We don't spend too much time talking about Ohio State's tight ends. The position wasn't heavily utilized under Urban Meyer, and for the last few years we've been asking ourselves "is this the season when the tight end becomes a major contributor?" It's not the most glamorous role in Columbus, but the position has certainly made an impact even without being regularly targeted on Saturdays.
Rashod Berry is now a senior and Luke Farrell and Jake Hausmann are both redshirt juniors. Jeremy Ruckert heads into his sophomore season as the guy that most have circled as a breakout star at the position. Memphis product Cormontae Hamilton is set to arrive this summer and should provide even more depth. Berry and Farrell have both made some noise, but it seems like it may be now or never for Hausmann.
Whether or not we see a change in how the position is utilized, the tight end remains a big need for Ohio State's class of 2020. It's a position group that hasn't gained a whole lot of traction thus far in the cycle even though it seems like the staff would like to add a pair between now and next February.
While there's a fairly clear-cut list at each position by now, the tight end board is still very much a work in progress. We've yet to include a single tight end prospect on our monthly board updates. It has nothing to do with positional need and pretty much everything to do with the uncertainty surrounding the staff's targets.
Ten prospects have been offered at the position thus far. Four of them are committed to other programs and Ohio State doesn't appear to be the leader for any of the other six; including Akron's Caden Clark who is pledged to Alabama. The brother of one-time 2017 Ohio State commit Danny Clark, the younger brother committed to the Crimson Tide last summer. Ryan Day and Co. extended an offer this past January, but there's been little to no movement so far.
The good news? It's a loaded year in the state of Ohio and the Buckeyes could be on the verge of making a few big local offers.
Legacy prospect Luke Lachey is still playing the waiting game, but plenty of other big-time programs have already come through with offers. Michigan State, Wisconsin, and most recently LSU are some of the more noteworthy contenders.
The Grandview Heights three-star hauled in 12 touchdown passes as a junior and has made the short trip to campus several times. At 6-foot-6 and 215 pounds, Lachey seems like the most likely option to land a Buckeye offer. It could just be a matter of time before the staff decides to make the move, but I get the feeling it will be before summer's end.
We haven't talked quite as much about Cincinnati Elder's Joe Royer. He's rated as the state's fourth-best tight end behind Clark, Mansfield's Clay Caudill, and Lachey, but I get the vibe that he's pretty high up on the staff's board; especially after his performance at last month's Cincinnati Under Armour camp. At 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, Royer went for 600 yards and five scores as a junior, and his recruitment seems to be taking off.
While the Buckeyes haven't come calling just yet, he's earned offers from both Penn State and Michigan over the last two weeks. Say what you will about the Wolverines and Nittany Lions, but those are two programs who certainly don't shy away from using the tight end. West Virginia, Louisville, and Nebraska have also offered.
The June camp circuit could be a big one on the tight end front as the Ohio State staff will be keeping a close eye on both Luke Lachey and Joe Royer; neither of whom have commitment timelines just yet. Clay Caudill remains in the mix as well, but it just feels like he may be a bit down the board despite a loftier ranking.
I'd look for the Buckeyes to extend at least one offer this summer to an in-state tight end, and there's a very real chance that a pair of Ohioans end up in the class of 2020. They should have the chance to prove themselves next month when Ohio State hosts a number of camp sessions and looks to narrow things down a bit at tight end.