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.
Spotlighting 2022 TE targets
When Hudson Wolfe made his commitment to Tennessee official on June 15, it appeared that Ohio State’s search for a two-tight end class – which was the original plan for the 2020 cycle but was shelved for the 2021 class – was put on the back burner until the 2022 class.
There are still a host of options the Buckeyes could elect to pursue further in the current cycle if they want to make a push. We touched on those players a few weeks ago, and they remain the same. Michael Trigg, Jordan Dingle and Bryson Nesbit are three of the names to track, while it's possible the Buckeyes could pursue an in-state option or have an outside shot of flipping Jack Pugh from Wisconsin.
We have been told Ohio State’s plan is still to land two tight ends in 2021 – in addition to the already committed Sam Hart – and to land one in the 2022 class.
But if the Buckeyes do not bring in a second tight end in the current cycle, it’s a certainty that they will be gunning for a pair of tight ends in the 2022 class, especially when looking at the lack of depth at the position going forward.
We caught up with three of Ohio State’s tight end targets in the 2022 cycle this week, each of whom holds an offer from the Buckeyes (Atlanta’s Holden Staes is the other tight end who they have offered).
A few weeks ago, we reported that Green is the Buckeyes’ No. 1 target at the position, and there is nothing we have heard this week that makes us believe any differently now.
Green is the top-ranked tight end in America’s 2022 class, and he is ranked No. 112 overall and No. 19 in the state of Texas, where the 6-foot-4, 220-pound athlete is a star on the football field and basketball court.
The athleticism Green possesses is what makes him such an intriguing player who the Buckeyes want to bring into the fold in order to produce changes to their usage of tight ends.
Green told Eleven Warriors that he has been in multiple Zoom meetings with Kevin Wilson, Ryan Day and the Ohio State coaching staff, and he has asked questions about how he would be used in their offense.
“They are looking to use the tight end more because now, in this age, it’s always a mismatch,” Green said. “We went over their offense a couple of times, and that is a big part of their offense they are trying to change.”
The Buckeyes used a lot of 12 personnel during the 2019 season, and when asked what Wilson and Day are hopeful to change in their offense, Green says they are looking to “get more vertical routes in the playbook and just look for the tight end more.”
Regardless of position, recruits are always asking questions during Zoom meetings, phone conversations and visits, and Green is no different.
“The real main questions I always ask a school is how would they use me in their offense? And how could their school help me with my shoe business? And they have answered both of those,” Green said.
As for how the familiarity and comfortability with the Buckeye coaches has progressed, Green said, “my relationship with those guys have been great. They make sure they talk to me a lot and are always checking up on me, and I appreciate it.”
Green says he is hoping to make a college decision around his senior year. He holds nearly 40 offers, including from Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Oregon, Penn State, Stanford, Tennessee, Texas, USC and Washington.
On June 16, Wilson and the Buckeyes extended three different offers to tight end prospects in this cycle.
North Carolina’s Gosnell – a 6-foot-3, 225-pounder ranked as the fifth-best tight end in the class – was one of those players, and he has very quickly moved the Buckeyes up the ladder as one of his favorite schools. That view of Ohio State started building well before he was officially extended an offer, which was buoyed by constant communication with Wilson.
“My relationship with Coach Wilson is great,” Gosnell told Eleven Warriors. “We chat all the time. We probably talked more than 15 times, whether it was on Zoom or on the phone before the offer. That made the offer much more special.”
Though Green might be the top target and has perhaps the biggest ceiling athletically of any tight end in the country at this point in their careers, Gosnell has become one of Ohio State’s biggest priority targets at the position because of his all-around game.
“Coach Wilson likes that I can do it all as a tight end,” Gosnell said. “He says he sees people that can block but can’t really run or catch. And he sees people that can catch and run but can’t block. He likes that I can do both for him.”
Much of Ohio State’s future in the short term at the tight end spot depends upon whether or not junior Jeremy Ruckert chooses to enter the NFL after this upcoming season or if he decides to return for a final year.
Either way, the staff believes that Gosnell would be able to fill Ruckert’s shoes whenever Ruckert inevitably moves onto the pros.
“(Wilson) hasn’t told me how many (tight ends they’re trying to land), but he’s told me that he sees me as the guy to replace Jeremy Ruckert. Which to be compared to Ruck is an honor,” Gosnell said. “I haven’t got to talk to Jeremy. I did DM him a question a while back, and he did answer, which was dope.”
Gosnell has been following Ohio State football and how it uses its tight ends.
“I didn’t really have any questions because I’ve seen how they use them. Lots in the red zone to block and catch and during the middle of the field to spread teams out and have more weapons,” Gosnell said. “I’m not sure if Coach Wilson ever mentioned using them more, but I know he wants to.”
Tight end usage aside, one of the biggest draws for Gosnell to the Buckeyes is the storied tradition the program has.
“Their overall history as a program (stands out). They develop very well,” Gosnell said. “I’ve seen time and time again how much I could impact early. With the way it stacks up to other schools, it’s probably second to none about how good I feel about it as a place for me.”
Gosnell feels great about Ohio State and what it can offer for his future on the field and off the field, but a college decision – whether he picks Columbus or elsewhere – is not going to be made any time soon.
“I still want to take a few official visits and get to know other schools better that are just now beginning to recruit me,” Gosnell said. “I’m getting to know Coach (Mike) Reed from Clemson more, and they’ve begun recruiting me.
“I want to take official visits next summer and commit August or September of my senior year.”
Gosnell holds 16 offers, including from Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, Notre Dame and Tennessee.
In addition to Gosnell and Staes, Christian was the third tight end prospect to be offered in mid-June, as the 6-foot-5, 225-pound rising junior from Georgia added the Buckeyes to his list of a dozen offers that includes Penn State, Tennessee, Michigan State and Kentucky.
Christian told Eleven Warriors that he speaks “every week” with Wilson and Ohio State executive director of football relations Tim Hinton, and he talks with Day “every once in a while.”
“They’ve been good (conversations). We’re really just checking in every week and seeing how we’re both doing,” Christian said. “Over the weeks, as I keep getting to know them, I continue to like them more and more. They’re great people. Really enjoy talking to them every week!”
Again, Ohio State is known for not using its tight ends often in the passing game, but it’s still a program Christian is drawn to as he learns more and dissects other players at his position with Wilson.
“Recently, we have been watching a lot of film via Zoom, and I’ve got to see what I’d do as a tight end in that offense. It’s really attractive,” Christian said. “They seem to be using tight ends a lot more from the practice scrimmages we watched. I like the route tree they run and also how they’re used in the blocking game. I think it’s right up my alley.”
Visiting Ohio State is a priority for Christian, and he is looking to make a trip to Columbus as soon as he can, though everything is of course on hold until the recruiting dead period is lifted.
Top photo, from left: Donovan Green, Benji Gosnell, Bennett Christian (photos courtesy of 247Sports’ Nick Harris, Don Callahan and Rusty Mansell, respectively)