Making the Grade: Haskins, Mack and McCall Highlight a Recruiting Class that Meets Ohio State's Needs

By Jeremy Birmingham on February 2, 2016 at 2:15 pm
Austin Mack helps the Buckeyes get an "A" at wide receiver.
Austin Mack

In just about 24 hours from now, Urban Meyer will gather in the team meeting room at the Woody Hayes Athletic Center and address the 2016 Ohio State football recruiting class.

He'll talk names and numbers of kids the Buckeyes have recruited for the last few years for the first time publicly and we'll turn the page entirely to 2017 and beyond. 

Fortunately, as we've talked about these names and numbers for the last year-plus, you dear reader, are already well aware of their stories. So, rather than recap where they come from and who they are, let's just take a closer look at how Ohio State fared, position-by-position, in 2016's recruiting cycle.

Today, we'll start with the offense. Andrew will grade out the defense on Thursday.


Ohio State's quarterback recruiting underwent a series of changes over the course of the last two years, but, despite a few hiccups, they got one of their earliest and primary targets in Maryland's Dwayne Haskins.

The country's seventh-ranked pro-style quarterback, Haskins may not–at first blush–seem to be the right "fit" for what we've seen in Urban Meyer's offense, but that's not to say he isn't the right fit for what the Buckeyes want to do in the future. 

6-foot-3 and 198-pounds, Haskins is a leader and has had a huge affect on the recruiting class as a whole since his commitment and that is one of the reasons he gets the grade he does.

Grade: A


One of the more tumultuous position groups for the Buckeyes in the last year has been running back, but it seems that things have worked out pretty well for Ohio State. At one time, the headliner at tailback was Kareem Walker, the former No. 1 running back across all the major networks who was committed to the Buckeyes for ten months but signed with Michigan. 

Ohio State ended up with Antonio Wiliams, who ended his senior season as the country's seventh-ranked tailback and committed to the Buckeyes after being pledged to Wisconsin for almost 10 months prior. Recruiting is fun, right?

Across the country, it was a bit of "down" year at running back but Ohio State and Tony Alford got one of the best and Williams, who enrolled early with the Buckeyes, could be occasionally supplemented by Demario McCall. While McCall is likely to more likely play in the slot as a wide receiver, his versatility means this group gets a bump.

Grade: A


In June of 2014, I was told that, to make the 2016 wide receiver haul a true success, there were three players at the top of the Buckeyes' list: Austin Mack, Binjimen Victor and Sam Bruce.

Almost doesn't count usually, but in this case, it definitely counts and the Buckeyes, had they pressed, would've gone three-for-three. They had him if they wanted him, but chose not to bring Bruce into the fold.

Mack and Victor are the big-bodied, fast, explosive, outside wide receivers that fans and experts have been clamoring for in recent years. Two Army All-Americans, two invitees at Nike's The Opening, and two players that have a chance to make a big impact in Columbus in the upcoming years.

This group, like running back, could change based on how the talent works out once they arrive on campus. Not only could the aforementioned McCall play some at wide receiver, but if Malik Harrison commits to Ohio State tomorrow as expected, he could as well. 

Grade: A+


Each of Ohio State's last two tight ends (Jeff Heuerman and Nick Vannett) are NFL quality players and served the Buckeyes capably and, despite the emergence of Marcus Baugh, the position was a major key for Urban Meyer this year.

Tim Hinton and the Buckeyes identified their major players early and went at them hard. Three Ohioans–Kierre Hawkins, Jake Hausmann and Luke Farrell–comprise a three tight end class, each of whom is a four-star prospect across the networks. They are ranked at No. 11, No. 4 and No. 7 at tight end, making up what is probably the best class in the country at their position.

If there's a "catch" in this group, it's how Hawkins fits because his game and frame might be better suited as a Noah Brown-type of split-end, but there's no doubt that trio has plenty of talent and potential. 

Grade: A


There are a number of reasons that new offensive line coach Greg Studrawa had to jump at the chance to join the Buckeyes' coaching staff and this offensive line group is one of them.

Early-enrollees Tyler Gerald and Michael Jordan are loaded with potential and have a chance to see playing time early in their careers at guard and tackle respectively. 

Although perhaps being the "projects" in the class, Jack Wohlabaugh and Gavin Cupp are grinders and shouldn't be taken for granted. They possess the "Slob" mentality already and are going to come into Ohio State in June with something to prove.

The offensive line group may not be finished. JUCO star Malcolm Pridgeon is one of the most physically-imposing specimens in the country and if he chooses the Buckeyes tomorrow morning, he's a potential starter for Ohio State in 2016.

This class is not an A+ for one simple reason: the Buckeyes failed to land Tommy Kraemer, the state's best offensive lineman and one of the country's premier tackles, who will sign with Notre Dame instead of Ohio State.

Grade: A

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