St. Edward coach Tom Lombardo didn’t need more than a second to reflect.
Asked how much Ohio State offensive line commitments and identical twins Devontae and Deontae Armstrong have improved since last season, Lombardo couldn’t help but gush about two key pieces of his roster.
“No question they’ve improved exponentially,” Lombardo told Eleven Warriors. “They played 16 games last year and you saw the improvement from the beginning of the year through game 16. Now with an offseason, they’ve transformed their bodies even more. They play such a physical brand of football right now and it’s really helping us.”
The Armstrong twins have always boasted strong physical traits, but Lombardo said the biggest step the duo has taken has been from the mental side of the game, particularly in understanding defenses and movements schematically.
“When they started last year it was like ‘Alright, you’re stepping here and doing this,’ and if we played stationary they were pretty solid,” Lombardo said. “But anytime there’s movement and that kind of stuff, that adjustment and anticipation is where it took them a little bit to develop in that regard. But now they have a real good sense of it in the scheme we’re in. They have the physical tools, but if that comes along, that sky is the limit obviously at Ohio State and maybe beyond.”
Lombardo has known the duo for a long time, and said he taught the pair in school their freshman years. It didn’t take too long for him to tell them apart from each other but he admitted that may be due to the fact that he knew where each of them sat in the classroom more than anything else. But as they matured, Lombardo said Deontae grew to be the taller of the two, while Devontae is slightly thicker.
At Ohio State, Deontae is projected to begin his career as an offensive tackle.
“He’s pretty athletic, kind of like a basketball player at tackle, which is what you want,” Lombardo said of Deontae. “He’s got great feet, he’s physical and can pull from the tackle position. Obviously, the most important stuff is in pass sets. He’s done a great job in all those categories and I think that’s what makes him such a good prospect.”
Devontae is seen more as a guard and plays on the interior for St. Edward as well. Though Lombardo said he wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up playing multiple positions in college.
“Devontae is more of a physical guy, he’ll devastate opponents on down blocks,” Lombardo said. “Coach Justin Frye I think through the years of getting to know him well, he wants guys that can fit different positions. I don’t think he recruits just centers, tackles or guards. You have the framework for that, but I think these guys are that in some ways. Especially Devontae, I could see him being inside or outside. He’s establishing himself on the inside pretty clearly now and doing a nice job with the stuff we’re asking him to do. The guard does a little less on the edge in terms of pass protection, and maybe you pull him a little more than a tackle and trap more. He’s good at all these things.”
Both linemen have been active peer recruiters on social media for Ohio State and are eager to suit up for the team they grew up rooting for their entire lives. Off to a 4-1 start to the season, the Armstrongs hope to help St. Edward win its third straight state championship.
“They certainly love the fact that they’re heading (to OSU) for the next level,” Lombardo said of the Armstrongs.
Tiqwai Hayes to commit Monday
An Ohio State running back in the 2025 class has scheduled his college commitment. Four-star Pennsylvania prospect Tiqwai Hayes will choose from a top eight of Ohio State, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Michigan, West Virginia, Maryland, Cincinnati and Michigan State at 3:30 p.m. on Monday.
Hayes earned his offer on April 1 after taking a visit to Columbus. In his sophomore season at Aliquippa (Aliquippa, Pennsylvania), Hayes racked up 2,011 yards on 224 carries with 33 rushing touchdowns and one receiving touchdown. He also played safety for his team and had three interceptions (two returned for touchdowns), five pass breakups and 11 tackles.
Five days before his commitment, Penn State is seen as the favorite to land the in-state product. Should that prediction come to fruition, Ohio State has plenty of quality targets in the 2025 class at running back, including in-state prospects Bo Jackson and Marquise Davis along with premier talents Jordon Davison and Tory Blaylock.
Guerby Lambert commits to Notre Dame
A former Ohio State offensive tackle target in the 2024 class made his college decision Tuesday, as four-star prospect Guerby Lambert committed to the Buckeyes' upcoming opponent this week, Notre Dame.
Lambert had been trending away from OSU for several months, but did take an official visit to Columbus in June. Ohio State has two priority offensive line targets remaining for the 2024 cycle, Brandon Baker and Jordan Seaton.
Baker will announce his commitment Sunday, though Texas is the expected pick for the five-star California prospect. Seaton is expected to take an official visit to OSU sometime later this fall.