaxon Smith-Njigba seemed to be fleeting.
The tide on Fleming however turned quickly as all of the energy that Penn State had in this one quickly shifted to the Buckeyes in just a matter of weeks. By the end of the month, the Buckeyes had secured the commitment and Penn State may not have even finished second for the five-star receiver.
Okay, people don’t get that excited over the commitment of a specialist, at least until they really need them. The Buckeyes may be a couple of coaches removed from Jim Tressel at this point but there are few fans that don’t remember his view of the importance of kickers and punters and things did not change under Meyer as well and should not under Day. The Buckeyes came in with an offer and it did not take long for Ohio State to secure the verbal on a player who appears to be destined to grayshirt his first season and delay the start of his scholarship.
This one caught people off guard as Ohio State benefitted at the hands of Penn State once again as they were able to flip the lineman from the state of Michigan seemingly out of nowhere. The Buckeyes had always been quietly in the shadows and after an early-June unofficial visit to Ohio State, the Buckeyes were able to seal the deal and land another talented lineman from the region.
The Buckeyes had their first of two major recruiting visit weekends on the 14th and Hamilton was part of that first haul. The younger brother of current Ohio State defensive lineman Davon Hamilton, Ty had a strong camp with the Buckeyes earlier in the month and while it seemed like a natural fit to stay close to home, Hamilton really had an affinity for two other division foes before finally making the call to keep it with the Buckeyes.
The second recruiting weekend got off to a bang as Phillips committed at the start of the weekend on a web telecast. The Buckeyes have had some success through the years recruiting the state of California and while USC remains in disarray, the Buckeyes have not been shy going and picking a player or more out of the area to focus on. Phillips really knew that Ohio State was something during an earlier unofficial visit to the campus and did not even need the benefit of his official before shutting things down.
Ohio State dipped back into the class of 2021, adding to a pair of commits to a class of Kyle McCord and Jack Sawer with a talented receiver. Ballard is a big body at 6-foot-3 but will need to add some weight over the coming years to fill in that frame. He had a tremendous Ohio State one-day camp where he made play after play. This commitment did not come as a surprise but it only went to bolster what has been a run for the ages.
Another player who was not a surprise to end up in the class but the timing was definitely something to notice as Ohio State just was unstoppable on the recruiting trail. Another four-star player from Ohio, the talented offensive lineman, paired with 2019 commit Paris Johnson, will give the Buckeyes formidable bookends for several years on the offensive line as the state of Ohio continues to turn out talented players in the trenches.
The Buckeyes had seen seven (Five for 2019, two for 2020) players commit in less than a month coming off of the heels of two successful recruiting visit weekends and the early-June camps. Nobody knew how quickly things were going to start happening after that.
Simon, despite having an older brother at Notre Dame was down to a final three schools that did not include the Irish. Ohio State eventually ended up beating out Penn State and Nebraska for the talented linebacker. During his time at the Rivals Five-Star Challenge in Atlanta, Simon had plenty of good things to say about all three schools but things had already felt as if they were tipping toward Ohio State before the camp and while the outcome was not entirely a surprise, Simon’s announcement somewhat caught many off guard as he made things official.
Henry had always felt like someone who would end up at Ohio State, especially with how close he is to Parris Johnson, but that did not mean that anything was automatic as Henry took advantage of some visits and probably made a few fans of recruiting nervous as he looked around. Once he announced his late-June ceremony however, anyone who had been paying attention knew this one was going to end up in the column of the good guys. Shortly after all of this, Johnson reaffirmed his pledge to Ohio State and is now back in the role of being a major recruiter for Ohio State.
Royer came to one of the Ohio State one-day camps in search of an offer and had to fend off several other talented in-state tight ends as the Buckeye coaches went over every detail before deciding who they wanted to extend and offer to. At one point it seemed as if Ohio State might be looking to add two tight ends to the class but now it appears that Royer might be the only one standing. Royer took his time after getting the offer and did not make anything know too quickly and finally let everyone know where he was going in the first week of July, capping off a frenzy of commitments.
This is another recruitment that seemed to take a quick turn as many people had predicted the Maryland product to end up at Michigan, not Ohio State. The Buckeyes had remained vigilant in trying to land Melton and a couple of early unofficial visits were capped off with a strong official on June 14th that ultimately gave Melton the information that he needed to make a decision. Notre Dame and Penn State were both heavily involved in this one as well but credit to the Ohio State coaches for fighting until the end before finally making this one happen.
The Buckeyes have seen plenty of players leave the state of Ohio, only to head to Michigan and play against them in ‘The Game’. The Buckeyes have not been afraid to go into the state of Michigan and target a player or two each season when warranted. Martinez is Ohio State’s second commit from that state up north and gives Ohio State so much versatility with a player who can play on either side of the ball and is also a special teams maven. His future appears to be on defense with the haul that Ohio State has on offense but it would not be entirely surprising if Martinez gets an opportunity or two during his career on the other side of the ball.
Ohio State needed a big offensive line class and will have it as Fryar is now the 5th lineman as part of this class. The Beech Grove (Ind.) product had taken officials to Oregon and Penn State in addition to Ohio State. How successful was that official visit weekend of the 21st for the Buckeyes? Six players who visited have now committed, not including Parris Johnson who was already committed. There could be three more in that class that Ohio State would considered to be the favorite on that are ‘takes’ at this point and then a couple more that are ‘right there’ as well.
The run as we know it (fans won’t have to wait too long for the next commit however) ended with Mookie Cooper, a one-time commit to Texas. This is the type of player that Meyer would have loved to have in his offense and Day will find a way to get him into mismatches with linebackers and safeties as he is a very different type of body than Ohio State’s other three receiver commits. Cooper makes it a perfect four-for-four for Ohio State receiver commits being in the Rivals100.