Ohio State is in hot pursuit of the Montgomery brothers.
Being a 2023 recruit, four-star offensive lineman Luke Montgomery is the more pressing target right now, and he's one of the most important remaining targets on the board for the Buckeyes since offensive tackle remains their biggest recruiting need in the 2023 cycle. Luke released a top six in November consisting of Ohio State, Clemson, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Michigan and Penn State.
Fast-rising 2025 quarterback Ryan Montgomery has also captured OSU's attention, as the Buckeyes made him the first player in the 2025 cycle to receive an Ohio State offer.
To get an update on both prospects’ recruitment, Eleven Warriors spoke with their father Mike Montgomery. The elder Montgomery touched on an assortment of topics including Ryan's rise, Ohio State’s hiring of new offensive line coach Justin Frye, Luke's recruiting timeline and more.
This interview has been edited slightly for length and clarity.
Q: You’ve got two kids in Ryan and Luke who sometimes take visits together, yet they’re in very different stages in their recruitments. What’s that like for you to navigate as a parent?
Mike Montgomery: It’s all a blessing, to be honest. We don’t take it for granted and we know how tough it is to make it and get recruited at a high level, we’re very appreciative of that. But there is a balance. A perfect example is I was going to take Ryan down to Tennessee this Saturday for their junior day because Luke had an opening, but something changed in Luke’s schedule, so we made a switch. Obviously anything that comes up now with Luke, that’s the priority, because his time is ticking. Ryan has got time, but in the same token, things speed up even more for high-profile quarterbacks than regular positions. I’m kind of learning as I go to be honest. But as it stands now, Luke is the priority for whatever comes up this month and the next few months for sure.
Q: Starting with Ryan specifically, I want to flash you back to when he received his offer in Ryan Day’s office. Day told him Ohio State doesn’t typically offer freshmen, yet he offered Ryan anyway. How cool is it to hear something like that from the hometown team?
Montgomery: I was pretty blown away by that. I didn’t know that offer was coming and didn’t anticipate it at all. I know Ryan was playing at a high level and had just secured a Notre Dame offer a week or two before, but Ryan Day is THE guy for quarterbacks. It’s him and Lincoln Riley are probably 1A and 1B in the quarterbacking world. So I just thought in the back of my mind that we were going to be focused on Luke on that visit and Ryan would get to talk to coach Day, but we’d see him at camp again. Because based on his history, he waits till after that freshman year going into the sophomore season to make an offer at camp. But I was pretty stunned by the offer, and I know Ryan was as well.
Q: How cool has it been to see Ryan take over the starting quarterback role for Findlay a few games into his freshman year and develop well as the season plays out?
Montgomery: It was a treat. Looking back I kind of thought if they were going to make a move, that third game made sense. After the season having a conversation with (Findlay head coach Stefan Adams), I learned that was his vision as well. He didn’t want to throw Ryan to the wolves early, we won our first game and struggled a bit our second game, but our senior quarterback is going to play college basketball at the University of Findlay next year. He was probably one of Ryan’s biggest supporters.
That was something that if that wasn’t the case, it would be tough, a senior losing his spot to a freshman. But credit to him saying I want to play, and he ended up being an all-conference receiver, so it worked out. To see Ryan come in and have a lot of success his first game, then get humbled, then bounce back and make that run, I knew he was skilled, I just didn’t know if he’d have the mental skills to do as well as he did and bounce back on big hits. That’s probably where I was most proud as a father was between the ears. I always knew he had talent, since he was a little kid, he’s been good at everything. The mental part of it has been fun to watch.
Q: Luke plays both offensive and defensive line and has been recruited to play both of those positions by several schools. Some are only recruiting him as an offensive lineman, Ohio State being one, and some are recruiting him as a defensive lineman, but is there a position Luke prefers to play?
Montgomery: That’s a good question. I would say in the last five days we finalized that decision that he’s going to pursue offensive line. It was down to Notre Dame really wanting him on defense and we were working through when we were going to tell them because he really enjoyed the guys that were recruiting him over there. Then as chance had it, Mike Elston, Luke’s primary recruiter over there, went up to Michigan. So when he made that move, I was like ‘Let’s just make the call now.’ We were going to wait until we went to our next visit to say we were looking to pursue o-line, and they’re looking to hire a new offensive line coach. So of his six final schools, Notre Dame was the only one that wanted him as defensive line. Even coach Elston had always said at Notre Dame ‘If you really want to play o-line, Notre Dame wants you.’ That was also said by former offensive line coach Jeff Quinn, but Notre Dame didn’t retain coach Quinn.
Anyway that’s a lot of changes, but long story short, he’ll play both ways for his high school team of course, but for college he’ll be primarily offensive line.
Q: Speaking of turnover, Ohio State went in a different direction from Greg Studrawa and brought in Justin Frye as a replacement. He was at Findlay’s basketball game last week with Ryan Day and quarterbacks coach Corey Dennis. How has his interaction with Luke been so far?
