Heat Check: Wide Receiver Reshuffle and a New Five-Star Tailback Leads the Way in the 2020 Backfield Pursuit

By Andrew Ellis on March 5, 2019 at 2:15 pm
Five-star tailback Bijan Robinson is a priority target for Ryan Day and Tony Alford.

Recruiting is all about comfort and relationships. Sometimes you're gaining momentum on the trail, sometimes you're losing it. How are some of Ohio State's key prospects trending? Let's take a look.

Spring practice kicks off tomorrow and the next few weeks are going to be jam-packed with reports, interviews, and pretty much everything your heart desires outside of actual college football games. The month of March is also going to be a big one on the trail as several high-profile targets are slated to head to campus to check things out.

As things stand today, the biggest recruiting weekend of the month should come on the 22nd and then it will heat up a few weeks later with the April 13th spring game.

Ryan Day's 2020 recruiting class is sitting at No. 6 in America with six commitments in the fold. With upwards of 18 or 19 spots potentially left to fill, the Buckeyes are in fine shape with a number of top prospects from within the state and around the country. As we do every single month, we've made some updates and reshuffled the deck a bit for our Class of 2020 recruiting board.

Quick reminder on a few things:

  • This isn't based on any one particular factor. We consider it a combination of positional needs, reciprocated interest, player caliber, and how hard the staff may be pushing. It's absolutely not an exact science.
  • It's only March, and this is going to change a lot over the coming months. Prospects are going to commit to various schools and we've seen before how a single pledge can impact numerous programs across the country. Narrowing things down gets a little easier as we progress through the cycle.
MEKHAIL SHERMAN OLB 1 1 ★★★★★ Bama•Clemson•UGA•PSU
KELEE RINGO CB 2 2 ★★★★★ Washington•Texas•USC
DARRION HENRY DE 3 3 ★★★★ Michigan•Penn State
BIJAN ROBINSON RB 4 NA ★★★★★ Notre Dame•Texas•UCLA
JULIAN FLEMING WR 5 NA ★★★★★ Penn State•Clemson•Georgia
RAKIM JARRETT WR 6 6 ★★★★★ Georgia•Clemson•LSU•USC
MARCUS ROSEMY WR 7 NA ★★★★ FSU•Miami•Auburn•Georgia
HENRY GRAY CB 8 9 ★★★★ Clemson•Georgia•Miami•PSU
LEJOND CAVAZOS CB 9 NA ★★★★ Georgi•Miami•Oregon
TURNER CORCORAN OT 10 7 ★★★★ Nebraska•Oklahoma
LATHAN RANSOM SAF 11 NA ★★★★ Oklahoma•ND•TAMU•Stanford

*Last month's edition can be found HERE

St. John's College (Washington D.C.) linebacker Mekhail Sherman was in Athens this past weekend and it seems as though Georgia is neck and neck with the Buckeyes. It's always a concern when Kirby Smart is involved, and Urban Meyer's departure hasn't helped Ohio State with the freakishly athletic five-star. Unfortunately you'll see a lot of Georgia on the board at the moment. This one is expected to play out for a while and Sherman is a kid Ryan Day and Al Washington will obviously look to get back on campus.

Overall, not a lot a lot has changed toward the top of the board. Cincinnati's Darrion Henry (Princeton) remains at No. 3, and while no announcement took place in February, I don't think this is one folks need to get worked up over. He's a priority in-state target and as of now there's no reason for worry; even if a decision doesn't come in the immediate future.

Kelee Ringo and the country's second-ranked corner is still No. 2 on our board. The Seattle-turned-Arizona product is going to be right up at the top of the board at corner until his recruitment comes to an end. Ohio State did just extend an offer to his teammate—2021 defensive end Quinton Sumerville. Ringo's recruitment seems nowhere close to reaching its culmination. 

