If you're looking for the priority position group for the 2019 class, then look no further than the trenches. The Buckeyes just lost four offensive linemen – two to the NFL Draft and two due to transfers – and eight of the team's 15 scholarship players are either juniors or seniors.
Ohio State signed just three offensive linemen for the 2018 recruiting class. Matthew Jones and Max Wray are already on campus while five-star Nicholas Petit-Frere will arrive this summer. Wray and Petit-Frere are both listed as tackles, but a case can be made that the latter is the only pure tackle signee of the group. Jones should end up at center or guard.
The good news? Urban Meyer and Greg Studrawa are off to a hot start for 2019.
For the current cycle, the Buckeyes already hold commitments from two of the country's four-star tackles. Doug Nester committed to Ohio State back in August while Ryan Jacoby hopped on board earlier this week. The composite rankings list the West Virginia native as the country's No. 9 tackle. Jacoby – who hails from Mentor – checks in at No. 39.
The hot start is certainly nice, but one has to consider that both of the current pledges could be shuffled around a bit. Nester – who's listed as a tackle on 247Sports but a guard on Rivals.com – plays tackle in high school but could slide inside. Jacoby has the look of a right tackle or guard at the next level.
As things stand today, we look for the 2019 offensive line class to end with 5-6 new signees. The Buckeyes have extended offers to 14 tackles and six guards, and there are a number of prospects to keep a close eye on moving forward.
Devontae Dobbs • OT/OG • Belleville, MI • 6-foot-4, 270 pounds • ★★★★★ • Nat. Rank: 9
The nation's top offensive tackle prospect has been a Buckeye target for some time now and has taken numerous trips to Columbus. At one point Ohio State was the crystal ball favorite. Now, the Spartans appear to be leading the way for Devontae Dobbs.
Ohio State lost ace Michigan recruiter Kerry Coombs, and Dobbs' teammate – four-star corner Julian Barnett – has already pledged to the Spartans. A decision doesn't look like it's coming soon, and the five-star does plan on hitting up the Buckeyes spring game, so this one isn't over by any means.
Dobbs has played offensive and defensive tackle in high school, but at 6-foot-4 he doesn't exactly have the ideal size to play tackle at the next level. He plans on taking official visits during the spring and fall.
Darnell Wright • OT • Huntington, WV • 6-foot-6, 290 pounds • ★★★★★ • Nat. Rank: 20
Right now I think an argument can be made that Darnell Wright is Ohio State's top target on the offensive side of the football. The five-star was in Columbus last fall for the Penn State game and his crystal ball currently reads 100 percent in favor of the Buckeyes.
Rated as the No. 20 player in the composite rankings, Rivals.com actually has the West Virginia native as the No. 2 player in the entire class. Unlike the majority of the names on this list, he may very well have all of the tools to be a future left tackle.
Top247 2019 OT Darnell Wright making his case as the best prospect in the country at his position today at the #ArmyCombine: https://t.co/bcGZCFLmEz #Buckeyes #Alabama #Tennessee pic.twitter.com/c4PHVPIr0L
— Steve Wiltfong (@SWiltfong247) January 5, 2018
Wright has been to Columbus three times dating back to last summer, and has consistently cited the proximity to home and his relationship with the Ohio State staff as two of the major selling points. Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide look to be the top competition.
Harry Miller • OT • Buford, GA • 6-foot-4, 310 pounds • ★★★★ • Nat. Rank: 63
Georgia's Harry Miller has quietly made multiple trips to Ohio State dating back to last fall. Plucking players from the Peach State isn't exactly easy right now as Kirby Smart has the Bulldogs recruiting at an absurdly high level, but the Buckeyes seem to be in the driver's seat for the country's No. 11 tackle.
Miller has already scheduled his official visit date and will be back in Columbus on April 13th. Stanford, Clemson, Notre Dame, and Georgia round out his top five. The Buckeyes are the crystal ball leader, and it's worth noting that one of Georgia's top insiders also has Miller pegged to the Big Ten. Ohio State recruiting analyst Bill Greene submitted a pick for the good guys just yesterday.
Xavier Truss • OT • Warwick, RI • 6-foot-7, 325 pounds • ★★★★ • Nat. Rank: 97
There's only one Rhode Island prospect rated in the composite rankings, but Xavier Truss may be the hottest player in America right now. Over the last few weeks the monstrous tackle has picked up offers from the likes of Alabama, Clemson, USC, and Auburn. The Buckeyes offered in January; just about one week after the Nittany Lions.
He's already been to Happy Valley twice, and right now all 12 crystal ball picks are favoring Penn State. Truss is still extremely raw, but he's clearly got the length that teams covet at the left tackle spot. He's expected to check out Ohio State and Michigan in the coming months.
Zeke Correll • Guard/Center • Cincinnati • 6-foot-4, 270 pounds • ★★★★ • Nat. Rank: 202
The only pure interior linemen on the list, Cincinnati's Zeke Correll is the No. 4 player in the state and the country's fourth-ranked guard prospect. His recruitment started out much like that of many other Ohio prospects—with an offer from Kentucky.
The UK insiders immediately began calling Correll to Lexington, but it wasn't too far-fetched considering nearly his entire family attended school there. His recruitment has since taken off, though, and he now holds offers from Ohio State, Clemson, Notre Dame, Stanford, and many others.
Correll was in Columbus last month and is considering taking official visits this spring. His crystal ball is totally in favor of the Buckeyes with the lone exception being the one very predictable Notre Dame submission. It sounds as though Ohio State may like Correll as a center prospect.
Michael Tarquin • OT • Belleview, FL • 6-foot-5, 290 pounds • ★★★★ • Nat. Rank: 271
Despite living less than an hour south of Gainesville and growing up a Gators fan, the recruitment of four-star tackle Michael Tarquin appears to be coming down to Ohio State, Oklahoma, and maybe Miami.
Tarquin is hoping to make a decision shortly after taking his official visits this spring. He's already scheduled trips to South Carolina and Oklahoma and is working to get another trip to Columbus scheduled. He visited Ohio State four times in 2017 – most recently for the November contest against Illinois – so there's no questioning just how genuine his interest is.
The Buckeyes are the crystal ball favorites, but the Sooners are absolutely a threat with this one. The spring visits will likely tell the tale.
The key thing here for Ohio State may may be watching these players progress during their senior seasons to better determine where they'll fit along the line. Unfortunately some decision timelines may not allow for that kind of evaluation before a commitment takes place.
The bulk of the targets are at tackle right now, and that's certainly understandable given the position need and the fact that it's almost always easier to move a tackle inside to guard than vice versa. The best guess right now is that the Buckeyes take at least two pure tackles, an interior guy, and then another two or three who could project to multiple spots.
One potential hurdle? With two tackles already in the fold, the staff may have to deal with other teams doing some negative recruiting. This happens every cycle, but Meyer and Studrawa may need to let the top tackle targets know that there's a chance some reshuffling will take place down the road.
Our best guess right now: Doug Nester, Ryan Jacoby, Darnell Wright, Harry Miller, Zeke Correll, and Michael Tarquin.