Finding the right fit for your college football program isn't just about what happens on the field, but off it as well. Today, Ohio State added a key piece. How will that commitment impact the Buckeyes?
The commitment is seen as a massive recruiting upset victory for Ohio State, which pulled Fleming away from Penn State, the school he grew up 90 miles away from. He’s the No. 6 player in the class, and this is the impact his commitment is expected to make on Ohio State’s Class of 2020.
On The Field
Fleming has been one of the most productive high school receivers during the course of his career at Southern Columbia. By the end of his senior year, he will be a four-year starter and will likely record more than 5,000 yards. To this point, he’s caught 183 passes for 3,942 yards and 55 touchdowns, and his numbers are only getting better.
He is everything a college program searches for physically in a receiver that plays outside of the numbers. At 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, he carries his weight effortlessly, creates separation and has breakaway-type speed with long strides in the open field. He has elite-level body control and climb the ladder with ease to high-point the ball. He makes the tough catches look easy and is Southern Columbia’s cheat code on its way to two straight state titles.
The Catawissa-native ran the 40-yard dash in 4.63 seconds at The Opening Regional, and he is a track star at Southern Columbia. He placed runner-up in the 100-meter dash for two consecutive years at the state championships, and his 23-foot-plus long jump was good for runner-up last weekend too. His 37.5-inch vertical jump ties former Ohio State wide receivers Johnnie Dixon and Terry McLaurin’s jumps in the 2019 NFL Combine.
His measurables are currently not seen on the Ohio State roster and will be long gone with current senior Austin Mack by the time Fleming hits campus. He could be looking at a role within the receiver rotation immediately as a freshman.
In The Class
The Buckeyes will not have a shortage of receivers – or impressive receivers – in the 2020 class, and Fleming heads the group.
Washington wideout Gee Scott Jr., who is rated as the No. 14 receiver in the country, will bring a lot of size with Fleming, at 6-foot-2, 205 pounds. Scott doesn’t have quite as much athleticism as Fleming but makes up for some of that with strength and will certainly be a good option with Fleming and current freshman Garrett Wilson once the trio has taken over the wide receivers room.
Texas wideout Jaxon Smith-Njigba is also a talented receiver coming in with inflated ratings at the wide receiver and Texas spots. He’s rated as the No. 157 player in the nation.
After landing a five-star receiver, though, the odds of landing another become incredibly small, meaning St. Thomas Aquinas wideout Marcus Rosemy will likely turn his sights away from Columbus moving forward. Having a commitment from Fleming makes that bearable for the Buckeyes.
Fleming’s commitment brings the wide receiver total to three for the class, which is the most since the Class of 2018.
Off The Field
Fleming’s commitment was a Brian Hartline achievement. The Pennsylvania wideout developed a relationship with Hartline since November, and after that visit, the relationship crescendoed through March, when he was in Columbus for the Student Appreciation Day visit, and into an early ending to his recruitment Friday. Hartline made it happen.
That’s been a trend this offseason. Hartline, in not only his first full offseason as Ohio State’s wide receivers coach but as a wide receivers coach in general, has swung the desire for some of the top wideouts in the country to make their ways to Columbus when the position could have crumbled after last summer. The top 2020 receiver committing to the program gives Hartline and the Buckeyes incredible leverage for future classes.
After losing three NFL-caliber receivers in Parris Cambell, Terry McLaurin and Johnnie Dixon, the receiver spots will certainly see a dip in 2019, but with 2019 No. 2 wideout Garrett Wilson on campus early and developing under Hartline already, there’s a bridge to a continued direction at receiver, and Fleming is part of that recuperation.
With Wilson, Scott Jr., Smith-Njigba and 2019 speedster Jameson Williams, who is said to be bringing Ted Ginn Jr.-esque speed to Columbus again, a stable of receivers is being stacked at Ohio State for what is shaping up to be one of the top groups in the country.