Signing Day Primer: Buckeyes' Recruiting Efforts Focused on Three Offensive Linemen to Close out 2019 Class

By Andrew Ellis on February 5, 2019 at 2:15 pm
Four-star Hawaii lineman Enokk Vimahi will announce his decision on Wednesday.
Enokk Vimahi

It's Ryan Day's first recruiting class and while next year will technically be his first full class – without a whole lot of Urban Meyer mixed in – the Buckeyes have put together a nice little group for 2019.

"Little" will surely be one of the descriptors most often used to describe the haul as Ohio State has signed 15 players thus far and seems destined to add anywhere from one to three more signees by the end of the day tomorrow. A class that numbers in the 16-18 range isn't exactly what we've come to expect, but there's no shortage of star power with the likes of Garrett Wilson, Zach Harrison, and Harry Miller all in the fold.

The theme of the day on Wednesday is going to be the offensive line as Greg Studrawa looks to add to a unit that currently only has 11 scholarship players slated to suit up next season. We aren't expecting any surprises, and right now it truly does look like it's going to come down to a trio in the trenches.

Long-time Pledge Looking Less Likely 

Huntington, West Virginia's Doug Nester was commitment No. 1 for the 2019 class as the four-star lineman has been a part of the Buckeyes' class since August of 2017. Nester and his family seemed completely sold on Ohio State for the majority of the cycle, but his decision not to sign during the early signing period was an ominous sign. It had looked like retaining Greg Studrawa could swing things back in the Buckeyes' favor, but that no longer appears to be the case.

Checking in as the country's No. 6 guard prospect, Nester's crystal ball has swung in favor of Virginia Tech following last weekend's official visit to Blacksburg. Last month we talked about how locking up his pledge was priority No. 1 for Ryan Day. There's no other way to put it: losing Nester to the Hokies (or Penn State) would be a pretty big blow to Ohio State's future at offensive line.

This would also increases the importance of landing a transfer like Rutgers' Jonah Jackson; who is obviously more game-ready for 2019 but wouldn't help beyond the upcoming season. Jackson was in Columbus last weekend and will check out Oklahoma before making a decision.

Hawaiian Surprisin’? 

Four-star Hawaii offensive lineman Enokk Vimahi was in town two weeks ago for his final official visit, and by all accounts the visit couldn't have gone much better for Ryan Day and Co. USC has been involved in this one for a long time and the Buckeyes entered the picture late in the process, but the turmoil in Los Angeles has to be helping Ohio State's chances here. 

Oklahoma is also involved in this one but most believe his decision will come down to the Buckeyes and Trojans. I think the best approach to this one is to go into Wednesday with some cautious optimism. The Ohio State staff reportedly had some confidence of late as the country's No. 7 guard went into decision mode. I submitted a crystal ball pick for the good guys on Sunday. Several other submissions have come in this afternoon; and they're from people you should be paying attention to.

Vimahi is planning to take a two-year mission trip following his freshman year, so that certainly complicates his development a bit. But getting a player of his caliber would be a major win for the staff no matter how you slice it. He's set to announce his decision at 12:30 p.m. ET. 

Massive Midwesterner Set to Decide 

We've talked about Indianapolis (Ben Davis) tackle Dawand Jones and his absurd measurables and ridiculous upside, and the three-star is set to sign with Ohio State, Penn State, or USC tomorrow. At 6-foot-8 and 360 pounds, Jones is more of a developmental guy who will need to shed a few pounds before being ready to contribute. He's a Division I basketball recruit and one has to think Mickey Marotti is up for the challenge. 

Ohio State is the overwhelming crystal ball favorite, but I've heard more than a few rumblings expressing a bit of concern following last weekend's trip to Happy Valley. There doesn't appear to be a ton of confidence from the PSU side, however, so that's fairly reassuring. We'll have to wait until the latter portion of the day before Jones' intentions are known. 

Two More National Storylines

DeMatha Catholic's Nick Cross isn't a guy who's considering Ohio State at this point, but Florida State's misfortunes could spell good news for the Nittany Lion faithful. Cross had been a major Buckeye target early in the process and at one point had some crystal ball activity in the good guys' favor, but the safety prospect ended up pledging to the Noles in September. Obviously things haven't been going great in Tallahassee, and that has opened the doors for Penn State and Georgia. He's set to announce tomorrow and it seems like anyone's guess at this point. 

Remember five-star wideout George Pickens? The Auburn commit had some positive things to say about Ohio State during the All-American games and even went as far as saying he'd check things out before signing. No one around the program thinks the kid ends up in Columbus, but some reports indicate that he may not sign tomorrow. Perhaps he delays things and takes a few more visits? Stranger things have happened. 

So what's the verdict? The Buckeyes are in a spot where they could strike out on Wednesday. Nester seems to be the least likely option at this point, Vimahi's relationship with USC should be stronger than it is with Ohio State or Oklahoma, and the Jones family appears to have connected quite well with James Franklin. 

Still, the most likely option – in my eyes – is that Ryan Day manages to snag another pair of linemen on National Signing Day with Nester probably ending up elsewhere. There won't be a ton of fireworks thanks to the early signing period, but there's still plenty to be on the lookout for on Wednesday. 

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