Better Know a Buckeye: Gavin Cupp

By Vico on May 27, 2016 at 10:10 am
Gavin Cupp

Our "Better Know a Buckeye" series continues with its 16th installment. We profile Gavin Cupp, an offensive tackle prospect from Leipsic, Ohio.

Gavin Cupp

  • Size: 6-5/270
  • Position: OT
  • (Hometown) School: Leipsic, OH (Leipsic)
  • 247 Composite: ★★★
  • National Ranking: 410
  • Position Ranking: 40 (OT)
  • State Ranking: 14 (OH)

Ohio State fans may have heard Cupp's story. It was a source of some controversy last summer. Cupp wanted to compete at Ohio State's Friday Night Lights camp to earn an Ohio State scholarship offer. However, he was a verbal pledge to Michigan State, whose coaches have a strict policy about commitments taking visits elsewhere. Michigan State kicked Cupp from its recruiting class after Friday Night Lights, leaving him in a limbo for several days until Ohio State called to offer him. He committed to Ohio State a week after Michigan State rescinded his scholarship offer.

I retell this below and proceed to a scouting report of Cupp, a big-time offensive lineman prospect from a small town and small program. Thereafter, I provide a projection of a redshirt and some highlight film for the reader to watch at the end of the feature.


Most Ohio State fans didn't know about Gavin Cupp until a controversy emerged about Michigan State and its recruiting practices under Mark Dantonio.

Cupp committed to Michigan State on May 14 last year, a month to the day after Michigan State surprised him with a scholarship offer after an unofficial visit. Cupp chose Michigan State over other offers from Cincinnati, Illinois, Minnesota, and, among others, Missouri. He did say that Michigan State was by far his best option from that list and it was close to his Leipsic home. However, Cupp chose to pull the trigger in May because Michigan State, at the time, had just one spot left for an offensive lineman in its recruiting class. Cupp wanted to secure his spot.

However, he also wanted to earn an offer from Ohio State, his dream school. Ohio State had been in contact early in his recruitment. He visited Ohio State for two games in the 2014 season and even visited Ohio State four days after Michigan State gave him an offer. He targeted the Friday Night Lights camp as the ideal platform to showcase his talents to Ohio State coaches and earn their offer.

Cupp's choice may have been admirable for his own pursuits but it defied a policy Michigan State had about commitments taking visits elsewhere. Dantonio forbids Michigan State verbal commitments from taking unofficial visits to other programs. Many coaches have similar policies in place.

Dantonio showed his policy was more credible threat than bluff when Michigan State rescinded Cupp's scholarship offer on July 26, two days after Ohio State's Friday Night Lights camp. This put Cupp in a limbo. Michigan State's coaches booted him from their class and Ohio State's coaches had yet to inform Cupp whether he had a place in theirs. His other options (e.g. Illinois, Minnesota, and Missouri) were fine choices, but the developments left Cupp feeling he had let go of a bird in the hand without knowing if there were two in the bush.

A few days later, Ohio State's coaches called Cupp to inform him they wanted him in their recruiting class. It did not take long for Cupp to accept it.


Gavin Cupp committed to Ohio State five days later on August 4 as the 16th member of its 2016 recruiting class.

Cupp expressed relief with the commitment. It had been a long week since Michigan State dropped him to when he committed to Ohio State. He explained the week's events in an interview with Eleven Warriors.

"It was Coach (Tim) Hinton who offered me, and I called (Ed) Warinner right after," Cupp said, recalling that Thursday morning.  "He didn't want an answer right away so later that night I called (Tim) Hinton and committed. I really didn't have any thoughts (about the offer) other than relief that my family and I could finally sleep and breathe again (laughs). I was glad I did enough at the camp to get the offer, because I felt I had more to prove to everyone and I did that. I couldn't be happier to be a Buckeye, I grew up a huge Buckeye fan and I'm named after Woody Hayes – Gavin Hayes Cupp – so it's almost destiny."


Recruiting services evaluate Cupp as a tackle prospect but he could conceivably play any position on the offensive line at Ohio State. He's a versatile offensive line prospect.

He's an athletic prospect despite his humble origins. Consider the competition, but do note that Cupp played as a stand-up end when he was on the defensive side of the ball in high school.

He shows a great leg drive on his blocks. He's light on his feet and does well to pull in run-blocking. He has a good first step too.

He's a tenacious run-blocker too. Watch his hands, in particular. He locks his defender quickly, drives him backward, and finishes his block. Coaches will like that ability to finish blocks.


Cupp could nominally play any position on the offensive line but I would be surprised if he emerges as a left tackle candidate at Ohio State. He's a right tackle if he plays on the end. In all likelihood, I think he's a guard.

Cupp comes from a town of 2,000 and played in a small league in which he was absolutely dominant. He could well emerge as a star at Ohio State, but the first-year adjustment might be tough for him.

He's also raw in pass protection. Most offensive linemen are but Cupp is even more raw in pass protection than similar offensive line prospects coming to college football programs from high schools around Ohio.


Michigan State even told Cupp they expected he would redshirt when they recruited him. I think that makes him an easy redshirt for Ohio State. Cupp is a project that could blossom in a few years.


Here are senior-year highlights of Cupp at Leipsic.


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