One day after Ryan Day went on a sermon about the necessity of recruiting players that want to be at Ohio State, the Buckeyes landed a commitment from a prospect who fits that very mold.
Avery Henry, a 6-foot-6, 305 pound offensive tackle from St. Clairsville, Ohio, committed to the Buckeyes on Wednesday, just two days after receiving his offer from offensive line coach Greg Studrawa.
When he took his first visit to Columbus this fall for Ohio State’s Sept. 25 game against Akron, Henry was an Iowa State commit. After speaking with the coaching staff and gauging their interest, that was enough for him to decommit from the Cyclones and reopen his recruitment. Less than a month after that, Henry officially declared his intentions to play for the Buckeyes.
Henry is a less heralded prospect than the other 15 members of Ohio State’s 2022 class. He is ranked as the No. 1,214 overall prospect and No. 122 offensive tackle in the cycle, per 247Sports’ composite rankings. Nonetheless, Day and Studrawa felt confident in extending an offer to the local product. He’s the first three-star commitment in the cycle, giving OSU one five star (C.J. Hicks), 14 four-stars and now one three-star in the 2022 class.
“You do have to be smart about how many of those guys you take, and that’s part of the puzzle,” Day said at his Tuesday press conference when asked about recruiting less heralded players. “Just in general right now, you really have to recruit guys that want to be at Ohio State, guys that want to be Buckeyes and understand what being a Buckeye is. Because the minute something doesn’t go well, they could walk out the door. So we’re really taking that to heart and evaluating all these guys and what we think, not trying to look at the stars or who’s recruiting them. What do we think, and what do we think is the right fit for Ohio State? I think we’ve done a good job of that. There are certain situations where you see traits and then think, ‘Can we develop him?’ Dawand (Jones) is an example of that.”
Of course, Ohio State’s decision to take a chance on Henry could also be an indicator that the Buckeyes aren’t in position to land many of their other top remaining targets on the offensive line.
On The Field
It’s hard to think someone can look lean yet also weigh 305 pounds, but that’s how Henry appears after losing more than 50 pounds. Henry is a two-way player for his high school, also playing defensive line for St. Clairsville.
On offense, he has played both tackle spots. While blocking, he displays heavy hands and a high motor to continue his blocks through the whistle. He’s been efficient as both a run blocker and a pass blocker.
If Henry sees the field at Ohio State, it’s likely going to be a few years before that happens. Henry will need to bulk up more muscle and have a tenacious work ethic to work his way up the depth chart. He's already displayed his commitment to improve his physical shape considering he weighed almost 400 pounds at one point.
Henry wouldn’t be the first three-star project to become an impact player on Ohio State's offensive line. Current starting right tackle Dawand Jones was also ranked outside the top 1,000 in 2019 (though Jones always had rare physical attributes). Other recent three-star offensive line recruits to join OSU include Trey Leroux, Jakob James, Grant Toutant and Josh Fryar in the class of 2020. One of the best three-star Ohio State offensive linemen in recent history was Pat Elflein, who now plays on Sundays for the Carolina Panthers.
In the Class
Henry is now the 16th member of the 2022 Ohio State recruiting class. He’s the third offensive lineman, joining Tegra Tshabola and George Fitzpatrick. Like Fitzpatrick, he profiles as more of a tackle than he would a guard.
While Henry is on the board for the Buckeyes, that fact leads to an obvious elephant in the room: Ohio State is not going to hit on all its top offensive line targets in this cycle. The Buckeyes still want to take one more offensive lineman to fill out the 2022 class, and the top candidates look like Earnest Greene, Kam Dewberry and Carson Hinzman. OSU would have loved to get two of those three, but it appears the Buckeyes will land one at the most. Zach Rice and Aamil Wagner are also still possibilities, but at this point, it would be surprising if the Buckeyes landed either. Greene is scheduled to visit Columbus on Oct. 30 for the Penn State game.
Henry picked Ohio State over Iowa State, West Virginia, Akron, Eastern Michigan and Syracuse. He was a West Virginia legacy, with his grandfather playing for the Mountaineers in the early 1960s.