Ohio State's group of wideouts has certainly seen its share of criticism over the years, and much of that has been warranted given the lack of consistency and – at times – a reliable playmaker.
This year the most important position on the field is going through a major overhaul and Zone-6 has a ton of experience returning. It seems like the first time in a while that there's been a genuine sense of excitement as we wait to check out the new-look Ohio State passing attack.
The Buckeyes have four senior pass-catchers on the roster – Parris Campbell, Johnnie Dixon, Terry McLaurin, and C.J. Saunders – and a trio of juniors in K.J. Hill, Binjimen Victor, and Austin Mack. That should certainly spell good news for Dwayne Haskins and the offense as a whole. It also means there's going to be a whole lot of attrition following the season.
As it pertains to the 2019 recruiting class, there are probably three position groups that stand out in terms of need: offensive line, defensive end, and wide receiver. To no one's surprise, the Buckeyes are already well on their way to addressing these areas of need.
Urban Meyer and Zach Smith have already landed the top-rated wide receiver of the Meyer Era in five-star Garrett Wilson. The Texan is the country's No. 5 player at the position and – as you can see above – an athletic specimen who's already a polished route runner with tremendous hands. He's also taken on a role as one of the more active recruiters in the class.
Ohio State signed Kamryn Babb, L'Christian "Blue" Smith, and Chris Olave for the Class of 2018, but the aforementioned attrition means that there's likely going to be a need to bring in another 3-5 for the current cycle.
To say that things are looking good for a number of the country's top wideouts would be a bit of an understatement. In fact, the 2019 class may end up being the best we've ever seen at the position.
|Prospect||Hometown||Measurables||Rating||WR Rank||Nat. Rank|
|Marcus Washington||St. Louis, MO||6-foot-2, 193 pounds||★★★★||No. 9||No. 59|
|David Bell||Indianapolis, IN||6-foot-2, 185 pounds||★★★★||No. 16||No. 102|
|Jalen Curry||Houston, TX||6-foot-3, 200 pounds||★★★★||No. 21||No. 115|
|Elijah Higgins||Austin, TX||6-foot-3, 215 pounds||★★★★||No. 25||No. 142|
|Jameson Williams||St. Louis, MO||6-foot-2, 160 pounds||★★★★||No. 27||No. 181|
|Trey Knox||Murfreesboro, TN||6-foot-3, 202 pounds||★★★★||No. 33||No.194|
We've got six names on our board right now, and as we sit here seven months from the early signing period and nine months from national signing day, I think the Buckeyes should be able to add another two or three names from the list.
Marcus Washington recently cut his list to six schools, including Ohio State, Georgia, Florida State, Missouri, Texas, and Oregon. The Buckeyes are the crystal ball favorite and we've been told that the Trinity Catholic star has long been right at the top of the board. Washington does not have a definitive timeline but is expected to take official visits.
The recruitment of David Bell has been an interesting one to follow. Somewhat reminiscent of Blue Smith a year ago, Bell is intrigued by the possibility of playing both football and basketball at the next level. That presents a challenge for a school like Ohio State who is recruiting the Indy product solely for the gridiron.
The Buckeyes were thought to be the team to beat for a while, but the basketball interest appears to have thrown a wrench into things. Bell's crystal ball is currently split between Ohio State and Purdue. Penn State also appears to be firmly in the mix. The four-star is scheduled to be in Columbus today for an unofficial visit.
Zach Smith is looking to strike again in Texas as the Buckeyes have also honed in on Jalen Curry and Elijah Higgins. There are a number of connections here that could work in Ohio State's favor. Curry is a Houston (St. Pius X) teammate of top quarterback target Grant Gunnell. The Aggies are currently leading the way in the crystal ball for the former Seminole commit.
As for Higgins, the Austin (Bowie) wideout has ties to both Garrett Wilson and Gunnell, and the former has already been working on getting him to town. Higgins was in Columbus last month for an unofficial visit. Texas and Stanford appear to be the top competition.
Missouri isn't quite on the level of Florida or Texas when it comes to fertile recruiting grounds, but Ohio State has prioritized the St. Louis area over the last year. Kamryn Babb and Cameron Brown signed with the Buckeyes for 2018, and now both the aforementioned Marcus Washington and Jameson Williams are top-of-the-board targets at wideout.
Williams checks in at 6-foot-2 and 160 pounds and is a shifty, quick target with offers from pretty much all of the national powerhouses. He recently narrowed his list to eight schools, but it's looking like Ohio State and Oregon are on top with the Buckeyes being the leader in the clubhouse. Williams plans on taking official visits in both the spring and fall.
Once thought to be a lock to Ohio State, the recruitment of Trey Knox seems to be up in the air right now. With Wilson already in the fold and several others in the mix, the staff is going to have to be selective when it comes to their pursuits. A year ago there were some definite questions regarding his speed, but a lot can certainly change as players develop.
I don't think it's any secret that Knox would love to end up in Columbus with former teammate Master Teague, but there are a lot of moving parts right now that lead me to believe the country's No. 33 wideout could be on the outside looking in.
If we were to play a game of buy, sell, or hold then I'd be buying the St. Louis duo, holding on Bell and the two Texans, and selling on Trey Knox. They're all talented pass-catchers, but right now I'm of the belief that Washington and Williams are at the top of the staff's wish list and appear to be the most likely options to join up with Garrett Wilson.
David Bell is tough to get a read on because of the basketball thing, but getting him back on campus will be huge for the Ohio State coaching staff. As for Curry and Higgins, we may have to wait and see what Grant Gunnell decides to do before getting too excited for either one.
A new quarterback, new passing game, and a number of talented receivers likely heading to Columbus? The future of Zone-6 could be looking brighter than ever.