Seven of Ohio State's last nine 2020 commitments were visitors at the Buckeye Bash & Barbecue.
When the Buckeye Bash & Barbecue took place Friday, June 21, it was difficult to tell what the Ohio State class would finish like. The Buckeyes were hovering around the fringe of the top-10, and it seemed, with a realistic approach, that they would bring in a top-10 class and consider that a victory for a first-year head coach that received the 2020 class in the circumstances that Ryan Day received his.
Ohio State had 12 commitments at the time with Grant Toutant and Ty Hamilton being the most recent additions, and with the Buckeye Bash & Barbecue approaching, the Buckeyes shifted the focus for the event onto the 2021 class, creating a healthy and well-understood foundation for the soon-to-be high school juniors.
With 2019 being the first year for the barbecue, no one outside of the staff or the prospects knew what to expect, but once the recruits arrived in Columbus, it was essentially a free-for-all. Josh Fryar played basketball with three current Ohio State players, Julian Fleming, Gee Scott Jr., Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Lejond Cavazos played games and did a photoshoot together, and Tunmise Adeleye was with just a few other people when he visited Ohio Stadium.
The staff was able to cover the board with the visitors, and it did it well. Many fans, and media alike, were expecting up to about seven commitments during the weekend and the few days afterward, but that’s not the way it worked out. There were two commitments – Clark Phillips before even arriving in Columbus and 2021 wide receiver Jayden Ballard. As the dead period arrived, fans were more impatient than ever, some considering the event a failure.
But one quick retrace of the course of events that have taken place since that weekend will quickly show that it was more successful than most thought it would be, and it will continue to yield commitments until nearly the entire classes is fleshed out.
June 21: Clark Phillips and Jayden Ballard commit to Ohio State
June 26: Ben Christman commits to Ohio State
June 29: Cody Simon and Darrion Henry commit to Ohio State
July 2: Joe Royer commits to Ohio State
July 3: Mitchell Melton commits to Ohio State (was not at the barbecue)
July 4: Cam Martinez and Josh Fryar commit to Ohio State
July 8: Mookie Cooper commits to Ohio State (was not at the barbecue)
July 12: Jalin Conyers commits to Oklahoma
July 14: Sam Adams commits to Washington
July 16: Lathan Ransom commits to Ohio State
Uncommitted 2020 Prospects Who Attended the Barbecue
Like most 2020 recruits at the event, the Buckeye Bash & Barbecue was the final official visit for Kourt Williams. He had been to columbus one other time in March and was able to continue building his relationship with the Buckeye staff, particularly Al Washington and Jeff Hafley. Following the event, he went home to discuss his decision with his family, and while he said he isn’t sure where he wants to go yet – between Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Penn State, Tennessee and Ohio State – the Buckeyes are optimistic about his choosing them.
Florida all-purpose back Jaylan Knighton is the other one of the two uncommitted recruits that appear to be choosing Ohio State. While Ohio State hasn’t sealed anything at the running back position yet, Knighton and five-star running back Bijan Robinson will likely be the two to commit to the Buckeyes for the position in 2020. The visit went a long way for Knighton, who was boiled down to Florida State and Ohio State and needed to decide if he was comfortable going out-of-state or not. He will announce his decision July 30.
The commitment of Lathan Ransom essentially eliminates any chance of Michigan safety Makari Paige committing to Ohio State, especially with scholarship numbers beginning to crunch for the Buckeyes. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him head to Michigan now. Before that, though, if Ransom had chosen to go anywhere but Ohio State, the odds of Paige being a Buckeye were fairly high.
A week after his teammate Jacolbe Cowan visited Ohio State, Kedrick Bingley-Jones made the trip to Columbus. In what seemed to be a visit that would lock Bingley-Jones as a defensive lineman for the Ohio State class, it just hasn’t added up for either side. He appears to be headed to in-state North Carolina. He announces his decision Aug. 3.
Cam Large was in Columbus in the spring and then was back for the barbecue visit as one of three tight ends Ohio State was targeting. But since Joe Royer has committed and numbers don’t necessarily support taking more than one tight end in the class, Large will likely choose Georgia.