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 most dedicated prospects in the country when Memphis Whitehaven three-star tight end Cormontae Hamilton on Friday afternoon, a little over a month after he earned an offer during his unofficial visit for Friday Night Lights.
Let's take a closer look at what Hamilton – the No. 718 prospect overall in the Class of 2019 – brings to Columbus.
ON THE FIELD
The 6-foot-1, 256-pound Hamilton might not have the prototypical size that most big-time schools look for in a tight end, but he makes up for it with a tireless work ethic and arguably the best set of hands — and catch radius — in the entire state.
Hamilton recorded just nine receptions for 189 yards and three touchdowns, but was an integral part of the run-heavy Tigers’ journey to the state semifinals last fall. He’s a tremendous blocker who shows a great attitude, even when he’s not the focal point of an offense.
“I bring hard work, effort and dedication,” Hamilton told Eleven Warriors.
Whitehaven, by the way, is part of Tennessee’s Class 6A Division. That is the same level from which the Buckeyes pulled freshman running back Master Teague III (Murfreesboro Blackman) and offensive tackle Max Wray (Franklin), which is the toughest in the entire state.
Once Hamilton gets in an offense that throws the ball more often, he’ll be show off his overall athleticism and ability to go up and catch the ball in traffic. He’s also an excellent route-runner who shows attention to detail, even if his stats don’t reflect that just yet.
IN THE CLASS
Hamilton becomes the 15th in Ohio State’s Dynasty ’19 recruiting class, joining fellow Tennesseean Kane Patterson, a four-star linebacker who hails from Nashville. He will certainly be the only tight end taken by the Buckeyes this cycle.
Ohio State has been linked to a number of different players at the tight end this cycle, notably Illinois four-star Jahleel Billingsley, Texas four-star commit Brayden Liebrock and Auburn three-star pledge Luke Deal. The staff kicked the tires on a number of others, but much like the quarterback position, struggled to find one they truly liked — until Hamilton showed how badly he wanted to be a Buckeye, but more on that shortly.
Ohio State could afford to be selective at the position after signing the nation’s top-ranked tight end last cycle in New York five-star Jeremy Ruckert. He’s joining a stacked depth chart that includes redshirt junior Rashod Berry and redshirt sophomores Luke Farrell and Jake Hausmann, though.
The key, of course, was finding someone who wasn’t afraid of the potential competition that awaited them in Columbus, which is why several of the aforementioned names committed elsewhere. That’s where Hamilton, Fairfield three-star tight end Erick All Jr. and West Virginia three-star Brenton Strange came into the equation.
All three worked with offensive coordinator/tight ends coach Kevin Wilson during camp sessions this summer, but only Hamilton and Strange left Columbus with an offer in hand. The hangup with All was his inability to hold onto weight, which won’t be a problem for the other two.
Choosing between the two prospects was difficult, seeing as they’re quite different prospects. Strange is four inches taller, 50 pounds lighter and plays receiver at the high school level, while Hamilton is more of a blocking tight end with a lot of potential in the passing game.
The staff obviously believes he’d be a better complimentary piece to Ruckert moving forward.
Nothing was going to stop Hamilton from landing an offer from the staff during his unofficial visit for Friday Night Lights. He had a sprained AC joint in his right shoulder and no ride to the camp, but paid $289 for a 12-hour trip to Columbus alone on a Greyhound.
Hamilton left home on Thursday morning and arrived that evening. He then spent the entire day with offensive coordinator/tight ends coach Kevin Wilson before he put his heart and soul into his workout at Friday Night Lights.
That determination led to an offer from Ohio State — one he’s coveted since he first started playing football.