National Signing Day is just three weeks out and the Buckeyes' class currently sits at No. 13 in the country. With 15 signees already in the fold and one commitment still pending, it's going to be a smaller class than what we're used to seeing in Columbus. But with a trio of five-stars, it's also not one that's lacking in star power.
Last week we talked about Doug Nester – the lone unsigned commitment for 2019 – and how keeping him in the fold is Ryan Day's top priority between now and Feb. 6th. The four-star from West Virginia would be the third offensive line signee in a class that quite frankly could use a bit more in the trenches. Yesterday, reports surfaced that Greg Studrawa would be remaining in Columbus, and that could go a long way in hanging onto Nester.
Studrawa's prowess on the trail has been a constant point of criticism among the fanbase, and much of that is for good reason as the Buckeyes' offensive line has some serious depth issues heading into the 2019 season. Couple that with missing on several in-state targets and it's not exactly the best look for the coaching staff.
The good news? There may be some reason for optimism heading into signing day as Ohio State looks to be trending for a pair of talented linemen from two very different parts of the country. If Day and Studrawa can manage to fend off Penn State and Virginia Tech for Nester – and add one or two more to the line – then a potential crisis could be averted.
We've talked a little bit about the recruitment of Indianapolis (Ben Davis) tackle Dawand Jones; a recruitment that's really taken off of late. Jones – who's still mostly known for his performances on the hardwood – is an absolutely monstrous human being. At 6-foot-8 and 360 pounds, he's more of a project who will need to shed some pounds before making any type of impact in Columbus or elsewhere.
Thayer Munford was 360 pounds (and a few inches shorter than Jones) as a junior and he managed to get all the way down to the 320 range by the time he arrived at Ohio State. Jones would probably need to take a similar path before being ready for the next level. Michigan, Penn State, USC, and Auburn are a few of the other programs who extended offers late in the process.
Jones is expected to be in Columbus this weekend for what should be his final official visit, and Kevin Wilson has the Buckeyes in a great place for the Indy three-star. Again, this isn't likely to be an instant-impact type of prospect, but Jones is a perfect candidate for the Mickey Marotti school of strength and conditioning.
Another lineman we haven't talked as much about is Kahuku, Hawaii's Enokk Vimahi. The Buckeyes extended an offer to the nation's No. 8 guard less than two weeks ago and it appears that Vimahi is – at the least – pretty darn interested in checking things out. It's certainly not a bad thing that the 6-foot-5, 281-pounder could man multiple spots across the line. Rivals.com lists him as the country's 18th-best tackle.
It's way too early to prepare ourselves for a "Buckeyes, Greg Studrawa Land Touted Hawaiian on Signing Day" type of headline, but there's at least a bit of reason for some optimism at the moment.
USC has been the presumptive favorite for some time now, but the Trojans have been through a bit of turmoil following the Kliff Kingsbury debacle and Vimahi clearly hasn't reached any sort of a decision just yet. The four-star was planning on committing at this weekend's Polynesian Bowl, but things have changed and he's now set to announce on signing day.
— Enokk "Inoke" Vimahi (@enokkvimahi) January 4, 2019
Last night Lettermen Row's Jeremy Birmingham reported that the Ohio State official is expected to go down the weekend of Jan. 26. Oklahoma and USC are the other contenders in this one and both have already received officials. Vimahi was in Norman last weekend and ventured to Southern Cal on Dec. 14th.
Hawaii isn't exactly a recruiting hotbed for the Buckeyes and there's certainly a chance that the staff got involved in this one a little too late. One has to assume Ohio State is running third in the race but getting a final official visit is never a bad thing; even if it is a player from the other side of the continent who wasn't offered until January.
The kid could simply be waiting on USC to hire an offensive coordinator, but we've seen plenty of strange things happen on the recruiting trail. The Buckeyes grabbing a lineman from Hawaii on signing day would be far from the strangest.