Sticking with the Arizona theme, it didn't take long for five-star tailback Bijan Robinson to replace Kendall Milton on our big board. Either would be a tremendous addition, and while Milton has a visit set up for early April, I just get the feeling that Robinson is the more realistic option at this point. The 6-foot, 200-pounder has one of the more ridiculous highlight tapes that you'll ever see, and Day and Tony Alford have certainly been paying attention. UCLA was thought to be the early leader, but Chip Kelly's program is in a bad spot at the moment.

Robinson's teammate at Tucson's Salpointe Catholic – 2020 safety Lathan Ransom – also makes his debut following a Midwest swing that included trips to Columbus and South Bend. Ransom's recruitment may very well come down to the Buckeyes and Irish, but it's important to remember that Jack Miller could play a major part in this whole Arizona push.

Brian Hartline has two really good ones in the fold in Gee Scott Jr. and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, but I get the feeling wide receiver recruiting is still going to be one of the more interesting follows this cycle. We've elected to expand things a bit after only listing Rakim Jarrett on our initial board, and it's time to start seriously considering the possibility of a few others ending up in Columbus.

It was tough to leave Julian Fleming off last month, but the kid has visited Happy Valley dozens of times and his girlfriend is a student at Penn State, so it's going to be a difficult pull. Still, Hartline has the Buckeyes right in the thick of this and at least a few folks believe they could be the team to beat at the moment. Clemson and Georgia are also in the mix and it should be a while before the country's No. 1 wideout makes a decision. 

St. Thomas Aquinas four-star Marcus Rosemy has identified Ohio State as the early leader in his recruitment and he's hoping to make a few different stops this spring. Both Columbus and Athens seems to be on the radar for the coming months but the Florida schools and Auburn are also very much in play. Checking in as the fifth-best wideout in the country, Rosemy makes his debut at No. 7 on the board. It's no surprise, but Hartline is doing a terrific job on this front as well.

The Buckeyes will likely look to add two more wideouts to go along with Scott Jr. and Smith-Njigba. Any of the above would clearly be tremendous additions to the class, and Hartline has Ohio State in a great spot with the April-June early official visit season looming.

Two Florida corners are on the list, but it's not the same pair as last month. Former Miami commit Henry Gray makes an appearance again and this time it's IMG Academy's Lejond Cavazos (a Texas native) in the No. 9 slot. It could be a bit premature to remove five-star Trinity Christian's Fred Davis II, but at the moment there appears to be some strong Clemson vibes. The Buckeyes are likely in his top two and he may resurface down the road. 

Gray recently named his top-eight schools and Ohio State obviously made the cut. The Hurricanes were a noteworthy absence but it'll be impossible to discount them entirely. He's slated to visit with Day and Co. on March 22nd, but it's expected to be a while before he makes a decision. Gray's recruitment may also come down to the Buckeyes and Tigers.

Cavazos backed off his Ohio State pledge in early-December and is basically starting from scratch with his recruitment. His father's ties to Urban Meyer really helped the Buckeyes out there, but this one still has the potential to work out for the good guys. The versatile four-star defender put on a show at The Opening's Miami regional event last month. He recorded a 4.40 forty and was named combine champion. Cavazos is scheduled to head back to Columbus later this month.

Offensive tackle is certainly still a need in the class, but I've moved Turner Corcoran down a few spots for the time being. The kid has been to Nebraska so many times that it's starting to feel like this is Scott Frost's to lose. Still, the country's No. 6 tackle will be back in town for the spring game and the Buckeyes clearly still have a chance in this one.

It's going to be an exciting few months as spring practice gets underway and numerous top prospects flock to Columbus throughout March and April. There aren't any decisions on the horizon, but we've all grown to expect the unexpected when it comes to this stuff. 

Of equal importance (for some), the newest Game of Thrones Season 8 trailer was released today and it's just as great as one would expect. The Ohio State spring game on April 13th and then the final GoT season gets underway the very next day? Sounds like a hell of a weekend for the nerdy sports fan (e.g., myself).

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