Ohio State failed to land a tight end in 2014 after heavily pursuing eventual Penn State signee Mike Gesicki. Fast forward to 2015 and the Buckeyes are still struggling to land a highly rated tight end.
The Buckeyes are fighting off the nation's elite programs for top targets Chris Clark and Hale Hentges. They have ground to make up on Miles Boykin and Josh Moore, and they did not offer C.J. Conrad, one of the nation's top tight ends, before the Ohio native committed to Kentucky.
Ohio State has offered at least six tight ends in the 2015 class. If the Buckeyes miss out on some of their higher rated targets, here's a new name to keep an eye on: junior college tight end Julian Allen.
Allen, a 6-foot-4 prospect from Lackawanna (Pa.) Community College, has recently drawn some interest from Ohio State. Some fans might remember Lackawanna as the college of one-time Buckeye targets Jermaine Eluemunor and Parris Palmer.
As a member of the 2013 recruiting class, Julian Allen was recruited by 15 colleges including South Florida and Central Florida. Allen faced a tough decision after his junior year of high school: as his father described it, his son had no shot at fixing his grades to become an academic qualifier.
Facing a difficult choice, the senior-to-be decided to earn a GED and go to community college, where Lackawanna offered him a scholarship as a wide receiver.
After his new team suffered a few injuries, the growing Allen moved to tight end. A fractured tibia delayed his goal of becoming a Division I football player, but the injury allowed him to focus on academics. While injured, Allen reported a 3.6 GPA, earning him a spot on the Dean's List.
After working with a well respected trainer, Allen has bulked up into a 6-foot-4, 235 pound tight end prospect. He runs a 4.49 40-yard dash and boasts a 37-inch vertical jump. His trainer calls him an absolute freak; others call him "the hybrid." In an email, his father said some have started to compare him to a young Kellen Winslow Jr.
The Buckeyes have taken notice of Julian Allen, who has three years to play two seasons. Most schools, including Ohio State, are looking for an instant impact from the JUCO tight end. OSU assistant coach Ed Warinner is scheduled to see Allen in action on Tuesday.
"Yeah, I spoke to [Ed Warinner] a couple of times," Allen told Eleven Warriors. "He told me they are very interested and an offer could be coming soon."
South Alabama and UAB are currently the only schools to offer the former two-star prospect. Many other schools are showing interest; South Carolina and Ohio State "are both showing a lot of interest," Allen told Eleven Warriors.
Julian Allen isn't ready to make a list of favorites until more schools offer him, but he said he could definitely see himself playing for a school like Ohio State.
In 2015, Ohio State will be down to two scholarship tight ends – Nick Vannett, who will be a senior, and Marcus Baugh. If the Buckeyes miss out on Chris Clark and Hale Hentges, Julian Allen could be an attractive tight end for the Buckeyes.