The Hurry-Up: Ohio State Seeks Two Running Backs in Next Class, Buckeyes Offer Trio of 2022 Tight Ends

By Zack Carpenter on June 2, 2020 at 6:30 pm
Gi’Bran Payne

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.

Two RBs the goal for 2022

In Ohio State’s 2022 running backs class, the goal – as I’ve been told – is to land at least two running backs in the cycle, and even three backs is not entirely out of the question. 

After landing two highly touted running backs in the 2021 cycle (TreVeyon Henderson and Evan Pryor), we had thought that the Buckeyes would only shoot for one running back. When we add in the fact that there will be a loaded running backs room with six backs – Henderson, Pryor, Miyan Williams, Steele Chambers, Marcus Crowley and Master Teague III, if he has not elected to enter the NFL Draft by that point – projected to be on scholarship by the start of the 2022 season, that makes a two-running back goal a bit more surprising. And three running backs would be even more surprising. 

Perhaps, though, because it is so early in the recruiting process here and because of the potential attrition rate of the running backs, the Buckeyes are staying on the safer side in their approach numbers-wise to running back recruiting in the 2022 class. Transfer speculation is something I’d rather avoid, but in today’s transfer-heavy climate – and with a rule possibly passed by then to allow for immediate eligibility following a player’s first transfer – it’s probably better to play it safe.

Nicholas Singleton, Kaytron Allen and Emeka Megwa are a few of the Buckeyes’ top targets at the position in the cycle, and it’s my feeling that Singleton – the No. 84-ranked overall player, No. 8-ranked running back and No. 4-ranked prospect out of Pennsylvania – is the top target on the board there. 

And going forward, to reiterate my stance from about a week ago, I believe Cincinnati La Salle running back Gi’Bran Payne is a great candidate to receive an Ohio State offer, and if he does, I like him to join the class. And if the Buckeyes do continue to seek out two running backs to bring into the class, that would only back up that assertion, as it would be a wise strategy to seek out a national back (though Singleton is a borderline national guy, being less than seven hours away in east Pennsylvania) and an in-state back.

Buckeyes offer three tight ends

Until Tuesday afternoon, the Buckeyes had only offered one tight end in the 2022 class – Texas junior Donovan Green, the No. 1-ranked player at the position and a borderline top-100 overall player.

Ohio State added three more to that count on Tuesday by extending offers to East Surry (N.C.) four-star Benjamin “Benji” Gosnell, Westminster School (Ga.) junior Holden Staes and Allatoona (Ga.) junior Bennett Christian

Gosnell is ranked No. 218 overall, No. 5 at tight end and No. 4 in North Carolina by 247Sports. The 6-foot-3, 225-pounder’s other offers include Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Notre Dame and Tennessee. 

Staes does not yet have a ranking on his profile, but the 6-foot-4, 220-pounder holds 18 offers, highlighted by Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Oregon, Penn State and USC.

Christian also does not have a recruiting ranking, but the 6-foot-5, 225-pound junior holds 10 offers, including ones from Kentucky, Michigan State, Nebraska and Pitt. 

Despite not having a ranking and having a short offer list, Christian is seen as one who could turn into a top guy down the line.

“Coach (Kevin) Wilson says that I’m one of the few real tight ends in America nowadays. He loves my ability in the pass game and my physicality,” Christian told Eleven Warriors. “A lot of tight ends now are either more receivers or straight blockers. I’m one that can succeed in both. Aren’t many true tight ends anymore.”

For Christian, Tuesday was a bit of a whirlwind as he says the conversation with Ryan Day and Kevin Wilson “went absolutely amazing,” and the offer was a culmination of a weeks-long relationship being built. 

“They are both great godly people, and I can tell they really want me,” Christian continued. “I’ve been talking to OSU since March so it’s definitely been a long process, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Love all the coaches up there. Definitely one of my top few schools moving forward. As you can imagine, it’s a crazy feeling being offered by one of the best teams in America. Such a blessing.”

And what makes Ohio State a top school for him?

“Everything,” he says. “To the team GPA average of a 3.28 to being national championship contenders every year. Ohio State has it all. I really see myself fitting in that system. It’s one of the first offenses I’ve seen that I think I can really do great in, and I’d be right at home. Overall, OSU has a lot to offer, and it’s a blessing to have an offer from them.”

Clemson offer day

And speaking of new offers, through May 31, Clemson had yet to offer any prospects in the 2022 class as Dabo Swinney continued to invoke his rarely broken rule of not offering players who had yet to get through their 10th-grade year. 

That came to an abrupt end in a busy way on Monday, as June 1 saw an influx of offers from the Tigers that we can only describe as “Clemson Offer Day.”

Clemson dished out offers to 19 juniors – Ohio State, by comparison, has offered 65 juniors thus far – eight of whom the Buckeyes have also offered. 

Offensive tackle Blake Miller, weakside defensive end Kenyatta Jackson Jr., strongside defensive end Mykel Williams, defensive tackle Travis Shaw, inside linebacker Shawn Murphy, outside linebacker Jalon Walker, cornerbacks Domani Jackson and Denver Harris and athlete Dasan McCullough all announced offers from Clemson.

Clemson has become Ohio State’s No. 1 recruiting rival it has to compete with in the 2020 and 2021 cycles, and the 2022 class will be a rerun. When the Tigers come calling, it ups the stakes. There are at least two or three players on that list mentioned above whose potential recruitment to Ohio State could very well be impacted by the Tigers offering.

McCullough, for instance, is a player who we predicted just a week ago would soon receive a Clemson offer while saying that I believe the Tigers are the only team that could upset the Buckeyes in his recruitment. I still strongly like McCullough’s chances to end up at Ohio State, but now that Clemson has offered, perhaps that offer will have an effect on the decision there. 

As for Miller, it’s long been thought he was a shoo-in to join the Buckeyes’ class and perhaps even be the next commitment in the class. But the Strongsville (Ohio) standout has been adamant that he is going to remain patient and diligent in making his decision. We all remember the last time a local offensive tackle left for Clemson (see Carman, Jackson). 

Gabe Powers is another of the Buckeyes’ high-priority targets who is a good candidate to be extended a Clemson offer, and he still plans on taking a visit there once he’s able.

Gi’Bran Payne photo courtesy of Cincinnati La Salle Athletics

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