Finishing Touches: Buckeyes on the Lookout for 2-3 Linemen to Accompany Current Crop of 2019 Commits

By Andrew Ellis on June 24, 2018 at 8:30 am
It's looking like an Ohio State vs. Michigan battle for four-star tackle Trevor Keegan.
Trevor Keegan

It's been an important few weeks for Ohio State's recruiting efforts. Two weeks ago the Buckeyes landed their top center target in four-star Harry Miller. The Buford, Georgia product became the third offensive linemen to join Urban Meyer's 2019 recruiting class.

This weekend may very well be the biggest recruiting event of the year as the Buckeyes held the annual Friday Night Lights camp and are still in the midst of a massive slate of official visits. We've spent much of the week looking at who was expected to make it to town, and sure enough the Ohio State coaching staff had a few surprises up its sleeve (more on that in a moment). 

In terms of the positional needs, it's certainly fair to say that the 2019 offensive line stands out a bit above the rest. Isaiah Prince, Demetrius Knox, Brady Taylor, and Malcolm Pridgeon all will be seniors this season. The Buckeyes signed just three linemen for the 2018 class, and the expectation is that the number could potentially be doubled for the current cycle. 

Harry Miller, Doug Nester, and Ryan Jacoby form a strong foundation for the class. Miller is expected to be the man in the middle while Nester and Jacoby both bring some versatility to the trenches. Greg Studrawa and Urban Meyer will likely look to add two or three more by February of 2019, and they may be focusing heavily on tackles from here on out.

Where do things stand right now and who could round out Ohio State's 2019 offensive line class? 

Top Remaining Targets in the Trenches
DARNELL WRIGHT Huntington, West Virginia 6-foot-6, 314 pounds ★★★★★ No. 5 (No. 1 OT)
DEVONTAE DOBBS Belleville, Michigan 6-foot-4, 304 pounds ★★★★★ No. 13 (No. 3 OT)
TREVOR KEEGAN Crystal Lake, Illinois 6-foot-6, 310 pounds ★★★★ No. 143 (No. 17 OT)
JONATHAN ALLEN Dayton, Ohio 6-foot-6, 315 pounds ★★★ No. 480 (No. 44 OT)

The Friday Night Lights weekend festivities always bring in a plethora of talent, and this year was no exception. The two biggest surprises were undoubtedly the visits from Michigan State quarterback commit Dwan Mathis and five-star offensive tackle Darnell Wright; both of whom couldn't be found on any of the lists of expected visitors.

Ohio State got out to an early lead in the crystal ball for Darnell Wright, but in recent months the Buckeyes haven't even been considered a serious competitor for the country's top tackle. Wright did seem enamored early on, but his recruitment has since expanded with programs like Tennessee and Alabama seemingly out in front. Getting him back on campus was a huge step for the staff, but it's too early to gauge just how much of an impact it will have. 

Speaking of expanding recruitments, Belleville, Michigan's Devontae Dobbs has made trips to Auburn, USC, and Florida State over the past few months. Most believe that the five-star has Michigan State on top with Ohio State perhaps No. 2 on the list, but this one doesn't seem anywhere close to being over. Dobbs is another guy who can likely play guard or tackle at the next level. He's planning on taking all five officials before making a decision. 

Interested in a good old-fashioned Ohio State/Michigan recruiting battle? Then you may need to look no further than the state of Illinois. The top player in the state – four-star tackle Trevor Keegan – is very likely to see his recruitment come down tot he Buckeyes and Wolverines. The 6-foot-6, 310-pounder recently unveiled his top six schools, but we get the feel that he'll ultimately end up closer to home. 

As first reported by 247 Sports Director of Recruiting Steve Wiltfong, Keegan quietly made a trip to Columbus last Wednesday and headed to Ann Arbor the very next day. I recently flipped my crystal ball from Ohio State to Michigan, but I'm already second guessing that decision. This will be one to watch as the two rivals duke it out over one of the Midwest's top linemen. 

Within Ohio's borders, Jonathan Allen continues to look like the lone remaining in-state lineman who could end up in the Buckeyes' 2019 class. Cincinnati native Zeke Correll pledged to the Fighting Irish last week, which means Allen is the only uncommitted Ohio lineman to hold an offer. 

Everyone (myself included) was quick to crystal ball the Dayton Dunbar product to Ohio State when he was offered back in May, and I'd say it's still likely that it comes to fruition. Allen has been to multiple Ohio State camps this summer and the reports have been about as expected for someone who's still so new to the game. The frame and footwork seem to be there, but he probably has a lot to learn before contributing in college. 

We've still got the three-star pegged to the Buckeyes, but if Ohio State gets back in Wright's good graces and is able to nab Keegan, then it could put the staff in a bit of a tricky spot. Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State, and Penn State all have extended offers as well.

So what's the forecast for the trenches? It's a tough call since no one can really project if Nester or Jacoby will end up sliding inside, but for the time being let's just assume one ends up at tackle while one plays guard. It's much more common to transition from tackle to guard than vice versa, and there's definitely a chance that both stick to the outside. 

We've still got Jonathan Allen ending up with the Buckeyes, and he has the look of a pure tackle once he puts it all together. Keegan looks like a tossup between Ohio State and Michigan, but the good guys may very well come out on top in that race. Getting Darnell Wright back on campus was a huge step in the right direction, but there's still plenty of work to be done.

For now we're going with Miller, Nester, Jacoby, Keegan, and Allen. That's one center, a pair of tackles, and two guys who can probably play inside or out. Don't be surprised to see this number stretched to six; especially if the Buckeyes can make a major move with either Wright or Dobbs.

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