Gee Scott Jr. could be the start of something special.
Ryan Day and Brian Hartline are fresh off of signing the best wide receiver class we've seen in Columbus. Gee Scott Jr. is one of four Buckeye signees and early enrollees at the position, making the Sammamish, Washington native the only player on the team's roster that hails from the Pacific Northwest.
Scott Jr. became the first Washington prospect to sign with Ohio State during the modern recruiting era and joins Kevin Griffin (1994-98) and Robert Murphy (1971-73) as the only players to come to Columbus from The Evergreen State. Needless to say, it's been anything but a pipeline.
We've talked a lot about Ryan Day's recruiting focus and a bit of a geographic shift that's taken place since Urban Meyer's departure. West Coast states like California and Arizona were a big part of the 2020 class, and the same can be said for Washington and 2021.
The Pacific region is ripe for the picking as programs like Ohio State and Clemson have been striking gold of late. The reason for this can likely be attributed to a number of factors. First and foremost, these are some of America's top schools and perennial playoff contenders going after the touted targets. Additionally, it sure helps a lot with USC and UCLA in shambles along with Chris Petersen's recent departure from Washington.
When looking at the national player rankings for the Class of 2021, one will notice that two of Ohio State's top targets are ranked as five-stars and inside the top 10. The duo plays their high school ball less than 60 miles from one another in the state of Washington. And the Buckeyes are a major factor – and possibly even the leader – for both J.T. Tuimoloau and Emeka Egbuka.
Tuimoloau is a former teammate of Scott's and is the state's top prospect for the 2021 cycle. Currently rated No. 4 overall in the country, he's listed as both a defensive tackle and defensive end on the various recruiting outlets. However, at nearly 6-foot-5 and already 277 pounds, the reasonable assumption is that he ends up on the interior part of the line.
The Huskies were believed to have been the early favorite, but there's not a whole lot of chatter surrounding the in-state program at the moment. It's no surprise what the Buckeyes have working in their favor despite being 2,400 miles from Sammamish. Tuimoloau seems to be quite familiar with Larry Johnson and all the work he's put in while creating NFL specimens in the trenches.
He's already been to Alabama and the Crimson Tide appear to be a major factor. Ohio State will also be battling it out with the likes of Clemson and potentially even childhood favorite USC. The defensive line is a major area of need and a trip to Columbus this spring could work wonders for Larry Johnson and the Buckeyes even though a decision isn't expected until later in the process.
One position that isn't such a big need? That would be Brian Hartline's wide receiver room, and it may have a brighter future than any other unit on the team right now and for the foreseeable future. Still, the Buckeyes are looking for another 2021 wideout or two to go along with Jayden Ballard and Marvin Harrison Jr.
Formerly the country's No. 1 athlete and No. 10 overall player, Emeka Egbuka is now listed as a wideout. Though he could also excel in the secondary, most programs certainly seem to be recruiting him as a receiver. The Huskies are the current crystal ball favorite, but this is another one that may come down to Ryan Day and Dabo Swinney.
Brian Hartline has been winning virtually all of his major battles, and he's again the central figure in the recruitment of another five-star. While the position isn't the most pressing of needs, the addition of Egbuka would only help to bolster a receiver room that's already in great hands for the next 4-6 years.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder was in Columbus last spring and could make a return trip in the coming months. He recorded a 4.42-second forty as a sophomore and then went on to score 35 touchdowns during his junior season. No official visits have been lined up just yet, but Ohio State, Clemson, Alabama, and LSU are all in the mix along with local programs like Washington and Oregon.
The Egbuka and Tuimoloau recruitments are nowhere close to being slam dunks at this point, but there's surely some reason for optimism with Ryan Day, Larry Johnson, and Brian Hartline all on the case for the West Coast five-stars.