The Hurry Up: Assessing the Possibilities of Defensive Line Recruiting Outcomes to End 2020

By Taylor Lehman on July 18, 2019 at 6:30 pm
Vernon Broughton
Vernon Broughton

The Hurry Up is your nightly dose of updates from the Ohio State football recruiting trail, keeping tabs on the latest from commits and targets from around the country.

Bringing in Two Defensive Linemen isn't a Disaster in 2020

Another one of the assumed Ohio State commits made it official Tuesday in safety Lathan Ransom, which brings the Buckeyes to 21 commitments. With three more left to commit, it would bring the scholarship total to 24, one shy of the mark the Buckeyes are shooting for. 

I detailed which prospects could potentially take that final scholarship a couple of weeks ago, but Elias Ricks is the top target for Ohio State outside of the uncommitted recruits who are believed to be headed to Ohio State. But given that kicker Jake Seibert is expected to take a grayshirt year in 2020, that could be the scholarship for Ricks – which the staff would open up by confirming Seibert’s grayshirt and maintaining an equal 25 scholarships in the class. That would be the optimal way to play the long game with the five-star cornerback. 

So the question becomes, what does Ohio State do with that final scholarship? The most likely answer is add a defensive lineman, and the most likely defensive lineman is Jacolbe Cowan. 

Cowan’s intentions are still fairly unknown, but his commitment to Ohio State has the best odds among a defensive line group that includes his teammate, Kedrick Bingley-Jones and Vernon Broughton, who committed to Texas on Wednesday. There is a chance that Ohio State makes a run at Desmond Evans, but the odds of him coming to Columbus are slim to none. 

If Cowan doesn’t commit to Ohio State, the Buckeyes give Seibert his freshman year scholarship or they look in other places for the final scholarship, it’s not in detriment to the defensive line.

Cowan is a good defensive lineman, but he’s not as good as some of the 2021 defensive linemen Ohio State is in good relations with already.

With defensive ends like Tyreke Smith and Zach Harrison set to lock down the outside and Taron Vincent and Tommy Togiai for the inside during the next couple years, there is room to bring in just two defensive linemen in the 2020 class.

The Buckeyes already have the commitment of 2021 five-star defensive end Jack Sawyer, and that won’t change. But the other defensive line prospects that are close with the Ohio State staff are No. 4 weak-side defensive end Jahzion Harris, No 6 weak-side defensive end Travion Ford, No. 3 strong-side defensive end Elliot Donald, No. 4 strong-side defensive end Tunmise Adeleye, No. 6 strong-side defensive end Monkell Goodwine and No. 7 strong-side defensive end Najee Story

There are others too, like No. 4 defensive tackle Damon Payne, who won defensive line MVP at The Opening Regionals in Massillon, and No. 6 defensive tackle Rocco Spindler and No. 21 defensive tackle George Rooks, who both visited Ohio State in June. 

Of the prospects listed above, Najee Story, the No. 4 recruit in Ohio, is essentially a lock to commit to the Buckeyes at this point. His commitment would not only give Ohio State four of the top five in-state prospects but would also give it a second edge rusher in the class. From there, one of two more edge rushers will likely be brought in, and of those listed, Tunmise Adeleye and Elliot Donald are the two the Buckeyes are pushing hardest for right now.

Donald is the nephew of NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, and Adeleye has developed a very close relationship with Ohio State assistant Kenny Anunike and defensive coordinator Greg Mattison. Upon leaving the June 21 visit, Adeleye was very high on the Buckeyes, describing his visit as “breathtaking.” 

The future is bright for the Buckeye defensive line, even if it remains one of the most empty areas in the 2020 class.

Vernon Broughton Commits to Texas

Texas defensive tackle Vernon Broughton, who made an official visit to Ohio State on June 14, announced Wednesday that he has committed to Texas. 

This news isn’t a surprise, as he has seemingly always been set on staying in state. At first, Texas was the sole leader, but Texas A&M made a late push into his top-two. Ohio State clearly made him look out of state, especially with a good visit last month, but it was going to take something more than the Buckeyes could offer to pull him away from Texas.

As I talked about above, Broughton’s commitment means one of the final three defensive linemen that Ohio State’s recruiting efforts at that position have narrowed down to. Kedrick Bingley-Jones and Jacolbe Cowan are the other two, but the odds of the Buckeyes bringing in either one are fairly unknown at this point.

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