When former offensive line coach Greg Studrawa was fired by Ohio State, it left one of its biggest 2023 offensive line targets wondering where he stood.
Four-star New Jersey offensive tackle Chase Bisontis had all his concerns alleviated once he talked to newly hired offensive line coach Justin Frye for the first time over the phone on Jan. 14.
“It was an introduction of who he is, his background, how he develops guys, then he started asking me about my personal life,” Bisontis told Eleven Warriors of what his conversation with Frye was like. “He started talking about my goals and then he started saying that he’s going to have two first-round draft pick tackles next season, so he needs me to come in and replace them. He told me that I’m one of his top priorities right now.”
For reasons outlined above with the potential departure of Dawand Jones and Paris Johnson Jr. after the 2022 season, offensive tackle is certainly one of Ohio State's biggest priorities in the 2023 cycle. Luke Montgomery, Kadyn Proctor and Payton Kirkland are all among OSU's top tackle targets in the class. Bisontis, the 53rd-best prospect and fourth-best offensive tackle in the class per 247Sports’ composite rankings, firmly belongs in that category as well. Hearing he was one of the Buckeyes’ top priorities from the new offensive line coach himself made the Don Bosco Prep (Ramsey, New Jersey) standout flash a smile.
“It’s awesome because I really liked Ohio State when they had coach Stud,” he said. “When he left, I was like, I’m not sure. But (Frye) reassured me.”
Frye has prioritized relationship building with Bisontis early in his OSU tenure, flying to New Jersey on Tuesday to watch Bisontis work out at his high school. With Frye in attendance, Bisontis did upper body workouts, including max bench press, and box jumps.
“He told my coach that he liked how I was in my natural state with my guys and my gym,” Bisontis said of Frye. “He said he really likes my work ethic and that he can’t wait to coach me.”
Bisontis and Frye connected for a third time on Thursday with another phone call. While Bisontis had a close relationship with Studrawa, the coaching change likely won’t impact the way he feels about the Buckeyes.
“Not severely. Ohio State is really up there for me right now,” Bisontis said.
Bisontis said his top schools at the moment are Ohio State, Michigan State, Notre Dame and Rutgers. While he said he doesn’t know if he’ll take official visits to all four of his top schools, he plans on taking at least an unofficial visit to each one.
“I don’t have anything set up really for anybody, but Ohio State is one of my top schools so I’m definitely going to be back there,” Bisontis said. “(Coach Frye) also said he might bring coach (Ryan) Day to see me workout or visit me. But I’m definitely going to get back to Ohio State.”
At this point, it does not appear far-fetched to call Ohio State the leader in Bisontis’ recruitment. He feels a connection with the Buckeyes through his longstanding relationship with Day and looks up to OSU defensive end Tyler Friday, who also attended Don Bosco Prep. Bisontis also communicates occasionally with New Jersey native and Ohio State center Luke Wypler, who played Bisontis in high school when the 2023 prospect was a freshman. The pair chatted as recently as Tuesday over text message.
“I asked him how he feels about coach Frye and he was saying only good things,” Bisontis said.
The 6-foot-5, 290-pound Bisontis makes no secret about his ultimate goal as it pertains to football: Make it to the NFL. He’s looking for a school that can both help him develop into a pro player while also working toward a degree. It will be one of the biggest things Bisontis, who primarily played left tackle last season, looks for as he makes a collegiate decision no later than June, though he could also commit during his official visits in the spring.
“Definitely before my senior season,” Bisontis said of his commitment timeline. “The latest I’d want to do is June 10, that’s the day I turn 18. Maybe that would be pretty cool. But also if something feels right, if I feel comfortable at the time, I may just pull the trigger.”
Regardless of when he commits, Ohio State will be in the race for Bisontis right until the end.
“It’s one of the best if not the best Big Ten school,” Bisontis said of Ohio State. “They produce great offensive linemen every year. I like my relationship with coach Day, and I know a bunch of New Jersey guys … I just feel really comfortable with OSU.”