We've reached the dog days of summer and Ohio State's 2020 recruiting efforts have officially caught fire. June was a big month filled with official visits and it's paying off in a big way as the Buckeyes have landed six commitments dating back to last Saturday.
The No. 4 recruiting class in America now features 19 pledges and is expected to add at least seven more before next February's national signing day. While putting together his first recruiting class, there's really been no drop-off in the transition from Urban Meyer to Ryan Day.
Yes, the Buckeyes have seven in-state commitments – which is a bit more than what we've grown accustomed to – but the class also includes prospects from all across the country. Texas, Arizona, Washington, and California are all represented already thus far.
Needless to say, Day and his staff are checking just about all of the boxes during his first recruiting cycle in Columbus. Perhaps the most impressive part has been their ability to address the team's most crucial needs heading into the class; namely the offensive line, wide receivers, and cornerbacks.
The Buckeyes have six offensive linemen in the fold and that includes a nice mix of tackles and interior prospects. Paris Johnson and Luke Wypler are two of the country's very best and Ohio State has had to fight off several SEC powers to keep Johnson in the fold. Grant Toutant was a big flip from Penn State since he projects as a true tackle. Indiana's Josh Fryar can play three or four different spots and versatility is always nice to have.
Then you have two other Ohioans in Jakob James and Trey Leroux. James is expected to play guard while Leroux is more of a developmental guy with a 6-foot-8, 355-pound frame. Ryan Day and Greg Studrawa are sure to keep the lines of communication open with other prospects, but this unit is likely finished barring something unforeseen.
At wide receiver, all Brian Hartline has done is land three of the best in America. If Ohio State ended things with Julian Fleming, Gee Scott Jr., and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, the wide receiver haul would be an A+. The expected addition of slot wideout Mookie Cooper would be the cherry on top in what will surely be the nation's top class at the position and likely the best we've ever seen.
After not signing a cornerback for the Class of 2019, Jeff Hafley already has two great ones in the fold. Getting Lejond Cavazos back on the commitment list was a big win and the June 21 pledge from Clark Phillips was perhaps the biggest news coming out of last month. There's still a very real chance Ohio State looks to add a third – perhaps an Elias Ricks or a Ryan Watts – but the cornerback spot has already been addressed in a big way.
That's three key areas of need that are nearly locked up just seven months into Day's tenure. There had been some concerns surrounding the lack of defensive commitments, but Hafley and the rest of the staff have put those concerns to rest following recent commitments from Phillips, Darrion Henry, Cody Simon, Mitchell Melton, and Ty Hamilton.
We are currently in the midst of a recruiting dead period, but there is still a very large elephant in the room as Ryan Day and Tony Alford look to find some momentum for yet another area of pressing need.
We've said it before, but running back recruiting is going to be the talk of the summer; at least until Alford and the Buckeyes can nab someone to help replenish the backfield. Five-star Tucson tailback Bijan Robinson seems to be in decision mode following his officials to Ohio State, Texas, and USC. Most continue to believe it'll be the Buckeyes or the Longhorns for Alford's top target at the position.
Robinson's teammate and friend – four-star safety Lathan Ransom – is set to announce his decision on July 16th. We still haven't gotten word on Robinson's timeline, but most of the analysts who have been in his presence lately (Rivals.com) came away with a very pro-Buckeye vibe. His 247 Sports crystal ball is still favoring the Longhorns, however.
All-purpose back Jaylan Knighton is scheduled to make his intention known at the end of the month, and Ohio State continues to battle Florida State and Miami for the Deerfield Beach star. The Buckeyes have momentum but there's still a chance he makes it to Tallahassee after the dead period and before his announcement.
Ryan Day has addressed practically every major recruiting need already and we're nowhere close to being done with the cycle. If he and Tony Alford are able to land a pair of backs – namely the above duo – it truly could be one of the best offensive classes we've seen in quite some time.
As for right now, the 2020 class is filling up rather quickly and most of the boxes on the cycle's to-do list have already been checked. Assuming the biggest remaining need is addressed in the near future, one can't imagine too many complaints surrounding Ryan Day's first recruiting haul in Columbus.