When it comes to Ohio State’s strategy for adding depth along the offensive line, maybe size does matter. The Buckeyes have added two tackles – one signed, one committed – in the last two classes that don’t particularly pop off the ratings sheet but certainly stand out on the field.
Dawand Jones, a 6-foot-8, 360-pound tackle out of Indianapolis, Indiana, signed to be a part of the Buckeyes' 2019 recruiting class, and Trey Leroux, a 6-foot-8, 320-pound tackle out of Norwalk, Ohio, announced his commitment to the Buckeyes on Monday evening.
Jones was rated as the No. 83 offensive tackle in his class, while Leroux is the No. 92 tackle in the 2020 class. These ratings simply show that neither tackle is polished at the position yet, which is understandable for Jones, who played only two years of varsity high school football. Leroux’s head coach signified that the Ohio native has been working to get his body into better playing shape as well and is still in the process.
What Ohio State is getting out of the two tackles is massive bodies with equally massive upside.
|2019||Ryan Jacoby||4 stars||No. 23 OT|
|2019||Harry Miller||5 stars||No. 2 OC|
|2019||Enokk Vimahi||4 stars||No. 7 OG|
|2019||Dawand Jones||3 stars||No. 86 OT|
|2018||Nicholas Peitit-Frere||5 stars||No. 1 OT|
|2018||Matthew Jones||4 stars||No. 1 OC|
|2018||Max Wray||4 stars||No. 9 OT|
|2017||Wyatt Davis||5 stars||No. 1 OG|
|2017||Josh Myers||4 stars||No. 2 OG|
|2017||Thayer Munford||4 stars||No. 28 OT|
|2020 (committed)||Paris Johnson, Jr.||5 stars||No. 1 OT|
|2020 (committed)||Luke Wypler||4 stars||No. 1 OC|
|2020 (committed)||Jakob James||3 stars||No. 75 OT|
|2020 (committed)||Trey Leroux||3 stars||No. 96 OT|
No player on the current Ohio State roster is as large as either of the two prospects. The tallest players are redshirt freshman Max Wray and redshirt senior Branden Bowen, who are both 6-foot-7. Jones has 47 pounds on the heaviest Ohio State offensive lineman, sophomore Wyatt Davis.
Both Leroux and Jones will likely slim up and add strength to their frames, but what’s encouraging for the Buckeyes is the raw athleticism both tackles have coming into college. Jones plays center for Ben Davis High School’s basketball team and was named Marion County Player of the Year with 18 points per game and nine rebounds per game. Leroux plays both sides of the line and is shown in his film playing along the entire line, from defensive end as an edge rusher, chasing quarterbacks and tailing screens, to defensive tackle, where he blows through double teams with ease.
Both linemen are potential home runs for Ohio State if development goes as planned with one or both. But what should be most encouraging for Ohio State fans is the confidence that the Ohio State’s staff is showing in the current underclassmen offensive linemen on the roster.
The last three recruiting classes have offered several high-tier offensive line prospects, even though the Buckeyes have missed out on some in-state recruits. Former five-star recruit Wyatt Davis – the No. 1 guard in the 2017 class – and four-star Josh Myers are likely to be on the field this year, while 2018 No. 1 offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere might be needed at right tackle at some point this season as well. Matthew Jones was also the No. 1 center in the 2018 class.
Ohio State has to like its position with Cincinnati five-star No. 1 2020 tackle Paris Johnson, Jr., and 2019’s No. 30 overall prospect in Harry Miller is in his first year in the program. That stacks up quite a future at the position, so if neither Jones nor Leroux pan out, they can at least provide depth on the line. But if they do develop according to plan, the Buckeyes could be looking at not only a massive offensive line room but also one of the better up-and-coming lines in the Big Ten.