Ohio State's Recruiting Efforts over Next Two Years Key to Rebuilding Offensive Line Depth

By Taylor Lehman on February 16, 2019 at 1:15 pm
Paris Johnson Jr.

In each of the last three recruiting classes, Ohio State has landed a five-star offensive lineman — Wyatt Davis in 2017, Nicholas Petit-Frere in 2018 and Harry Miller in 2019. The Buckeyes didn’t waste any time in the Class of 2020 either, as five-star Cincinnati tackle Paris Johnson Jr. became the first of his class to pledge allegiance to Ohio State.

For the Buckeyes, Johnson’s commitment was more than just a verbal commitment from a five-star, in-state prospect. It was a message for what first-year head coach Ryan Day and new offensive line coach Greg Studrawa plan to do in fixing what is a major depth issue moving forward at the position — offer the best recruits in the nation and earn those commitments.

It’s not a crisis for the offensive line corps, but losing four of five starters in one offseason isn’t ideal. In addition to the seven graduated offensive linemen, offensive guard Michael Jordan also chose to forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft in April.

Suddenly, junior tackle Thayer Munford is the most experienced offensive lineman of the group with just one year of experience under his belt.

Even though the Buckeyes signed on four offensive linemen from the 2019 class, it’s still not enough. Three redshirt seniors will be competing for spots on the line in 2019, as Branden Bowen brings the most experience with six games started in 2017, but for the Buckeye offensive line to be as effective as it has been in recent seasons, it will need breakout seasons from Davis and fellow redshirt sophomore Josh Myers.

Regardless of whether those breakout seasons occur or not, the Buckeyes aren’t doomed for the future. They’ve extended offers to nine of the top 15 tackles in the Class of 2020, three top-10 guards and three top-five centers. In total, they’ve offered 32 offensive linemen, by far the most of any position.

Three of those have already committed, in No. 1 center Luke Wypler out of New Jersey, No. 90 tackle Jakob James out of Cincinnati and Johnson — the No. 1 tackle.

With a total of 10 offensive linemen between the freshmen, the redshirt freshmen and an unfinished 2020 class, a solid haul from the Class of 2021 could rebuild Ohio State's offensive line depth in the future. And the Buckeyes are already on the move.

Ten offensive line offers for 2021 have already been extended by the Buckeyes, including offers to five of the top-10 tackles and the No. 1 guard in the class. Ohio State is already garnering substantial interest from a few of the 2021 offers, including No. 9 tackle Landon Tengwall out of Maryland.

There are also still 2020 linemen with continued interest in the Bucks as well. No. 8 guard Turner Corcoran has had Ohio State in his top-six for quite some time, and it’s only a matter of time before he makes his commitment, which Ohio State will be strongly considered for. The No. 1 guard Justin Rogers out of Michigan is another offensive line prospect who continues to have high interest in the Buckeyes as well.

If Ohio State can manage to land offers from some of their top targets in the next two classes, what has been labeled one of the team’s biggest vulnerabilities in 2019 could become one of its biggest strengths by 2021.

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