Recruiting is all about momentum. Sometimes you're gaining it, sometimes you're losing it. What prospects are trending up with Ohio State? Let's take a look.
October is upon us and all is pretty much right in the world. The Buckeyes just put together what was probably the finest win of the college football season in a nail-biter in Happy Valley. Sure, it wasn't easy, but the Penn State "whiteouts" aren't exactly the most welcoming environments.
Urban Meyer has been back to his full duties for a few weeks now and Ohio State currently checks in at No. 3 in America. If there's one thing that might be a bit surprising, it could be the Buckeyes spot in the national team recruiting rankings. They're sitting at No. 11 right now following last week's commitment from four-star wide receiver Jameson Williams. The St. Louis product was previously No. 3 on our recruiting board.
Meyer has 15 players committed for the Class of 2019, so there's still probably room for another 8-10 additions before February's National Signing Day. It's worth noting that every team ranked ahead of the Buckeyes has more than 15 pledges, and there's still plenty of time for Ohio State to ascend up the rankings.
There have been plenty of changes on the trail, which brings plenty of changes to our board:
|NAME||POSITION||RANK||PREV.||RATING||OTHERS IN THE MIX|
|ZACH HARRISON||DE||1||1||★★★★★||Penn State•Michigan|
|DARNELL WRIGHT||OT||2||2||★★★★★||Alabama•Tennessee•Virginia Tech|
|TREVOR KEEGAN||OT||4||8||★★★★||Michigan•Penn State•Georgia|
|TOMMY EICHENBERG||LB||6||NA||★★★||Boston College (Committed)|
|D'VON ELLIES||DT||9||10||★★★||Penn State•Virginia Tech|
|TYLER DAVIS||DT||10||NA||★★★★||Clemson•Florida State•Miami|
|NICK BROEKER||OT||11||NA||★★★||Ole Miss (Committed)|
*Last month's edition can be found HERE.
Zach Harrison was at Penn State last weekend and had the pleasure of watching Chase Young – the Bednarik Player of the Week – and the Ohio State defensive line do their thing against the Nittany Lions. We expect him to get back to Columbus and Ann Arbor at some point, but for now we continue to wait until the future early enrollee makes the call. Again, don't expect to hear much – if anything at all – from the reticent five-star.
The nation's No. 2 offensive tackle was also in State College for the game of the week, and Darnell Wright continues to be a top-of-the-board target for the Buckeyes. Not much has changed on this one and Ohio State has plenty of work to do if it wants to land the West Virginia standout. He's planning to take numerous officials before announcing after his senior season. As for the time being, it's mostly wishful thinking for one of the class's biggest needs.
Illinois tackle Trevor Keegan moves up to No. 4 on our board but this is another situation where Ohio State cant be considered the leader in the clubhouse. Keegan is seriously considering Michigan and Penn State but Georgia has surged a bit of late. The general consensus was that he'd end up closer to home, but Kirby Smart and the Bulldogs have been working a bit of magic down in Athens.
Keegan is expected to be in Columbus this weekend for an official and will also check out Clemson, Georgia, Michigan and Penn State before sitting down and making a decision. The official visits will tell the tale here, but the Buckeyes certainly remain in the mix.
Ohio State has to add another offensive tackle to the class, and that's precisely why Ole Miss commit Nick Broeker makes his debut on our board despite having just been offered last night. At 6-foot-6 and 283 pounds, he's another Illinois native who holds offers from Kentucky, Missouri, Michigan State, and others. It's way too early to tell how this one plays out, but he at least seems interested in making a trip to Columbus.
After only taking three linemen last cycle, the Buckeyes have thrown out a few new offers of late which is further confirmation that they're nowhere near finished in the trenches for 2019.
Want to know who I'm particularly fond of? It's Wandale Robinson and that's not going to change regardless of who he ultimately sides with. Robinson is one of the country's more dynamic playmakers – despite his diminutive size – and could complete the wide receiver puzzle alongside Garrett Wilson and Jameson Williams. He'll be in Columbus this weekend for his final official visit and a decision is expected sometime in the weeks to follow. This is one to watch closely.
