Offensive Forecast: An Updated Projection of Ohio State's 2018 Recruiting Class

By Andrew Lind on September 21, 2017 at 2:15 pm
Kamryn Babb

Kamryn Babb

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A lot has changed since the late spring, when my colleague Andrew Ellis and I last attempted to predict how Ohio State's 2018 recruiting class would unfold.

In fact, the class has nearly doubled in size over the last four months.

Some of those eight commitments — Jeremy Ruckert, L'Christian “Blue” Smith and Matthew Jones — were expected, and we hit the nail on the head. While others like Master Teague III, Marcus Hooker and Antwuan Jackson made us look silly as they developed from an offer to a pledge in a matter of days or weeks.

Some, like Teradja Mitchell, spurned a long-time favorite when he committed to the Buckeyes. While others, like K'Vaughan Pope, remained patient until the staff gave him the go-ahead.

Needless to say, the only constant in the recruiting world is change.

With each passing day, prospects are added and removed from the board. Game day visits allow the staff to make a quick and lasting impact on a recruit who, at that point in time, no one may have considered a potential commit. Such was the case with cornerback Sevyn Banks, whose first and only visit for the Spring Game in mid-April turned into his pledge a little over one week later.

So here we are, three months away from college football's early signing signing period, and Ohio State holds 18 commitments and roughly seven open spots. Who will fill them? We first take a look at the offense:

QUARTERBACK

ELLIS: Emory Jones

LIND: Jones

Jones has been committed for more than a year, but continues to field questions about his interest in Alabama. He'll surely take an official visit to Tuscaloosa, as he's repeatedly said he wants to make sure Columbus is the right place for him.

At this point, neither of us feel there's any real cause for concern when it comes to Jones' pledge. And given Ohio State isn't recruiting any other quarterbacks at this stage of the recruiting cycle, the staff surely feels the same way.

Emory Jones
RUNNING BACK

ELLIS: Jaelen Gill, Brian Snead, Master Teague III

LIND: Gill, Snead, Teague

All three running backs are firmly committed to Ohio State and have no plans to visit elsewhere before signing with the Buckeyes this winter.

Gill has taken on the role of lead recruiter for the Buckeyes, as he and his parents have opened up their home in Westerville to any prospects or commits looking to visit. Snead has been nothing short of solid since his out-of-the-blue pledge last summer, and his only college visit since was to Columbus for Friday Night Lights in July.

Teague, meanwhile, has received plenty of interest from schools like Clemson since his commitment following a one-day camp in June, but never even called the Tigers back.

WIDE RECEIVER

ELLIS: Kamryn Babb, L'Christian “Blue” Smith

LIND: Babb, Smith

Smith's recruitment was quite the back-and-forth between Kentucky and Ohio State. But with him now in the fold, the Buckeyes are focused on bringing on only one more player at the position.

The likely answer? Babb, who has long been the only other wide receiver prospect Ohio State has truly pursued. Names like Nebraska commit Cameron Brown — Babb's teammate — and Texas (or likely soon-to-be Purdue) commit Rondale Moore have popped up from time to time, but it's doubtful the staff would go all-out for either unless Babb were to go elsewhere.

In that case, another name to keep in mind would be Xenia four-star Meechi Harris, who's still holding out hope for an offer.

TIGHT END

ELLIS: Jeremy Ruckert

LIND: Ruckert

There was a belief early in the cycle that Ohio State would like to add two players at the tight end position this cycle. But landing Ruckert and Smith, who could see some reps at the position if he continues to grow, is more than enough.

Ruckert is extremely solid in his pledge, and is looking forward to playing at least one year in offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson's offense.  

OFFENSIVE TACKLE

ELLIS: Jackson Carman, Rasheed Walker, Max Wray

LIND: Wray, Nicholas Petit-Frere, Darian Kinnard

The only place the two of us differ is at offensive tackle, which has been a subject of much discussion over the last week or so. Carman has long been considered a must-get for Ohio State, but his recent advocacy for a change at the quarterback position in Columbus and his overall desire to let everyone know he's not a sure thing for the Buckeyes has some feeling like he'll end up at Clemson or USC.

Jackson Carman

If that happens — or if the staff chooses to move on from Carman altogether — Walker, Petit-Frere and Kinnard will all be names liked to team up with Wray at Ohio State.

Walker has been to campus a handful of times over the last year, but admits the distance from home (Maryland) may play a factor in his recruitment. It's believed he's leaning toward Penn State at this moment in time, but that could change if the Buckeyes made him priority No. 1 at the position.

Petit-Frere, meanwhile, has put his recruitment on the backburner for the time being. He plans to take an official visit this fall, though, and could also find himself in the same boat as Walker at that time.

Last but not least, Kinnard doesn't have an offer from Ohio State and committed to Kentucky in April as a result. But if the Buckeyes offered, the Cleveland St. Ignatius product may have a hard time turning down the offer to be the third tackle in the class.

OFFENSIVE GUARD

ELLIS: Matthew Jones

LIND: Jones

As mentioned, Jones' commitment during a one-day camp in June came as no surprise given Ohio State's connection to Brooklyn's Erasmus Hall.

Though he's currently listed as an offensive guard, Jones is projected to move to center at the next level. That crossed now-Florida State commit Verdis Brown and now-Penn State pledge Fredrick “Juice” Scruggs from the list of possibilities for the Buckeyes.

Stay tuned for our defensive projections for Ohio State's 2018 recruiting class in the coming days.

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