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.
Buckeyes offer junior OL
Now that Ohio State has completely settled – though a more descriptive or exciting word would probably be more appropriate for what the Buckeyes pulled off – its running back recruiting and inched closer to completing its defensive backs haul in the 2021 class, the program can now turn its focus to the two biggest areas of need (defensive line and offensive line) now that the previous two biggest areas of need are in a much better spot.
It's almost a matter of opinion on which of the two position groups you believe is the bigger need. It's essentially 1A and 1B either way you slice it, and I rank offensive line slightly ahead of defensive line.
The highest-priority uncommitted target, of course, is four-star offensive tackle JC Latham, who I'm fully confident the Buckeyes land. Not exactly a revolutionary prediction, as basically everyone else is predicting that too. Five Crystal Ball predictions were dropped two weeks ago for Latham to head to Columbus, for a total of 11 predictions for that move.
Rocco Spindler is another mega-target on the interior of the line, though I'd be shocked if he doesn't end up with Michigan, Notre Dame or Penn State, but Kentucky offensive guard Jager Burton is another priority guard the Buckeyes have a great line on.
So if the Buckeyes end up with a haul of Latham and Ben Christman at tackle, plus Burton and Donovan Jackson at guard, that leaves them with a couple options: End their offensive line recruitment right there or try to land one more up-and-comer who would be a developmental prospect at the position when he arrives to campus.
While they already did that in the last cycle by taking four developmental guys in Josh Fryar, Grant Toutant, Jakob James and Trey Leroux, it doesn't sound like they would be completely opposed to doing so again in 2021, and that's partially what led to an offer being extended to another junior offensive lineman on Monday.
Pat Coogan, a 6-foot-5, 275-pound offensive tackle from Marist High School in Chicago, became the fourth player in this cycle from Illinois to receive an offer from the Buckeyes. Coogan has been in contact with the Buckeyes since the middle of the fall, and he had planned on visiting Columbus this spring before the recruiting suspensions were put in place.
Blessed to receive an offer from THE Ohio State University! pic.twitter.com/P4AcszNnoI— Pat Coogan (@coogs53) March 30, 2020
But on Monday, Ryan Day called up Coogan to give him the offer, which left Coogan “very excited,” he told Eleven Warriors. “It was just a very happy moment for me.
“(Coach Day) didn’t say much, but he made sure I knew he wants me to be on their team. He said I will fit in great and be able to thrive.”
Coogan and Ohio State offensive line coach Greg Studrawa have been building a relationship over the last few months, and their bond has become pretty strong.
“He’s great. Very personable guy,” Coogan said. “(We talk) almost every day. We have a great relationship.”
Coogan is ranked as the No. 45 offensive tackle in the nation, the No. 14 prospect in Illinois, and he sits at No. 445 overall. His rankings, though, don't match an offer sheet of 25 programs, which is highlighted by Stanford, Notre Dame, Oregon, Duke and Oklahoma State in addition to the Buckeyes.
Many scouts believe his rankings are set to rise over the next year (though if the camp circuit is affected by the coronavirus pandemic, that could hurt his chances there) and that he is a riser in the 2021 class. Coogan is likely to see his offer sheet increase further, and that's one reason Day and Studrawa have been building that relationship since the fall and are offering him now – the early impressions could go far as Coogan rises.
But still, even if those rankings do rise, Coogan is a developmental tackle or guard (he plays left guard at Marist) who has good fundamentals and a quick first step off the ball that a college program can work with.
As our own Colin Hass-Hill pointed out on Tuesday, the Buckeyes are not opposed to building a core of developmental offensive linemen so Coogan is certainly an attractive option in that regard.
Recruits making pitch to Lewis
Outside of quarterback, Ohio State's linebacker recruiting is probably the position that has been the most relaxed in the 2021 class ever since September's commitment from Reid Carrico.
And with Jaylen Johnson likely to slide down to outside linebacker upon his Columbus arrival, there is no hurried need for the Buckeyes to land a second linebacker.
Al Washington is still on the hunt for a linebacker to pair with Carrico, though, and because of the lack of a real need at the position, he can afford to pursue only the top-of-the-line at the position.
That's why Barrett Carter has, for so long, been the main one Ohio State has been truly focused on. But with momentum surging for Carter to land with either Georgia or Clemson, it might soon be time for the Buckeyes to look elsewhere, especially with how serious Carter and Jordan Hancock are about wanting to play at the same college.
Looking elsewhere starts with five-star outside linebacker Terrence Lewis, the No. 1-ranked OLB and No. 10-ranked overall player in the country, from Chaminade-Madonna Prep in Florida.
“He said they will keep looking at me and showed me the (Big Ten Championship) ring,” Lewis said. “He said, ‘We’re going to get four more.’ I laughed, but it was nice.”
Lewis has developed a relationship with Washington and was excited to have him stop by last week. While it wasn’t Washington who visited, Lewis said he enjoyed Alford’s visit. He also wasn’t disappointed that he didn’t receive an offer immediately either, he said.
While Lewis has yet to get that Buckeyes offer, one could be around the corner, possibly by the time you're reading this.
At any rate, the current crop of Ohio State 2021 commits are doing their part to try and get Lewis in the class instead of seeing him go to Florida, Texas A&M, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee or any of the other 40 programs that have already offered him.
I already know what college Im going to— Terrence Not Terrance (@Terrence21Lewis) March 29, 2020
In the end, it doesn't sound like Lewis will end up with Ohio State, and I don't believe he will. But it's hard to assume the Buckeyes are out of the race with him considering their momentum and the crop of commits who are recruiting him.
Those recruits have already been doing an outstanding job doing their part in recruiting other top-end talents, so it's hard to believe they won't keep that up here as well.