Five-Star Fairfield Offensive Tackle Jackson Carman Could be Most Important In-State Target of the Meyer Era

By Andrew Ellis on February 11, 2017 at 8:10a
Five-star tackle Jackson Carman is a must-get for the Buckeyes.
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Out of his six recruiting classes in Columbus, Urban Meyer has missed out on the state's top player just once.

While Florida, Texas, and California are usually recognized as the most talent-rich states in America, the Buckeye State has produced its fair share of nationally coveted prospects. As far as the recruiting front goes, the changing focus on the state of Ohio has been an interesting thing to watch as we've transitioned from the Jim Tressel days into the current era with Urban Meyer at the helm. 

Regardless of how you may view Meyer's more national approach, the staff has still made a great effort to keep the state's top targets from ending up elsewhere. The vast majority of the time, those efforts have certainly paid off. 

Ohio's Best Under Meyer
Prospect Hometown Year Rating Rank College
Adolphus Washington Cincinnati 2012 ★★★★★ No. 21 Ohio State
Jalin Marshall Middletown 2013 ★★★★ No. 35 Ohio State
Marshon Lattimore Cleveland 2014 ★★★★ No. 52 Ohio State
Justin Hilliard Cincinnati 2015 ★★★★★ No. 34 Ohio State
Tommy Kraemer Cincinnati 2016 ★★★★ No. 27 Notre Dame
Josh Myers Miamisburg 2017 ★★★★ No. 54 Ohio State

The staff may not be taking quite as many Ohioans as typically seen before Meyer's arrival, but the most talented players aren't exactly escaping the Buckeyes' grasp. Since 2012, offensive tackle Tommy Kraemer (Cincinnati Elder) is the only one of the state's most highly rated prospects to end up playing outside of the state of Ohio. 

On national signing day, Meyer stated that he'd like to see about 50% of a recruiting class come from inside the state's borders. That percentage certainly will depend on the level of talent in a given year, but 2018 is shaping up to be a very solid class in Ohio – especially at the very top. 

2018 offensive tackle Jackson Carman currently checks in as the No. 7 player in the country. We've talked a lot about the Fairfield product, but his importance throughout the current recruiting cycle cannot be overstated. When a team is in need of offensive tackles and they just so happen to have the nation's top player at the position in their backyard, that's as important of a prospect are you'll ever see. 

Jamarco Jones is entering his final season as a Buckeye, and the depth behind him is a bit concerning. Outside of Isaiah Prince – who will look to bounce back as a third-year junior  – manning the right tackle spot, the position is filled with question marks.

Malcolm Pridgeon was thought to be a tackle when the Buckeyes brought him in out of Nassau Community College in New York, but his ultimate position is still one of the more intriguing storylines surrounding the offense. He'll look to rebound after a knee injury ended his first season in Columbus, and the 6-foot-8, 315-pounder is too talented not to see significant playing time. Will it be at guard or could he perhaps even push for time at tackle? 

Other possibilities at the position include Branden Bowen and Kevin Feder, but outside of some playing time for the former, the duo hasn't been asked to do a whole lot thus far. Bowen was utilized as a blocking tight end at times last season and should be in line for significant playing time in 2017, even if it is in a backup role. Feder hasn't made much noise at all since his arrival in 2015.

Given the current personnel, it's easy to see why a talent such as Carman can be labeled as a must-get target for Meyer and the Ohio State offense. When it comes to potentially being the left tackle of the future, he checks all of the boxes and could be a lynchpin along Greg Studrawa's offensive front.

The 6-foot-6, 290-pounder narrowed his list to 10 schools on Christmas Day, and while that list features powerhouse programs from across the nation, it's no secret that the Buckeyes are out in front for the state's top player. 

Carman was in Columbus at least a half-dozen times in 2016, and he's become a familiar face to the Ohio State staff as they continue to leave no stone unturned in their efforts to secure a commitment from one of the nation's elite.

The Fairfield contingent is expected to be back on campus this weekend. Carman – along with four-star teammate Malik Vann – will be accompanied by members of the Indians' coaching staff. The duo also made the trip up Interstate 71 last April.

At one point last year, it appeared as though a commitment could be on the horizon, but the five-star's recruitment has slowed down a bit even as he's continued to add offers from all over the country. With schools like Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, and USC all in pursuit, he certainly isn't lacking on the offer front. 

Urban Meyer has seen a number of big-name Ohioans come and go over the last five years, but Jackson Carman may be the most talented and the most important of the bunch.

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