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?
Ryan Day and the Buckeyes landed a major commitment tonight when four-star linebacker Tommy Eichenberg made the decision to stay home. Hailing from Cleveland's St. Ignatius High School, Eichenberg has been one of the Buckeyes' top targets since receiving the offer this past fall.
We take a closer look at what the commitment from the state's No. 8 prospect means for the Buckeyes' 2019 recruiting class.
On the Field
At 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, Eichenberg certainly has the measurables to play the position. And while he will need to add some weight and muscle mass, that's never been a problem under Mickey Marotti and the strength & conditioning program.
His play as a senior has caused plenty of programs to take notice. A one-time Boston College pledge, he decided to back off his commitment when the Buckeyes and Wolverines came calling. Since that time, the consensus has been that the recruitment would come down to the two rivals.
Eichenberg's film shows a player who possesses terrific instincts and has no problems making tackles in space. Oftentimes the mike linebacker spot is viewed differently in terms of athleticism, but Eichenberg has shown plenty of it while playing at one of America's top high school programs.
Ohio State has had its share of issues at the position, and keeping the state's top inside linebacker at home is a big win for Ryan Day and Co.
In the Class
Eichenberg is commitment No. 16 in the class and potentially No. 17 depending on the scholarship vs. grayshirt situation for punter Michael O'Shaughnessy. Ohio State's linebacker class is a bit unique right now as there's really not a 100-percent, sure-fire commitment at the position; and definitely not a potential mike.
Cade Stover is another one of the state's top players and the Mansfield, Ohio native is listed as an outside linebacker. However, there is a thought that Stover eventually slides down to defensive end. Fort Wayne athlete Craig Young is expected to play linebacker, but that one is also up in the air. Georgia's Steele Chambers is being recruited as a running back but he too could man one of the linebacker spots as needed.
Eichenberg is a pure linebacker who seems destined to wind up on the inside. The Buckeyes are also looking to flip four-star Iowa commit Jestin Jacobs. He's more of an outside backer and would be a fantastic complement to what's currently in the fold. Jacobs is expected to make an official visit to Ohio State this weekend.
Eichenberg comes from a football family as his older brother Liam is playing offensive line in South Bend. Liam is a player Ohio State was heavily recruiting before he ultimately sided with Notre Dame back in 2016. Tommy grew up a Buckeye fan and was in Columbus for the Michigan game. He's expected to return for an official and had previously been eyeing a trip to Ann Arbor as well.
Besides the obvious impact at the position, this one will be remembered as the first commitment for Ryan Day. Yes, Urban Meyer will still be on the sideline in Pasadena, but this is commitment No. 1 since Meyer announced his retirement. It's a bit of a tumultuous time for the program with plenty of questions lingering, so landing a player of Eichenberg's caliber is a terrific first get for Ryan Day.
Tyvis Powell became a bit of a legend when he committed shortly after Jim Tressel's exit. Tommy Eichenberg could be viewed in a similar light.