We're on the heels of the biggest recruiting weekend of the year and Ohio State's 2020 picture is a bit more clear than it was just five short days ago. The addition of Clark Phillips was a huge add for Jeff Hafley and the Buckeye secondary and 2021 wideout Jayden Ballard gives Brian Hartline another big piece to the future wide receiver room.
While more good news is certainly coming over the next handful of days, there's been plenty of movement with a particular pair of Ohio State targets. Five-star tailback Bijan Robinson and four-star safety Lathan Ransom are without a doubt two of Ryan Day's top remaining targets for the Class of 2020, and the Buckeyes will look to outduel a familiar foe for the Tucson teammates.
Ohio State has had success in Texas of late with the likes of Jeffrey Okudah, Baron Browning, J.K Dobbins, and Garrett Wilson all finding their way to Columbus. Wilson's recruitment was the one that really came down to the Buckeyes and in-state Longhorns. But Tom Herman has the program heading in the right direction following a 10-win season that included a win over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.
After a number of head-to-head battles with Urban Meyer – including a victory for four-star 2018 Houston corner Anthony Cook – Herman and his staff are now duking it out with Ryan Day. This time it's for two of the top prospects in the Grand Canyon State.
AZ to OH? pic.twitter.com/uxZFUjdLHQ— Buckeye Edits (@BuckeyeEdits15) June 24, 2019
It's worth noting that Ohio State and Texas aren't the only players involved here. USC is also in the picture for Robinson while Notre Dame and LSU are factors in the Ransom recruitment. However, it definitely feels like both recruitments are going to come down to the Buckeyes and Longhorns.
On the Bijan Robinson front, he was in Columbus two weeks ago and spent this past weekend in Austin. There were positive vibes after visiting Ohio State with several members of his family in tow, but cautious optimism was the play there considering what went down with fellow five-star Kendall Milton and his post-Columbus trips to SEC country.
The Buckeyes could really use an elite back to help complete what's already a stellar group of talent on offense. Robinson and Milton have been the top guys for some time now, but the 6-foot, 200-pound Tucson product is without question the more likely option now that both have finished up their official visits.
If you follow this stuff on Twitter, you probably have picked up on the emoji game and how certain staffs use them to announce a commitment. Based on a tweet from Bryan Carrington – who is basically the Longhorns' version of Mark Pantoni – Texas received a silent commitment over the weekend while Robinson was in town. There was a bit of worry at first, but it's become abundantly clear that the news was related to a different prospect.
Texas (and USC) are very much in the hunt, but there have been plenty of positive vibes coming out of Atlanta and the Rivals' Five-Star Challenge. Several "FutureCast" picks came in on Monday – the same day the players arrived – and all of them were in Ohio State's favor. Tony Alford and Ryan Day now just have to wait for a decision, but Jack Miller and the rest of the 2020 commits seem to be putting in plenty of work down in Atlanta.
Interestingly enough, both Stan Drayton and Tim Beck are also very much involved here. Drayton as the position coach with Beck serving as the lead recruiter. The much-maligned former Ohio State assistant won a state title as a high school head coach in Scottsdale in the mid-90's. So, there are technically three familiar foes in this particular recruitment.
Lathan Ransom's recruitment is also nearing its end, and the Buckeyes reportedly knocked it out of the park during last weekend's official trip to Columbus. Lejond Cavazos is doing everything in his power to help land yet another talented player in the secondary. And if the recent crystal ball trend is any indication, he and Jeff Hafley may have locked up the country's No. 4 safety.
Ransom could be a big first piece of what's expected to be a two-man class at safety. He was in Columbus back in February for a bit of an abbreviated visit, but he got the full taste when in town over the weekend. He's likely Ohio State's top safety target at the moment and has finished up all five official visits. Texas, Notre Dame, LSU, and Oklahoma were the other recipients.
Is the recruitment of the Salpointe Catholic teammates a package deal? Absolutely not and the notion that any prospect is a part of some sort of package is usually overhyped to begin with. But did Ohio State's homerun visits with both Robinson and Ransom position them to land two of the top remaining 2020 targets? Things are definitely looking promising.
There's no decision timeline in place for either one, and while they could wait until their senior seasons to decide, it's looking as though both will announce sometime this summer; perhaps sooner rather than later.
Texas remains a very real factor in both recruitments. Austin is obviously closer to home and both have been on campus multiple times. Are the Longhorns viewed as a viable national title contender in today's college football world? Not at this point, but you really never know if that's even a factor for any particular player.
Ryan Day, Tony Alford, and Jeff Hafley have the Buckeyes in line to possibly land both players before the end of the summer. As far as the timing, it's looking like the sooner the better in both instances as it sure seems like Herman and the Horns have some ground to make up.
The recruitments of Bijan Robinson and Lathan Ransom are two of the hottest ones to watch over the coming weeks as Ohio State looks for some good news during the dead period.