Running Back Reset: Looking at Ohio State's Top 2019 Options Following the Sampson James Decommitment

By Andrew Ellis on October 9, 2018 at 1:15 pm
Ohio State is on the lookout for another 2019 tailback.
Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State's 2019 recruiting class got some unexpected news on Sunday when four-star tailback Sampson James backed off of his pledge and sided with the Indiana Hoosiers. It was a strange situation for a number of reasons and the general thought had been that the Buckeyes were finished recruiting the position for the current cycle.

James was in town over the weekend for an unofficial visit and – to state the obvious – it's not often we see a player of his caliber go from a program like Ohio State to Indiana; especially not in the midst of a trip to Columbus. A deeper dive into things shows that his younger brother – three-star 2020 defensive tackle Nathaniel James – also seems like a likely addition for Tom Allen and the folks in Bloomington. 

The local factor is always something to watch for in recruiting, and Avon, Indiana is about an hour away from Bloomington compared to a three-hour trek to Columbus. We'll probably never fully know what caused the sides to part ways, but it was likely due to a myriad of factors.

This could be Mike Weber's final season in Columbus, J.K. Dobbins is a sophomore, Master Teague and Brian Snead are true freshmen, and we're all still waiting for some closure to the Snead saga. Four-star athlete 2019 commit Steele Chambers will end up at running back or linebacker, but right now we are leaning toward the latter. 

If you're a fan of the twists and turns of the recruiting world, then you'll be happy to know that Ohio State's 2019 running back recruiting is about to get very interesting. Urban Meyer and Tony Alford are already making moves to add a talented tailback to the fold.

There are several names to watch closely as we inch closer to National Signing Day, but three may stand out above the rest.

Noah Cain • Denton, Texas • 5-foot-10.5, 212 pounds • ★★★★ • Nat. Rank: 104

When we unveiled our first 2019 recruiting board back in March, IMG Academy's Noah Cain checked in at the No. 6 spot. Since that time, the four-star has come and gone from the board all the while Ohio State has remained in touch. The Buckeyes' addition of Sampson James and the fact that Cain seemed higher on a few other schools prompted us to change things up a bit. It's probably time to start paying close attention once again. 

Cain has roots in Texas but most seem to think LSU is the team to beat at the moment. The good news for the Buckeyes is that the country's No. 6 tailback seems to be fairly wide open with his recruitment. Over the summer he announced his final six schools which includes Ohio State, Texas, LSU, Oklahoma, Auburn, and Penn State. 

He's been focusing on his senior season, and Cain's official visits will likely tell the tale. He's expected to be in Columbus for the Michigan game next month and has noted his strong relationship with Tony Alford. This one should to come down to the Tigers, Longhorns, and Buckeyes. 

Deondrick Glass • Katy, Texas • 5-foot-11, 200 pounds • ★★★★ • Nat. Rank: 231

Things already appear to be trending in the right direction for four-star tailback Deondrick Glass. The Katy, Texas star holds offers from the likes of Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, and plenty of others. Though at this time it's actually Oklahoma State who's pegged as the crystal ball favorite.

Glass was the state's District 19-6A Offensive Player of the Year as a junior. He rushed for 1,100 yards and 21 touchdowns during the 2017-18 season. He's scored 64 touchdowns dating back to his sophomore year. In addition to a November trip to Columbus, he's also planning official visits to Stillwater and Tuscaloosa. 

Glass is a player the staff may very well elect to prioritize in the coming weeks and months, and at this point his recruitment seems fairly open with no decision timeline in place. Alabama continues its pursuit of the nation's top tailback – five-star Trey Sanders – but the Crimson Tide may also push for Glass if Sanders elects to go elsewhere.

Kenny McIntosh • Fort Lauderdale, Florida • 6-foot, 218 pounds • ★★★★ • Nat. Rank: 182

Fort Lauderdale's Kenny McIntosh isn't expected to announce a decision until February, and to be honest he's a player I was hesitant to even include on this list. There was some early interest from both sides, but Ohio State wasn't identified as one of his top eight schools and there's been little news since. 

Though it remains a long shot, there's always a chance that things pick up between the two parties if the Buckeyes can get the four-star on campus at some point this year. He has a relationship with defensive back commit Jordan Battle, so we'll have to see if anything happens in this recruitment. Right now it would appear that Miami and Oklahoma are under strong consideration with the Hurricanes holding all 13 crystal ball picks.

Again, the good news for Ohio State is that all three remain fairly open in their recruitments. There's no reasonable person who'd consider the Buckeyes the favorite for either one of the trio, but if you're a betting man the odds would be better on Cain or Glass than they would on McIntosh. 

The 2019 class is lacking a bit of the star power that we've seen in past years, and the Buckeyes already have one back in the fold for 2020. In addition to Scottsdale, Arizona's Darvon Hubbard, Ohio State is hoping to land a player like five-star Californian Kendall Milton

The Sampson James news makes things that much more interesting on the trail, and Tony Alford and Co. are already on the prowl for some of the top remaining tailbacks for 2019.

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