Benji Gosnell, ranked No. 278 overall, No. 11 at tight end and No. 8 in North Carolina, is one key part of a Buckeyes class that still ranks No. 1 in the country in the 2022 class with 240.87 points and leads the nation with a 96.04 average player rating.
So, too, is his tight end mate Bennett Christian, the nation’s No. 320 overall player, No. 14 TE and No. 31 player in Georgia out of Allatoona High School who in February got a long-overdue bump in the recruiting rankings. (He’s No. 201 overall, No. 7 TE and No. 24 in Georgia by 247Sports’ ratings.) We spoke about both of them extensively earlier today.
Christian was bumped from a three-star prospect to a four-star prospect, meaning all 11 of the Buckeyes’ commits in the class are either four- or five-stars.
It wasn’t long before Christian saw that ratings bump that he was re-offered by the new staff at Tennessee led by first-year head coach Josh Heupel. Christian’s offer announcement made some waves last month due to the fact that he is a Vols legacy with his father, Bill Christian, having played in Knoxville in the 70s.
Zero worries for Ohio State fans, though. Christian is locked into his Buckeye commitment.
“I’m locked in. There’s nothing to worry about,” Christisan told Eleven Warriors. “(Tennessee’s) been trying to recruit me really hard, but at the same time I’m in the mood to reload not rebuild. If anything changes, it can. But as of right now, I’m not going anywhere. You never know, something could happen with the program that nobody expects. You pray it won’t.
“I’m obviously committed to Ryan Day and the Ohio State University so if Coach (Kevin) Wilson left I don’t think I’d decommit or anything. It’s the university that I committed to. If everything fell apart then maybe I’d look somewhere else, but you know it won’t because it’s a national powerhouse. But that’s not gonna happen so I’m locked in.”
Since he knows exactly where he’s going to be, and has known for a long time now, Christian has been helping Ohio State cultivate that No. 1-ranked recruiting class for the past six months.
In addition to C.J. Hicks and Dasan McCullough, Christian has been one of the Buckeyes’ more outspoken leaders of the class and one their top peer recruiters. We asked him some of the top 2022 recruits he’s shooting for, and it was a list featuring some familiar names.
“Some of the top players that I work on, at least for me, is definitely Dallan Hayden,” Christian said. “He’s one of the top guys I always talk to. Just constantly communicating and telling him how great it would be here. Damari Alston, another guy here in Atlanta that I’ve been talking to a lot.
“I recently reached out to Tyler Booker out of IMG. Kiyaunta Goodwin is another huge guy we need, and Xavier Nwankpa. Those are two guys we really need and who not only fit the culture but are also just physical specimens. So I’m really hopeful we’ll land those guys.”
When it comes to Hayden, one of the Buckeyes’ top running back targets who we talked about on Monday and on Wednesday, the similarities between Hayden’s situation and Christian’s situation are strikingly comparable.
Both are Tennessee legacies whose fathers played football for the Volunteers decades ago. Christian’s father, Bill, played in Knoxville in the 70s while Hayden’s father, Aaron, played there in the 90s.
There’s been some comfort for Hayden there in the fact that Christian has been able to tell him, essentially, that just because his father went to Tennessee does not mean you feel you have to play there too. There are options out there, and Ohio State is certainly one of them – just like the choice Christian made to continue his career in Columbus instead of Knoxville.
Just offers another intriguing dynamic in Hayden’s recruitment that I believe gives the Buckeyes an extra advantage over the Vols as Ohio State and Notre Dame have emerged as the favorites to land Hayden.