Ohio State's second-ranked 2018 recruiting class was comprised of 26 prospects from 14 different states, including the program's first-ever pledges from Idaho (four-star defensive tackle Tommy Togiai) and Oklahoma (four-star safety Josh Proctor). That leaves a little more than a dozen states that have yet to produce a Buckeye.
Let's take a look at which states remain, as well as the likelihood of the program crossing another off its list next year.
There are only 29 high school football programs in Alaska, so it should come as no surprise the state doesn’t exactly pump out elite college prospects. In fact, the highest-ranked player to ever come out of Alaska was North Pole two-star wide receiver Lance Wright, who signed with Rice in 2014.
It’s still early in the process, but there isn’t a single Alaskan ranked this recruiting cycle. And unless there’s a major bump in talent in the future, it’s unlikely Ohio State ever crosses Alaska off the list.
Did you know there are as many Hawaiians listed among the Top 100 prospects on 247Sports’ rankings for the Class of 2019 as there are Ohioans? The talent is certainly there, it’s just a matter Ohio State finding a prospect who isn’t concerned with distance or drawn to USC like most elite Polynesian players.
The latter might still remain true for Honolulu St. Louis five-star defensive tackle Faatui Tuitele, but he’s set to take an unofficial visit to Columbus on April 6. Getting a prospect of his caliber to travel 4,500 miles to campus is quite the accomplishment for the Buckeyes, but I wouldn’t bet against the Trojans.
Iowa typically churns out three-star prospects who go on to have solid careers for the home-state Hawkeyes. But every few years, the state’s top-rated prospect is sought by programs from all over the Midwest.
Such is the case for Council Bluffs Lewis Central four-star quarterback Max Duggan, who holds an offer from and visited Ohio State earlier this week. The staff has offers out to a dozen signal callers right now and no clear priority, but there’s certainly mutual interest between Duggan and the Buckeyes.
Maine is one of just seven states to never produce a blue-chip recruit (four- or five-star prospect), but that didn’t stop Ohio State from pursuing Bridgton Academy three-star tight end Alexander Marshall until he signed with Florida State in 2017. The state hasn’t produced a single Division I prospect since and only four total this decade.
Montana is also included in that figure, as the best in-state prospects typically only reach two-star status. The state’s last three star prospect, tight end Jesse Sims, turned down Pac-12 offers in 2015 to play for the FCS Grizzlies.
One of the biggest reasons for Nebraska’s fall from national prominence is the lack of talent within a 500-mile radius. The Cornhuskers, themselves, have only averaged two in-state commits per year this decade.
If the Buckeyes are going to look for prospects there, surely there's a three-star Ohioan who could get an offer instead?
Prospects from New Hampshire are few and far between, but they often choose between athletic scholarships to small FBS programs and academic opportunities at Ivy League schools. The state did produce its first-ever three-star player in 2018, Syracuse offensive tackle signee Willem Froumy.
New Mexico has produced only two blue-chip prospects this decade — and somehow both four-star tight end Zach Gentry and four-star running back O’Maury Samuels ended up at Michigan. Outside of that, the state’s top-ranked prospects are two-star athletes who typically stay home to play for the Aggies or Lobos.
Ever heard of an FCS school putting up a fence around its state? Well, that’s exactly what North Dakota State — winner of six of the last seven national championships — has done.
Granted, they’re only competing with Mountain West programs like Colorado State and Wyoming or other lower-level programs for two-star recruits. But it’s impressive nonetheless.
Though he recently said contact between him and Ohio State is pretty much nonexistent at the moment, Eugene Sheldon four-star Michael Johnson Jr. is among those 12 quarterbacks mentioned above with an offer from the Buckeyes.
He remains interested in the program and hopeful the staff reconsiders his standing on their list of priorities, but he’s likely to end up at Oregon anyway — especially with his father being the Ducks’ wide receivers coach.
As the smallest state in the union, Rhode Island isn’t oozing with elite talent. But it’s finally starting to gain traction in the recruiting world thanks to the football program at Warwick Bishop Hendricken, home of four-star offensive tackle Xavier Truss.
Ohio State offered Truss a scholarship in January, and he plans to visit sometime this spring. Given the need at his position, too, I’ll say Rhode Island is the most likely state to be removed from the list this cycle.
In 2013, Vermont Academy three-star wide receiver Anthony Davis Jr. became the first and last prospect from the Green Mountain State to be ranked by a recruiting service — and that was solely because he transferred from out of state to complete a post-graduate year. He eventually committed to Virginia Tech as a walk-on, but never played for the Hokies.
Wyoming is very similar in terms of the caliber of talent as Montana, New Mexico and North Dakota, and the state’s flagship school competes with those programs for those two-star prospects.
Ohio State has never offered a prospect from the Cowboy State, though I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how close the Buckeyes came to landing Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, four-star linebacker Alex Anzalone in 2013. Walk-on receiver Garyn Prater is also from Wyoming, Ohio.