Ohio State landed its second commitment in the 2022 class and its first in-state commitment of the cycle, as Lakota West High School offensive tackle Tegra Tshabola announced his pledge to the Buckeyes on Thursday night.
Let's take a look at what the Buckeyes' latest commitment brings to the program on and off the field:
On the field
When Al Washington chose to give Tshabola an early offer – in early November – he knew precisely what he was doing. It was the Buckeyes' first in-state offer (followed by an offer very soon after to Marysville linebacker Gabe Powers) in the 2022 class, but they knew they needed to get in on the West Chester native soon.
Right after Washington dished out the offer, Tshbaola's recruitment took off. He soon became one of the hottest offensive tackle recruits in the nation, receiving offers from Florida, LSU, USC, Penn State and Oklahoma as other programs took notice of his talent.
The 6-foot-6, 320-pound sophomore is expected to remain in the top 100 rankings throughout his high school career, as he is a powerful man-mover who has potential to become a top-50 recruit. He has potential to become one of his class' premier offensive linemen.
Physically, there are apt comparisons between Tshabola and Buckeyes 2021 offensive tackle target JC Latham, as each are imposing, strong-as-an-ox foundational pieces of their respective recruiting classes.
There is a ton of upside with Tshabola. He is already a strong run blocker and has potential to become a great pass blocker as he continues to grow heading into his junior season at Lakota West. There's a good reason the Buckeyes chose to offer him so soon in the 2022 class.
Off the field
One of the watershed moments in Tshabola's recruitment came in late November, when he visited for the Buckeyes' win over Penn State.
All week long, Ryan Day and his staff made it well known that they would not be able to focus much on recruits throughout the week as they prepped for the biggest game of the season to that point – one that could've swung the Big Ten race and the College Football Playoff.
Despite that, though Tshabola noted that Day made it a clear point of emphasis to speak with him prior to kickoff, and that made an impact on him. It might seem like a small deal, but Day's genuine demeanor in that moment paid dividends on Tshabola going forward as the moment showed “what it’s gonna be like in the future,” the lineman told Eleven Warriors previously.
“If you need help with something, you can really look to a coach like that. The coach will have your back. He won’t just leave you hanging,” Tshabola added. “That’s one of the things I look at when I’m thinking about committing to somewhere. I look at my relationships with the coaches and see if they’re gonna get me when I’m down. Because I know I’m willing to do anything to get my coaches’ back, and I need to know if they’ll do the same for me.”
In the class
Though, as an aside, that's a bit of cheating as Brown has strong connections to the state of Ohio as a Cincinnati native.
Tshabola, however, became the Buckeyes' first player from within the state to join the program, and the momentum the team has built in the 2021 class over the last month seems to have had a trickle-down effect on the 2022 cycle.
Tshabola is not going to be the last in-state player to choose the scarlet and gray. Both Powers and Archbishop Alter outside linebacker C.J. Hicks are strong candidates to join the fray as well.
But for right now, Tshabola and Brown's commitments give the Buckeyes a quick, impactful momentous run in the 2022 cycle right out of the gate. Thus far, LSU, Michigan and Oklahoma State are the only programs in America with multiple commitments in the class, as the Tigers lead the way with four, and the other two programs equal the Buckeyes' two commitments.