Tough one for our boys. I know they will bounce back. Great high school basketball atmosphere! Appreciate @UMichFootball and @OhioStateFB swinging by and checking the game out! #ALLIN pic.twitter.com/fingJFrT0n— Stefan Adams (@stefadams87) January 15, 2022
Montgomery: It’s been wonderful. I think we’ve been on the phone with Justin two to three times already. It’s kind of a bummer they come to your game and per NCAA rules, you can’t speak with them. So we had to wait until they leave and then we call them, another rule they can’t call us but we can call them. I talked to him that night when he was traveling back, I was really impressed with him using his first day out on the recruiting trail to put a priority on Luke. Obviously coach Day as well, that was big for our community and personally made a big splash for our boys. Even coach Dennis, I didn’t anticipate him coming because Ryan is young. But for those three to come, we don’t take that lightly. Any time any coach travels to see the boys, we know they’re a priority and we appreciate that.
With coach Frye, what I’ll say is Luke had a really good rapport with coach Stud, and I’m sure he’ll land on his feet wherever he goes, but we trust Day to make the right tough decisions for the program. With that said Luke and I are looking forward to building a relationship with him, it’s only been some phone calls so far but everything has been positive. We’re really excited to see him in action when they start spring practice and we’re able to visit and watch him coach in person.
Q: Luke recently got a USC offer, I know he recently put out a top six that didn’t have the Trojans on it, but will they factor into his decision before it’s all said and done?
Montgomery: I’ll say they will. I’d say that’s exclusively because of coach Riley. Coach Riley was probably the most impressive zoom call that we had back in the COVID days. We thought highly of his team at Oklahoma, we still think highly of Oklahoma with Brent Venables, I know we need to connect with coach Venables because even though Clemson recruited Luke, we never met Brent because he was a defensive coach. But because Lincoln is out there, and because we’ve met USC offensive line coach Josh Henson now on the phone, we’re going to take a decent look at those guys because the market is incredible out there and I know they’re going to really dominate the Pac-12 and work their way into the final four pretty quickly. I think we’ll do one of our officials to Southern California and see what they’ve got going on out there.
Q: You say you’re humbled by any coach that comes and takes an interest in you guys. Clemson and Notre Dame visited last week, and Jim Harbaugh is going to visit their basketball game on Friday. How humbling is that to see this all happen pretty quickly for Luke as he heads into his last year as a recruit?
Montgomery: It’s incredible. Luke gets excited about it. He feeds off of that in a positive way so the fact that all these coaches are coming, he gets excited about it instead of nervous. When he heard coach Day was coming, he was like ‘Aw sweet, we’ll have a great crowd.’ Coach Harbaugh is coming this Friday, which will be another big crowd. It’s not like Luke has a big head, we wouldn’t let him do that as parents, we’re just thankful he’s a pretty down to earth kid in his own right.
Q: You know I have to ask you about Michigan. Both you and your sons attended the Ohio State vs. Michigan game in November, Luke has a strong relationship with Elston because of the time at Notre Dame and a good relationship with other staff members. Obviously, all you guys are Ohio residents, and I assume most of your friends and family are Ohio State fans. So how weird has it been, if at all, for Luke to strongly consider going to Michigan?
Montgomery: Well, that’s what he’s had to learn quickly. You have to learn to put fandom behind yourself and look at the big picture. I think with him being a pretty mature kid he realizes that. Even though, yeah, he would consider himself an Ohio State fan before being recruited, he has really been open enough to check out any school. Michigan has done an outstanding job recruiting him, they really have. Prior to Luke and this new staff, I would tell them this, I don’t think they did a great job recruiting Ohio. I know that’s obviously changed and a focus now. They’ve been first class all the way and I do see them being in the mix right down to the end because of the relationships that we have with coach Sherrone Moore and even Jim Harbaugh to be honest. I know it’s a great school and with the new staff they have, they’ve turned the corner. They have to do it for more than one year. Prior to this year, they couldn’t beat Ohio State, that was a big deal. But with the energy and success that they’ve had, they’re a force in my opinion.
Q: I know you said Luke would consider taking an official to USC, but have you guys made any plans for what other visits Luke will take this spring yet?
Montgomery: Not exactly. I’m pretty sure we’re going to USC on April 23, then I’m trying to find out from other staffs what they have. When I say other, I basically mean our top six. Are they offering visits in April and May? Because a lot of schools aren’t there yet and don’t have those schedules ready from what I’m finding. Hopefully we’ll know more in a few weeks. Obviously, it’s Luke’s call on this, but my gut would tell me he’ll do two or three, I don’t see him doing five, because I think he wants to have this thing wrapped up before he gets out of school in mid-to-late May.
Q: You already answered my next question. I knew Luke was looking to commit before the start of his senior year but was wondering if you had a specific time frame in mind. So mid-to-late May is the goal?
Montgomery: That’s what he’s thinking. That could change of course, he is a kid. But I’d be surprised if it did change. I think we want to do a big event here for the community at our high school to make a big splash for him and our community before the students get out of school. I would say that’s the thought process as of now.