The early signing period is just over a month away and Ohio State's 2019 recruiting class sits at No. 12 in America. Fifteen commitments are in the fold and right now there are some real question marks remaining as to how large the haul will be and who could fill the remaining spots.
It's been several months since we last took a shot at projecting how the class finishes, and it would be a vast understatement to say that some things have changed since then. There was the whole Urban Meyer saga and subsequent suspension, some decommitments, and some up-and-down play throughout the season.
With all of that, we take an updated best guess at how the 2019 class unfolds between now and February's signing day.
QUARTERBACK (1): Dwan Mathis
It took some time for the Buckeyes to get their guy, but the Oak Park, Michigan four-star flipped from the Spartans back in June. He's the country's No. 9 pro-style passer and holds offers from Oregon, South Carolina, and plenty of other programs.
RUNNING BACK (2): Marcus Crowley, Steele Chambers
Former Miami commit Marcus Crowley is the Buckeyes' most recent commit, and if you're skeptical because of his three-star rating then it's important to note that he is the guy Tony Alford targeted following the Sampson James decommitment.
The Jacksonville native was on campus at the same time as four-star Texan Deondrick Glass and the Buckeyes have also been courting the country's No. 6 back in IMG Academy's Noah Cain. Glass is going to end up at Alabama or Oklahoma State while Cain has since canceled his scheduled visit which was to be for the Michigan game.
Roswell, Georgia athlete Steele Chambers has been in the fold since April, and while there are some questions as to his ultimate position, we're going to include him in the running back stable for the time being. A versatile player who can play tailback and linebacker, the four-star is a player the Fighting Irish had toward the top of the board.
WIDE RECEIVER (2): Garrett Wilson, Jameson Williams
It's a position group that we long thought could number as many as four signees, but right now it's looking as though Brian Hartline ends up with a pair of great ones for the 2019 class. Five-star Garrett Wilson was perhaps the Buckeyes' top offensive target leading up to his commitment in April. Missouri's Jameson Williams is one of the nation's fastest players at the position.
Given the upcoming exodus, this should be one of the top priority positions for the 2020 class.
TIGHT END (1): Cormontae Hamilton
Three-star Cormontae Hamilton committed to the Buckeyes in July and his Greyhound bus journey has to be one of the better recruiting stories of late. Following his adventure to Columbus for a June camp, the interest between the two parties really seemed to take off.
A four-star and top-25 prospect according to the folks at Rivals.com, the Memphis native also holds offers from Alabama, Tennessee, Ole Miss, and Virginia Tech. At 6-foot-2 and about 260 pounds, Hamilton certainly will bring a unique size and skill set to Ohio State's tight end room.
THIS IS DEDICATION.
Last month '19 3* TE Cormontae Hamilton (@Cbvndzzz) took a greyhound bus solo to Columbus, OH (24hr round trip) to make it to Ohio State's camp.
He left with an offer. He committed yesterday. Hamilton on his journey/why he wanted to be a Buckeye: pic.twitter.com/Z6rpC5wgwU
— Jessica Benson (@Local24Jessica) July 28, 2018
OFFENSIVE LINE (5): OC Harry Miller, OG Doug Nester, OT Ryan Jacoby, OT Nick Broeker, OG J.D. Duplain
This is one of the trickier groups to forecast right now as the Buckeyes must add a few more for 2019. The foundation is already strong with five-star Harry Miller in the middle, Doug Nester at guard, and Mentor's Ryan Jacoby at tackle. The need is especially glaring on the outside of the line, and one positive here is that Nester likely could play right tackle if needed.
Ohio State's most likely additions seem to be Ole Miss commit Nick Broeker and Michigan State commit J.D. Duplain, though neither one is anywhere close to being a slam dunk. Both prospects were offered in October and both will need to make it to campus for the Buckeyes to have a realistic chance for a flip.
DEFENSIVE LINE (2): DE Noah Potter, DT Cavon Butler
Similar to wideout, we had been expecting at least two or three defensive ends for 2019, but that's no longer looking to be the case. Obviously Zach Harrison continues to be the elephant in the room, but at this point there's little reason for confidence on that front. Four-star Noah Potter has been committed since April and may very well be the lone defensive end signee in the class. Bring in some pass rushers will assuredly be a major needs for 2020.
The Buckeyes signed four defensive tackles in 2018 (though Tyler Friday is playing on the edge), so it's no surprise that this just isn't a big need for the current class. Still, Larry Johnson seems to have it narrowed down to a handful of remaining targets. Right now we've got Toledo native and Kentucky commit Cavon Butler flipping to Ohio State before all is said and done.
It's crazy to think that a class could include just a pair of defensive linemen, but there's a very real chance of that happening for 2019. There is, however, a decent shot that one of the linebacker pledges ultimately slides down to the front four.
LINEBACKER (4): Cade Stover, Craig Young, Tommy Eichenberg, Jestin Jacobs
Right now Lexington, Ohio's Cade Stover is the crown jewel of the linebacker class, but the 6-foot-5, 235-pounder could slide down to the defensive line at the next level. Fort Wayne's Craig Young worked his tail off to earn a spot in Ohio State's class, and we feel the explosive three-star athlete eventually mans one of the outside linebacker spots in Columbus.
The other two we're forecasting are a pair of Ohioans currently committed elsewhere. Cleveland's Tommy Eichenberg (St. Ignatius) has put together an impressive senior season and the Buckeyes certainly have taken notice. Michigan also extended an October offer and we'll see if Notre Dame follows suit. He has the look of a true mike linebacker and we're forecasting a flip from Boston College.
Four-star Hawkeye pledge Jestin Jacobs was just offered last week but is expected to be in town for the Michigan game. The Clayton Northmont product has been committed to Iowa since May and there's plenty of work to be done, but this one may very well work out for the Buckeyes in the end.
DEFENSIVE BACK (3): CB Jordan Battle, S Ronnie Hickman, S Bryson Shaw
We should know a lot more on Jordan Battle in the coming days, but for now we're going to go ahead and keep him in the class as Ohio State's top defensive back pledge. There's no denying that Alabama is a serious player in this one and the St. Thomas Aquinas star is fresh off an official visit to Tuscaloosa.
There was obviously no decommitment or rush to judgment – at least not yet – and one has to think that bodes well for the Buckeyes' chances as the family looks to sift through all of the information. Still, Ohio State needs to get Battle back on campus to clear the air on everything. All of the rumors regarding Meyer haven't helped matters whatsoever.
Ronnie Hickman and Bryson shaw are solidly in the mix at safety and we've got the class finishing with the current committed trio. Battle would bring the versatility to play a number of different spots and it wouldn't be a surprise if someone new emerges as a cornerback target. Florida State commit Renardo Green remains one to watch but we are nowhere close to penciling him into the class.
The general expectation has been that Ohio State would sign a full class of around 25 players, but there are now some serious doubts of that coming to fruition. For starters the 2019 class isn't all that great as a whole and the Buckeyes are already off to a roaring start for 2020. There's also the fact that Ohio State doesn't appear to be the outright leader for too many players right now.
Our current forecast is calling for five flips to finish off the recruiting class – with four of them being the in-state variety – and a haul of 20 signees. If that's how things do go down, the class calculator shows a final score of 265.72. For the sake of comparison, the 2018 class ended with 26 signees and a score of 317.06 while 2017 had 21 and a score of 312.14.
Like we said, a lot has changed over the last several months.