There's been plenty of criticism on Ohio State recruiting when it comes to landing highly touted offensive linemen.
While Ryan Day has said multiple times this season he cares more about on-field results than he does about how many stars are next to a recruit's name, the Buckeyes picked up a recruiting win on Tuesday that is nearly historic. Taking a Wisconsin offensive lineman, one who grew up a Badgers fan at that, and steering him toward one of their Big Ten rivals is no small feat.
So much so that Carson Hinzman, who committed to Ohio State on Tuesday, will be the first Wisconsin resident to play for OSU since center Jimmie Meckstroth (Wilton, Wisconsin) played for OSU in the 1971 and 1972 seasons, and only the third ever along with George Zavistoske (Racine, Wisconsin), who played halfback for the Buckeyes from 1939-1941.
"I didn't even know that," Hinzman told Eleven Warriors Tuesday when asked about being third-ever Wisconsin resident to play for OSU. "That's kind of cool. Coming from the area I did, it's just work, I'm bringing a blue-collar ethic and stuff like that into a program. I'm ready to get to work and bring some pride over there."
Significant recruiting milestone aside and onto more immediate concerns, Hinzman becomes the fourth and likely final offensive lineman of Ohio State’s 2022 class.
While his heart belonged to the Badgers initially, it slowly shifted toward the Buckeyes as his recruitment played out. Taking three visits to Ohio State in a four-month span played a large role in that, as he made an official visit to Columbus in June and visited Ohio State’s home games against Oregon and Penn State.
"I think (Ohio State) really spoke to me in a way that they care even more outside of football as they do about the athlete inside," Hinzman said Tuesday. "I think that's really important to help further your football career and you business career. I wanted to be a great person outside of football, too."
He took his time deciding between Ohio State and Wisconsin, delaying his decision until after the early signing period, but in the end, the allure of playing at Ohio Stadium was too much to pass up.
On The Field
Hinzman has played every position on the offensive line for Saint Croix Central, but his future with the Buckeyes will be inside at guard or center, not tackle. At 6-foot-4 and 280 pounds, Hinzman has the frame to put on weight.
Like other offensive linemen before him, Hinzman has drawn rave reviews on his athleticism from being a multi-sport athlete and playing basketball. Current right tackle Dawand Jones would be proud.
From his film, Hinzman is a lineman who plays to the whistle and can pull and get to the second level with ease. His agility is consistently on display, and it’s easy to see him developing into a multi-year starter in Columbus.
Regular Season Offensive Highlights!!— Carson Hinzman (@HinzmanCarson) October 20, 2021
(Will Post Full Highlights at the End of the Season)
Also So Far
All Conference OL/DL
All Conference Player of the Year pic.twitter.com/4FYAIcEEBf
Hinzman also played defensive tackle for the Panthers, but he’ll play on the offensive side of the ball in college.
In a pandemic-shortened junior season, Hinzman led the Panthers to a 5-2 record. His high school career didn’t end the way he wanted with Saint Croix Central finishing 4-6 and losing in the first round of the Wisconsin Division 4 playoffs during his senior season.
At the first practice for the All-American West team on Tuesday, Hinzman lined up as the team's starting center, snapping the ball in the shotgun formation for the first time.
When asked what he saw his Ohio State future being, though, he thinks it’s at either left or right guard.
"I guess I'm not sure, obviously I'm not 6-foot-7 or 6-8 so I'll probably be playing interior I'm guessing for sure," Hinzman said of Ohio State's plans for him at the next level. "They have a really great center now, so I'm guessing I'll play at the guard position, but if I could play center as well that would be big."
Carson Hinzman (#75 playing center) going at it with Iowa signee Aaron Graves. pic.twitter.com/lrJuzFD7m1— Garrick Hodge (@Garrick_Hodge) January 4, 2022
Made it to the first practice of the All-American Bowl West team. Ohio State 2022 offensive lineman signee George Fitzpatrick and 2022 target Carson Hinzman are running drills together. pic.twitter.com/NAerPcBtuA— Garrick Hodge (@Garrick_Hodge) January 4, 2022
In The Class
Hinzman’s commitment may wrap up the Buckeyes’ recruiting of offensive linemen in this cycle. With Hinzman in the fold, OSU now has four offensive linemen committed, as Hinzman joins George Fitzpatrick, Tegra Tshabola and Avery Henry. Henry and Fitzpatrick both profile as tackles at the collegiate level. Tshabola is probably destined to play inside at Ohio State, though Tshabola could also end up playing tackle.
After the commitment of Henry, it seemed to be a staring contest between Hinzman and OSU’s other top offensive lineman to fill out the class, Earnest Greene. While Georgia and Alabama are viewed as the frontrunners to land Greene, he told Eleven Warriors on Tuesday that Ohio State is also is in his top four, along with Texas. If Greene still wanted to commit to the Buckeyes, they’d likely still accept his commitment, which he will announce on Saturday at the All-American Bowl.
In any case, Ohio State always wanted to sign four offensive linemen in the 2022 class, and the Buckeyes have now met that mark. A four-star recruit, Hinzman becomes Ohio State’s 16th four-star commit in this cycle. As mentioned above, Hinzman is the first commit of the 2022 class (and many more before it) to come from Wisconsin.
Ohio State’s class of 2022, which still ranks fourth in the nation, now includes 20 total commits.
Hinzman picked Ohio State over Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Alabama, Arizona State, Auburn, LSU, Michigan, Nebraska, Oregon and Penn State, among others.