Ohio State's offensive line play has been superb. The Buckeyes' line was one of the country's top units in 2019, and much of the same is expected this time around with three returning starters and two former five-stars expected to take over for Jonah Jackson and Branden Bowen.
And yet its recruiting efforts have been a bit problematic at times. Greg Studrawa and the Buckeyes have landed a number of top-tier prospects with players like Paris Johnson Jr. and five-star 2021 commitment Donovan Jackson. Most of the complaints, however, have revolved around the number of developmental prospects the program has signed after missing on plenty of other top targets.
The 2020 class was headlined by Johnson Jr. and Luke Wypler. Ohio State also signed four three-star prospects in Grant Toutant, Josh Fryar, Jakob James, and Trey Leroux. The current cycle started strong with Jackson and in-state four-star Ben Christman, but the spring and summer months haven't been too friendly for Studrawa and Co.
A pair of top 2021 targets – and one-time Buckeye leans – are both off the board. Five-star Milwaukee native JC Latham committed to Alabama back in June while four-star Kentucky guard Jager Burton pledged to the in-state Wildcats on Aug. 30. Five-star Virginia tackle Tristan Leigh seems destined to end up in Norman or Baton Rouge. The COVID-19 pandemic didn't do Ohio State any favors here, but it's been tough sledding for the last several months.
The good news? Studrawa already has a good one in the fold for 2022 in Cincinnati tackle Tegra Tshabola, and a plentiful supply of local linemen should make things a bit more manageable for the next cycle.
|Aamil Wagner||Dayton||OT||6-foot-6, 240 pounds||No. 120||★★★★|
|Blake Miller||Strongsville||OT||6-foot-6, 315 pounds||No. 212||★★★★|
|Demon Moore||Fort Wayne||OG||6-foot-4, 295 pounds||No. 274||★★★★|
|Kiyaunta Goodwin||Charlestown, Ind.||OT||6-foot-7, 300 pounds||No. 280||★★★★|
The top-rated player on our mini board is the only one who hasn't been offered by the Buckeyes thus far. But there's been plenty of contact between Ryan Day, Greg Studrawa, and Dayton-area tackle Aamil Wagner. The Wayne High School four-star is the nation's No. 120 overall prospect and he holds offers from a number of Big Ten powers as well as Oregon, Tennessee, and Stanford.
Wagner is undersized at the moment but certainly has the frame of a collegiate tackle. His older brother Ahmad is playing in Lexington and that could help Mark Stoops' chances. The younger Wagner carries a 4.0+ GPA and academics are a big factor in the recruitment. Ohio State may need to make a move sooner rather than later, and I think that could be coming in the not-too-distant future.
When Strongsville tackle Blake Miller was offered back in April, the crystal balls and FutureCasts immediately started coming in. I initially thought this was a "when not if" type of situation and he could soon end up in Ohio State's class. I've backed off that stance a bit and feel the Buckeyes could be in a bit of a battle with both Michigan and Clemson. Miller is still likely to end up in Columbus, but it could take a bit longer than expected.
Day and Studrawa are also looking closely at the Hoosier State for another pair of top targets. Fort Wayne's Demon Moore was offered back in May and he's received several national offers since that time. Ohio State, Penn State, and the in-state programs are high on his list right now, but it's too early to really get a feel for how this one may end up.
We'll see how the 2021 class finishes, but it's no secret that offensive tackle is going to be a major need for 2022. Out of all the local targets, my personal favorite is Indiana's Kiyaunta Goodwin. At 6-foot-7 and ridiculous length, he's gone from 425 pounds all the way down to right around 300. Goodwin looks like a left tackle prospect who was created in a lab. He grew up idolizing Orlando Pace and most have him pegged to Ohio State at the moment.
Goodwin was in Columbus with Paris Johnson Jr. back in the fall of 2018, and the transformation since that time has been nothing short of remarkable (visual evidence). Ohio State offered back in August and he's now got all kinds of national offers, including Alabama, Auburn, and Florida. He's quickly turning himself into a must-get for the Class of 2022, and Ohio State is in a tremendous spot.
The Buckeyes may shoot for a trio of tackles for 2022, and things are looking promising early on. Back in February, we talked about Studrawa's turnaround on the trail after landing Christman and Jackson. Since that time, the news hasn't been great. With a number of local options for the next cycle, things are setting up nicely for Studrawa and the Buckeyes.