If the early returns are any indication, Ohio State's 2016 recruiting class could be one of their best in recent, if not all of, history. With six early commitments, including five from Ohio, it's easy to see how this class could really take off.
One position that's currently missing is quarterback, where the Buckeyes have — for much of the last four months — focused exclusively on Bergen Catholic (New Jersey) star Jarrett Guarantano. Ohio State felt very good about their chances of landing the country's 6th-ranked quarterback, but as he pushes his recruitment a little longer than they'd anticipated, they may be forced to start looking in other directions. Until Guarantano makes a decision he's the guy but the Buckeyes won't be caught off-guard.
If the 6-foot-4, 200-pound New Jersey native goes elsewhere, I still expect the Buckeyes to make every effort to land a quarterback in 2016. Here are some names to pay attention to if they possibility becomes a reality.
DWAYNE HASKINS, JR. // POTOMAC, MD
For some time, before Buckeye fans even knew the name "Guarantano," the assumption was that Dwayne Haskins would be Urban Meyer's guy in 2016. Haskins grew up dreaming of playing in Columbus and when a Buckeye offer came early, he made no bones about how much it meant to him. One of the most offered players in the country for 2016, Haskins' arm talent is one of his greatest strengths and his natural leadership ability and influence on a number of other players from the Washington, D.C. metro area is another.
The potential "knock" on Haskins? He may not be mobile enough to fit Ohio State's offensive system. If the Buckeyes turn the pressure back on, will the disconnect while they chased Guarantano be too much to overcome?
ERVIN 'WOODY' BARRETT // ORLANDO, FL
One of the country's most physically talented 2016 quarterbacks, Woody Barrett, is a 6-foot-2, 215-pound dual-threat with offers from Ohio State, Auburn, Notre Dame, Clemson and Louisville, among others. Besides his big arm, Barrett reportedly runs a sub-4.5 40-yard dash, making him an ideal fit for the Buckeye offense.
Plus, with a Buckeye-centric name like "Woody Barrett" how would he not fit in? Barrett's mechanics need a bit of work, but he's got the raw talent that makes him a very intriguing prospect.
BRANDON PETERS // AVON, IN
The country's 11th-ranked pro-style quarterback, Avon, Indiana's Brandon Peters, is another interesting prospect that could draw some Buckeye attention. Recently offered by Jim Harbaugh and Michigan, the 6-foot-5, 205 pound Peters also has offers from Michigan State, Virginia Tech, Iowa, Indiana and Boston College.
Ohio State and others, like Notre Dame, have yet to offer but continue to evaluate. Michigan is currently the favorite and he's scheduled to visit Ann Arbor on April 4th, but if he emerges from that visit uncommitted and the Buckeyes are still evaluating, he could end up being a possible option.
TRISTEN WALLACE // DESOTO, TX
A former teammate of current Buckeye Dontre Wilson, DeSoto's Tristen Wallace looks the part of a prototypical big-time quarterback. The numbers are ideal: 6-foot-3. 225 pounds. 4.40. Everything you want. Committed to Texas Tech since January 4th, Ohio State, SMU, Nebraska, UCLA and Baylor have all offered and continue to recruit Wallace.
For Tech and head coach Kliff Klingsbury, the challenge to keep Wallace from in-state powers Texas A&M and Texas, along with outside influences like Ohio State, Notre Dame and others could prove to be their biggest recruiting battle of the year. Wallace is the country's 220th-ranked player in 2016 despite missing most his junior season with a broken leg.
MESSIAH DEWEAVER // DAYTON, OH
Messiah deWeaver not only an All-World name, but he's working hard to have an All-American game. The former Trotwood-Madison Ram and now Wayne Warrior was once a University of Michigan commitment, has had multiple in-person appearances at Ohio State, but the improvement in his game and physical strength have re-opened some eyes in Columbus.
Since reopening his recruitment a month ago, deWeaver has been closely linked to Michigan State, and while the Spartans may now be the team to beat, expect Kentucky to also make a push if deWeaver is hoping to make another pledge anytime in the near future. If he takes his time, don't be surprised if the Buckeyes, Notre Dame and others get involved come summer. The 6-foot-3, 202-pound right-hander is currently the 321st-ranked player in the country and Ohio's top-ranked soon-to-be senior quarterback.
TYLIN ODEN // COLUMBIA, TN
Perhaps the least known name on this list, Tylin Oden is a 6-foot-5, 180-pound from Spring Hill High School in Columbia, Tennessee. The country's 274th-ranked player, Oden has offers from Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisville and Georgia Tech. Mobile, but not a true "dual threat" style of quarterback, Oden told 11W that he's been timed as fast as 4.67 in the 40-yard dash.
Ohio State's Tim Hinton has been in touch with Oden for a while, but up to this point the Buckeyes have not expressed what they'd need to see in order for him to earn an offer. Oden did go on to say that he's definitely interested in the Buckeyes and wants to visit Columbus, hopefully this spring.