Recruiting Notebook: Wintry Weather Brings Top Targets and a Deeper Look at the Latest Buckeye Commitment

By Andrew Ellis on January 22, 2019 at 1:15 pm
Three-star offensive tackle Dawand Jones was in Columbus this past weekend.
Via @dawand_jones

National signing day is just over two weeks away as Ryan Day looks to put the finishing touches on the Class of 2019 and continue the hot start for 2020. It was a weekend filled with winter weather, but that didn't stop Ohio State from hosting a number of top offensive line targets and adding another one to the board for next year's class. 

We offer a look back at the latest happenings on the recruiting trail. 

Revisiting Yesterday's #BOOM

Yesterday Ryan Day and the Buckeyes landed their third offensive line commitment for the Class of 2020. Cincinnati's Jakob James was offered on Monday and wasted little time becoming commit No. 7 for the next great Ohio State recruiting class

James' offer sheet is impressive and it includes schools like Michigan, Penn State, LSU, and Tennessee. Though he's currently only listed as a three-star prospect, a lot can certainly change between now and the time the 2020 class puts the pen to paper. At 6-foot-4 and 270 pounds, the Elder product is tentatively expected to man one of the interior line spots at the next level but may very well end up as a tackle.

We've talked a lot lately about Ohio State's offensive line recruiting and some of the problems that Ryan Day and Greg Studrawa could be facing in the years to come. The Buckeyes are still working to keep Doug Nester in the fold for 2019 and there are a few other potential late additions out there as well, but make no mistake about it, the 2020 class is going to be heavy in the trenches. 

The early commitments from Paris Johnson, Luke Wypler, and now Jakob James means that the Buckeyes have a tackle and two interior line prospects already in the class. We look for at least two and perhaps even three more additions before all is said and done for 2020. The top remaining targets include players like four-star Kansas tackle Turner Corcoran and five-star Oak Park, Michigan guard Justin Rogers

Offensive line recruiting hasn't been perfect of late, but the Class of 2020 is off to a heck of a start already. And speaking of offensive line recruiting.....

Wintry Weather Brings O-Line Onslaught

It had looked like the winter storm could cause some issues regarding this past weekend's recruiting efforts, but that wasn't the case as the majority of the scheduled visitors made it to Columbus just fine. And some ended up sticking around until Monday.

2019 signee Harry Miller had his recruiting hat on as the Buckeyes hosted a pair of fellow offensive linemen. Miller has already built a relationship with four-star commitment Doug Nester and Ohio State has to be hoping that relationship can help keep the West Virginia lineman in the fold. Nester was in town for his second official visit with family in tow, and as of now he's still slated to check out Penn State (again) and Virginia Tech before signing on Feb. 6th. 

Three-star Indianapolis tackle and noted large human Dawand Jones also was in town after making the trip east on I-70. The 6-foot-8, 360-pound two-sport start is more of a developmental tackle prospect but he's become a hot commodity of late. Jones tweeted out his top-five last night and other contenders include Indiana, USC, Florida, and Penn State. He's got one official visit left and it's expected to be the Nittany Lions or the Gators before he announces his intentions. 

There was also a bit of a surprise visitor in the form of aforementioned 2020 guard Justin Rogers. The Buckeyes had been viewed as the team to beat for some time but that was before Georgia really entered the picture and eventually signed his teammate and former Ohio State pledge Dwan Mathis. This won't be a recruitment for the faint of heart and I'd expect a number of twists and turns before February of 2020 rolls around.

A Crystal Ball Worth Watching

Ohio State's 2019 recruiting certainly hasn't been perfect, and the biggest areas of concern would have to be along the offensive line and in the defensive backfield. The loss of Jordan Battle to Alabama was a big blow to the class, but the depth at cornerback remains solid; at least for upcoming season. 

Yesterday Miami insider Andrew Ivins logged a crystal ball forecast for the Buckeyes to land four-star 2020 cornerback Henry Gray. The Miami Central product had been a Hurricane pledge since March but backed off of his commitment in mid-December — before Manny Diaz took over. 247 Sports recruiting analyst Bill Greene actually forecasted the country's No. 5 corner to the Buckeyes back in May.

Ivins and Greene are both dialed into the South Florida recruiting scene, so this one is absolutely worth watching. It's also worth nothing that Ivins attended the South Florida Express tryouts this past weekend and actually spoke with the kid in person. Recruits from the Sunshine State are always tough to get good read on, but this would be a pretty big pull for the Buckeyes at a position of need in 2020.

Bresee Back in Happy Valley

Damascus, Maryland defensive end Bryan Bresee is the No. 1 player in America for the 2020 class, and though he resides in prime Larry Johnson territory, this one is going to be a tough pull for the Buckeyes. Georgia and Penn State likely have the edge right now in a recruitment that is nowhere close to being finished. 

Listed as a strong-side defensive end, Bresee has already beefed up to 6-foot-5 and 290 pounds, so there's certainly a real chance he ends up along the interior portion of the line. He's been to Happy Valley at least three times in the past six months with the most recent trip coming this weekend. LJ checked in back in October and the five-star has basically made it clear that the Buckeyes will be a factor as long as he's leading the charge on the defensive line. 

Clemson and Alabama are also very much in the mix, and while the Buckeyes has plenty of early optimism, this is a recruitment that should be a battle for the months to come. 

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