Four commits in Ohio State’s 2023 class worked out at Tuesday’s camp, and although they don’t all play the same position, they all drilled together for one portion of the afternoon.
That’s because Ty Lockwood, a four-star tight end and the first commit in the cycle for the Buckeyes, wants to get a jump on refining his blocking skills, which he rarely utilizes at Independence High School in Thompson’s Station, Tennessee. For that reason, Lockwood was lined up right alongside offensive linemen and future teammates Luke Montgomery, Joshua Padilla and Austin Siereveld for part of his afternoon workout as all four learned from first-year offensive line coach Justin Frye.
Lockwood has already been on campus on numerous occasions and as a commit, he wasn’t exactly fishing for an offer on Tuesday. But the camp setting afforded him an opportunity to sharpen his tools, build camaraderie with members of his class and become better acquainted with the coaching staff he will soon work with at the next level.
“It’s a great opportunity no matter what. If I wasn’t committed, I’d still be here camping obviously. But because I am, I’m gonna be here in six months because I’m gonna early enroll,” Lockwood said after camp. “It’s good to get with my future coach, get under his stuff and figure out what he wants me to do and get better on and just everything like that. … It was a lot of fun. Since I’ve committed I’ve been here a good amount, but finally getting to work out with Coach (Kevin) Wilson was really fun. I got to catch a couple passes from Coach (Ryan) Day, it’s just a great experience all around.”
As much as Lockwood loved working with Wilson, he said the Buckeyes’ co-offensive coordinator and tight ends coach gave him a little extra push during drill work given his status as an Ohio State commit.
“Obviously I’m a commit, so he’s gonna be a little bit tougher on me. And I appreciate that, I love that. Absolutely love that,” Lockwood said. “So it’s good for him to get out there and me to get out there playing for him. He was a little bit tough on me, but it’s gonna make me better and I’m willing to take on the process.”
The pair initially built up their relationship during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, so having the chance to work together in person was a welcome change of pace. Lockwood described Wilson as a “very smart man” and a “wizard when it comes to this stuff,” and said he cherished the chance to get his feedback after the workouts wrapped up as well.
It’s no secret that tight ends spend less time catching passes than they do blocking in Wilson and Day’s offense, but even though Lockwood is more of a pass-catching threat at the high school level, he has no problem with that. In fact, much like 2022 NFL draftee Jeremy Ruckert, Lockwood said he sought out the Buckeye program for that exact reason.
“(Ruckert) was a receiver in high school, he did a lot of receiving, he ran a lot of routes, he caught the ball a ton. He went here and worked on that blocking, which is just exactly what I gotta do,” Lockwood said. “At my high school, I don’t do a lot of that. I’m receiving a lot, flexed out. It’s gonna be great for me to get here and work on the things that I need to work on to get better all around. … I think that helps a lot. Like I was saying, I don’t really get in the tight end position a lot. That's definitely gonna help me get my stance down, be able to explode out of it, keep my feet moving and get a couple pancakes this season.”
Clean route and catch for Ty Lockwood: pic.twitter.com/Reb1CzpMkp— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) June 7, 2022
Lockwood knows which aspects of his game he must round out, and that’s what made his work with Frye all the more important. But it was also a chance to test out his on-field rapport with several players he’ll soon be lining up with on the Buckeye offense.
The 6-foot-5, 225-pound tight end has had ample time to begin forging relationships with Montgomery, Padilla and Siereveld, but getting on the gridiron together may be even more vital.
“It was good. I’ve been talking to those guys a whole lot, got a couple group chats with them. So it’s good to get out there with them and compete, see what they’re like, see what I’m like and kind of match our speeds and get closer to each other,” Lockwood said.
“Our relationship has definitely built closer from that, and it’s good to see us all of us in one little scenario working together out there. So I had a lot of fun with them.”
That group represents four of the 10 commits in Ohio State’s class of 2023, which ranks fourth-best in the nation per 247Sports. As the first commit of the bunch, Lockwood still feels a responsibility to help build out the rest of the class. His recruiting efforts have been evident on social media, but of course, plenty of that takes place behind the scenes as well.
“My boys in the class with me already, it’s great to have them there. We got some great guys, great group of guys, stud athletes, that’s for sure,” Lockwood said. “I think going out this offseason, going to 7-on-7s, that helped a lot. I was able to see a lot of receivers and skill positions and quarterbacks out there, so I could kind of put out the good word and build a relationship with them.”
Lockwood said his top target to join Ohio State’s 2023 recruiting class is five-star wideout Brandon Inniss. The No. 2 receiver in the country, Inniss will visit Ohio State from June 17-19, and there’s little doubt the Buckeyes will put the full-court press on the 18th-ranked prospect in the nation.
“For sure, Inniss. We need Inniss,” Lockwood said. “He’s a dog, man. He’s a beast.”
Lockwood’s pitch isn’t all that difficult given the proven track record of the Buckeye program, but there’s still plenty of work to be done before the class officially signs. As much as he revels in being a recruit the Buckeyes have built around in the 2023 cycle, Lockwood wants to see even more talent join him, Montgomery, Padilla, Siereveld and the rest of the group in the very near future.
“It’s been fun. I mean, it’s been an absolute experience. It's been great seeing these guys come in, and they’re gonna experience it and seeing how they love it and talking to them,” Lockwood said. “It’s fun keeping in touch with these higher recruits, they’re all great kids so it’s gonna be fun to reel them in.”