Finding the right fit for your college football program isn't just about what happens on the field, but off it as well. Today, Ohio State added a key piece. How will that commitment impact the Buckeyes?
Ohio State landed a commitment from one of the nation's top-rated underclassmen when Montvale, New Jersey, St. Joseph Regional four-star offensive guard Luke Wypler pledged his services to the Buckeyes on Saturday afternoon.
Let's take a closer look at what Wypler – the No. 75 prospect overall in the Class of 2020 – brings to Columbus.
ON THE FIELD
He may look like Clark Kent, but don’t let Wypler’s thick black-framed glasses fool you — he’s been the St. Joe’s Superman on the field.
Standing 6-foot-4 and 285 pounds, Wypler combines superior athleticism and a mean streak with a stellar work ethic. He’s a three-sport athlete, as he also wrestles at the heavyweight level and is a midfielder on the lacrosse team. That speaks to his overall athleticism and versatility, rather than a stationary lineman.
Wypler repeated eighth grade, but that helped him earn a starting spot for the Green Knights as a sophomore, which is impressive considering he weighed just 205 pounds at that time. He’s since packed on 80 pounds over the last year as he dedicated himself to the weight room, undergoing a rigid program that encompassed at least six workouts per week.
Wypler, who runs a 4.78-second 40-yard dash, is also a student of the game. He spends several hours a week in the film room and focuses on perfecting his footwork.
Wypler’s older sister, Jaclyn, made the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team, throwing the javelin in Beijing. She was the valedictorian of her graduating class at Dartmouth and is currently pursuing her doctorate degree at Wisconsin, so he actually considers himself the second-best student-athlete in the family.
St. Joe’s fell just one yards short of winning their second-consecutive state title last season, thanks to a fumble at the goal line. DePaul Catholic, led by Ohio State safety commit “Rocket” Ronnie Hickman, won the game 7-3.
IN THE CLASS
Wypler becomes the fifth member of Ohio State’s yet-to-be-named 2020 recruiting class, joining Cincinnati St. Xavier five-star tackle Paris Johnson Jr. and Georgia four-star tackle Jake Wray in the trenches.
Though he currently plays left tackle at St. Joe’s, most programs were recruiting him as an interior lineman, specifically center. The Buckeyes have a lot of young talent at the position, with freshman Matthew Jones enrolling early and participating in practices this spring and the staff holding a commitment from 2019 Georgia four-star Harry Miller. It’ll be interesting to see how that battle unfolds, but don’t be surprised if Jones and Wypler end up playing guard at the next level instead.
Either way, it’s clear that addressing the looming turnover along the offensive line is a major priority for the staff. Ohio State is set to lose at least seven linemen between now and the time Wypler would arrive on campus, so adding him to a two-year haul that includes Johnson, Miller, Wray, Mentor four-star tackle Ryan Jacoby and West Virginia four-star guard Doug Nester is an excellent way to offset those departures.
That said, the Buckeyes are still in the market to add at least two more tackles this cycle. West Virginia five-star tackle Darnell Wright, Illinois four-star tackle Trevor Keegan, Dayton Dunbar three-star tackle Jonathan Allen, Virginia three-star guard Jakai Moore and Washington D.C. three-star tackle Walter Rouse are all names to keep in mind moving forward.
The question, of course, is whether or not the staff will reach for more developmental prospects this cycle or simply stock up on talent next year.
Ohio State is not only off to a great start already, but is the odds-on favorite to land Michigan five-star guard Justin Rogers, Colorado four-star tackle Reece Atteberry and Kansas four-star tackle Turner Corcoran for 2020.
Six offensive linemen is a bit on the high side, but was already the target number for this cycle if all went according to plan.
Wypler is a high-academic kid who holds a 4.3 grade-point average and has made the Principal’s List every semester of high school. He’s also on track to be named to the National Honor Society during his junior and senior years, as well as in the running for class valedictorian.
It would not have been a surprise to see Wypler choose Stanford this afternoon, given its reputation as one of the finest universities in the world. But that speaks volumes to what Ohio State can offer him both on and off the field, with the chance to compete for a national championship year in and year out all while earning a degree in business and accounting.
Miller, you may recall, was in a similar situation when he picked the Buckeyes over the Cardinal last month. He noted how he can go to medical school after college with either degree, yet the people involved in the university and the opportunities and networking provided made all the difference.
“The biggest thing is that a lot of teams compete for a national championship and a lot of teams can get you in the draft,” Miller told Eleven Warriors. “A lot of teams can help you be successful in the work place, too, but the coaches at Ohio State and the people involved with Ohio State are just good guys who will pour into you, be very intimate with you and have a good relationship with you. The biggest thing is that it’s very well-rounded.”