Ryan Day, Greg Studrawa's 2020 Offensive Line Recruiting Leading to Some Tough Decisions Up Front

By Andrew Ellis on March 26, 2019 at 2:15 pm
Offensive line recruiting is the strength of the 2020 class.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The Class of 2019 turned out to be a darn good one despite plenty of turmoil surrounding the program. Ryan Day and his staff did a fine job of keeping things together following Urban Meyer's early-December retirement bombshell. Despite a smaller class, Ohio State's average rating per signee trailed only that of Alabama and Georgia. 

Still, not everything was perfect on the trail. Greg Studrawa and the offensive line recruiting were the biggest areas of criticism. The Buckeyes signed four in the trenches but waited around a bit too long on a few in-state prospects, which in turn worked out quite well for Mark Dantonio and the Spartans. The transfer of Jonah Jackson has certainly helped out up front, but the unit still remains the biggest focus for the Class of 2020.

The good news? Ohio State is off to a roaring start with four offensive linemen already in the fold. That includes a trio from within the state – led by five-star tackle Paris Johnson. Jr. – along with the nation's No. 1 center in Montvale, New Jersey's Luke Wypler. It may be one of the toughest positions to project, but we're thinking the class will end up with a trio of tackles and three more interior guys.

December's early signing period is still nine months away, which means Day and Studrawa have plenty of time to fill the remaining two spots along the offensive line. It's a far cry from what we saw with the Class of 2019, and it's may lead to some tough decisions with a few of the remaining targets.

Tackle Options Aplenty
TOSH BAKER 6-foot-8, 275 pounds Phoenix, AZ ★★★★ No. 39
TURNER CORCORAN 6-foot-6, 280 pounds Lawrence, KS ★★★★ No. 56
MICHAEL CARMODY 6-foot-6, 285 pounds Mars, PA ★★★★ No. 132
ZAK ZINTER 6-foot-6, 300 pounds Cambridge, MA ★★★★ No. 225
JOHN YOUNG 6-foot-6, 280 pounds Louisville, KY ★★★★ No. 305
REECE ATTEBERRY 6-foot-5, 280 pounds Aurora, CO ★★★★ No. 350

We're focusing mainly on the tackles since that's still the most pressing need up front. After the 2019 season, Ohio State will lose Joshua Alabi and junior Thayer Munford may be faced with a decision regarding his own future. If Munford were to bolt, the only experience returning in 2020 would be in the form of Max Wray and Nicholas Petite-Frere. 2019 signees Ryan Jacoby and Dawand Jones would obviously be around, but the duo should only see limited playing time this season; if any at all.

There are six names on the list right now for 2020, and Ohio State appears to be a strong contender for at least three of them. Turner Corcoran has visited Nebraska a dozen times, but getting him on campus for the spring game certainly doesn't hurt the Buckeyes' chances. Proximity to home and the overall familiarity with the program is aiding Scott Frost, but Ohio State and Oklahoma are very much in the mix. 

Pennsylvania's Michael Carmody isn't a name we've talked much about, but last weekend's trip to Columbus seemingly couldn't have gone any better. It'll be a tough pull keeping him away from James Franklin and the Nittany Lions (he'll be in Happy Valley this weekend), but the country's No. 12 tackle is already planning on getting back to Ohio State. The 6-foot-6, 285-pounder appears to be surging up toward the top of the tackle board.

Louisville's John Young remains another option at the position. The rest of the Big Ten and plenty of SEC powers are also in the running, but it may be tough keeping him away from Lexington. Ohio State is one of the six finalists for the four-star, and he's planning on a late-summer commitment following his official visits. Michigan and Georgia are also very much in the picture.

We've got Aurora, Colorado's Reece Atteberry on the board knowing full well that he's likely to move inside. Rivals.com has him listed as a tackle while 247Sports has him in their database as a center. Ohio State obviously doesn't need a center on the heels of Harry Miller and now Luke Wypler, but I get the feeling Atteberry still may sneak in at guard. He hasn't been shy on his affinity for the Buckeyes and his versatility may be what helps him find his way in. If it's not going to be Columbus, it very well could be Ann Arbor or South Bend.

Zak Zinter is in the midst of a spring break trip that's expected to include stops at Ohio State, Notre Dame, Penn State, and Michigan. The Buckeyes don't typically spend a lot of time in Massachusetts, but the Midwest powers are clearly interested in what Zinter brings to the table. There's no reason for too much excitement at this point, but we should know more following the string of visits. 

Arizona, on the other hand, is a state where the Buckeyes have put in plenty of work. Phoenix offensive tackle Tosh Baker is another one of the country's top tackles, and it seems as though his recruitment is far from reaching its close. The 6-foot-8, 275-pounder is scheduled to be in Columbus this weekend. Baker is a kid who's really looking into the academic piece of the puzzle. He holds an offer from Stanford as well, but Notre Dame has the lone crystal ball submission at this point. 

The tables really seemed to have turned in regards to offensive line recruiting, but the Buckeyes are far from done up front. In addition to the names above, you've got pure interior linemen like five-star Justin Rogers and four-star Geirean Hatchett, but Georgia and Washington respectively are leading the charge for the pair. 

It's fair to assume another two could be added to the class, and with plenty of options still on the table, it's gone from a position of concern to the greatest strength of the 2020 class.

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