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tBBC A Way Too Early Look at Ohio States 2018 Offensive Recruiting Board

Ben van Ooyen

A Way Too Early Look at Ohio States 2018 Offensive Recruiting Board
Ben van Ooyen
via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
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We are still a year and a half away from national signing day for 2018, but it’s exciting to see what kind of talent the Buckeyes have to look forward to in a couple years. Unlike this year – only five seniors will leave after next season. Ohio State stands to lose over 20 players to graduation next year. That will free up a lot of scholarships and give the Buckeyes considerable wiggle room in the recruiting game.

Currently, Ohio State doesn’t have a commitment from anyone in the class of 2018, but that’s bound to change sooner rather than later. A lot of quality players in the class of 2018 have already made their college preferences known, and quite a few of them have the Ohio State Buckeyes atop their lists.

Let’s take a look at who Ohio State might be in the running for next recruiting cycle.


The Buckeyes are in wait-and-see mode with Emory Jones out of Franklin, Georgia. He visited back in June and followed that up with visits to Clemson and Tennessee. Jones currently holds 18 offers, but it seems to be down to the Buckeyes and the Volunteers, with Clemson on the outside looking in. He was pretty much all Vol before Ohio State got involved, but since then the needle has moved in favor of the Buckeyes. Jones is set to visit Tennessee again before making his way north to be a part of Friday Night Lights. Rumor has it he’s thinking about committing this summer, and his choice might become clearer after his visits at the end of July.

The Buckeyes have also offered spots to three other quarterbacks. Artur Sitkowski hails from New Jersey – which seems to be a recruiting hot bed for Michigan right now – and currently holds a 75% crystal ball prediction to the Wolverines. Casey Thompson, from Moore, Oklahoma, is expected to stay down south, most likely at Oklahoma. Jalen Mayden is the last of the quarterbacks with an offer for 2018, and Ohio State is his biggest offer to date.

The Buckeyes already have two quarterbacks slated for the class of 2017, so if Jones commits to the Buckeyes, then I believe quarterback recruiting will be closed for 2018.

Running Backs:

Teams usually take two running backs each year to stockpile talent, and I don’t expect 2018 to be any different. So far the Buckeyes have offers out to eight running backs, and only one – James Cook – has committed (to Florida State). The best bet to become a Buckeye is certainly Jaelen Gill from Westerville South, Ohio. Gill has long been considered a Buckeye lean; however, he continues to make visits across the country. He was one of the few kids from the 2018 class to be invited to the prestigious Opening out in Oregon, where he was surrounded by a lot of future Buckeye commitments. I think he’ll continue making visits, and I don’t see him making a decision soon. When he does, though, I expect him to end up in Columbus.

The Buckeyes also have offers out to most of the other top backs in the country, including Zamir White from North Carolina, Lorenzo Lingard from Florida, and Ricky Slade from Virginia. It looks like White will stay down in the SEC or ACC, and Lingard is 100% crystal-balled to Florida State. This leaves Slade as my early pick to be the second back in this class. He’s been getting a lot of attention from Penn State and Virginia Tech recently, and he already has 25 offers to his name. Right now, Slade has a 57% crystal ball prediction to Ohio State, with Penn State and South Carolina also receiving predictions. He’ll be at Penn State for its Lasch Bash this weekend and then at Florida for its Friday Night Lights.

Other backs who have received offers are Brian Snead out of Florida and T.J. Pledger and Maurice Washington out of California. Washington just received his offer after camping at Ohio State, and the Buckeyes immediately picked up a crystal ball prediction for him. It’s still really early in the recruiting process for these kids, so I don’t expect to see much action before their junior seasons get underway this fall.

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends:

The Buckeyes still don’t have a commitment from a wide receiver or tight end in the 2017 class, but that’s likely to change in a big way at the end of August when Trevon Grimes and Tyjon Lindsey announce their schools of choice. I fully expect the Buckeyes to nab two or three wide outs for the class of 2017, and all of them will be high-star recruits.

