On the Brink: A Number of 2020 Ohio Prospects Could Be Next in Line for Buckeye Offers

By Andrew Ellis on March 12, 2019 at 2:15 pm
Four-star linebacker Jaheim Thomas could be next in line for a Buckeye offer.
Jaheim Thomas

Ohio State has landed a pair of 2020 commitments since the start of the new year as Ryan Day and his staff continue to do a fine job on the recruiting trail. Seven pledges are currently in the fold following yesterday's commitment from Norwalk offensive tackle Trey Leroux, and each one is at a position of major need.

We've mentioned it before, but one interesting dynamic that we'll be monitoring is how Day handles the state of Ohio in a class that should end with 23-25 new signees. Three of the seven 2020 commits hail from the Buckeye State – Cincinnati linemen Paris Johnson Jr. and Jakob James and now Trey Leroux – and a total of seven in-state prospects are holding offers at the moment. 

Things are about to pick up on the trail with a number of visits on the docket and the ever-important spring game weekend taking place in mid-April. As recruiting picks back up, there are a handful of Ohioans to be on the lookout for as new offers could be handed out in the coming months. 

Jaheim Thomas • OLB/DE • Cincinnati (Princeton) • ★★★★ • State Rank: No. 4

It's at least a little bit surprising that Jaheim Thomas has yet to earn an Ohio State offer, but this doesn't seem like a situation that will come back and bite the Buckeyes. The four-star holds offers from the likes of Michigan, Notre Dame, and LSU, and he's taken visits to Knoxville, South Bend, and East Lansing.

It will be fun to watch as he develops over the next nine months. Thomas is 6-foot-5 and 218 pounds, so he may end up at linebacker or defensive end at the next level. It's important to remember that Ohio State is operating with an almost entirely new defensive staff, so they may just want to see Thomas in person again before extending an offer.

Checking in as the country's No. 271 overall prospect, he's a friend and teammate of four-star defensive line prospect Darrion Henry, who is very likely the Buckeyes' top remaining in-state target. 

Sammy Anderson • Cornerback • Dayton (Trotwood-Madison) • ★★★ • State Rank: No. 20

Ohio State didn't sign a single cornerback for the Class of 2019, and needless to say it's a pretty big area of need for the current cycle. I have no idea if an in-state prospect will make it into the class, but if one does then there's a decent chance it could be Trotwood-Madison's Sammy Anderson.

At 6-foot-2 and 170 pounds, he's certainly got the size and speed to play the position. Several schools have already taken notice including programs like Virginia Tech and Michigan who have a long history of producing in the secondary. Also a star on the hardwood, his recruitment is just getting underway and he's already discussed making a summer camp tour to earn some more offers. 

The staff is targeting several of the country's top corners and they're in a solid spot for both Henry Gray and Lejond Cavazos, but I get the feeling Anderson is at least worth keeping an eye on.

Clay Caudill • Tight End • Mansfield • ★★★ • State Rank: No. 14

It's a sneaky good year for tight ends in the state of Ohio. There may not be a five-star Jeremy Ruckert type, but there are a number of guys who could potentially find their way into Ohio State's class or elsewhere in the conference; especially considering the very real possibility of the Buckeyes signing two at the position. 

Mansfield's Clay Caudill is the country's 13th-ranked tight end and No. 502 regardless of position. He's got some pretty big offers including LSU, Michigan State, and Wisconsin. The 6-foot-5, 230-pounder was in Baton Rouge last month for one of the Tigers' junior day events. He previously had narrowed things down to Michigan State and West Virginia (prior to the LSU offer) and plans on enrolling early at his college of choice. If the staff has any interest in getting involved with the state's top tight end then it may need to make a move sooner rather than later.

Luke Lachey • Tight End • Columbus (Grandview Heights) • ★★★ • State Rank: No. 26

The other in-state tight end to watch is Grandview Heights' Luke Lachey. The son of Buckeye great Jim Lachey, the three-star tight end holds offers from Kentucky, Michigan State, Wisconsin, and plenty of other programs. Obviously he's quite familiar with the program and was on campus last week, but he's likely going to need to spend some more time with the staff to earn an offer. Lachey's focus is probably on basketball now, but he may be someone who's willing to wait for a Buckeye offer.

The tight end board doesn't seem to be coming together as easily as some other positions, but if the staff does intend on taking two then one has to think there's a solid chance either Lachey or Caudill could earn an offer. I think the expectation is for a transfer at the position as well, so it's likely going to be necessary to take a pair for 2020.

Five Ohioans signed with the Buckeyes in 2019, but there's more room in the Class of 2020 and it's going to be a bigger number this go around. Ryan Day has already talked about keeping the best players from leaving, but it's always a tricky balance when a school has the national reach like Ohio State's.

Other names to watch include Akron athlete Bengally Kamara, Cincinnati corner Carrington Valentine, and Milford Center tackle Sam Rengert. The Leroux commit is going to make things tough for Rengert, however, as the Buckeyes will likely go national for the remainder of the 2020 offensive line class. 

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