Offensive line is one of Ohio State's most pressing needs in the 2021 class, and the Buckeyes just loaded up in the trenches with one of the nation's best.
Donovan Jackson, a four-star offensive tackle from Episcopal (Texas) High School, has committed to the Buckeyes, giving Ryan Day his ninth player in his second full class as head coach and giving offensive line coach Greg Studrawa his second hoss in the recruiting cycle.
The Jackson File
- Class: 2021
- Size: 6-foot-4/310 lbs
- Pos: OT
- School: Episcopal (Bellaire, Texas)
- Composite Rating: ★★★★
- Composite Rank: #11 OT
Jackson is the nation's 11th-ranked offensive tackle and 57th-ranked overall national recruit, and he will join Ben Christman, another offensive tackle ranked exactly one spot above Jackson both overall and at the position, in scarlet and gray.
Christman and Jackson are similar in ranking, and they also each have Ohio connections. Christman hails from Richfield, Ohio, where he attends Revere High School, while Jackson's father is from the Cleveland area, and they have family in Cincinnati.
Jackson visited Columbus for the Buckeyes' 28-17 win over Penn State on Nov. 23, meshing a Thanksgiving trip to spend the holiday with family in Cincinnati into a two-for-one deal for another visit to Ohio State. He visited the school in April for an unofficial visit, but this time around he built on the relationships with the Buckeye coaches that had been there since he was an eighth-grader. That was the first time he met Studrawa, who was in his first year as the Buckeyes' O-line coach, at an Ohio State camp, and he earned an offer about three months later.
Jackson's sophomore year, though, is when his relationships with the Buckeye coaches, especially Studrawa, truly started building into what it is today.
"Coach Stud and I have probably one of the best relationships I have, and when Coach Day came on board, I feel like our first conversation we’ve clicked since then," Jackson told Eleven Warriors on Friday. "Seeing where that relationship has gone, it’s really fun to see that (evolve)."
His relationships with Ohio State's staff, plus his feel for a program that checks off the core items on his list, are what helped push the Buckeyes over his other top-four options (Georgia, Stanford, Texas and Texas A&M).
Jackson's April visit to Columbus for the Buckeyes' spring game also made an impact on him.
“I expected to get the same spiel I get from other visits, but Coach Stud and Coach Day made it known that I have a home at OSU," Jackson told Eleven Warriors in April.
Jackson is a grown-man presence at 6-foot-4, 310 pounds with a nearly 7-foot wingspan that makes him a nightmare to go up against, especially in the run game. The Buckeyes are not done in their offensive line recruiting, but they have already put themselves in a strong, sturdy position with Jackson's commitment.
Jackson is one of the best offensive line talents in the country and will fit in perfectly in Day's system, and that will most likely come at the guard spot. Jackson certainly could be used at tackle, but he says guard is where he has heard college teams will want him to play.
If Ohio State lands a commitment from JC Latham, a top-80 national recruit and the No. 14-ranked offensive tackle in the 2021 class, a move to guard would almost certainly become more cemented for Jackson.
|NAME||POSITION||OVERALL RANKING||POSITION RANKING||DATE OF COMMITTMENT|
|JACK SAWYER||DE||No. 2||No. 2||FEBRUARY 3, 2019|
|KYLE MCCORD||QB||No. 31||No. 5 (PRO-STYLE)||APRIL 30, 2019|
|JAYDEN BALLARD||WR||No. 73||No. 11||JUNE 21, 2019|
|BEN CHRISTMAN||OT||No. 52||No. 10||JUNE 26, 2019|
|REID CARRICO||LB||No. 122||No. 2 (ILB)||SEPTEMBER 10, 2019|
|MARVIN HARRISON JR.||WR||No. 55||No. 9||OCTOBER 31, 2019|
|SAM HART||TE||No. 365||No. 15||DECEMBER. 30, 2019|
|JAYLEN JOHNSON||S||No. 421||No. 18||JANUARY 7, 2020|
|DONOVAN JACKSON||OT||No. 57||No. 11||JANUARY 8, 2020|
No matter where Ohio State's offensive line goes from here, Christman and Jackson are about as good of a start as a program can hope to get along the offensive line. Ohio State's future in the trenches is sitting pretty.
Though Jackson was born in Texas and said recently his Ohio connections had no bearing on his recruitment, there has always been a strong familiarity with Ohio State.
“Having the majority of my family living in Ohio is a big pull towards the university,” Jackson said in April. “My mother raised me to be a Buckeye.”