Shortly after he was hired, new Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann said he would try to add players to his team’s roster for the upcoming season, but only if those players were “the right players.”
Holtmann and his staff reiterated they did not want to settle this late in the process. The Buckeyes weren’t going to add a player just to add one. It had to be a mutual fit.
Within the first month of Holtmann being on the job, Ohio State not only added one top prospect to next year's roster — it added two. Kyle Young asked for his release from Butler and came with Holtmann and his staff to Columbus. Then, on Friday night, the Buckeyes landed a verbal commitment from four-star guard/wing Musa Jallow, who also announced his intentions to reclassify to the 2017 class and join Ohio State for this upcoming season.
And while the additions of Young and Jallow will undoubtedly add depth to a team that desperately needed it, there’s another domino effect here, specifically related to Jallow’s reclassification. It allows the Buckeyes to have a little more balance in future recruiting classes.
Before Jallow’s announcement, Ohio State had seven scholarships available for its 2018 recruiting class. The Buckeyes weren’t going to use that many, but there was a strong chance Ohio State brought in at least five players in its 2018 haul. But while that can work — and it has in the past — it can also cause issues. Crowded recruiting classes with players who aren’t one-and-dones can cause logjams at certain positions and force players to transfer. That has the potential to leave a roster with some giant holes.
Ohio State needed bodies, though, so it was going to take a large class. And it still might take four players in 2018 but there likely won’t be any more than that. Jallow, Young and Kaleb Wesson give the Buckeyes a three-man freshman class and that’s the optimal size — for now and for the future.
Still thin on guards, expect Ohio State to take at least two in its 2018 class. And the Buckeyes got their first one late Monday night in four-star shooting guard Torrence Watson. Watson committed to Ohio State over Missouri, Butler, Creighton and others.
The Buckeyes would surely like to add a point guard and one of their top targets at the position happens to reside in the state of Ohio: four-star Dwayne Cohill.
Holtmann and Co. already offered a handful of other backcourt options in 2018 and with the July recruiting period set to kick off, they may even offer more. Some additional names to keep an eye on: Elijah Weaver, Devon Dotson, Robert Phinisee, Eric Ayala, Ayo Dosunmu, Will Richardson, Tim Finke, Eric Hunter and more.
Ohio State’s top target on the wing is in-state star Jerome Hunter. Additionally, the Buckeyes offered four-star power forward Darius Days. Ohio State certainly wants Hunter in this class and it also hopes to land a big, so those two spots plus two guards seem like the ideal fit for the Buckeyes' potential four-man class.
With 13 available scholarships in men’s basketball, three players in each recruiting class are optimal. However, it hardly ever works out that way and sometimes things must be altered.
Ohio State looked like it was going to have to take a larger class than it would have liked in 2018 and thus thrown off the balance of the roster. Jallow’s recent commitment and reclassification, however, help ensure that doesn’t have to be the case.
After a whirlwind offseason, Holtmann and Ohio State currently have the No. 1-ranked recruiting class in the Big Ten for 2017. The Buckeyes just got their first one in 2018, too.
It will certainly be interesting to watch from here on out.