Luke Montgomery paused, pursed his lips and looked upward.
“Ummm…” he said, trailing off.
A reporter on one of the outdoor fields at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center had just asked him what would put his eventual school over the top in order to earn his commitment.
“I don’t know, honestly,” Montgomery said, having recently wrapped up his workout in front of Ohio State’s coaches. “That’s a good question, that’s a good question.”
He eventually put together an answer – one similar to that which other top prospects say.
He talked about the wow factor, spoke about determining whether or not he could see himself grinding on a daily basis in the weight room and the practice facility with the guys on a given roster and mentioned the importance of finding out who’s going to take the best care of him.
“I think that's what it comes down to,” Montgomery said.
He thinks. He doesn’t know.
And for that reason, Montgomery’s going to need some time before he makes up his mind about which college football program he’ll eventually join.
For a while, he’s been a popular candidate to potentially be the first commitment in Ohio State’s 2023 recruiting class. That, he says, probably won’t happen – “I wouldn't expect it to be me.” Right now, the high-end four-star offensive lineman is squarely in the evaluation stage. He, along with his father and younger brother Ryan, have spent the month of June traversing the country on a wild tour of colleges.
First, Ohio State on the first day of the month. Then they went to Michigan, Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, Clemson, Oklahoma and, once again, Ohio State on Tuesday. The Montgomerys aren’t done yet. They’re hitting up Michigan State and Notre Dame over the weekend before traveling to Penn State and Michigan in late July.
As recruits, it’s been a successful trip. Montgomery has earned a couple of offers this month, including one from Nick Saban and Alabama. His brother Ryan, a quarterback in the 2025 cycle, picked up offers from Michigan, Tennessee and Georgia Tech. And as a family, it’s been plenty enjoyable as well.
“It's a great opportunity and it's going to be something we'll remember and cherish for the rest of our lives,” Montgomery said. “Just us three being able to go out and see all these schools. Not many kids get that opportunity, so it's a big blessing.”
Greg Studrawa loved what he saw on this rep from Luke Montgomery: pic.twitter.com/ebZ8smtdH9— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) June 22, 2021
He named a quartet of schools not named Ohio State that has stood out on visits thus far: Alabama, Oklahoma, Clemson and Georgia. All of them, he says, have “impressed me.”
Evidently, given the momentum he has continued to pick up on the recruiting trail, the impressiveness is mutual.
At a long-armed 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds in the summer before his junior year at Findlay High School, he’s the No. 53 overall recruit nationally and the third-best Ohioan in his cycle. Part of what makes him so enticing is how far he has come as a prospect despite being so incredibly raw as an offensive lineman.
Despite reeling in scholarship offer after scholarship offer, he still has yet to play a year of high school football on the offensive line. He spent last year for Findlay at tight end – with a dose of fullback – and defensive tackle. Some schools, namely Notre Dame and Michigan State, like him as a defensive lineman at the next level. He says at this point he prefers playing that side of the ball, though he claims it won’t factor into his college decision at all. Perhaps that’s partly because everybody else, including the Buckeyes, want him to play offensive line for them.
Ohio State has recruited him as an offensive tackle, and they’ve even thrown out the idea of him playing center, which is another position he hasn’t ever played before.
“I mean, I'm up for it,” Montgomery said. “It'll be fun. We'll see.”
The in-state prospect has long been a favorite of the Big Ten powerhouse, and Ryan Day has emphasized landing the best Ohioans as early as possible. Montgomery picked up a scholarship offer from the Buckeyes in February when Greg Studrawa and the rest of the staff decided they couldn’t wait to see him in person before pulling the trigger.
Finally, this month, Montgomery has gotten in front of Ohio State’s coaches. He called his midweek workout in Columbus “awesome,” saying he’d been waiting a “long time” for it to happen. Studrawa had his eyes trained on Montgomery while he went through drills, telling him that his “feet are there” but that he has to work on his hand usage as a blocker.
“I love coach Stud,” Montgomery said. “He's a character. He's got a lot of energy. Obviously he knows the game. He's put players in the NFL year after year, so he knows his stuff. That was pretty exciting.”
Montgomery says he fully plans to be back at Ohio State for at least one game in the fall, when he plans to cut down his list of suitors. That shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the Buckeyes have been viewed as a favorite for a while.
For now, though, all Montgomery and his family want to do is make up for lost time by continuing to take the college trips they’d been unable to do until the NCAA’s recruiting dead period came to an end at the start of June.