Better Know a Buckeye: Gabe VanSickle Gives Ohio State A Developmental Guard Prospect from the State Up North

By Josh Poloha on June 6, 2024 at 11:35 am
Gabe VanSickle

Better Know A Buckeye is our look at every member of Ohio State’s 2024 recruiting class and how they became Buckeyes as they prepare to begin their OSU careers this fall.

Although he didn’t receive an offer from Ohio State until late in the process, Gabe VanSickle (No. 283 overall, No. 17 interior offensive lineman in the 2025 class) couldn't pass up the opportunity to play for the Buckeyes when he was given the opportunity.

Now, he will be the only scholarship player from the state of Michigan on the Buckeyes' 2024 roster.

How He Became a Buckeye

Gabe VanSickle

  • Size: 6-5/315
  • Pos: IOL
  • School: Coopersville (Coopersville, Michigan)
  • Star Rating: ★★★★
  • Composite Rank: #283 (#17 IOL)

Ohio State's 2024 offensive line class seemed to be getting quite full. With commitments from Devonta and Deontae Armstrong, Ian Moore and Marc Nave, along with the Buckeyes trying their best to land five-star offensive tackle Jordan Seaton, OSU seemed done with that position group in the cycle.

But when Nave decommitted from Ohio State in September, that changed. It was back to the drawing board and the Buckeyes had to add another offensive lineman to complete its 2024 class. That's when Justin Frye and Co. began to go after VanSickle, who was committed to Northwestern.

After taking an unofficial visit to Columbus for the Penn State game on Oct. 21, VanSickle received an OSU offer, which inevitably changed his recruitment. Soon thereafter, the Michigan product took his official visit for Ohio State's game against Michigan State on Nov. 11. VanSickle decommitted from Northwestern 10 days later, seemingly set to make the switch to the Buckeyes.

He committed to Ohio State two days later on Nov. 23, becoming the fourth and final offensive lineman in the Buckeyes’ 2024 class.

When VanSickle first committed to the Buckeyes, he was the 41st-ranked interior offensive lineman (No. 613 overall) in the class. He ended up being ranked as the No. 17 interior offensive lineman (No. 283 overall) in 247Sports’ composite rankings for the cycle.

High School Years

VanSickle played left tackle primarily for Coopersville High School (Coopersville, Michigan) and helped lead the team to an 8-3 record in his senior season. He showcased his physicality, explosiveness and aggression on nearly every snap while anchoring the offensive line.

Along with driving opposing defensive linemen to the ground on the gridiron, VanSickle also played basketball and track and field for Coopersville. In fact, he won the Division 2 Michigan high school state title in shot put last weekend with a throw of 61-2.

Immediate Impact

While VanSickle was a high school standout, especially as a run blocker, he comes to Ohio State as a developmental prospect. The 6-foot-5, 315-pound offensive lineman will need to improve his footwork and acclimate to the speed of the college game during his first year or two in Columbus before making an impact on the field for the Buckeyes.

He's prepared for the developmental process in front of him.

“I want to just keep getting stronger and better every day because if you get 1% better every day, that adds up after a while,” VanSickle told Eleven Warriors in May.

Considering he’s already bulked up to 315 pounds after being listed at 283 pounds as a recruit, one could say that those 1% days have already begun to add up.

He believes going against some of the best defensive linemen in the country every day in practice at Ohio State will allow him to maximize his potential.

“You want to go against the best to be the best,” VanSickle said. “Obviously that's the main goal at Ohio State is to be the best, and they have the best defense in the nation. So if you want to be the best, you've got to go against the best.”

Although he didn't arrive in Columbus until this past weekend, VanSickle has been working on improving his game with the help of Ohio State coaches via Zoom, while also doing lifting and agility drills as part of a workout plan given to him by the Buckeyes.

As Ohio State looks for improved play up front in 2024, it will count on VanSickle to provide depth and be a regular on the scout team even though he’s likely to redshirt as a freshman.

Long-Term Impact

Although he was primarily a left tackle in high school, VanSickle will likely be a guard for the Buckeyes, with the potential to also play center depending on how he develops.

His first shot at earning a spot on the two-deep will likely come in 2025, but even then, he will face plenty of competition to earn significant playing time. Carson Hinzman and Joshua Padilla will be the frontrunners to lead the depth chart at center next year while Luke Montgomery, Tegra Tshabola, Austin Siereveld and Devontae Armstrong will be among those vying for playing time at guard, along with whoever else the Buckeyes add in the 2025 class.

VanSickle’s best shot at earning a starting guard job for Ohio State will likely come in 2026 or beyond.

Player Comparison: Demetrius Knox

Knox redshirted his first season at Ohio State before playing primarily on special teams in 2015. Slowed by injuries in 2016, Knox took over for injured Branden Bowen as a starting guard for the last eight games of the 2017 season and never looked back, starting his final 20 games as a Buckeye before a lower-leg injury forced him to miss his final two collegiate games.

Much like Knox, VanSickle will redshirt as a freshman and then likely play primarily special teams and as a backup as a redshirt freshman and sophomore. But he’ll look to follow in Knox’s footsteps by developing into a quality starter for the Buckeyes by the end of his collegiate career.

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