Earlier this month it was announced that Brian Hartline was shedding the interim tag and was being named as Ohio State's permanent wide receivers coach. Given the success that Buckeye pass catchers had in 2018, this announcement came as no shock to the masses.
Parris Campbell is going to top 1,000 yards receiving on the season, K.J. Hill is going to come close that same milestone, and two different Buckeye wideouts (Campbell and Terry McLaurin) have already reached double-digit touchdown receptions. All in all, it's been a heck of a season for Dwayne Haskins and his many weapons.
The departure of Zach Smith had the potential to be a bit of a recruiting blow to the Buckeyes, but thus far Hartline has more than proved his worth on the trail. Five-star wideout Garrett Wilson pledged to Ohio State back in April, but the tumultuous times could have been problematic for the Buckeyes and their prized commitment.
However, Hartline's efforts – combined with that of Urban Meyer and Ryan Day – were enough to keep the country's No. 2 wideout firmly in the mix. Wilson signed with Ohio State last Wednesday and is one of three five-star signees in the class; joining Lewis Center's Zach Harrison and Buford Georgia's Harry Miller.
— Brian Hartline (@brianhartline) December 19, 2018
Four-star receiver Jameson Williams also has signed with the Buckeyes, and the St. Louis speedster forms a fine duo at the position alongside Wilson. With Campbell, McLaurin, Johnnie Dixon, and potentially Hill all on their way out, it was imperative that Ohio State bring in at least a pair of talented 2019 wideouts.
Needless to say, it's been a fine start for Hartline. And while it's possible that the Buckeyes could add another wideout by the time February's signing day comes around, the focus is now likely on the Class of 2020. How about some more good news? It's already shaping up to be a doozy for the folks in Columbus.
Ohio State has been linked to a pair of 2020 wideouts from the state of Michigan, but right now I think it's pretty clear that Detroit's Rashawn Williams and Bay City's Devell Washington are behind a few others on the pecking order. That's not a knock on the Michigan duo at all; rather it just goes to show how many high-end and realistic options there are for Hartline and Co.
|Julian Fleming||Catawissa, PA||6-foot-2, 205 pounds||★★★★★||No. 5 (No. 1 WR)|
|Rakim Jarrett||Washington, D.C.||6-foot, 182 pounds||★★★★★||No. 27 (No. 4 WR)|
|A.J. Henning||Frankford, IL||5-foot-10, 175 pounds||★★★★||No. 51 (No. 8 WR)|
|Gee Scott Jr.||Sammamish, WA||6-foot-3, 211 pounds||★★★★||No. 70 (No. 15 WR)|
|Jaxon Smith-Njigba||Rockwall, Texas||6-foot-1, 188 pounds||★★★★||No. 328 (No. 66 WR)|
The Buckeyes already hold a commitment from four-star Texan Jaxon Smith-Njigba. He's a four-star prospect who checks in as the No. 66 player at the position. While he may not be ranked as highly as the others on our list (though he is top-250 on Rivals), this is a kid who holds early offers from Notre Dame and Oklahoma. Ohio State zeroed in on Smith-Njigba early on and is more than happy to have him in the fold.
If you're a fan of big, physical wideouts, then you're probably going to be quite happy this holiday season. On Friday four-star Washington receiver Gee Scott Jr. took to Twitter to announce that he'll be selecting his school of choice on Christmas day.
At 6-foot-3 and 211 pounds, Scott is another player who's right up toward the top of Ohio State's wishlist. He's got offers from the likes of Florida, Florida State, and LSU, but Notre Dame has been the prime competition. Scott is the country's No. 15 wideout and No. 70 overall prospect.
— Northwest Ballers (NWB) (@NWBallers) November 17, 2018
The top-rated receiver in the country hails from Catawissa, Pennsylvania and the recruitment of Julian Fleming may very well come down to the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions. Most have the local product pegged to Penn State, but he's already developed a strong relationship with Hartline, and I get the feeling this is a recruitment that Ohio State can absolutely win. He was in town twice last month and has since made it back to Happy Valley as well.
The Buckeyes still appear to be the heavy favorite for five-star Washington, D.C. wideout Rakim Jarrett. Other programs like Alabama and Penn State are also in the mix, but Jarrett hasn't been shy about his affinity for all things Ohio State. Mike Locksley's arrival at Maryland could also present some problems here, but right now the Buckeyes still look like the team to beat for Jarrett and his talented teammates at St. John's.
Frankfort, Illinois' A.J. Henning is yet another one of the nation's top players at the position, and he too seems to have Ohio State among his top options. Right now it would appear that he's leaning toward heading to South Bend, but 5-foot-10, 175-pounder doesn't seem all that close to announcing his intentions.
Assuming it's just Wilson and Williams for 2019, we should anticipate at least three or four for the Class of 2020. With two expected to be in the fold by the end of the Christmas festivities, Hartline will be able to take some time to fill the remaining one or two spots. We can certainly expect that Fleming, Jarrett, and Henning will all be getting plenty of attention.
It's already looking like Hartline and the Buckeyes will have two fine back-to-back hauls at wide receiver. That – combined with Ryan Day's quarterback wizardry and perhaps even a ridiculously talented transfer – sounds like the perfect recipe for continued success.