The Hurry-Up: Setting Stage for Buckeyes' NFL Recruiting Chip, Top Remaining Offensive Line Targets

By Zack Carpenter on April 29, 2021 at 4:30 pm
Ohio State Sending More to NFL

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.

Top recruiting chip

Are we really going to write about this for the upteenth time? Yes, we're really going to write about this for the upteenth time...

Ohio State is set to have what is, in my opinion, the No. 1 recruiting chip in its program (outside of relationship-building, obviously) on full display this weekend when the NFL draft kicks off at 8 ET tonight.

The most recent time I discussed the Buckeyes' NFL draft success had Mickey Marotti at center stage as the man behind the curtain (sort of) who leads the charge in getting them ready for the pros. Marotti, after all, is one of Ohio State's assistant coaches whose name doesn't come up too often when we talk with recruiting targets since he doesn't do a ton of recruiting himself. He does get on Zoom calls with prospects, though, at various points in the recruiting process to detail how the Buckeyes' strength and conditioning program and nutrition plan will help develop them into top-tier college players and NFL-caliber athletes.

But I digress.

We talked about it before last year's draft with the Buckeyes set to have at least two-first rounders taken, and we talked about it after when Jaxon Smith-Njigba (then just a receiver commit) dropped a heater of a tweet by calling Ohio State the "get-paid factory."

And that's not even mentioning the fact that Tegra Tshabola committed moments before the 2020 draft began. And then recruits like five-star cornerback (and eventual Michigan commit) Will Johnson telling us that the staff got on the call with him less than an hour before its own five-star cornerback, Jeff Okudah, was selected by Johnson's home-state Detroit Lions with the No. 3 overall pick to offer Johnson.

Well, get ready, because stories like those and tweets galore about the Buckeyes' NFL draft success will be flooding your timelines throughout the weekend.

Unless something wild happens like last year – when the Raiders came out of nowhere to grab Damon Arnette in the top 20 – the Buckeyes will only have one first-rounder taken when Justin Fields (I mean, presumably) gets his name called. Though there has been speculation that Pete Werner could be taken in the late first as some scouts have Werner graded as a first-rounder.

Still, even if Fields is Ohio State's lone first-rounder tonight, the Buckeyes will continue their lead for the most all-time first-round picks in college football. Ohio State (84) currently leads USC (82) and Notre Dame (69) for that honor.

Using The Athletic draft analyst Dane Brugler's final mock draft as a resource, only one USC player (offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker) is projected to be selected in the first round, so the Buckeyes should still be ahead by at least two picks in that category.

Ohio State helps its former players cash in as well (or better) as any program in the country, and you can be sure it will be cashing in on that chip on the recruiting trail heavily this weekend.

Top OL targets

This week, we touched on the top quarterback and running back targets remaining in the 2022 class for the Buckeyes and the top receivers and tight ends left.

Now it's time to hit on six top offensive line targets before we sit back and take in the draft.

Kiyaunta Goodwin

Though we have mainly been discussing uncommitted targets here, Goodwin remains in the pole position despite his Kentucky commitment. As we've reported a couple of times, we are told that Goodwin is still set on taking his five official visits this summer when the dead period is over. Ohio State getting a visit would keep it in the loop.

Zach Rice

Don't have much confidence at all that Ohio State will wind up landing the five-star offensive tackle gem, but still have him on the board here if the Buckeyes can work some magic.

Earnest Greene

Projected as a guard at the next level who has the versatility to play tackle (à la five-star signee Donovan Jackson). Offensive tackle is the more-pressing need, but the Buckeyes still need a guard in this class, and Greene is ranked No. 2 at OG in the class. Oh, and his player comparison is former Buckeye and fellow St. John Bosco (California) star Wyatt Davis. So, yeah, no brainer to have him in the upper echelon here.

Addison Nichols

Nichols just released his top five (and simultaneously set his five official visits) of Ohio State, Georgia, Tennessee, USC and Florida). Another player ranked as a guard who has the versatility to play on the perimeter and be a major get if the Buckeyes make a strong impression in June.

Aamil WagnerJaylen Early

Tie for the final spot between an absolute dynamo of an athlete in Wayne (Ohio) High School's Wagner and Early out of Texas powerhouse Duncanville High School. Wagner should be a shoo-in while many are feeling good about Early, who is set to make an official visit to Columbus in June.

Header photo courtesy of Ohio State Dept. of Athletics

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