Chris Clark's Commitment to Michigan Leaves Ohio State Searching for a Tight End

By Jordan Wagner on June 20, 2014 at 3:00 pm

With four-star tight end Chris Clark announcing his decision to commit to Michigan, Ohio State's tight end recruiting continues to struggle. 

After missing out on Mike Gesicki in last year's class, the Buckeyes were expected to take two tight ends in the 2015 class. Now that some of their top targets have committed elsewhere, Ohio State is still searching for its first tight end.

In 2016, the Buckeyes appear to be in good shape with a pair of in-state tight ends. After receiving an offer at camp, four-star tight end Luke Farrell is expected to commit to Ohio State by the end of the summer. Jake Hausmann, one of Ohio's top prospects in 2016, appears to be leaning towards the Buckeyes as well.

While Farrell and Hausmann would be a great duo in 2016, the Buckeyes still need at least one tight end in the 2015 class to ensure depth. After this season, Nick Vannett and Marcus Baugh will be the only scholarship tight ends on the roster. Although Sam Hubbard could play the position if necessary, he will start his career at linebacker this fall. 

The only undecided tight end with an offer is three-star Josh Moore from Kansas. Moore, who plans to camp at Ohio State for Friday Night Lights, might not have a commitable offer. The 6-foot-5, 250-pound prospect also has offers from Auburn, Florida State, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and others. The chances of Moore, who could end up at offensive tackle in college, committing to OSU are slim. 

One of the top remaining tight ends on the board is three-star Tennessee prospect Kyle Oliver. The Buckeyes have yet to offer, but Ohio State has requested that he come to a camp. Oliver tells Eleven Warriors that he plans to camp, but is unsure of the date. More likely than not it will be Friday Night Lights; the only other camp remaining is on this Saturday.

It might be too late for the Buckeyes to make a move on Oliver, who visited Ohio State before a Nike football event in Columbus in June. While he has said an offer would put OSU among his top schools, Florida State and Tennessee will be tough to beat for his commitment. 

Three-star tight Jake Pickard is scheduled to camp at Ohio State on Saturday. You can bet Urban Meyer and company will keep an eye on the 6-foot-6, 231-pound tight end with offers from Boston College, Louisville, Oregon, Purdue, Rutgers and Virginia. 

With an offer, Ohio State would move near the top of Pickard's list. The staff has been keeping a close eye on the New Jersey native for months. He is a good blocker, but the staff wants to see improvement in his route running. 

Because he has had to play quarterback at a small school, Shadyside (Ohio) tight end Austin Dorris has flown under the radar. Dorris, who will camp at Ohio State for Friday Night Lights, has offers from Kent State, Marshall, Ohio, Toledo and Western Michigan. It will take an impressive performance for the 6-foot-5, 220-pound tight end to earn an offer. 

Ohio State has also been watching JUCO three-star Julian Allen. He has offers from Bethune-Cookman, Central Arkansas, Eastern Michigan, South Alabama and UAB. He will soon visit South Carolina, who has been showing a lot of interest. Although Allen has not spoken with Ohio State assistant coach Ed Warinner in about a week, in previous conversations Warinner told Allen he has a scholarship waiting for him

Warinner has made a few trips out to see Allen, so there is some degree of interest. The junior college prospect would have two years of eligibility. According to Allen, It might be too late for the Buckeyes if they do not make an offer soon.

While three-star athlete DeAndre McNeal is being recruited as a wide receiver by Ohio State, I could see him having a future as a tight end although that possibility has not been brought up to McNeal by the coaching staff. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Texas native was one of the top performers at Ohio State's recent prospect camp. While there is not much buzz about McNeal and Ohio State, one source thought the Buckeyes had a legit shot at his gaining his commitment. Former Eleven Warriors writer Alex Gleitman recently crystal balled him to the Buckeyes, joining two other analysts. 

Another option could be to offer Kentucky commitment C.J. Conrad. It was no secret that Conrad wanted an offer from Ohio State, but seemed to sour on the Buckeyes after not receiving an offer. The four-star tight end might not be willing to flip his commitment from Kentucky to Ohio State, but it may be worth a shot. After earning an invite to "The Opening," many fans wondered why he does not have an offer from the Buckeyes. 

Saturday's camp should give us a clearer picture of how Ohio State plans to handle the tight end situation, since one of their top unoffered targets, Jake Pickard, will try to earn an offer. Beyond that, Chris Clark might again be a target if Michigan has a disappointing season. No matter how the next eight months go, landing a quality tight end as part of #Elite15 is an important task.

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