Ryan Day has Ohio State's 2020 recruiting class off to a hot start as the Buckeyes look to reload across the board. Six commitments are in the fold with five-star tackle Paris Johnson Jr. being the cornerstone of the class. We're expecting a signing day haul of 23-25 new prospects, so there's plenty of work to be done in the coming months.
The class was just hit with its third decommitment when Darvon Hubbard backed off of his pledge this week. We had been talking about this for a while, so the news was far from unexpected. The four-star tailback joined Lejond Cavozos and Jake Wray as other 2020 decommits.
We are 10 months from the early signing period and nearly a year from signing day, but this is as good a time as ever to take an early stab at the Class of 2020.
- Four-star commit Jack Miller
Miller has been in the fold since last summer and he's turned into one of Ohio State's lead recruiters. Checking in as the country's No. 3 pro-syle passer and No. 63 overall prospect, he has been working especially hard with several top targets from within the state of Arizona. The Buckeyes could still add a grad transfer prior to the 2019 season and Ryan Day may also look for another to complement Miller, but we've just got the Scottsdale star on the list for now.
Ohio State needs two true running backs in the 2020 class. Robinson absolutely fits that mold and he's one of the very best in America. Berger is more of a versatile athlete who could play a number of spots, including wideout or defensive back. The Big Ten powers are all after the Don Bosco Prep star and the Buckeyes have had some success there recently with Tyler Friday signing back in 2018. We've got him in the class as the RB2 for the time being.
- Four-star Michael Drennen II
Drennen is a talented local kid who could play running back or wideout at the next level. The Buckeyes are looking at a few different options for the H-Back role, but for now we've got the Dublin Coffman star penciled into the 2020 class. Michigan and Notre Dame are both serious contenders here as well.
- Four-star commits Gee Scott Jr. and Jaxon Smith-Njgiba, Five-star Rakim Jarrett, Five-star Marcus Rosemy
Brian Hartline already has a solid duo in place in four-stars Gee Scott Jr. and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, but the Buckeyes are likely to take four or five at the position. Hartline has Ohio State right at the top of the list for several of the country's best wideouts. Right now we are going with Washington D.C.'s Rakim Jarrett and Fort Lauderdale's Marcus Rosemy to complete the puzzle.
- Three-star Mark Redman
This position is totally up in the air and it doesn't seem like anyone is particularly close to making their intentions known. Ohio State offered California's Mark Redman last month as the three-star has family in the Buckeye State and is already planning a March trip to Columbus. He's got our vote at the moment, but his crystal ball favors the Huskies and this one is nowhere close to being a slam dunk. I'd also keep a very close eye on a potential down-the-road offer to Grandview Heights' Luke Lachey.
- Five-star OT commit Paris Johnson Jr., Four-star center commit Luke Wypler, Three-star OT/G commit Jakob James, Four-star OT Reece Atteberry, Three-star OT John Young
Ryan Day and Greg Studrawa are off to a tremendous start in the trenches, and that's certainly a positive considering this is probably the most important position for the 2020 class. We've got five in our forecast for now, but it would be no surprise if the Buckeyes sign six prospects this cycle.
Nabbing at least two offensive tackles will be critical, and I'm guessing three will be the preferred number. Paris Johnson is a pure tackle and he's one of the best in the country. Jakob James' ultimate position is probably more up in the air while Luke Wypler is an interior guy.
Let's go with Colorado tackle Reece Atteberry and Kentucky's John Young to close things out for now. Atteberry seems fairly likely at this point while Young will be a tough pull from the Wildcats. There are bound to be some late-cycle developments this go around and a player similar to 2019 signee Dawand Jones may also find his way in for 2020.
Ohio State is sitting pretty at both defensive end and defensive tackle, and the 2020 board really is nowhere close to coming together. The one thing that's hard to deny is that Darrion Henry is the staff's top defensive line target; likely alongside the nation's No. 1 prospect Bryan Bresee. We've absolutely got Henry as IN for the Buckeyes and at 6-foot-6 and 260 pounds (while still growing) he could end up as the lone tackle signee despite being listed at defensive end.
Henry's teammate Jaheim Thomas has yet to earn an Ohio State offer, but I expect that to change in the coming months. He's listed as an outside linebacker but is someone who may very well grow into a defensive end. We expect the duo to end up in Columbus.
The defensive line is likely to end up with three or four signees, but Tre Williams' pledge to Clemson means the tackle board is that much harder to get a read on. We'll go with Henry as the interior guy and Thomas as the edge rusher for now as this may be the toughest position group to project at the moment.
Ohio State could add one of the top players in America in five-star Washington D.C. linebacker Mekhail Sherman. He's still looking at a number of schools but the Buckeyes are going to be a major factor until he decides. Akron athlete DeaMonte Trayanum could end up at running back or linebacker at the next level, but for now we've got him as a linebacker in Columbus.
- Five-star CB Kelee Ringo, Four-star CB Lejond Cavazos, Four-star CB Henry Gray, Four-star safety Lathan Ransom
As things stand today, there's certainly some optimism surrounding the whole "Arizona to Ohio" movement that could be in the works. Jack Miller is a central figure in all of this and both Kelee Ringo and Lathan Ransom are real options in the secondary. Ringo is a Seattle transplant so the Huskies are naturally going to be a contender as well. Ransom – a teammate of Bijan Robinson's – is visiting Ohio State today following yesterday's trip to South Bend.
Lejond Cavazos' father has some serious ties to Urban Meyer, but it's now on Ryan Day and Jeff Hafley to get the talented corner back in the fold. The Texas native was electric at last week's Miami regional event and punched his ticket to The Opening finals. Day and Hafley have plenty of work to do, but I think it's something that can be accomplished.
Henry Gray decommitted from Miami in December and this one is probably going to play out like a typical South Florida recruitment. Ohio State is right in the thick of it with Clemson, but we've got Gray penciled in at this point. Next month's trip to Columbus will be an important one and this will be an interesting recruitment to follow down the stretch.
This early forecast puts the total at 22 signees, and while that's certainly a realistic number, the class may end up being closer to 25. Ohio State certainly could elect to take another quarterback in addition to Miller, but I'm not 100 percent sure that's necessary. There's a need heading into 2019, but a 2020 room with Justin Fields, Matthew Baldwin, and Jack Miller would be pretty solid. Offensive line, wide receiver, and cornerback are three of the more pressing needs, so it's fair to expect Day and Co. to load up at those spots.
Here's a big old #SpoilerAlert: this projection isn't going to turn out to be completely accurate. There's just so much that's yet to unfold and so many offers that have yet to even be extended. The class calculator shows this particular haul would give the Buckeyes a score of 314.12 which would have been good enough for a top-three finish in each of the last three cycles.