What does that mean for future recruiting outlooks? It means the Buckeyes’ wide receiver room will be full come 2018. Unless we see some transfers or medical issues, the wide receiver position will have 11-12 scholarship players headed into the 2018 season. However, I can see the Buckeyes trying to lure a couple of wide outs and a tight end in this class, especially since they don’t look to be taking a tight end in the 2017 class.

Here are some names to keep an eye on just in case. Jalen Hall – the consensus #1 wide receiver in the class of 2018 – has 28 offers and is trending towards USC, which is his hometown school. Brian Hightower is another with a Buckeye offer, and he’s playing his high school ball at the IMG Academy along with a slew of other Ohio State commitments and targets. Jahan Dotson from Pennsylvania, Kamryn Babb from Missouri, and Elijah Moore from St. Thomas Aquinas in Florida are three other 2018 kids with current offers from Ohio State. Matthew Hill out of Snellville, Georgia is the latest to receive an offer.

Jermaine Eskridge and L’Christian Smith are currently listed as athletes, but they’re likely to play wide receiver. Eskridge will be visiting for Friday Night Lights later this month, but with 47 offers on the table, he could go anywhere. He’s the #7 athlete in the class of 2018, and right now his predictions are split between Florida and Kentucky. We’ll see if his visit to Ohio State has any effect on his recruitment.

Smith is from Ohio, which usually means the scarlet and grey is a forgone conclusion. He’s been getting a lot of attention from Michigan State lately, though, and I expect other top-ranked programs will battle for his services. Although I think Smith ends up a Buckeye, this one is far from over.

The Buckeyes took three tight ends in the 2016 class and likely won’t take one in the 2017 class. That means they’ll probably take one in the class of 2018. Right now they have offers out to three: Zack Kuntz from Pennsylvania, Mustapha Muhammad from Texas, and Jeremy Ruckert from New York. I think Ohio State will be very selective in its tight end recruitment, so don’t expect a commitment for a while.

Offensive Line:

The Buckeyes are coming off an impressive haul of linemen from the 2017 class – assuming everyone remains committed – and I expect them to continue to hoard high- level talent at this position, especially with Greg Studrawa joining Ed Warinner to coach the offensive line. You can always assume teams to take at least three linemen in a given year – sometimes upwards of 5. A couple of players haven’t panned out at this point, so the Buckeyes might be inclined to take more to fill in those holes. Until we know the transfer situation, however, this is all just assumption.

Let’s start off with Jackson Carman shall we? He’s the #3 offensive tackle recruit in the country, and he hails from Ohio. Unsurprisingly, he has nine crystal ball projections, and every one of them points to the Buckeyes. He has over 30 offers currently, but it would shock me if this one goes anywhere but Ohio State.

The Buckeyes have offers out to a few other linemen in this class like Darrell Simpson out of Texas, Michael Thompson out of Missouri and Nicholas Petit-Frere from Florida. The Buckeyes have offers out to at least five other linemen in this class, including Verdis Brown from Illinois, Will Lawrence from Tennessee, and Dylan Wonnum from Georgia. Right now, Brown is the only one of them with a crystal ball prediction to Ohio State.

Other than Carman, there really isn’t another name that sticks out to me as a potential Buckeye, but that will change over the next few months as visits are scheduled and lists are cut.


Yes, it’s way too early to talk about 2018 recruiting since the 2017 class won’t be finalized for another six months, but that’s the fun in recruiting. We can speculate and guess all we want until the kids sign on the dotted lines in February. With Urban Meyer at the helm, I expect the Buckeyes to continue recruiting at a historic pace. He’s been able to attract attention from the best in the country, not just in Ohio and the surrounding states. Once we know more about the scholarship situation, we can make a better hypothesis on how this class will end up. For now, we can just sit back, watch what takes place over the new few months, and revel in the success.

The post A Way Too Early Look at Ohio States 2018 Offensive Recruiting Board appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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