COLUMBUS, Ohio — When Dallas Gant committed to Ohio State earlier this week, it gave the Buckeyes the 10th commitment of their 2018 class.
As a result, Ohio State is just about halfway to completing a recruiting class that currently ranks second in the nation and could ultimately break the 2017 Buckeyes class’ record for the highest per-player rating average in 247Sports history.
With less than seven months to go until the newly established early signing period, certain trends are beginning to emerge when it comes to the construction of Ohio State’s 2018 class. With that in mind, here are five things you need to know about Urban Meyer’s approach to compiling what could be another historic recruiting class.
Don’t get too attached
Although the Buckeyes currently have 10 prospects committed to their 2018 class, don’t count on all 10 winding up in Columbus. With eight of the 10 commits hailing from outside the Buckeye State, the recruitments of many of Ohio State’s current pledges are far from over.
Take for instance 5-star quarterback Emory Jones, one of the top priorities in the Buckeyes’ 2018 class. Although the Georgia native has been committed to OSU since last July, he recently took a visit to Alabama and has also shown interest in his home state Bulldogs.
As Ohio State learned last winter with Tyjon Lindsey, nothing’s official until the pen is put to paper.
While the names may change, the Buckeyes’ 2018 class should still feature a heavy national influence. It’s not a coincidence that just 20 percent of their current commitments come from Ohio.
That follows a trend of what we’ve seen in recent years, with in-state prospects making up just seven of the 21 spots in Ohio State’s 2017 class. On signing day, both Meyer and director of player personnel Mark Pantoni admitted they’d like that number to be higher.
“That’s something we want our percentage to be much higher on,” Pantoni said. “There’s too much talent in this state. But at the same time, we’re also searching for the best players in the country.”
But when you consider the prospects who have already committed — and the targets the Buckeyes are still chasing — it doesn’t appear Ohio State’s national trend will be changing anytime soon.
The Core Four
That’s not to say the Ohio flavor that does exist in the Buckeyes’ 2018 class will be insignificant. In what should be one of the better years for the Buckeye State in terms of talent, Ohio State will attempt to keep a “core four” of local products in-state.
Already, the Buckeyes have secured commitments from two of those four players in Gant and 4-star all-purpose back Jaelen Gill. Locking down the other two, 5-star offensive tackle Jackson Carman and 4-star defensive end Tyreke Smith, however, might not be as easy.
The No. 8 overall player in the 2018 class, Carman has already shown a strong interest in Clemson and has indicated he won’t be making a decision until December. Smith, meanwhile, could take his recruitment all the way until signing day, as he has recently emerged as one of the nation’s top prospects.
Other in-state prospects also exist, but none are the must-gets that Carman and Smith appear to be. And while the Buckeyes remain at the forefront of their respective recruitments, there’s still work to be done.
Although Ohio State’s 2018 class may wind up rated higher than its 2017 counterpart, the Buckeyes’ upcoming haul likely won’t look as sexy on paper as its predecessor. That’s because Ohio State wants to go offensive line-heavy in 2018 and will likely take at least five players at the position.
In 2017, the Buckeyes only took three offensive linemen — Wyatt Davis, Josh Myers and Thayer Munford. Offensive line depth has also been an issue in recent years, with Meyer admitting to “mistakes” having been made on the recruiting trail.
“You can’t do that,” Meyer said this spring. “What happens is we have a year like we did last year — true freshmen should not play here.
“That’s because there were some misses in there. Some players didn’t develop, some things happened. Dog ate my homework, whatever it is. That should not happen here, very disappointed in that. We can’t miss again.”
Currently, the only offensive lineman committed to Ohio State’s 2018 class is 4-star tackle Max Wray. With a spot presumably reserved for Carman, nearly half of the work the Buckeyes still have ahead will come on the offensive line.
Ohio State’s all right
Regardless of how the Buckeyes’ 2018 class comes about, just know this: Ohio State will be just fine.
Since arriving in Columbus in 2012, Meyer has compiled five top-five classes and appears well on his way to a sixth. Between the Buckeyes’ success on the field and their propensity for putting players in the pros off of it, Ohio State has plenty to sell and the recruiting results have followed.
What happens in the coming months will determine what the final product that is the Buckeyes’ 2018 class will look like. But Ohio State has momentum on its side and that won’t be changing anytime soon.