Luke Montgomery has been one of Ohio State’s top offensive line targets in the recruiting class of 2023 since he received an offer from the Buckeyes in February.
Until Friday night, however, Montgomery hadn’t actually played a high school football game on the offensive line.
After playing on the defensive line and at tight end for Findlay High School last season, Montgomery made his first start at left tackle on Friday night, when he helped lead the Trojans to a 24-14 win over Anthony Wayne in the first game of his junior season.
While Montgomery previously told Eleven Warriors in June that he preferred playing defensive line, he said after Friday night’s game at Findlay’s Donnell Stadium that he is starting to get comfortable at offensive tackle – though he knows he still has a lot to work on.
“Technique is a huge part of offensive line,” Montgomery said. “You can go out and throw, you can go out and pass, but when it comes to offensive line, it’s unnatural, so I still have a lot to work on.”
That said, Montgomery didn’t look out of place on Friday night. On the very first play of the game, Montgomery drove a defensive lineman 10 yards downfield and buried him into the ground. He had several more pancake blocks over the course of the night, showing the power and nastiness that has made him a top target for Greg Studrawa and Ohio State in the 2023 class, and didn’t give up any pressures in pass protection.
Luke Montgomery (55) putting his man in the ground as Findlay runs for a first down. pic.twitter.com/OkdqKQOVx7— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) August 21, 2021
He also continued to play defensive end in a part-time capacity on Friday, consistently setting the edge against an opponent that rarely ran in his direction, though he wants to be on the field for even more plays on defense as the season progresses.
“I got a lot to work on stamina-wise. I’ve gotta be able to play the whole game and not come off the field,” Montgomery said. “You don’t really see that in college, playing both ways. But in high school, I just gotta give my team my all and just keep working and try not to come off the field.”
In college, Montgomery will most likely play exclusively on the offensive line. That’s the position that most of the nation’s top programs, including Ohio State, are recruiting him to play. At 6-foot-5 and 260 pounds, Montgomery has an offensive tackle’s frame with plenty of room to grow and quick feet to pair with his length and strength. A four-star recruit, Montgomery is ranked as the third-best prospect in the state of Ohio and the No. 59 overall prospect in the nation for the 2023 class.
The big question now isn’t where on the field he will be lining up, but what college football team he’ll be playing for.
Ohio State has always been viewed as the frontrunner in his recruitment, and there’s no reason to think that’s changed. Montgomery said Friday that his interest in Ohio State remains strong. He visited Ohio State three times this summer, plans to return for the Buckeyes’ Sept. 11 home opener against Oregon and could make the 90-minute trip down to Columbus again for Ohio State’s Oct. 30 game against Penn State.
That said, Montgomery also expects to visit at least five more schools this fall. He plans to attend Penn State’s home game against Auburn on Sept. 18, Notre Dame’s home games against Cincinnati and USC in October and the Michigan/Ohio State game in Ann Arbor in November, while he also intends to go to a Clemson game as well as a game at either Alabama, Georgia or Oklahoma this fall.
He says he is being recruited hard by and building good relationships with coaches from all of those programs, and he’s trying to take his time with the recruiting process. While there are plenty of people who want him to be a Buckeye, Montgomery says he doesn’t plan to make a commitment until the spring, though he does expect to commit before his senior season at Findlay.
“A lot of teams are up there right now, and I’m looking to keep narrowing it down after going to some games this fall and then taking some officials in April, hopefully,” Montgomery said. “There’s always pressure to be a Buckeye coming from Ohio, but I’m not letting that faze me. I’m just gonna keep on track and keep that between my mom and dad and I, and really look forward to seeing what the future holds for me, what school I choose.”
While he expects to receive plenty of calls from Studrawa, other Ohio State coaches and college football coaches from throughout the nation once they’re allowed to begin contacting 2023 recruits directly on Sept. 1, Montgomery said his primary focus right now is on his high school season.
“We’re 1-0, we’ve got nine more games to go and then playoffs,” Montgomery said. “And we’re here to work hard.”
One thing Montgomery doesn’t have to worry about anymore is getting questions about whether he could be the first player to commit to Ohio State’s recruiting class of 2023, as the Buckeyes landed their first commitment for the cycle from Tennessee tight end Ty Lockwood on Thursday. Lockwood and his father are now among those trying to convince Montgomery to play for the Buckeyes, though.
“Oh yeah, I talk to him all the time,” Montgomery said of Lockwood. “He’s awesome. His parents are awesome. I saw him at the BBQ (at Ohio State in July) and we really hit it off. His parents are amazing people. His dad, Mr. Lockwood, texted me yesterday and even he’s recruiting me. So I thought that was pretty cool.”