Better Know a Buckeye: Deontae Armstrong’s Quickness and Athleticism Paired with His Frame Gives Him a Promising Skill Set at Left Tackle for Ohio State

By Josh Poloha on June 20, 2024 at 3:05 pm
Deontae Armstrong

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.

A lifelong Ohio State fan, Deontae Armstrong has been used to playing (and winning) on a top-tier football program in Ohio since the moment he stepped foot in St. Edward High School. Now, the No. 33 offensive tackle (No. 385 overall) in the 2024 class will look to continue his winning ways in Columbus.

He already seems to have a chip on his shoulder given his 247Sports composite ranking, as he believes he is a better player than his ranking shows.

“I really think the rankings should go out the window for me,” Armstrong told Eleven Warriors in January. “In general, but especially for me and my brother (fellow Ohio State freshman offensive lineman Devontae Armstrong), because we played a national schedule here at St. Ed’s against some top competition. A lot of times the rankings get brought up, ‘Oh, they’re only four-stars’ and stuff like that. But I think we'll go in there, and I know we’ll dominate. We’re gonna dominate from the first day. As far as putting on the body weight and stuff like that. So we just want to go in there and dominate as Buckeyes and help any way we can. Rankings aside.”

How He Became a Buckeye

Deontae Armstrong

  • Size: 6-6/298
  • Pos: OT
  • School: St. Edward (Lakewood, Ohio)
  • Star Rating: ★★★★
  • Composite Rank: #385 (#33 OT)

A lifelong OSU fan from the day he was born alongside his identical twin, Devontae, Deontae's dream of suiting up in the scarlet and gray became closer to reality when he was offered a scholarship by Ohio State on Jan. 13, 2023 following numerous visits to Columbus. He and his brother became the first in-state offensive linemen in their class to receive offers from the Buckeyes.

“It was super exciting when coach said it,” Armstrong told Eleven Warriors. “It was surreal because of the relationship we built. There was a lot that went into it, so when I got the offer I was really excited. (Devontae and I) just kind of looked at each other and just smiled.

“Growing up watching Ohio State, you get more of a feel for the college and the environment growing up as a fan. It definitely gives it more meaning when they give you an offer.”

Just two-and-a-half months after receiving their offers together, the Armstrong twins committed to Ohio State together on March 27.

"Playing for the Buckeyes has definitely been a dream," Armstrong said following his commitment. "As a kid watching them it almost seems like an unattainable goal to have, and now that that is a reality is amazing.

“My favorite moment of that day, and the whole recruiting process is when at the end of the visit in Coach Day’s office after practice my brother and I told him we have seen enough and that we’d like to commit to Ohio State today. He jumped up with a big smile and hugged us and ran to get Coach Frye,” Devontae told Eleven Warriors. “It was just an overall surreal experience.”

High School Years

Armstrong was St. Ed's left tackle during his final two high school seasons after starting at right tackle as a sophomore.

While anchoring the outside of the offensive line for a dominant rushing attack throughout the last three seasons, Armstrong helped lead the Eagles to an impressive 45-3 record and three straight state championships.

St. Ed's averaged over 250 rushing yards per game in 2023 as Armstrong was named first-team all-state and all-district.

The Armstrong twins join a list of twins to play for Ohio State that also includes current defensive lineman Bryce Prater and his brother Zach Prater, who played for the Buckeyes for two years; former walk-on wide receivers Gage and Luciano Bican, who played for Ohio State in 2018; linebacker Mike Sullivan and nose tackle John Sullivan, who played for the Buckeyes from 1985-88; linebacker John Epitropoulos and guard Ernie Epitropoulos, who played for Ohio State from 1977-80; and tight end Terry and linebacker Tim Vogler, who played for the Buckeyes from 1975-78.

Immediate Impact

With Josh Simmons manning the starting spot at left tackle and Zen Michalski or George Fitzpatrick likely backing him up, Armstrong will be a depth piece for his first season in Columbus. He’s likely to redshirt as a freshman while he develops his technique and adds a little muscle to his 6-foot-6, 298-pound frame in order to potentially become a dominant left tackle as an upperclassman.

“I’d say quickness and athleticism,” Armstrong said of his best on-field attribute. “Also using that athleticism and being strong. Being more of a lean offensive tackle I think it’s a better fit for me going against quicker defensive ends that other offensive tackles might not be able to block because of how quick they are.”

Armstrong is ready to learn from Ohio State offensive line coach Justin Frye and the rest of the Buckeyes’ offensive linemen.

“I want to insert myself and learn from the guys and then take off with what they're telling me. Take off with the technique that Coach Frye’s telling me, and not let me coming in as a freshman or whatever deter me from thinking I can't go in there and play right away or play eventually,” Armstrong said. “I’m not looking at me being a freshman and saying I can't help out the team, I want to help the team right away in any way possible. And really just try to dominate every practice and go out there and do my job to my best ability and see where that takes me.”

While he's entering his first collegiate season, Armstrong already feels like he's ahead of the curve given the type of program St. Edward is.

“Ohio State runs a similar offense to my high school team. So adjusting mentally won't be that tough of a challenge,” Armstrong said. “Of course there will be more details, because it's college football and everything like that. But we ran a similar offense at St. Ed’s.

“It's experience with even the same terminology. I was talking to (Ohio State offensive line coach Justin) Frye and we got a lot of the same names for a lot of the same stuff. I think it helps being coached and going against actually good players. Not going against small-name schools. I mean, we went against OSU targets even, like (Clemson freshman defensive end Darien Mayo), on national TV. So going against the best of the best every week in high school, I think that will only help me out for college.”

Long-Term Impact

Simmons still has two years of eligibility remaining, but he could forgo his final year of eligibility and enter the 2025 NFL draft if he has a good season this fall, opening the door for a new starter at left tackle. While Ohio State might not want to turn that position over to a likely redshirt freshman, Armstrong could be in the mix if he impresses his coaches with his performance on and off the field this year.

At the very least, there appears to be a path for Armstrong to compete for a spot on the two-deep in year two. He should be a candidate to contend for a starting job by year three as his frame paired with his quickness, athleticism and ability to finish blocks gives him a unique skill set that could set him apart among his teammates.

Either way, he's ready to help the Buckeyes beat Michigan in whatever capacity is needed.

“I love Ohio State. I grew up an Ohio State fan. Hate Michigan. That was the squad most recruited by that I only went to one time,” Armstrong said. “Losing to Michigan sucks, it feels like you just got stabbed in the back.”

Player Comparison: Jamarco Jones

After playing sparingly during his first two seasons as a Buckeye, Jones started at left tackle and anchored that side of the line as a junior and senior, starting in 50 games (including 27 consecutive) and earning All-Big Ten honors in each of his final two seasons at Ohio State.

If Armstrong develops as hoped over the next two to three years, he has the potential to follow in Jones’ footsteps by anchoring the left side of the offensive line as an upperclassman before heading to the NFL.

View 7 Comments