Better Know A Buckeye is our look at every member of Ohio State’s 2023 recruiting class and how they became Buckeyes as they prepare to begin their OSU careers this fall.
Luke Montgomery was born in Columbus. Little did he know nearly two decades later, it would be the same place he will play college football, representing the school he had been a lifelong fan of all along.
- Size: 6-4/295
- Position: OL
- School: Findlay (Findlay, Ohio)
- 247 Composite: ★★★★
- Composite Rank: #3 IOL
- Overall Rank: #92
Ranked as the No. 3 interior offensive lineman (No. 92 overall) in the 2023 class, Montgomery is rated as the second-best player in the state, behind only Jermaine Mathews.
While Montgomery was listed as an interior offensive lineman by recruiting services, he’s starting his Ohio State career practicing as a left tackle. Either way, the 6-foot-4, 295-pounder checks the boxes to potentially be the next great offensive lineman to play for his home-state Buckeyes.
How He Became A Buckeye
When Ohio State extended an offer to Montgomery on Feb. 18, 2021, it was a recruitment-changing moment for the Findlay native, one that he “didn't expect” at all and a moment that shocked him simply due to the timing.
The Buckeyes extended an offer to Montgomery to be an offensive lineman for them before he had even played a game on the offensive line at Findlay. That alone shows you how much they believed in his talent.
Although Montgomery took his time to make his decision while visiting other top programs across the country with his family, Ohio State was always the favorite to land one of the top offensive line prospects in the 2023 class. Justin Frye made sure to keep it that way after becoming Ohio State's new offensive line coach prior to the 2022 season.
That is if Montgomery wanted to be an offensive lineman. If he didn't, Notre Dame was expected to be the favorite, as the Fighting Irish were recruiting Montgomery to be a defensive lineman. When Ohio State first began recruiting Montgomery in 2020, they saw him as an offensive lineman but also potentially as a defensive lineman or even as a tight end, a nod to his athleticism and versatility.
Once he made it known that he wanted to be an offensive lineman in January 2021, the Buckeyes seemed to be in the driver's seat for good.
Montgomery committed to the Buckeyes on Feb. 17, 2022, 364 days after receiving his offer. It allowed Ohio State to keep one of its top targets at home while he also immediately became the top peer recruiter for the 2023 class as the natural leader attended nearly every Buckeye home game this past season.
High School Years
Montgomery began his high school career as a tight end and defensive lineman and was initially recruited as a defensive end by some colleges.
He switched to the offensive line while continuing to play on the defensive line as a junior and never looked back. As a first-year offensive lineman, he excelled and was named Northwest Ohio All-District Division I Lineman of the Year and first-team All-Ohio while leading Findlay to the school's first playoff win in 16 years.
Luke Montgomery (55) putting his man in the ground as Findlay runs for a first down. pic.twitter.com/OkdqKQOVx7— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) August 21, 2021
More from Luke Montgomery. pic.twitter.com/UNglu5WSGO— Tony Gerdeman (@TonyGerdeman) August 21, 2021
#OhioState OL commit Luke Montgomery. pic.twitter.com/gHoOWrD0dI— Bill Kurelic (@Bill_Kurelic) September 3, 2022
He was also a star on the basketball court during his high school years. In fact, it was an injury that kept him from playing basketball as a sophomore that led to a body transformation that changed the type of lineman he was (and is now), as he spent his time away from the court focusing on losing weight and building muscle.
“It was kind of a blessing in disguise, honestly,” Montgomery said at the time. “I just really took that time to focus on losing weight and buying into my own body. I’ve been eating really well ever since I got hurt. Just working out as much as I can, and it’s really paid off. I’m really in love with the weight room.”
Montgomery has only been a full-time offensive lineman for two years, which means he's still a raw talent, albeit one with a ton of upside as evidenced by his lofty recruiting rankings.
“Technique is a huge part of the offensive line,” he told Eleven Warriors. “You can go out and throw, you can go out and pass, but when it comes to the offensive line, it’s unnatural, so I still have a lot to work on.”
Pair that with the fact that only two true freshman offensive linemen have ever been day-one starters for the Buckeyes – Orlando Pace (2004) and Michael Jordan (2016) – and Montgomery's first season as a Buckeye will almost certainly be a developmental one.
"I don't know if I want to put that all on him but we're excited to have him," Day said when asked if Montgomery could compete for a starting spot at offensive tackle during the early enrollee's first offseason as a Buckeye. "We'll see. It's a challenge for a young guy but we're not going to put it past him to go do it."
Although he is versatile enough to play any position on the offensive line – tackle, guard or center – it seems as though the Buckeyes want him to be a tackle. He’s practiced at left tackle in his first spring as a Buckeye, primarily with the third-team unit behind projected starter Josh Fryar and redshirt freshman George Fitzpatrick.
Montgomery has said he wants to play tackle but will do whatever is needed in order to get playing time as early as he can.
“I’d like to play tackle, but I’m open to any of those positions for sure,” Montgomery said when he committed. “Whatever gets me on the field the fastest. I’m pretty positive I can play tackle.”
Better Know A Buckeye
Given the lack of sure things on the current roster at tackle following the departures of Paris Johnson Jr. and Dawand Jones, Montgomery could potentially push for a starting job as soon as his second year at Ohio State, especially if he can earn his way into the two-deep and see some playing time as a true freshman.
His talent suggests he will be a future starter for the Buckeyes. Pairing his skill set with his already-proven track record as someone other players gravitate to, I wouldn't be surprised if he is named a captain before his Buckeye career comes to an end.
"He's a real guy," Justin Frye said of Montgomery in February. "He's a great person. He comes from a great family. He's cut from the right cloth and all he cares about is being his best and the team being the best. So why wouldn't you want to be around that guy?
"On the field it's going to be the same. We'll talk about him in the future and why did he have a great career and what happened. Because he was a real guy. He studied the right way. He trained the right way. He lived the right way. He was around the right people. Those guys, they don't fail very often in life."
Day believes Montgomery’s combination of personality and ability give him the chance to be a special player.
"He's kind of been the leader of this class," Day said on Early Signing Day. "He's got a great personality. He and his family have been unbelievable during this process but he's very, very talented. You can see on the basketball court, the way he moves his feet. He's got toughness and physicality. He could play probably all five positions but we're going to start him at tackle."
Player Comparison: Jack Mewhort
A fellow Northwest Ohioian, Mewhort started at both left and right guard as a sophomore before transitioning to left tackle as a junior. Named as a team captain, Mewhort earned All-American honors as a senior, his second season as Ohio State's starting left tackle, and was a team captain in his final season as a Buckeye.
Don't be surprised if Montgomery follows a similar career path as a Buckeye. It’s possible the Findlay native will only play tackle at Ohio State, but he has the versatility to play anywhere along the offensive line and could potentially find quicker playing time at guard just as Mewhort did.