The Hurry Up: Ohio State's Dominant Rushing Performance Has 2021 Commit Ben Christman Fired Up, Buckeyes Hope to Flip Oklahoma Commit Ryan Watts

By Zack Carpenter on September 19, 2019 at 6:50 pm
Ben Christman

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.

Christman Likes What He Sees

J.K. Dobbins ran for 193 yards and one touchdown, and Master Teague III ran for 106 yards and a touchdown as part of Ohio State’s 306 rushing yards on 7.3 yards per carry in a 51-10 victory over Indiana on Saturday. 

The backs racked up the yards, but it’s impossible not to notice the gaping running lanes offensive linemen Thayer Munford, Jonah Jackson, Josh Myers, Wyatt Davis and Branden Bowen opened up in a dominant performance against an overmatched Hoosiers team. 

One person who certainly noticed the line’s execution was Ben Christman

Christman is a 6-foot-6, 300-pound offensive tackle out of Revere (Ohio) High School in Richfield. He’s the state’s No. 2-ranked player in the state and the No. 9-ranked offensive tackle in the nation in the 2021 class, and he committed to Ohio State in June.

Though he wasn’t able to watch much of the Buckeye line’s bullying last weekend, he saw the stats, he saw the highlights, and he can’t wait to get his chance at paving the way for rushing explosions just like that one in the future. 

“That’s the kind of bar you have playing for the Buckeyes,” Christman said. “So you’ve just got to keep working and great stuff like that happens.”

Christman and his Minutemen teammates have started the season 2-1 but are coming off a two-touchdown loss that had him immediately back in the film room dissecting what went wrong and where he can get better. 

Offensive linemen can often be the most critical of their own performances, and Christman already knows the three areas he wants to improve the rest of his junior and senior seasons before he steps foot on campus to officially become a Buckeye in summer 2021. 

“I’ve just gotta keep playing fast and keep getting quick out of pass pro,” Christman said. “Even if a kid’s not the speed of a top guy, you’ve still gotta go as fast as you can and keep working. Overall, the speed on my pass pro is the thing I would want to work on the most [and] continuing to be good at blocking at the second level and playing lower.”

Improvement in those three areas will help Christman transition even better into Ryan Day's offensive system, which Christman already believes he will fit into well. 

“Watching Ohio State this year, I can see the similarities of how it was before,” said Christman, who was originally recruited by Urban Meyer before Meyer resigned two weeks after getting the wheels spinning on Christman’s recruitment. “When I was first getting recruited by them, we had everything spread out and all zone concepts. That’s kind of how they do it, and I think I fit in best with that kind of style. I’m pretty versatile with everything.”

Christman will have the benefit of being able to learn from two veteran starters on this year’s line, Myers and Davis, who will be seniors by the time Christman begins his Ohio State career – unless they leave early for the NFL, of course. And though he may end up redshirting as a freshman, Christman says he’s willing to be patient in order to watch, wait and learn from guys like them. 

“Everybody’s gonna compete their tails off and wanna play, but at the end of the day, I’m gonna do what’s best for the team,” Christman said. “I’ve always been, and always will be, a team-first guy. If they want me to sit back and keep working to get better, I’ll do that. My time will come.”

Buckeyes Hope to Flip Four-Star Corner from Oklahoma

If things keep unfolding this season the way they have gone the first three weeks, we could be careening toward an ultimate College Football Playoff matchup.

Ohio State vs. Oklahoma. 

How awesome would that be? 

But for now, you’ll have to settle for a potential battle between the two programs behind the scenes as the Buckeyes try to woo 2020 four-star cornerback Ryan Watts III from Norman to Columbus. 

Watts is one of the players set to visit the Shoe this weekend as the Bucks look to cover a 40-point spread against Miami (Ohio), and if Damon Arnette returns another interception 96 yards for a touchdown, maybe that’ll be just another factor in getting Watts to flip his commitment. 

Watts, the nation’s 19th-ranked corner, is a 6-foot-2, 185-pound corner who chose Oklahoma over Alabama, Notre Dame and his home state school Texas. 

Though the Bucks already have Clark Phillips III committed in the 2020 class, Arnette will be gone after this season, and one of the nation’s top NFL corner prospects, Jeff Okduah, continues to look like a top-15 pick in the 2020 draft. So they could use the corner depth Watts and his bulk, length and 4.59-second 40-yard dash speed would help provide. 

2020 back visiting this weekend

Along with Ohio State’s 2020 receiver commit Mookie Cooper, the nation’s 14th-ranked who committed July 8, the Buckeyes will also be hosting 2020 three-star running back Jahmyr Gibbs this weekend, as first reported by Bill Kurelic of Bucknuts.

Gibbs is the country’s 10th-ranked all-purpose back and has been committed to Georgia Tech since May 25. 

Three higher-rated, uncommitted four-star backs have already either visited Ohio State or have a visit scheduled in Michael Drennen II of Dublin Coffman (Ohio) and Texas natives Kevontre Bradford and E.J. Smith.

That may suggest Gibbs, who was offered by Ohio State on Sept. 5 and Florida on Sept. 10, could be lower on the totem pole on the Buckeyes’ well-documented search for a 2020 running back, especially if one of those three continues to put the Buckeyes higher on their list — like Bradford, who has a Crystal Ball projection in Ohio State's favor. 

Julian Fleming is coming, folks

Ohio State already is enjoying the work of its receiving corps, but Brian Hartline has even more talent on the way. 

Five-star wideout Julian Fleming will hit campus next summer, and he could make an impact right away with plays like these.

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