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OL/DL Recruiting

+17 HS
OnPoint's picture
November 28, 2023 at 3:26pm

In a different post, I used QB rushing statistics to argue that OSU's QBs from 2021 onward have not been mobile enough compared to other top-tier programs, which puts OSU's offense at a distinct disadvantage in talent-equated games.

In this part, I present data on how our OL and DL recruiting has lagged behind other top-tier programs. Most of us know that we had numerous "misses" on the recruiting trail, but the cumulative numbers in Day's era, especially on the DL, tell a story of a program that's just not getting it done on the recruiting trail and/or in the portal. Our overall stellar ranking is masking our recruiting deficiencies in the trenches.

We can talk about schemes all we want, and we can certainly talk about motivation, which I don't think was the issue. I believe our roster, especially OL and DL, is simply not talented enough and definitely not deep enough to get the job done. In each of the last three Michigan games, Michigan's OL took over the games in the second half. In the most recent game, we needed one freaking stop in the 4th quarter, but we could not get it done; we needed one sustained drive in the 4th quarter, but our OL could not get it done.

Here, I have accumulated recruiting numbers for total recruits, OL+TE, and DL for Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, and OSU from 2019 to 2023.

Year Recruits + Transfers  OL+TE DL
2019 29 7 5
2020 27 5 3
2021 31 6 5
2022 30 8 3
2023 33 7 7
Total (Avg) 150 (30) 33 (6.6) 23 (4.6)
Year Recruits + Transfers OL+TE DL
2019 26 6 6
2020 29 9 3
2021 23 6 4
2022 31 6 7
2023 30 7 5
Total (Avg) 139 (27.8) 34 (6.8) 30 (5.0)
Year Recruits + Transfers OL+TE DL
2019 28 8 5
2020 25 5 4
2021 26 5 8
2022 25 5 5
2023 34 9 6
Total (Avg) 138 (27.6) 32 (6.4) 28 (5.6)
Ohio State
Year Recruits + Transfers OL+TE DL
2019 21 6 3
2020 27 8 3
2021 25 4 4
2022 25 5 4
2023 30 7 5
Total (Avg) 128 (25.6) 30 (6.0) 19 (3.8)

First, OSU's recruiting classes are smaller on average. Most of those cuts are coming from OL and DL. Is Day not good at shedding deadweight? It appears so. 

Second, we don't recruit enough defensive linemen to have the necessary depth. From 2019 to 2023, Michigan has recruited 9 more DLs; such a large differential is hard to overcome. Yes, quality matters, but at the end of the day it's a number game. It's not uncommon for 3-star recruits to have success. 

Third, for OL/TE, it seems that we are not far off from Michigan, but these numbers are deceiving. Michigan has worked the portal way better than we have. Recruiting is like playing the lottery, and picking an established player from the portal is like winning the lottery, and Michigan has been winning the lottery more frequently than we are.

Fourth, Michigan has also been successful in making their productive players stay for 4/5 years. In 2023, we were one Luke Wypler away from having a decent OL, but, alas, we could not convince him or other linemen to come back.

I think Michigan has built its roster with only one goal in mind, i.e., to beat OSU. Between Michigan and OSU, who has the better/deeper OL? Who has the better/deeper DL? That's your answer. Unless OSU finds some studs on OL/TE and DL to counter Michigan's dominant lines, our issues against them will continue, especially with QBs who are not willing or capable of using their legs.

This is a forum post from a site member. It does not represent the views of Eleven Warriors unless otherwise noted.

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