Wandale Robinson Friday night:
20 carries, 181 yds & 4 TDs rushing
4 catches for 94 yds & 2 TDs
Threw a 53-yard TD pass
10 tackles & an interception on D
Western Hills won 55-42 to improve to 4-2
— Dan Rieffer (@drieffer) September 22, 2018
We're keeping Elijah Higgins on the board for the time being, but there's a very real chance that the wide receiver class ends up with three signees. The Austin, Texas wideout drops a few spots due to the Williams pledge and Robinson's rise. Florida and Stanford are in a better spot than the Buckeyes, but this is still a player Brian Hartline could zero in on in the coming weeks.
Peyton Powell and Kaiir Elam remain on the board at defensive back. It looked like Powell was destined for Norman, but that no longer appears to be the case as he's seemingly down to Ohio State and TCU. He's shot back up our board and is fresh off his official visit to Fort Worth. Now he's going to have to decide if he wants to stay closer to home and play offense or head to Columbus where he would play in the secondary.
Elam remains more of a long shot for the Buckeyes but the family ties to Urban Meyer keep him in the picture at corner. The good news for Ohio State is that the country's No. 8 cornerback insists his recruitment is wide open and he could get back to Columbus for an official. Florida and Georgia continue to be the other major players, but there's a long way to go with this one.
Last week the Buckeyes extended an offer to Cleveland's Tommy Eichenberg (St. Ignatius). The Boston College commit carries a familiar names as Ohio State was heavily involved in his brother's recruitment before he ultimately sided with Notre Dame. There's a need for an inside backer thanks to the departure of Kane Patterson, and right now it's looking like Eichenberg is the guy the staff will focus on.
He's a composite three-star ranked as the country's No. 420 prospect, but he's getting some rave reviews this year and his stock appears to be on the rise (he's already a top-250 four-star on Rivals). One of the keys in this one could be whether or not the Irish elect to offer. Michigan State, Iowa, Kentucky and plenty others are already in pursuit.
If you're looking for clarity on defensive tackle recruiting then it's probably going to be a bit of a wait. Guys like D'Von Ellies, Tyler Davis, Jared Harrison-Hunte, and Jaden McKenzie all remain in the picture, but there hasn't been a whole lot of movement lately.
It does seem like Davis has emerged once again as a realistic option, but if Ohio State wants to land the Apopka, Florida four-star then it's probably going to have to make a push here soon. He's coming off an official visit to Clemson and the Tigers seem to have surged a bit. Miami and Florida State are also very much in the picture. One interesting note is that his teammate – three-star cornerback Renardo Green – is wavering on his FSU pledge and plans on getting to Columbus yet this year
We've still got Ellies on our board but again there hasn't been much movement on that front. Penn State, West Virginia, and Virginia Tech are also in contention, but we continue to feel that he's a player the Buckeyes can get if they elect to push for a pledge.
Harrison-Hunte and McKenzie are also options, but we're keeping them off the board for the time being. I continue to believe that – following the unreal 2018 haul – the Buckeyes would be just fine ignoring the position for 2019, but it's not looking like that will be the case.
So this coming weekend is set to be a big one with official visits expected from Robinson and Keegan. Meanwhile, all eyes will continue to be on Zach Harrison even though he remains tight-lipped regarding the whole process. At this point I think the best scenario would be for him to check out Ann Arbor again and then make a final trip to Ohio State before announcing something.
While Harrison was at State College he was actually flanked in the stands by 2021 defensive end Jack Sawyer. The Pickerington product seems destined for Ohio State and checks in as the country's No. 3 player in his class. One has to wonder what the two were conversing about while watching the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions (or if they could even hear one another).
Ohio State now has what should be four relatively painless contests before heading to East Lansing on Nov. 10. The upcoming schedule is a far cry from the trips to Jerry World and Happy Valley within a two-week span.
Enjoy your glorious October. It continues to be undefeated when going head-to-head with the other 11 on the calendar.